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printed October 1, 2014
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Samsung 1 Nokia 6681 Nokia 6101 IXI / Sanyo  

The 6101 is a fairly standard mid-range clamshell phone by today's standards. With dual color displays, a camera, Push-To-Talk, and a stereo FM radio, it's reasonably well-equipped. But with only a VGA camera, low-resolution main display (126 x 160), and no Bluetooth, no one will mistake it for a high-end model.

A couple of things are notable and nice about the 6101. First, Nokia finally seems to be getting the hang of the clamshell form factor. First attempts - such as the 7200 - were decidedly awkward in appearance and ergonomics. The 6101, however, is small, light, and has a great feel to it.

 

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

The other notable thing about this phone is that it marks a major shift by Nokia in allowing carrier customization. It used to be rare that Nokia would even allow a carrier logo on its phones. More recently, Nokia is allowing custom softkeys linked to carrier WAP portals. Now with the 6101, Nokia is even allowing customized main menus and icons, and major step for a company obsessed with its user interfaces.

But it doesn't stop there - Nokia for the first time is now offering different styling variants as carrier-exclusive designs. The first such variant will be the 6102, a spinoff of the 6101 that will be exclusive to China Mobile in the Asian region.

 

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

I couldn't help noticing that the styling of the 6101 is eerily similar to some recent Motorola designs, such as the V600 or V635, and the 6102 looks a bit like the Motorola A840. I'm sure it's mostly coincidence, but it is kind of weird all the same.

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