Compared to the sea of Nokias you're probably familiar with, the 6720 Classic appears slender. In reality, the 6720 is only a few millimetres slimmer in width to, say, the 6220 (released last year) but it seems much more so, like a Nokia made out of hot toffee slowly stretching length-wise. This image is strengthened by the gentle kink at the microphone end of the phone, bending gently towards the user's mouth. This design element is probably geared to improving the direction of the microphone towards the mouth, but the kink is so subtle we can't imagine it improves this very much.
Nokia's chosen colour palette for its latest Classic combines two safe colours, beige and steely grey, and fails to make an impact. While Samsung toys with hot pinks and cappuccino-flavoured phones, Nokia's industrial styling is forgettable at best. It features a 3.5mm headphone socket on the base of the handset, alongside a proprietary charging pin socket, which is always a welcomed addition. On the back of the 6720 you'll find a 5-megapixel camera with flash, but no lens cover to protect the delicate glass from the sharp keys and switchblades you tote around in your pockets.
We could live with these aesthetic shortcomings, but the 6720's cramped keypad is the nail in its coffin as far as we're concerned. Put it down to the phone's slim profile, but this pint-sized pad will even have the world's most proficient texters putting on the brakes and merging into the slow lane. The 12 keys of the numeric keypad share a space equal to about a quarter of the total face of the phone and it's just too small to use comfortably.
Caution: this keypad may cause you to type like Nanna
Features, or the lack thereof
Here at CNET we love all of our gadgets the way a teacher loves all of their students; from the class' brightest stars to its dullest bulbs. We gently paw over every new item with care, our eyes trained to spot its strengths, ready to find what makes a product unique and special. The 6720 is neither unique nor special. In fact, the only things we identified as outstanding were what the phone lacks — a Wi-Fi capable radio for one.
Otherwise, the 6720 Classic is the epitome of average. It runs on Nokia's S60 operating platform and features a basic suite of software including Nokia Maps, N-Gage games and a link to Nokia's Files on Ovi and the Nokia Music Store. Nokia's Ovi app store wasn't available on our review unit out of the box, but was easy to install using the download menu.
It does feature a 5-megapixel camera, a noteworthy specification, and the component of the phone we were most keen to test. We took the 6720 out for a stroll with its sister product, the 6710 Navigator, to compare image quality and we noticed a significant difference. Shot for shot, the Navigtaor model outshone the 6720, with much brighter, richer colour reproduction. Though the 6720 did keep up in regards to focus and clarity of the image, and while it suffers next to the 6710, it manages to be better than camera phones by competing manufacturers.
Camera comparison: 6710 vs. 6720
(Credit: CNET Australia)
While we lament the 6720's lack of interesting features, we can't criticise its otherwise excellent performance. Voice calls are crystal clear due to the phone's noise-cancellation effect feature. Text messaging and email would be excellent too if it wasn't for the difficulties presented by the undersized keyboard.
Nokia estimates extended battery life at 8.5 hours of 3G talk-time, or double what you could expect from a similarly specced phone from one of its competitors. We can back up this claim to a point, with recharges occurring on the third or fourth day during our tests, which is outstanding.
A mere glimpse at the Nokia website shows the wealth of handsets currently in production by the Finnish mobile overlord. With this in mind, we believe each new phone needs to set itself apart from the pack somehow, and the 6720 just doesn't do that. Our score might seem harsh for a 3G phone with great battery life and a decent camera, but it reflects the question that remains unanswered after spending time with the 6720, "Why would you buy this phone and not one of the dozens of other phones on show in your local phone shop?" The truth is, we probably wouldn't.