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Reviewing a relatively utilitarian 3G handset when the 'Net is still awash with reviews of their more exotic, more advanced and more expensive phones was never going to be easy and having looked long and hard at the photographs I honestly expected the Nokia 6280 to be just another "free with contract" uninspiring plastic phone with little to nothing going for it. From the pictures I'd seen it struck me as a lacklustre, chubby and unimaginative phone created to meet a price point, like those big, ugly Motorola and NEC handsets that 3 used to give away for next to nothing and which would creak, flex and fail like it was a design feature. Yes, my initial, highly detailed observations were that the 6280 is a "bit of a brick".

While there was some, small basis in my assumptions that, for the price, the 6280 wasn't going to boast SE K800i-like fit and finish or share the slick, precise sliding action found on the Samsung D600, in other ways it proved to me that you shouldn't make decisions based on photographs, no matter how good they are.

Let's start our journey at the front. With the generous 2.2" screen powered off I'll admit it looks about as exciting as a rainy weekend spent decorating but there's a saving grace, and that is that when active the screen is actually very, very nice. It can claim a resolution of 320x240 (QVGA) and can display a full 262,144 colours, not that it's very easy to see the improvement over a 64,000 colour screen, it just sounds better. The colours were vibrant, the contrast was crisp and the sharpness was excellent, always nice attributes when viewing high(ish) resolution photos.


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By some trick of design that they'd better forget about quickly, the stolid. sober, business-like lines of the 6280 while not unpleasant, do make the phone appear larger and less manageable than it actually is. Even in the hand it feels slightly awkward and clumsy yet slip it into a pocket and it seems to shrink as if by magic. It's an optical illusion of the highest order. I took a picture of the 6280 snuggling up to my SE K750i which I consider to be close to perfect in size terms, and though a smidgen thicker it's actually no longer or wider as you can hopefully see.

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Top left of the 6280 is the front-facing VGA (640x480) camera used for making your video calls. Performance was mixed though being in a fringe reception area it's easy to attribute much of the freezing to signal integrity. There were minimal amounts of noise, pixelation and compression artifacts but nothing major and not enough to compromise a call.

Below the screen are four monster buttons which possibly account for my personal dislike of the design, they just look a little, well, pre-school. Sat in the middle of these is the four-way direction pad which is in tact only the chromed outer portion, with a central "select" button. The D-Pad had a nice, accurate feel to it but being so narrow and shiny may make it a awkward for someone with long finger nails to use.

The 6280 comes supplied with a PC data cable, a mains charger and a stereo headset and a 64MB mini-SD memory card. The headset is used for hands-free calls and also for multimedia use and therefor comes with a microphone, call-answer switch and volume rocker integrated into the silver block you can see which resides mid-cable. There's no way to use your own ear or headphones without purchasing an adaptor so it's fortunate the supplied phones do a respectable job. Not the best but better than many.

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Key features

Great compact design in a user-friendly slide concept
Two integrated digital cameras: 2-megapixel and VGA
Experience two-way video calls and see face-to-face as you talk in real time
High-resolution, 262,144-color display
Capture quality images and videos in landscape mode
Fast WCDMA and EDGE connections for broadband-speed browsing plus tri-band GSM phone with global roaming capability
Convenient email access with automatic download to send images and view documents
MiniSD card support with hot swap capability
Visual Radio
MP3/AAC/eACC+ music player with stereo audio
Push to talk

Operating frequency

Dual mode WCDMA/GSM operation and tri-band GSM coverage on up to five continents (GSM 900/1800/1900 and WCDMA 2100 networks)
Automatic switching between bands


Weight: 115 g
Dimensions: 100 x 46 x 21 mm, 91 cc

Display and user interface

Active matrix, 262,144-color display (320 x 240 pixels)
Active standby: get access to reminders, to-do notes, calendar entries, and application shortcuts directly from the phone's standby screen
Dedicated key for camera application
3rd generation Series 40 user interface
Five-way scroll key, two soft keys, send and end keys


Two-way video call capability
Support for full-screen landscape mode
Back side camera: Integrated 2-megapixel camera with landscape camera mode
Still image resolutions: 1600x1200 (2MP), 1024x768 (1MP), 640x480 (VGA)
Still images file format: .jpg
Still zoom: 8x digital zoom
Video resolutions: 640x480 (VGA), 352x288, 176x144, 128x96
Video clip length: up to one hour (depending on the amount of available memory).Videos are directly saved on the miniSD card or in the internal memory
Video file format: .3gp, .mp4
Capture modes: Night mode, sequence mode, self-timer mode
Camera flash (operating range up to 1.5 m)
Dedicated camera and zoom buttons
Front side camera: Integrated VGA camera
Adobe PhotoShop Album Starter Edition
Note: The front VGA camera can only be used for video calls.