Don’t be fooled by this phone’s model number. The original 6210 was an astonishingly successful business phone, but this is a completely different kettle of fish, with a colour screen, sliding form factor and GPS built-in.
A year ago, phones with GPS were rarer than hen’s teeth, so if you wanted to find your way you needed a top-end model like the Nokia N95 or something premium from HTC.
Now there are plenty that will guide you with the aid of GPS, but it’s still a difficult feature to implement successfully. The iPhone 3G scores highly because of its ease of use, while the Samsung i8510 grabs a satellite fix satisfyingly quickly.
But how does Nokia’s latest, a sequel to last year’s 6110 Navigator, fare? Last year’s model sat a little uneasily in the hand but worked okay. Its successor has a more stylish look, with gloss black replacing the silver framing, plus raised menu and clear keys that are easier to find than before.
The dedicated Navigator button is a raised cross-shaped key that is similarly accessible. The styling improvements have had a dietary effect; the 6210 is lighter than last year’s model, 117g instead of 125g, although you couldn’t describe it as Size Zero.
Unlike the first model, this one has Nokia’s own Maps application instead of Route 66 as the provider of navigation software.For the first six months, the GPS navigation licence is free. Unlike standalone systems, you have to accept an ongoing cost, but the upside is getting access to the latest maps without needing to pay an annual upgrade fee.
Watching over you
The overhead maps are decent enough, showing nicely on the large screen, and a pedestrian mode suppresses one-way street information. A compass is handy for those of us who can’t tell north from east and works particularly well in pedestrian mode.
The camera is a decent 3.2 megapixel offering, with a LED flash and VGA resolution video capture. There’s Nokia’s de rigueur FM radio and also multimedia functions. All of this is thanks to the fact that it’s yet another model to use the Symbian operating system and Series 60. If you wish to enjoy its multimedia potential, or download maps in advance to save time (and money) downloading on the go, a microSD card is an essential additional purchase.
For surfing the net or getting your email, the phone supports HSDPA at speeds of up to 3.6Mbps. More than enough for most, considering higher speeds aren’t widespread yet.
As a S60 phone, it’s capable of doing more than just the functions it’s marketed for. Indeed, you can set up push email, run business applications, or buy some excellent games.
The keypad is smooth, but this does mean your thumb can slide from one key to the next a little too easily, yet this is a minor moan.
As a phone the 6210 Navigator is great, but it’s really only good as a personal navigator, and not a replacement to a standalone SatNav for car use.
Nokia’s 6210 Navigator may not be as big as the iconic phone from 2000 that shares its name, but it’s efficient and usable, as you’d expect from the Finnish giant. The handset is let down slightly by an average keypad. The satellite guidance is decent enough, thanks to Nokia’s excellent Maps software, but you will have to pay to use it for navigation beyond six-months.
The camera is decent, the music player is fine and it’s a reasonable, pocketable size. It’s a good navigation device, but one that’s best used on foot, not in the car. For driving, a standalone system is still best.
RATINGS (OUT OF 5)