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Friday, May 25, 2007

Review of Nokia 6315i

Nokia has always had a peculiar relationship with CDMA phones. The Finns dabbled in the space here and there but remained a staunchly GSM company. Then in 2006, Nokia decided it would retreat from the space almost completely by handing over CDMA handset design to Korea's Pantech. Though the Nokia name would remain on the CDMA models, for all intents and purposes, they are Pantech devices. The latest in the series, Verizon's Nokia 6315i, follows on the heels of the Nokia 6305i, which was also a Verizon handset. Though the EV-DO-equipped 6315i offers good call quality and adds some important features, its design and multimedia performance are a step down from its predecessor, the 6305i. The result is an acceptable phone, but as an all-around 3G device, it can't compete with the likes of the LG VX8300 or the Samsung SCH-A990.

The external display measure 1 inch (96x96 pixels) and shows 65,536 colors. It's a nice effort overall as it displays not only the date, time, signal strength, and battery life, but also photo caller ID. You can change the wallpaper and the clock style on the display, but no other options are customizable. It also acts as a viewfinder for self-portraits, but you must go into the camera option to activate this feature. Speaking of which, the camera lens and flash are inconveniently located on the top rear of the phone.

The 1.3-megapixel camera takes pictures in five resolutions (1,280x960; 640x480; 320x240; 176x144; and 160x120) and comes with a 3-, 5-, or 10-second self-timer; brightness and white-balance controls; landscape and portrait modes; three color effects; and three shutter sounds, plus a silent option. There's also a flash and a 2X digital zoom, though it's unusable at the highest resolution. And if you're ever lost in the dark, the flash provides a meager amount of light. The video camera records clips in one resolution (176x144) with sound and at 15 frames per second. The flash and the zoom are usable here too, and you can adjust the brightness and white balance. Clips are limited to a short 15 seconds. Once you're done with your work, you can save it to the 6315i's internal memory--it comes with 21.5MB of shared space--but you're better off using a Micro SD card. Despite being somewhat blurry, photo quality was average for a 1.3-megapixel camera. Colors were fine, but objects were a bit fuzzy.

As an EV-DO phone, the 6315i supports the full range of Verizon's 3G services including the V Cast video service and the V Cast music store. The music player's interface is standard for all phones from the carrier that support the music store. You also have the option to purchase a variety of Verizon applications including VZ Navigator and Backup Assistance and a host of alternative services such as Vindigo MovieGoer and Accuweather. And of course Verizon's Get it Now Internet service has even more programming choices. There are no included games, but you can always buy titles via the WAP 2 wireless Web browser; just remember that Verizon uses BREW instead of Java. You can personalize the 6315i with a variety of wallpapers, screensavers, and sounds, or you can buy more options if you want them.

The Nokia 6315i has a promised talk time of 3.8 hours and a promised standby time of 10 days. Our tests showed a talk time of 4 hours and 3 minutes. We also managed to get an MP3 playback time of 11 hours and 37 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the 6315i has a digital SAR rating of 1.37 watts per kilogram.

The good: The Nokia 6315i has decent call quality and a broad range of features including Bluetooth, a speakerphone, and EV-DO capability.

The bad:
- The Nokia 6315i's design is dull, and the controls are poorly designed. Also, music and video quality were uninspiring.
- Though it works fine as just a phone, the Nokia 6315i doesn't quite deliver on its 3G multimedia promises.


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