Nokia 6680, 3

14 Oct 2005

Product: Mobile phone
Price: €149
Launching into the mobile market without a Nokia phone in your range is like trying to win the Premiership without a foreign footballer. So 3 began its assault on Irish consumers with the Nokia 6680 as its Ruud van Nistelrooy of handsets, its top-end model that it hopes will score with the more discerning customer.

Regular readers will spot that we’ve already looked at the Nokia 6680 in these pages as a bundled offering with an Hewlett-Packard portable printer. It has strong multimedia credentials, including a 1.3 megapixel camera with one lens on the front and another back of the phone – something Nokia forgot to do on its 3G debut that had to sit in a dedicated stand if you wanted to make a video call and be seen as well as see who you were talking to.

The 6680 is a stalwart performer but how does it benefit from connection to 3’s network and services? The larger-than-usual LCD (62x73mm) is a good start. Remember that the 3 proposition is heavily based around multimedia services, many of which only make any sense when viewed on a reasonably sized screen.

Accessing content is easy. Bottom right is a Planet 3 icon; click on the button immediately below and you’re ready to scroll a menu of its latest offerings. The staple diet is a lively mix of music, games, sport and news, each signposted with a large graphic depicting the hottest item, followed by links for exploring more of the same.

Prices per download are upfront and clear and it couldn’t be easier. Better still, some video services are bundled free with your tariff, most famously its football offering. Goals from every Premiership game and Champions League match, available shortly after the final whistle at no extra cost, remain its most enticing content proposition.

Other 3 ‘cool stuff’ – to borrow its advertising parlance – include some video shorts that are less convincing. The network argues that its consumers want ‘video snacks’ but animated shorts such as Petey & Jaydee and spurious ‘comedy’ moments did little for me. New additions such as the RTƒ video news service press all the right buttons in terms of using local content but you might be better off reading the story via the plain text news services rather than waiting to download a video clip of an RTƒ talking head.

Gripes aside, the 3 interface is the most compelling mobile entertainment proposition on the market to date and if you’re a football fan the bundled highlights will justify the price of admission before you even consider the pros and cons of video calling and the rest of the services.

By Ian Campbell