Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
- External Screen, User Interface, Build Quality, Features
- External Antenna, Peeling Rubber Finish, Speed Issues,
If you are looking for a solid mid-range handset then the 6103 is definitely in your ballpark.
Price$ 469.00 (AUD)
Nokia has a new entry into the competitive mid-range market in the 6103. A direct upgrade to the 6101, the new model has many of the same features as its predecessor and the upgrades are mostly cosmetic. If you are looking for a solid handset and don't need the latest and greatest technologies, then the 6103 should fit the bill.
Like the 6101, the external screen of the 6103 once again caught our eye. It displays almost exactly what is shown on the internal display and this includes battery life, reception, time, current profile and network. Animated screensavers and wallpapers can again be applied to this screen, although its resolution and quality is exactly the same as its predecessor. In an upgraded model we would have liked to have seen advancements in this area.
The 6103 is finished in a black and silver colour scheme with rubber coating dominating the exterior. This gives the feel of a solid phone and the impression during our testing was one of excellent build quality. The flip mechanism worked flawlessly and felt firm and well constructed. Importantly, there is a volume control key on the left hand side of the phone, which can be used to adjust the volume during phone calls, and a Push To Talk (PTT) button on the right.
If we have one complaint it's with the rubber coating that Nokia has used on the 6103. After two weeks of use, the base of the flip started to peel. As a phone will most likely be placed in your pocket or thrown into a handbag with keys and other items, we expected the 6103 to be a bit more durable. However the most disappointing design element of the 6103 is without doubt the external antenna. Most handsets released these days have internal antennas, which reduce the size of the handset considerably as well as make the unit more aesthetically appealing.
Flipped open, the 6103 is slightly different to its predecessor. Where the 6101 had an uncharacteristically large and raised keypad, the 6103 is far more subtle in its approach. The keypad is smaller but is still quite comfortable. The keys are more rounded and have a black outline with a silver centre, making them stand out. This simple but user friendly design has extended to the controls as well; two selection buttons, an Answer and End Call key and a 4-way navigational pad round out the controls.
Nokia is well known for pleasing menu systems and they have got it spot on yet again. The intuitive list style menu system is extremely easy to use and we'd be confident to say that even those who have never picked up a mobile phone before wouldn't have any problems. For example, if you leave a menu item selected without entering it, a small description of the item will appear, giving you a text description of what you are opening.
Our main complaint with the menu is its speed. If you try and quickly scroll through a list the 6103 doesn't respond well. This is most evident when scrolling through your message inbox or more importantly the phone book. The latter can get frustrating at times, especially when you navigate directly to a contact by using the first letter search function.
The 6103 is well equipped for a handset in this price range including support for SMS, MMS and email messaging with T9 predictive text input, a VGA camera, Java games, FM radio, push-to-talk, a voice recorder and MP3 ringtones. Unfortunately the camera is VGA and consequently photos produced are poor quality. The shots we took all had poor lighting and with no flash present, you should only be using this for your phone's wallpapers and screensavers.
The FM radio works quite well, although once again you have to use the included headset as this acts as the antenna. Only Sony Ericsson's Walkman range offers an adapter to use the radio with a pair of your own earphones. The biggest downfall of the 6103 is the internal memory; at only 4.4MB with no option to expand, you'll quickly run out of space. We realise it's not a top level multimedia handset, but we still expected more than the paltry amount on offer.
The 6103's battery life is extremely impressive with up to four hours of talk time and 350 hours of standby time. We only had to charge the phone every three or four days which is an outstanding result. Out of all the handsets we've reviewed, it sits close to the top of the pile.
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