The Evolution of The Flip Phone Is Now! The Nokia 6290

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Nokia's S60 powered flip phone is a head and shoulders improvement over the S40 models with which it co-exists. Imagine everything you liked about the 6131 or 6103 and similar handsets, upgraded, improved, expanded upon. That's just the beginning. Additional functionality, such as GPS linking is also there. The 6290 takes the mobile phone out of the realm of a device that makes calls and it is also a somewhat functional and amusing toy, to being a fully developed tool for personal management and business.

Let's look at the business end of this phone first.

E-mail - the world runs on it, your professional life depends on it. This has a full e-mail client that allows you to download only headers or the full body of your e-mail.

Document Management - You can handle Office documents such as Acrobat files, PowerPoint Presentations, Word documents and Excel spreadsheets. That wait at the airport does not have to be spent reading Danielle Steele any longer!

Video Conference - The flip mounted camera allows video calls on the networks that support them, mostly European at this time. You can show and tell without having to reserve the Video Conference Suite at work. Your large screen display will let you see what your business partner is talking about.

PIM - It's all there, calendar, notes, etc. It's very easy to transfer contacts from your old Bluetooth equipped phone to the 6290.

How Does It Function As Mobile Phone?

Mobile phones are designed to communicate. Voice, text and multimedia are the baseline of functionality.

Voice - This has excellent sound quality for both the person holding the 6290 and at the other end. It is full, clear and loud without distortion. It is on par with the Motorola V635, or better.

Signal - I've used this exclusively in 850/1900 MHz service areas so I can not speak to the 900/1800 MHz bands. It has performed quite well in grabbing a signal. The 6290 makes calls when the other devices show "No Service". 
Messaging - Text messaging with T9 predictive text is easy. Multimedia messaging allows you to insert videos, photos, sounds to make multimedia presentations. It automatically queues unsent messages.

3G - The 3G capability of this device is limited to Eureopean markets. It is WCDMA capable on the 2100 MHz band.

The Camera-

The main camera is a 2.0 megapixel with flash. Suited more to group shots rather than portraiture, landscapes rather than macro photography the camera has some limits. It is very finicky about lighting; more is better up to the point where the highlights get blown out. There are artifacts in the images when you view them on computer. On handset they look brilliant. This will not replace your point and shoot digital.

Odds and Ends

The USB port is covered, as are all the other ports. The microSD slot is accessible without removing the battery cover! Even the power and headphone ports have covers to keep out the dust.

The media player and radio are controllable from buttons on the outside of the flip - very handy. The radio works from a database to load stations. No more tedious hand entering frequencies and call signs.

The exterior screen is as large as some mobile's main LCD. The interior screen is large, bright and 240 x 320 pixels.

The web browser is a full HTML browser including JavaScript. It has a cool visual History function that acts as the Back function.

Symbian 60: great applications and fun software. You can run multiple applications simultaneously.

Summing It Up

The flip phone has evolved: Smarter, stronger, better equipped, more functional. This is a large and useful step up from what your carrier is offering. I continue to use this phone 18 months after buying it and continue to enjoy it. I've since picked up other phones, such as a 6301b for UMA use and an N78 to see what Nokia super phones could do. The 6290 continues to be a work horse for me. The flip phone has evolved and the 6290 is what it has become.

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