Review: Nokia 6126
The moment you take the 6126 out, it will begin to attract attention. It is a looker, but not in the "ohhhh shiny" trendy way so many of today's fashion phones are. The 6126 is more like a fine tailored suit. It is elegant and its clean lines exude good taste and will look good long after other the finish on other phones have tarnished.
Nokia took a page out of the RAZR's wide and slim design book when creating a new flip form factor. However Nokia definitely made this phone their own instead of copying the RAZR outright. The body is slightly thicker, but Nokia uses that extra depth to round off the edges. The radius of the edges along with the soft touch finish of the 6126 make it extremely comfortable to hold, even for extended periods. In a twist of luck, Motorola made these same changes for the new KRZR design. Though the two phones look nothing alike, they are both clearly heading towards what will be considered a new standard for clamshell design.
The external surfaces - other than the space dedicated to the external screen and camera - have a soft rubber coating which is flat in some places and textured to look like leather in others. This coating makes the phone warm to the touch, it is not just comfortable, it is nurturing. It makes you want to hold the phone. The Motorola PEBL had a similar quality, and like the PEBL or the Helio Kickflip, the 6126 has a playful opening mechanism that makes you want to fiddle with it constantly.
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The 6126 has a push-button opener similar to the i860 for Nextel. However the 6126 opens slowly and smoothly instead of practically flying out of your hand. It can be opened manually as well and we found ourselves opening it the old fashioned way about half the time, even after using the 6126 for a few weeks.
Because of the opening mechanism, there is a bit of resistance when closing the phone. However it is not difficult to do, it just feels a bit different than closing most other clamshells.
The inside of the phone is shiny black plastic surrounded by silvery metallic rings. The huge QVGA display takes up the majority of the upper half while an equally large keypad takes up most the lower half.Keypad
The body of Nokia clamshells may have evolved with the 6126, but the keypad is still the same. That is not necessarily a bad thing. We have no complaints with this keypad design, it is large enough for fat fingers yet still sized well for our small hands to move over quickly.
The keypad is a grid of plastic rectangles that butt up against each other. Each rectangle has a raised section in the center that allows you to feel out the keys as well as create a valley distinct valley between them. With a little practice it is easy to use the keypad without looking.
The D-pad is a large concave area with a separate select button in the center. It is easy to use by feel, and large enough that you never hit the wrong key by mistake. On each side of the D-pad are the softkeys and send / end keys. There is no tactile cue that these keys are there, or that each large area is two keys, yet it was never necessary to look at these keys to use them. The ridge that separates them from the d-pad provides enough feel for you to know exactly where they are.
On the right side are a camera and power key. The power key acts as a shortcut key with a quick press and a requires a much longer press to turn the phone on or off. It requires enough pressure to press that not only did we not turn the phone on or off by accident, but we never even triggered the shortcut menu without intentionally doing so. The camera key is equally resistant to accidental presses, so you will not fill up your memory card with accidental pictures of your pocket or purse.
On the left is a volume rocker. Unfortunately it does not live up to the rest of the buttons. While you can feel the rocker itself, it is impossible to tell which end of the key you are pressing. Thus we often turned the volume down when instead we were trying to turn it up.
On-the-scene report from Barcelona. Hands-on with the Samsung i320, i-mate Smartflip, Nokia 6136, Sony Ericsson W950, and more.
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