Nokia 6820 Review| By Allen Tsai
Nokia has released the 6820, its successor to the overwhelmingly popular 6800. With improvements on many of the features consumers loved on the 6800, the release of the Nokia 6820 brings new innovations to the market.
The 6800, was Nokia's first phone geared towards typing. While folded, it looks like any other phone. The flip lid, however, opens to reveal a full QWERTY keypad.
Up until the release of the 6800, consumers had limited choices for phones with adequate text messaging capabilities. Devices either sacrificed size with a full keypad, or sacrificed typing ease and speed with awkward numeric keypads. The Nokia 6800 offered a welcomed alternative that combined the best of both worlds allowing for much more natural and quicker text messaging while remaining at the size of a standard phone.
Bundled with text messaging features such as Wireless Village chat, EDGE high speed wireless access, and Bluetooth, the 6820 has an impressive set of connectivity options as well.
Not much has changed in appearance from the 6800. The 6820 still retains the same revolutionary flip QWERTY keypad. A few additions and improvements have, however, been added. Since the 6820 was designed with text messaging in mind, it is chock full of text messaging features. Among other things, users can SMS to send standard text messages, or attach pictures, sounds, or video clips with their MMS messages. A fully functional email client contains POP3, IMAP4, and SMTP capabilities for receiving and sending email from 3rd party sources.
A built-in 352 x 288 px CIF camera with video recording and playback capabilities peers out from the back housing of the 6820. The phone has a variety of shooting modes such as Standard Mode, Portrait Mode, and Night Mode. Self portraits are possible with a self-timer delay function. As with most camera phones, users should not expect standalone digital camera quality. Pictures taken with the Nokia 6820 are great for capturing impromptu moments, or attaching images to caller information and business cards, but anything more is best served using a dedicated digital camera.
There are, however, a few features missing from the 6820's precursor, most notably the built-in FM radio. Users who still desire a radio have the option to purchase it as a separate plug-in accessory.
Improvements in the audio capabilities of the 6820 have lagged. Unfortunately, the 6820 only supports 16 chord polyphonic ring tones. More and more phones are supporting upwards of 40 chord tones or even MP3s. However, Nokia seems not to have focused on improving the 6820's multimedia capabilities and instead catered the 6820 towards the business consumer. Consumers who want MP3-like sounds will not get it from this device. The 6820 also does, however, contain a loud and clear speaker and a microphone with a good degree of sensitivity.
Other features worth mentioning are the downloadable Java 2 Micro Edition (J2ME) games and applications. The versatility of this feature lets you install and delete software from the internet. J2ME is the most popular mobile programming language with hundreds of games and applications available for download. Some for free, others for a fee.
Even with the addition of new features, Nokia has managed to make the 6820 smaller than the 6800. At 107 x 47 x 20 mm, the 6820 is over 10 mm shorter. The less bulky design will make the Nokia 6820 much more attractive and easier to fit in pockets.
In the end, much of the 6820's strengths lie in its messaging capabilities. The phone is geared towards a particular segment of the consumer market. For the serious text messaging user, the 6820 is the phone they've been waiting for.
The Nokia 6820 comes with a 128 x 128 px 4096 color passive matrix display. Unfortunately this is the same display found on Nokia's older models. Nokia has done little to keep up with the market. The newest phones today can display an impressive 262K colors.
With passive displays, ghosts can become an issue. The STN screen (as opposed to TFT) does not have the circuit transistors placed on the glass at the pixel locations. As a result, there is a delay needed to scan each pixel. This results in greatly hindering the response time and ends up slowing down refresh rates. For example, action-packed games may, display remnants of previous screens when the on-screen action changes rapidly. Fortunately, the ghosting is not too noticeable in simple tasks like changing menu functions.
The screen is bright and clear in dim conditions, but in areas with ample ambient lighting, the screen tends to washed out a good deal as is the case with most STN displays.
By far the main feature of the 6820 is the fold-out keypad. When folded, the 6820 looks like any standard phone with a plain numeric keypad. When unfolded, the two halves of the 6820 transform into a full QWERTY keypad.
Typing with the QWERTY keypad is far more preferred than using a conventional numeric keypad. With two thumbs on a keyboard, typing becomes much faster. Text messaging is far simpler on the 6820 than on any other phone on the market today.
Battery and Charger
A 850 mAh Li-Ion battery is used with the 6820. Nokia claims the battery lasts for 7 hours of talk time and 240 hours of standby. Realistically, however, the times are much lower at three and a half hours of talk time and six days of standby.
