The Nokia 6500 Classic is one of two handsets in Nokia's 6500 series. Like its brother, the 6500 Slide, the Classic sports an elegant look, quad-band GSM/EDGE and dual-band UMTS support, and the latest version of Nokia's S40 user interface. It is a sharp looking, thin bar handset that can turn a few heads as well as keep its owner's personal music soundtrack playing in the background.
At only 89g (3.1oz) in weight and measuring 110mm x 45mm x 10mm (4.3" 1.8" x .4") in size, the Nokia 6500 Classic is quite a compact little candy bar handset. The Classic's design, reserved and elegant, makes use of simple lines and curved surfaces.
The 6500 Classic's 16 million color display may only be 2" in size, but its QVGA resolution makes for some very sharp looking images. The display is also brighter than that found on the 6500 Slide, and is also quite readable even in harsh sunlight conditions.
The small d-pad on the Classic works quite well thanks to its easy to find and raised silver edge that surrounds a large central select button. The two softkeys and the red and green call control keys are also small, but work well. The alphanumeric keypad takes some getting used to, though. The raised silver bars on the keypad separate very small keys. The silver bars can not be pressed, but act as guides for the pad of the fingertip. You can use a fingernail to press the hard and somewhat stiff keys, but most people will find that a fingertip works best. All of the keys and buttons are backlighted well.
Apart from the camera, flash, and speaker on the back of the 6500 Classic, there is little else to talk about. The phone's design is that simple. Charging and USB data connections are handled by the covered micro-USB connector on the top of the device. A small hole on the bottom allows access to the microphone. That's it. The curved sides of the 6500 Classic have no volume or camera shutter keys. Volume is controlled by using the d-pad.
The most interesting physical aspect of the Classic to me is how solid it feels. This phone feels very, very sturdy. It feels like the kind of phone that you could open beer bottles with, or use to break through a car window in an emergency. In fact, when the bottom cover is slid off to expose the battery, the 6500 Classic's metal frame is easily seen. It is a tough little phone, and a pretty one at that.
Our Nokia 6500 Classic had some reception troubles. Its internal antenna appears to be somewhat weak, and in poor signal areas I had trouble initiating calls. The call audio quality, once connected, is very good, though. Better than any other phone I've tested in recent history, save for the Nokia 6500 Slide. The Classic appears to have the same audio qualities as the Slide, which should surprise no one. The speakerphone also provided good quality audio to both ends of the call, but lacked volume. Our 6500 Classic managed 4 hours and 5 minutes of talk time in our battery tests on T-Mobile's 1900MHz GSM network. That is 1.5 hours short of Nokia's estimated maximum of 5.5 hours. This is likely due to the poor performance put in by the Classic's antenna.
[Nokia has pointed out that, like the 6500 Slide, the 6500 Classic has been optimized for the 900 and 1800MHz European frequency bands, even though it supports all four GSM bands. With that in mind, our European readers might have less trouble with the device than we did. -editor]
The contacts system on the 6500 Classic is fairly complete in terms of data stored, and also offers a good multi-character search function. The interface might not be as pretty as those on some smartphones, but it gets the job done. The 6500 Classic has a very nice profiles system. All of the profiles can be heavily customized, and there is support for vibration alerts and even for timed profiles, which are great for business users and others that frequently change profiles (and often forget about it) for meetings and other appointments. With timed profiles, the phone reverts to the general profile after a designated time period has elapsed.
Speed dials are assigned from the contacts editor, and can be accessed by long pressing the associated keypad key.
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