Nokia 6110 Navigator
- GPS function is excellent overall, HSDPA, Excellent speakers, 512MB microSD card included
- Window mount not included, 2.5mm headphone jack, GPS is a little slow to find a signal, No Wi-Fi
The 6110 Navigator is the first mobile phone to be released with full turn-by-turn GPS navigation out of the box, and despite some small issues, it's an excellent experience on the whole.
Price$ 759.00 (AUD)
The Nokia 6110 Navigator is a mobile phone that combines integrated turn-by-turn GPS functionality together with a number of smart phone features. Also sporting HSDPA connectivity, a 2 megapixel camera and a microSD card slot, the 6110 is the beginning of the future of GPS capable mobile phones - and we like what we see.
The idea of a navigation device in your pocket is certainly enticing. Not only is the 6110 Navigator a full turn-by-turn navigation device for in-car use, but it can also be used when you are on foot, and its database of points of interest (POI's) makes it an excellent search and planning tool. Best of all, unlike the Nokia N95, the 6110 Navigator's GPS functions are completely free out of the box; there are no data charges, and an entire map of Australia is included on the handset.
The 6110 Navigator uses the Route 66 application with NAVTEQ maps. Nokia has done an excellent job integrating Nokia Navigator application into the handset, as a simple list menu remains, and the application can be launched by a single press of the dedicated navigation button. The navigational interface is almost identical to a standard Series 60 handset, with all menu options clearly labelled for ease of use. Our one complaint is typing; when searching for an address or POI, you can't type using predictive text input.
If you're used to standard in-car GPS units, using the 6110 Navigator is quite a steep learning curve, especially as there is no touch screen. Most operations centre on the two selection buttons and the five-way navigational pad, and this can get frustrating due to the small display - even if numbered shortcuts do make it a little easier. What's more puzzling however, is the fact that Nokia doesn't include a window mount or cradle in the 6110 sales package. This means you'll either have to purchase these separately (bundled along with an in-car charger for a hefty $99), or find a place in your car for the 6110 to sit upright; the latter not recommended for safety reasons. We feel that with the 6110 being promoted as a true GPS solution, a window mount and cradle should be included in the package.
The GPS experience is an almost exact replica of a dedicated in-car unit, minus the large touch screen, but with the added portability factor. The 6110 does take a little longer than dedicated units to lock onto a GPS signal though, sometimes taking up to three or four minutes, but averaging about a minute and a half. We advise that you open the navigator application a few minutes before you plan to use it in order to combat this issue. The GPS antenna works well and we were consistently able to get a signal indoors. Voice guidance is excellent, with the volume more than loud enough at its highest setting thanks to the excellent, dual mounted rear speakers, while the voice is good enough to keep your eyes on the road, and away from the screen. Unfortunately, when mounted in the genuine Nokia cradle, the volume button isn't accessible.
Searching for an address is a single-step process, rather than entering a suburb, then a street, then a house number, and so on. Instead, you type part of, or an entire address in one search bar, and the 6110 Navigator presents a list of matches. The results aren't filtered though, so you do get matches from all parts of Australia. Once a result is selected, you can choose to display it on the map, navigate to it using turn-by-turn, or add it to a pre-existing route. A cool feature of the 6110 is the fact that you can save a picture of the map as an image, for email or MMS use. These images are automatically saved in the phones gallery as JPEG files.
One complaint we do have is the size of the screen doesn't leave much space for the navigation bar, which consists of a speed indicator, the time and distance to reach your destination and current GPS signal strength. An excellent feature of the NAVTEQ maps is the automatic zoom, which hones in every time you make a turn to give you the clearest possible route. This is handy when you are at a large intersection or roundabout with many streets going through it, for example.
The 6110 Navigator is a GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz), 3G and HSDPA (WCDMA 2100 MHz) phone, so it is capable of data speeds of up to 3.6Mbps. Call quality is above average and the volume is loud enough at its highest setting, even in noisy environments. The hands-free speakerphone works well, and the rear dual speakers are excellent despite their down-facing position when the phone is lying on a flat surface. Being 3G, and therefore capable of video calls, the 6110 has a front mounted VGA camera just above the display, and this can also be used for taking portrait photos.
Despite the obvious push towards navigation, the 6110 is a fair multimedia phone too. Its FM radio and a music player supporting MP3, MP4, AAC, eAAC+ and WMA files both perform well, while sound from the rear external speakers is fair. Unfortunately, there is no standard 3.5mm headphone jack; only a 2.5mm. Nokia includes just 40MB of internal memory, but a microSD card slot on the left side of the handset caters for extra memory. A 512MB card is supplied in the sales package, but the slot supports cards up to 2GB in capacity.
The 6110 Navigator includes a 2 megapixel camera with flash, and the lens is hidden behind a well integrated slider. Poor colour reproduction, image noise and lack of sharpness are general issues, and the presence of a flash does little to improve night time photography. Despite this, the camera has plenty of features to tweak including panorama, night and sequence shooting modes, a flash, a 10, 20 or 30 second self-timer, and the ability to adjust white balance and colour tone.
Connectivity includes Bluetooth 2.0 and USB 2.0 (with a standard mini-USB connection), and Nokia includes a USB cable in the sales package. Wi-Fi is a notably disappointing exclusion though. The 6110 runs the Series 60 3rd Edition OS and it is equipped with a full array of smart phone applications, including QuickOffice Word, PowerPoint and Excel document viewers, a host of PIM features (calendar, notes, voice recorder, calculator, clock, converter) and both voice recording and dialling. The 6110 Navigator is also fully compatible with Adobe Reader and has support for standard SMS and MMS messaging with T9 predictive text input.
The 6110's slider feels solid and generally well built, but its plastic finish doesn't feel as strong as some other Nokia phones. The design is fairly standard and the controls consist of a five way navigational pad, two selection buttons, answer and end call keys and dedicated buttons for menu, navigation and clear. We like the silver finish surrounding the edges of the display and the sides of the handset, and the concealed, hinged flaps disguising the mini-USB and microSD card slots are a nice touch.
The 2.2in QVGA display (240x320 pixels) is capable of 16 million colours and we were impressed with its performance in direct sunlight; a must when using the unit for in-car navigation. The screen is bright and clear and has an ambient light sensor, which adjusts the backlight level when light conditions change. The rear of the slider houses the GPS antenna, while dedicated buttons for volume control, the camera and shortcuts are also present.
Unfortunately, battery life is a bit of a let down, rated at just 2.5 hours talk time and 11 days standby time on a 3G network. Talk time is slightly better on a GSM network at up to 3.5 hrs, but you'll be charging the 6110 almost every night. If you use the GPS regularly, you'll also need an in-car charger, so this should be factored into the cost of your purchase.
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