The results of our tests for battery talk time and standby time should be viewed as relative information only. Many variables including carrier signal strength, signal consistency (including incoming and outgoing calls), display and ringer settings, and battery charging methods and history will affect performance.
When handset manufacturers and mobile phone carriers list talk-time and standby-time ratings, they usually include disclaimers about variable performance and often refer to the times they publish as maximum times. Some carriers quote expected battery life ranges, and in this case it's probably safe to assume at least the minimum rated range. Note that manufacturers of dual-mode digital and analog handsets publish battery-life rates for both digital and analog modes as analog mode consumes much more power than digital mode.
The 6820 comes with about 3.5 MB of shared internal memory for contacts, text messages, multimedia messages, ring tones, images, video clips, calendar notes, to-do lists, and applications. Expandable storage slots are not present on the 6820, so deleting content is the only way to free up extra memory.
Nokia gave us a peek at its first EDGE phone at COMDEX in Las Vegas. EDGE, or Enhanced Data rate for GSM Evolution, allows for high speed rates of up to 118 kbps on existing GSM networks. Currently, AT&T and Cingular offer EDGE in the US, although Europe and Asia have been slow to incorporate it. Often times called 2.7G, EDGE has been referred to as a bridge between current GSM technology and WCDMA and cdma2000.
The migration of GSM to EDGE results in less strain on current voice traffic bandwidth and allows for higher transfer rates when downloading multimedia or browsing the web. Building on existing technology, EDGE allows for more than double existing GPRS rates. While theoretically the 6820 could transfer at speeds of up to 384 kbps, Nokia has decided to limit it to 118 kbps. Actual rates will be less than that.
The 6820 is also supplied with a SyncML client. SyncML is the common language for synchronizing all devices and applications over any network. With SyncML any personal information, such as email, calendars, to-do lists, contact information and other relevant data, will be consistent, accessible and up to date, no matter where the information is stored. For example, synchronizing in the morning will allow you to read and reply to your emails on your way to work.
A Pop-port can be found on the 6820 as well. Pop-port can automatically identify accessories attached to the 6820. It also offers stereo sound with the use of headphones. Lastly, the Pop-port can be used to charge accessories with a single USB cable and without the use of separate power sources. Pop-port transmits up to 230 kb/s.
The internal phone book has a maximum capacity to save up to 500 names with numbers and text notes about each name. The number of names that can be saved depends amount of memory left. With the addition of a SIM card you can save up to 250 more names and phone numbers.
Text messaging was a primary focus when creating the Nokia 6820. And the 6820 is robust in communication enhancements. Aside from the standard SMS text messaging support, MMS are supported for sending multimedia including images, ringtones, and video clips.
Other features are included as well. Chat allows users to exchange send and receive messages through an easily viewable format. Additionally, distribution lists can be created for sending messages to multiple recipients. And info messages allow users to receiver text messages from service providers such as weather conditions or traffic congestion.
The 6820 supports sending slides. Uses can create multiple pages of slides and add multimedia files to each page. Limitations found in previous models were removed on the 6820. Message sizes are limited but the number of attached objects is not restricted.
The Nokia 6820's email client supports POP3 and SMTP protocols. However attachments are not possible. Additionally, Blackberry messaging system is present. It is more predominant in North America than Europe or Asia.
Wireless Village instant messaging (My Friends) is also included in this phone. It goes beyond previous mobile chat features. The Wireless Village specifications define how the instant messaging provides an open connection with existing IM providers, such as AOL, ICQ, Yahoo and MSN.
The result is a system for sharing personal information about the user's status, (e.g., on-line, off-line, busy), location (home, work), and the moods of their friends and colleagues (happy, angry). In addition, services will allow users to participate in private or public chat rooms with search capabilities. Ultimately network operators will be able to provide meeting and conferencing type of services with shared content.
The Nokia 6820's full QWERTY keypad makes typing considerably faster. With text messaging in mind. Nokia has loaded it with quite a lot of features.
Call Duration allows users to view the approximate duration of each incoming and outgoing call in hours, minutes, and seconds.
GPRS Data Counter checks the amount of sent and received data in last session, and data sent and received in total. GPRS Connection Timer lets users check the duration of the last GPRS connection, or the total GPRS connection. Clearing the timers requires a security code. The traditional call list. Missed, received, and dialed numbers are stored here. Each list stores the past 20 numbers.
Most of the Nokia 6820 phone customizations take place in the Settings Menu. Wallpaper, screen saver, and color scheme selections allow users to change the look of their menus and user interface. While other multimedia additions such as ring tones, can be accessed here too. Multimedia can be created on a desktop and transferred through infrared or data cable to the phone.
