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It was roughly in the middle of 2004 that Nemo got himself a new phone. A nokia 6230.

This is his review.

It is of course much easier to critisize than to praise, since the things that annoy are easily and repeatedly noticed, while the thinsg that are good just become commonplace and unnoticed. You use them because they work, and you don't have to think about them. So if this review focuses on the negative, remember that and keep in mind that I consider this an excellent phone - indeed, easily the best of any that I've owned (not that I've owned alot, but hey :)

First, a couple of links...

So what could be better about this phone? Well first up, let's talk size. I'm sure that Nokia could have squeezed a bigger screen into it. The Sony Ericcson T610 and T630 are physically smaller phones (albiet by about 1mm in any dimension), and yet have larger screens. On the other hand, those phones have buttons and joysticks which haven't impressed me on the very little I've used them, while the 6230 has nice buttons with the right amount of 'clicky' businesslike feel about them. So maybe that was the tradeoff. No silly 'we went for a funky keypad shape for the sake of being DIFFERENT' philosophy here. The interface is Symbian series 40 - so it's designed for the 128x128 screen and is thus limited in third-party apps (even though the phone has plenty of power - it can decode mp3 for ringtones for example) which seem to be aimed more at the larger screened series 60 UI. To be fair regarding screen size, nokia seems to be standardising on series 40/60/etc phones - and they may have been able to fit a larger screen on this phone, but NOT one large enough to be series 60 (208x176 pixels if I recall, and requiring two extra buttons!).

The UI is generally usable, and strikes me as being an obvious extension of the 'traditional' nokia UI which I first saw on the 5110, and have since used on my older 3330 and 3350 phones.

So let's get into the nitty gritty of 'problems' shall we? Remembering of course, that most are really quite minor UI inconsistencies) and I've seen far more successfull devices with (IMHO) far greater problems!)


Minor issues

  • The countdown timer does not alert you if the phone is off. The alarm does - so why is the timer any different?
  • The T9 text prediction is great, but ONLY seems to exist for writing messages (SMS and MMS). It's not in many other text input areas where it would be nice (eg, when setting note for timer). This is arbitrary as far as I can tell?
  • The D-pad has some neat way of determining if a direction-followed-by-a-'click-in' is really just meant to be a 'click in' and it then ignores the direction key first. (I suspect it just checks for simultaneous clicks or something relatively trivial like that) The point, however, is that this great feature doesn't exist when you're inside java midlets - so there is a sudden percieved INCREASE in dpad sensitivity (and hence mistaken button pressing) when inside midlets.
  • When an image has been used as wallpaper, and I want to delete it - I not only have to remove it as active wallpaper first, but then also POWERCYCLE the phone before the image can be deleted. huh?!
  • I can set the timeout on the screensaver (changes image only) and auto-keypad-lock features, but not on the backlight shutdown, or the 'it's the REAL screensaver' which is a nice digital clock. Again, this seems arbitrary. Speaking of that screensaver, why do I just get the time and not the date as well? There is plenty of screen room to play with, and I got the date on a previous phone's screensaver! (3350)
  • The 'goto' menu is a great way of shortcutting to commonly used functions in the phone, without having to go through the 'normal' menus. I use it all the time. When you enter a function via this 'goto' menu, and then back out of it, you return to the goto menu. EXCEPT the gallery function, which backs out to the menu location where it was found. huh?! I also can't add the music player to the goto menu, which is a shame, since I'd like to.
  • The phone doesn't seem to alert me (like the doco says it should) that my MMS memory is full. :(
  • The 'warning' alert tone (like when battery is low, or you've just locked/unlocked the phone) seems to randomly change between a pleasant tone, and an unpleasant squeal. (also, when the music player is playing music, the warning tones are disabled, except when it's in squeal mode, when they're always on). I can't control this warning tone behaviour at all. :(

Serious bugs

  • I've managed to get the phone in a state such that when the 'games' area has a bookmark (any bookmark at all!), the softbuttons on the phone crash it. Remove bookmark, and the softbuttons are fine again!

Firmware upgrade from 3.15 to 4.44

Fixes and improvements
  • The goto menu, when entering the gallery, you now back out into the goto menu again instead of the regular menu. yay.
  • Wallpaper delete bug is fixed. (so I've heard, not yet tested)
  • Generally seems a tiny bit faster, etc.
  • The right softkey now has more options it can be set to. (I use the default - contacts, so it makes no difference to me!)
  • When playing MP3's through the music player, many of the system beeps are now muted and don't interrupt. Also, when they DO interrupt, the mp3 pauses, instead of racing ahead in faster-than-real-time speeds as before.
  • When setting a countdown timer, the "set message" on the timer now has T9 text prediction. T9 is still not enabled in several other areas however.
  • Performance is most noticably improved when running inside the java environment. I can now run a background mp3 and write in LJ2ME without noticing any performance issues. (previously, it was causing drops on the noticing keypresses inside java!). I believe it now does smarter dpad handling (as noted above), but I'm not positive - it may just be that I'm more accurate with the buttons now. :)
New Problems
  • Everytime I powercycle the phone, the 'Change outgoing line number" goto menu item reappears!
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