While the 6500 Slide has a QVGA resolution display, the S40 UI manages to hide that pretty well. The extra resolution is only really appreciated in a few parts of the phone, such as in the web browser and the messaging application, both of which have user selectable font sizes.
I do like the addition of the tabbed main menu view, though. I just wish that it could be navigated with the keypad keys in the same way that the grid and list menu views can. I also wish that Nokia would remove the time limit for keypad use in the main menu. As it stands, you have but a few seconds to use the keypad to skip through the menus before that ability gets disabled for no good reason. Most phones allow the keypad to be used for navigation at any time, even Nokia's own S60 smartphone UI. At least late numeric key presses will no longer start dialing a number as they would have in older S40 versions.
Speaking of S60, the Active Standby screen offered by the current version of S40, while useful, is not nearly as handy as the one on S60. I find that too few of the main menu options can be added to its shortcut bar, for example, and that its cell based system for displaying information wastes too much space and offers too few options. At least S40 does have decent theme support and animated menu icons.
S40 is a good system for a feature phone. That's perfectly clear. I just believe that there are a number of better systems out there, and that Nokia really should put some resources into making sure that they are keeping up with the current state of user interface technology.
On paper, at least, the Nokia 6500 Slide looks like it should be a top end feature phone. It has dual-band 3G support in addition to quad-band GSM support, it has a built-in 3.2 megapixel auto-focus camera, and a solid media player. It is also quite attractive and uses a QVGA resolution display that can show up to 16 million different color shades. That's all very impressive.
But the reality of the situation is that the phone doesn't always excel where one would expect it to. While the music player is, indeed, very good, the AF digital camera takes some coaxing to get a good photo out of it. The stainless steel cover material looks good, but adds to the phone's weight as well as makes it hard to keep clean. The QVGA display also lacks brightness, though it is, at least, usable in even the harshest lighting conditions. And then there is the problem with dropping calls that mars otherwise very good quality voice characteristics.
In the end, it is still a good phone, just not a great phone. As such, I give it a "Recommended" rating.
You'll find more screen shots as well as a gallery of sample photos taken with the Nokia 6500 Slide on the following pages.
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