The 128 x 128 px 4095 color display hasn't changed much in the last two years. While the display is clear and colorful, it is not keeping up with technology. With LG phones upwards of around 262K colors, the Nokia 6820's screen no longer near the top of the market.
The phone's 16 chord polyphonic ring tones are lacking as well. More and more phones are supporting upwards of 40 chord tones or even MP3s. However, Nokia seems not to have concentrated in improving the 6820's multimedia capabilities. But understandably, the 6820 was designed with the business consumer in mind. Those which need a robust efficient way of communicating with people.
Users who want a phone with strong multimedia features should look elsewhere. The 6820 is built with functionality in mind rather than customizability.
The Gallery Menu displays the collection of pictures and ring tones. Also display pictures in a photo album. Manage images, photos, recordings, ring tones, and video clips that have been received in multimedia messages. The phone also supports a usage rights system to protect acquired content.
A piece of content (ringtone) can be protected and associated with certain usage rights (usage times or usage period). The rules can be delivered with the content or independently depending on the service provider. Users may be able to update these rights.
Type Of View selects how the folders are displayed. Activate Content updates the usage rights for selected files. This option is only shown if the rights update is supported by the file. Activation Key List views a list of available usage rights. Gallery Downloads allows users to download more images and tones though the web.
The back of the Nokia 6820 contains the lens of the camera. It is capable of capturing CIF images at a resolution up to 352 x 288 px. Short video clips with audio can be recorded as well. Clips are encoded as H.263 (SubCIF) format and limited to the amount of shared memory. Other features include multiple shooting modes like Portrait Photo Mode, or Night Mode. The 6820 has three quality settings.
While the resolution is nowhere near being printable, it is sufficient for viewing on a computer or using as wallpapers for the phone. Users will be able to transfer images through either infrared, data cable, or Bluetooth connections.
The Calendar feature is standard with other Nokia phones. Enter up to 500 entries depending on shared memory available. Store events as calls, birthdays, memos, or reminders. Outdated entries may be automatically deleted. Schedules may be viewed monthly or daily.
A To-Do List feature is included to keep on top of tasks. Options to set deadlines for each entry is present. Notes allows users to jot down quick messages to save for later. Up to 3000 symbols can be added in each note. The Wallet feature lets users store personal information safely by requiring a password to access them. Store credit cards, passwords, tickets, etc.
For synchronizing between the 6820 and a PC, the phone is also SyncML compatible. SyncML is the common language for synchronizing all devices and applications over any network. With SyncML any personal information, such as email, calendars, to-do lists, contact information and other relevant data, will be consistent, accessible and up to date, no matter where the information is stored.
Installed software and games are stored here. The Nokia 6820 supports the J2ME (Java 2 Micro Edition) platform for downloadable games and applications.
Additionally, users will be able to install and remove J2ME compatible games through the web or transferring from a computer. There are an abundance of applications and games due to J2ME's dominance as the most popular platform for mobile devices. But developers can also create applications for the 6820 with Java technology.
Currently, hundreds of software applications have been created under the J2ME platform. Some are freeware, while others require a fee. But it is still the most popular platform on the market today. Other preinstalled non-removable applications and features include a voice recorder, calculator, countdown timer, and stopwatch.
The Service Menu allows users to choose how you want to connect to the internet. Options include setting up (E)GPRS or GSM accounts. The 6820 uses WAP browser version 2.0.
Tonal qualities of the 6820 are full and robust. The sound quality is great without many complaints. Even in loudspeaker mode, there was not an abnormal boost in low frequencies as experienced in other phones.
Manufacturers typically boost low frequencies in loudspeaker mode so voices will carry longer distances. Given the distance and volume, the 6820's incoming clarity was good. While on the other side, voices could be heard within the first few feet of the phone. Anything further than that decreases clarity considerably. Also expect background noise to be picked up easily when using loudspeaker.
The call clarity of the 6820 is exceptional. Incoming and outgoing calls have minimal distortion considering the internal antenna. RF is good with small signals being picked up and held relatively well. There are no significant problems with the reception. Nokia has had a history of providing cell phones that have great reception. Therefore, the 6820 has above average reception.
- Full QWERTY. Convenient, functional, and a text messaging essential.
- Great set of messaging features. Fully functional email client (POP3, IMAP4, SMTP), SMS, MMS, Wireless Village chat, and more.
- Fun camera for taking impromptu pictures and short video clips.
- Loudspeaker that's loud and useful. Excellent range and clarity for a loudspeaker.
- EDGE. Download and browse at amazing rates of up to 118 kbps on existing GSM networks.
- Downloadable J2ME games and applications. Install programs and delete delete them when you get tired of them.
