Not to be confused with the Nokia 6220 of days yore, the Nokia 6220 Classic is a 3G smartphone that ticks off the "must-haves" on a feature wish-list — an excellent 5MP (megapixel) camera with Carl Zeiss optics, assisted-GPS, HSDPA, and room for a microSD memory card, all crammed within an ergonomic candybar form. Despite portraying itself as a business-oriented smartphone, this Nokia's greatest strength lies in its camera and integrated photo-sharing and geotagging capabilities, which will appeal to folks searching for a reason to ditch their digital camera. However, those wanting to use it as an in-car GPS may want to hold on a while, unless you're happy to pay a considerable licence fee for road directions.
Despite all these goodies, the Nokia 6220 Classic is remarkably svelte, weighing in at a comfortable 90g and measuring 108x47x15mm. It fits comfortably in one hand, especially with its deliciously tactile matte backing and sensible key placement. The front panels of the phone, however, are an instant smudge-magnet; while looking resplendent in the box, the Nokia 6220 Classic will soon show its true colours after a round of texting during a fast-food meal.
Despite the key placement being very straightforward, don't expect that fast-food texting session to be a piece of cake — the oh-so-shiny keys are a little clicky, plastic-y and aren't terribly responsive. Often, the combination of key presses required to unlock the phone can take a few attempts and texting can feel a little cramped. Thankfully, the rest of the Nokia 6220 Classic's form is quite robust, with the camera-phone shutter release moulded neatly into the side of the phone and the lens is shielded when not in use.
It's the season for Apple-inspired design, and the Nokia 6220 Classic's Symbian OS interface is not immune. Its minimal, uncluttered screen layout and fade transitions from menu-to-application give it quite a luxurious, yet professional veneer. Its emphasis on connectivity ensures that features such as its Web browser, content sharing and Bluetooth are at the fore, while tucking away secondary niceties like its music player and FM radio in the feature menu.
Overall, the Nokia 6220 Classic's design is unobtrusive and doesn't break any rules. Those receptive to Nokia's litany of out-there fashion phones may greet this with a yawn, but remember that this phone isn't so much about flair as functionality.
The Nokia 6220 Classic has a feature list as long as the Silk Route, however its most exemplary asset is its 5-megapixel camera with Carl ZeissT Lens and Xenon Flash, which produces crisp, radiant images with deep blues in sunlight and relatively natural colours in low-light with flash. That said, the automatic flash is not particularly good at measuring light levels, so it is best to manually activate the flash in dim light, or risk ending up with blurry, artefact-riddled photos. Also, its red-eye reduction feature isn't particularly good. A lower-quality CIF camera is also embedded in the front panel for 3G video calling. Other multimedia features include a media gallery, FM stereo radio with RDS, a voice recorder and a basic music player.
Complementing the quality of the photos is the Nokia 6220 Classic's 2.2-inch QVGA 16 million colour screen. From first boot, its crispness, clarity and vibrancy makes for a pocket wonder; its size is more than sufficient for proudly displaying your shots. To save your photos (and multimedia), the Nokia 6220 Classic includes 120MB of internal memory, which can be boosted to up to 8GB using a microSD memory card.
Partnered with photo uploading and geotagging capabilities, the Nokia 6220 Classic is a winner. Using an internet data connection, it's very simple to set up an account and start uploading to Nokia's free-and-unlimited OviT media-sharing website from your handset, which is very handy for sharing happy-snaps and trip details when you're away from your desktop. Thankfully when using OviT, images are automatically compressed prior to upload, thus keeping down your data spend. Note that this is not the case with Flickr; unless you're on a generous data plan, you probably won't want to be uploading oodles of photos at 730KB a pop. Naturally, this can all be possible using the Nokia 6220 Classic's 3G HSDPA connectivity, its in-built Web browser and a healthy data plan. For more pedestrian connectivity needs, the Nokia 6220 Classic can send email with attachments and includes Bluetooth and a USB port, which when combined with bundled Nokia Suite software, makes easy work of syncing your calendar entries and contacts with a PC. Mac users, however, do not have this luxury; at time of writing, we were still unable to sync the handset with iSync (horrors!). On both platforms, we could utilise the Nokia 6220 Classic as a storage device via both Bluetooth and USB interfaces.
Another stand-out feature is the in-built GPS receiver with assisted-GPS, what joy! The Nokia 6220 Classic uses the Navteq mapping system, which is location-searchable and can provide spoken turn-by-turn directions (the latter requires payment of a licence fee). A 10-day free trial of the road and walking directions is provided upon activation of this feature, after which you will be required to pay for one of a number of rather pricey licence packages. For example, a 12-month licence for metropolitan directions will set you out by €69.99, or roughly AU$115. Ouch. Thankfully everything else is free, which is great for getting out of a jam.
The Nokia 6220 Classic also comes bundled with a hands-free headset, a USB cable and TV-out cable.
As can be predicted with a phone crammed with features, using them all at once will result in very short battery life. For example, perpetually keeping the GPS on, taking photos with flash and transferring files via Bluetooth/USB will result in the battery life being very rapidly gobbled up within the space of a few hours' use. However, with light-to-moderate usage (ie, placing the occasional call and using the camera and GPS once a day), the Nokia 6220 Classic managed five days between cycles, which is by no means ugly. According to Nokia, talk-time is 2.5 hours (with 3G) and standby 250 hours, which from our experience, seems like a bit of a stretch.
What may become more apparent is that the Nokia 6220 Classic's interface is by no means zippy — perhaps the computing power required to generate those pretty screen transitions could be better used elsewhere. Although not absolutely detrimental to the overall experience, it may come as a slight annoyance to those transitioning from simpler, faster phones. The good news is that using the in-built browser is a simple affair and although dependent on the arrangement with your mobile carrier, internet browsing is quite efficient. Using HSDPA, the Nokia 6220 Classic can achieve download speeds of up to 3.6Mbps, but in reality this is most probably in excess of what you will ever achieve.
On matters of speed, the a-GPS is excellent in the open, requiring roughly 10 seconds to lock on to your current position and provide street-number accuracy. In a vehicle moving through traffic, the Nokia 6220 Classic had no trouble keeping up, extending accurate velocity information. However, when satellites cannot be located (eg, indoors) where the a- for assisted- jumps in, it can take a matter of minutes to pick a positional estimate. This is never really worth it if you're after accuracy, and its numbingly slow in comparison to similar devices.
As for camera performance, the camera requires five seconds to fire up and six seconds to cycle from shutter release to ready. Photo file sizes vary from about 500-800KB, which is reasonable for a 5MP camera, unfortunately the clarity achieved from such a tiny lens cannot rival stand-alone cameras with similar specifications. Thankfully colour reproduction is fairly sound and the lens does not suffer from the blur and distortion evident in lower-end cameras.
As a mid-range phone for professionals, the Nokia 6220 Classic excels in putting its priorities in order. It provides excellent functionality by virtue of a quality camera, a-GPS and connectivity features, while avoiding a descent into gimmickry and ostentatious design. Although suffering from bouts of lag and a toy-keypad, many may argue that such mild sacrifices are worth it. As the name implies, the Nokia 6220 Classic is positioned as a conservative, yet endearing and highly functional smartphone — attributes that never go out of fashion.