Review: Nokia 6555
The 6555 is one sleek little phone. It may not be the thinnest phone on the market, but it is not very wide and its smooth plastics help it slip in and out of a pocket easily. Maybe too easily, as it fell out of a jacket pocket on more than one occasion.
Holding it in your hand, it is comfortable and has a medium weight to it. It sort of resembles the Motorola KRZR in the respect that is narrow and has a chin when open. Unlike the KRZR, the 6555 is very long when open. In fact, it looks a bit awkward. It isn't necessarily longer than most flip phones, but because it is so narrow, its proportions make it look longer and skinnier than it really is.
It was designed so that when open, the back of the phone creates one uninterrupted surface. It is a smooth curve from one end to the other, with no break at the hinge. Its designers played off this curve with the coloration of the phone, giving it a scheme that has a long black strip in the center, surrounded by silver rings and then a burnt orange-ish outer shell. It looks a little like a 1950s race car.
When closed the 6555 has a nice shape to it overall, with the bottom of the phone resembling the nose of a sports car in our eyes. But because the phone was designed to be a smooth curve when open, the hinge is exposed when the phone is closed. This means there are some hard edges at the top of the phone. There was also just the slightest bit of play in the hinge of our test phone.
The left side of the phone is where the volume control and PTT keys are located. They are silver and raised well above the surface of the phone, making them easy to find with your fingers. There is good action and feedback from both buttons, though the volume toggle is a little short in length, meaning you might accidentally raise the volume when you intend to lower it or vice versa. These keys also double as the camera zoom and shutter release buttons. The one nitpick we have with these keys is that they are placed on the top half of the phone, making them a bit difficult to reach with your fingers when the phone is open. Below them is the microUSB data port. Though Nokia is moving toward using microUSB as the charge port on future phones, the 6555 still has the narrow pin charge port found on current Nokia phones. It also has a 2.5mm headset jack.
Opening the phone up is as simple as digging your thumb in between the halves and popping it up. The hinge action is very nice and feels solid. Because the 6555 is well balanced, holding it in your hand when open is comfortable. It also helps that the 6555 is so narrow, you can easily wrap your fingers around it and reach the controls.
The interior of the phone is all black with silver highlights. The navigation cluster has a large D-pad, which is surrounded by seven buttons, including the function keys, send/end keys, and dedicated camera, internet and Cingular Video TV keys. This is one of the most usable D-pads we've encountered in a while. It is just the right size, with a good amount of action and feedback when sliding your thumb around it. There is a nice solid "click" when you press the buttons, and there are no edges or ridges that break the motion of your thumb.
The seven keys surrounding the D-pad provide the same amount of feedback as the D-pad when pressed, but there is little setting them apart when you move your thumb across them. This lack of navigational feedback would be more of a problem if the keys were smaller. As it is, they are large enough that you should be able to accurately guess where your thumb is without looking.
The number keys themselves are a nice size and offer similar feedback to the navigation cluster keys. There is a small ledge between each row of keys, and this helps you determine where your thumb is on the keypad as you dial numbers or type in text. The combination of good size and feedback makes the 6555's keypad very usable.
It may look a bit gawky when open, but interacting with the hardware is simple and natural.