- Bluetooth connectivity. Connect to peripheral devices easily. Whether it be headsets, PCs, PDAs, etc.
- 16 tone polyphonic ring tones. It might have been good last year, but the standards have been raised.
- 4096 color STN display. A bit washed out in the advancing market of multimedia phones.
Much like its predecessor, the 6820 is not meant for everyone. Nokia targeted users who desire functionality rather than multimedia. And from the look of the keypad, the 6820 was meant for text messaging and typing.
When closed, the phone has a standard numeric keypad. However, the greatest draw to the 6820 is undoubtedly its full QWERTY keypad and compact size. It provides an unparalleled alternative to the inconvenient text messaging on numeric keypads. The buttons are not too large, but not so small that thumbs can't type comfortably. For those of you with large thumbs, you'll find the 6820 much easier to type with.
Many of the Nokia 6820's strong points are in its typing functions. The messaging features we've mentioned thus far. A fully functional email client that supports POP3, IMAP4, and SMTP mail servers, Wireless Village chat versatility, and PC synchronization with SyncML. Combined with EDGE for faster downloads online, the 6820 is a formidable business phone.
Since Nokia had a business consumer in mind, it decided to strip out or leave unchanged non-business essential features such as the FM radio, the 4096 color display, and 16 chord polyphonic ring tones. It is safe to say that multimedia was the least of Nokia's concerns. But strangely, a built-in camera was included on the 6820. Perhaps the camera phone craze was a market Nokia could not afford to neglect.
Nokia probably plans to market this phone to business consumers who could care less about ring tones, screen colors, or fancy features. If you fit the mold Nokia was aiming for then the 6820 is what you were waiting for. However, most consumers won't need such powerful messaging capabilities, and probably want more multimedia features. For the text messaging consumer, the Nokia 6820 doesn't get much better.
Agree or disagree? We'd love to hear your thoughts. Share your experience and leave a comment below. ♦
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The 6820 was not on my initial top three choice for a new cell phone. My first choice was the Siemens SL65, SL56 and then followed by the Sony Ericsson T637.
Obviously the SL65 is not available here in the States at this time (9/12/04). For some reason AT&T could not put in the order for a SL56 (refurbished) for me -- over the phone or in the AT&T store. I have already seen and read a lot about the T637, so I was not worried too much about trying out that phone.
The AT&T rep busted out his 6820 to offer me an alternative selection. I have read a bit about it and vaguely looked at it a while back. Was not too interested in it due to the fact that the price was really high for it. The features seemed too extreme for me.
Another look at the 6820 and I discovered more to like about it. I balanced the choices between the T637 and the 6820. The tilting moment for the 6820 was when the AT&T representative had to call AT&T customer service to pull up my corporate information. He switched to the built-in speakerphone... the *awesome* surprisingly clear speakerphone.
At home I use speakerphone for my landline all the time; it is just so convenient for multi-tasking. So forget about using a headset -- unless you need privacy and it does come with a headset -- because the 6820 is superb for hand-free operation.
I have to point out that the speakerphone is not "perfect," because the quality of the speakerphone probably works best within three feet of the phone. In noisy places, the background noise is present. Otherwise, I think the speakerphone is just as high quality as the Nextel speakerphone.
Another deciding factor is that I have used two previous Nokia phones and I can still use my car charger kit from the 8260 to charge up the 6820 -- $25 average savings on accessories (OEM equipment).
Not to mention, the learning curve for the Nokia from my TDMA 8260 to the GSM 6280 is minimal. I just have to learn about the new "technology", not on how to use the entire phone.
IM (ICQ) via SMS worked fine for me. I was able to access MSN via mMode, but I refused to go through all the stupid agreements Microsoft wanted from me -- just let me sign on to my existing account. Typing on the QWERTY keyboard was fun, you just have to get used to the smaller keys.
Infrared was flawless, because I was able to sync all my information from my laptop to my phone within 2 to 4 minutes -- depending on how much data you are transferring. I have not used the Bluetooth feature yet, because I do not own any Bluetooth devices.
Who cares about taking pictures on a phone? I own a pocket-sized Nikon 3700 if I want to take real photos. High quality cameras are cheap; get one of those instead if you want real pictures.
Only 4,096 colors, but good enough for me. I come from a happy TDMA 8260 phone for many years -- aka no color. Again, I don't care for taking "quality photos." I have my girl's picture as my wallpaper right now. She took her photo from a V600 and the photo is definitely sharper on the laptop, but it is "decent" on the 6820.
No MP3 music, another waste-of-my time and feature I would rather receive from other devices than a cellular phone. I am glad Nokia sacrificed these two features.
