I see lots of mobile phones but it isn’t often that I come across one which not only looks great but manages to deliver too. In fact I was a bit sad to let Nokia’s 6300 go.
Why is this? The 6300 isn’t the cleverest mobile on the block: there are plenty of other phones with higher specifications. It’s not even a 3G handset, just Tri-band GSM with GPRS, so any data related tasks are relatively slow to accomplish. But it is extremely well designed, very small and comfortable to use, and has little by way of brash showiness about it. Even the blue lights on the left and right edges of the casing which flash when an SMS arrives feel muted and useful rather than simply being bling.
The network operators seem to agree with me. You can get the 6300 from free on contracts from O2, T-Mobile, Vodafone and Orange – the latter of which supplied my review sample. If you must go SIM free, then the Nokia online store is listing it at £199 inc VAT.
The immediate appeal of the Nokia 6300, is the slim candybar build and solid design. At just 91g it is as close to a featherweight as you’ll get for a phone with so much metal in its casing. A good proportion of the front fascia and the back battery cover are made of cold silver metal. The front buttons are silver plastic, while the upper third of the back of the casing, screen surround and shortcut buttons are black plastic, the latter punctuated by a silver navigation key. The colour scheme and use of metal lend an air of sophistication to what is essentially a low cost, mid range handset.
In size terms the Nokia 6300 gives Sony Ericsson’s W880i a run for its money. It is 106.4 mm tall, 43.6 mm wide and 11.7 mm thick. That doesn’t quite match the W800i’s ‘Size Zero’ 103 x 47 x 9.4mm but it gets close enough for me, and very importantly, this phone beats the W880i hands down on the all important factor of usability.
The 6300’s main keys are sizeable and clearly marked, making fast texting unproblematic. The Nokia selection keys and Call and End keys are well spaced, and the navigation pad and its central select button are large.
The loser here is the display which is slightly smaller than I’d like. It measures two inches corner to corner, but even this is bigger than the W800i’s display. The screen shows 240 x 320 pixels, and 16.7 million colours, and because of its smallish size it is very sharp. On a rather fluffy note, the default ‘dandelion’ wallpaper is pretty - and you don’t find me saying things are pretty too often! Of course you can change it to whatever you like.
The provided headset uses a 2.5mm jack rather than a 3.5mm one. This is Nokia’s biggest failing as far as user ergonomics go. Sound quality from the provided headset is just OK and its in-ear buds won’t suit everyone. A 2.5mm to 3.5mm converter is far too unwieldy to contemplate, so stereo Bluetooth headphones may be an attractive option. But you are stuck with the provided headset if you want to use the built in FM radio, as the headset houses the antenna.