Sunday, December 11, 2011

Nokia 6710

Nokia has released a number of SatNav-centric devices under the 'Navigator' banner, but all have so far lacked the essential large screen and capabilities of other devices on the market, such as the iPhone or Android devices with built-in Google Maps.

Unfortunately, the 6710 Navigator is another disappointment if you're expecting a fully functional SatNav for your car that eradicates the need to carry your TomTom around with you.

The biggest downer of the device is that the screen isn't that suitable for displaying a large map that you can see clearly whilst driving. At 2.6 inches (and a resolution of 240x320 pixels), it's not large enough to promote simultaneous safe driving and navigation. Sure, it's fine for pedestrian navigation, but you'll have to rely on voice navigation if you want to use it in the car.

That leads us to our next point: the speaker is on the rear of the phone and not particularly loud. This means that if you have a window mount, the sound will bounce towards the window and you'll only be able to hear the voice instructions if you have your music turned off.

However, Nokia Maps is speedy to fire up, with a shortcut key to it resting below the four-way navigation button. The unfortunate let down here is that the key is fiddly to press, especially if you want to set a route quickly. It's a tiny star, about the size of a match head, and is situated too close to the raised navigation button to press comfortably.

The overall design of the Nokia 6710 Navigator is inoffensive. It's a slider, with a curved bottom designed to ensure that your mouth is as close to the microphone as possible, just like the HTC Hero. Our review sample was a rather fetching mocha colour (officially called brown), although it is also available in titanium too for the more conservative. The casing itself does feel plasticky, which is a shame as there are plenty more premium-feeling Nokia handsets out there, but nonetheless it's solidly built.

On the left hand side of the Nokia 6710 Navigator, there's the microSD card slot and USB port. One foible with many phones is that the cover for these ports is often fragile, but the one on the 6710 Navigator in constructed from robust plastic and slides neatly into the casing to stop any dirt making its way into the holes, although closing it is quite a task unless you have long fingernails.

The Nokia 6710 Navigator boasts a 5-megapixel camera, which produces sharp, well lit photos. There's no coloured tinge around the edges as you can sometimes get on Nokia cameras, although the photos take far too long to process. From pressing the shutter to taking the photo, you can wait for a fair few seconds, which is disappointing as this should be an almost-instant process.

Handy camera options include the ability to upload to Ovi, and share online, and panorama mode. Unlike other devices that offer this mode, the picture taking is automatic, so all you're required to do is pan across, lining a red box up with a green box. As soon as they are aligned, the camera takes a picture. Once again however, the 6710 is very slow to react and even slower to stitch together the multiple images. In fact, it took over a minute to stitch five photos together.

One refreshing feature of the Nokia 6710 Navigator is a 3.5mm headphone jack that sits atop the phone, next to the power button. It's becoming the norm on Nokia handsets, but it's a shame other big players such as Sony Ericsson and LG struggle to add a 3.5mm jack rather than proprietary. The music player is average Nokia-fare, but this isn't an XpressMusic handset and so doesn't look as exciting as one, or feature any shortcuts to get to the music player.

One excrutiating point about the Nokia 6710 Navigator, like other Symbian devices, is its response times. Despite including a 600MHz processor, the 6710 is slow to carry out any task, whether it be firing up an app, taking a photo or waiting for the GPS chip to find a fix.

Battery life is decent - after using phone moderately for two days, the battery still powers on, although battery life is seldom an issue on Nokia devices, which could probably be accredited to their inability to run many applications at once without slowing to a snail's pace.

The Nokia 6710 Navigator is a capable smartphone, but we wouldn't recommend pinning your hopes on using it as a standalone SatNav. The screen is simply too small, speaker too quiet and OS too slow to replace your in-car navigation.

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