Remember, a phone is for communication... text messaging is for communication. Put these two facts together and you get a perfect match for a "communication" device.
If you used previous Nokia phone, then do not expect a high learning curve for this phone. Oh yeah, the menu buttons on the 6820 are customizable. Not all the buttons are customizable, but such as the "Names" button (from the older phones) is set for mMode access by default... I changed it back to "Names" because you can get mMode access by pressing down "0".
You can customize the keypad LOCK feature to activate after the specified time of idleness. Kind of like how you work your screen saver on the computer. One way of unlocking the keypad is to flip open the phone, it automatically unlocks the phone.
The only negative I have about the 6820 is that I think the keys will take getting used to. Since you have a QWERTY keyboard inside, the outside keypad is a little awkward when depressed. The feedback with the keypad is not as comfortable as what I received from the old 8260. None the less, it is acceptable and I think many of the newer Nokia phones have this kind of keypad design.
The mMode has more to be desired for, the access is sometimes slow, and overall content is limited. Understandable, but it is not something I will be using in the near future unless I have to. I will continue to try out mMode and see why it would be worth paying $7 to $8 a month for it, but I doubt there is that much convenient information for me to access to convince me to keep it after the trial period.
The material/build quality of the 6820 is solid plastic, but not as nice as the metallic feel as the V600. The size of the phone is exactly like the 8260. The flip hinge is tight, so nothing is moving around unnecessarily. The light is a bright purple-ish flavor (I have yet to figure out how to make it a bit dimmer).
So far I cannot say enough good things about this phone. I'm waiting for my buddy to receive his T637, then I'll compare more closely to see if it is worth keeping this 6820. I get 30 days to try this out with AT&T and return it if I do not like it. The Motorola V600 is the only flip phone I would consider using, otherwise, I dislike flip phone designs in general. Alas, it cost almost twice as much as what I paid for the Nokia 6820.
By the way, my phone is unlocked so I do not have to chunk the phone in the garbage can when I switch service providers in the future. If you already text message all the time, then this is a highly recommended phone.Was this review helpful to you?
105 out of 108 people found this review helpful.
Best Phone Ever
I bought this phone 2.5 weeks ago, just before a business trip to Asia. I got better reception in my house than any other GSM phone I've owned. I generally get no service at home and the 6820 provides sufficient service to get VM, SMS, and conversation if I'm out on my back deck (for comparison, I've had Siemens, Sony, Mot, and Nokia GSM products). LAX is notorious in places for its limited GSM coverage and I had no problems there, either.
Moreover, I get service in PRC, though AT&T doesn't know how (no agreement on 1900). I placed and received phone calls in Beijing and Taipei. Unfortunately, Korea and Japan don't subscribe to GSM or I could provide two more countries.
I've had nothing but good luck with the phone. I find myself using SMS to co-workers now that I have a keyboard that works. The speaker phone feature is also very nice. Bluetooth comes disabled by default, which I like (the Sony had it enabled by default... wasting my battery). I love the fact that you can have ring groups in addition to individual ring tones. This allows me to instantly recognize personal mobile calls from business calls. The camera is not too hot, but what do you expect? I didn't buy it for the camera and would be just as happy without the wasted circuits and development costs. The screen is bright and clear.
I don't play games on my phone, so I can't comment on the quality of the games.
Overall, this is the best mobile phone I've owned to date. It does the geeky (polyphonic midi), the business (keyboard, ring groups, infrared syncing with Outlook for contact information), and the superfluous (calendar syncing, email, etc.) and does them well. Moreover, I paid only $140 for the phone with a 1 year commitment, so it was cheap, too (I got a significant company discount).
A year later will tell if it truly is the best phone I've ever owned, but for now, I'm completely satisfied.Was this review helpful to you?
92 out of 96 people found this review helpful.
It was a snap decision to upgrade, but it finally broke my addiction to the 88xx series phones. Having to be impressed to hang my 8855 next to my 8810, the 6820 did that.
Having read the other posts, I am happy to say reception is good on my phone and I am apparently crystal clear on the other end. The loud speaker function could be just that little bit louder, but again I am apparently clear on the other end. I have large hands and found SMSing with the keyboard to be a spelling lesson at first, but once you get the hang of it, you blaze out SMSs. The flip out keyboard feels sturdy too.
Although winning me over, the one thing I dislike is the screen. A TFT screen would have been much better... with possibly a few more (million) colors. Not ending on a bad note, it is easy and fun to use, small, lightweight and with nice set of features this phone is a keeper for me.Was this review helpful to you?
85 out of 89 people found this review helpful.
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