Nokia 6170 review: A new generation clamshell

Marek Lutonský, 07 October 2004.

The second Nokia flip phone got new untraditional look. It has stylish steel covers and by first reactions it's a success. Nokia, after years, finally produced a clamshell with large display and doesn't resist the new technologies - 6170 model features Push-to-talk, HSCSD and EDGE.

Nokia kicked against the clamshells for a very long time but couldn't resist the growing trend forever and nowadays we know already five clamshell phones from the Finnish company.

The Nokia 7200 model was a really untraditional phone with textile covers. It's a standard Series 40 mobile and is on the market for several months. Nokia claims that it's a successful one and I, personally, know that women (which are the main target group) like the phone.

Click to zoom. Nokia 6170 Click to zoom. Nokia 6170 Click to zoom. Nokia 6170 Click to zoom. Nokia 6170
Nokia 7200

This review concerns another clamshell in the list, the 6170 model, which was introduced in June. Nokia used larger display, new graphical environment and also a lot of new options and functions. The phone is stylish but also quite conservative; main design feature are the steel covers. Estimated price is lower than the price of Nokia 7200.

Click to zoom. Nokia 6170 Click to zoom. Nokia 6170 Click to zoom. Nokia 6170
Nokia 6170

The third flip phone from the same family is the September newcomer Nokia 7270. It derives from the same concept as the 6170, but adds a bit more of extravagance and some new functions - for example a radio.

Click to zoom. Nokia 6170 Click to zoom. Nokia 6170 Click to zoom. Nokia 6170 Click to zoom. Nokia 6170 Click to zoom. Nokia 6170
Nokia 7270

The tested Nokia 6170 will be in distribution approximately in November. Nokia announced that the price would be about 250 EUR. Because there is still some time remaining to the distribution start, it is clear that we don't have a final product available yet. But it works perfect, except a few details, so we don't hesitate to publish this article.

European clamshell

We've got a new definition in the dictionary: European clamshell. We can look at Nokia, Motorola or Siemens phones with different attitude than at Asian producers. European clamshell phones are not so showily attractive, producers prefer to play with design, they experiment and they're not afraid to use unusual concepts and elements; in short, they are not using one and the same style which has possibly become kind of boring already. I personally like this kind of attitude. On the other hand, the success of some Asian products in Europe proves that they have also found a place on the market.

Click to zoom. Nokia 6170 Click to zoom. Nokia 6170 Click to zoom. Nokia 6170
This is not an Asian clamshell

Nokia 6170 is a very nice phone. OK, no generalization - it's a nice phone in my opinion and according to the reactions of my friends. Designers bet on pure design, which is not disturbed by any ornaments. The phone features block form with slightly rounded edges; front and rear parts are absolutely flat.

Click to zoom. Nokia 6170 Click to zoom. Nokia 6170 Click to zoom. Nokia 6170
Click to zoom. Nokia 6170 Click to zoom. Nokia 6170 Click to zoom. Nokia 6170
Design is very modest, maybe boring for some people

It may seem that the material covering the surface looks like steel; that's right. Covers are really made of steel, they can't be changed and they're decorated with small, probably etched, dots. With your eye close to the phone you can see that the dots size is decreasing towards the edges - a cute detail. Discreet sign Nokia is incised on the front cover.

Click to zoom. Nokia 6170 Click to zoom. Nokia 6170
Dots are decorating the steel cover • Nokia logo is almost invisible

No creaks

By comparing sizes of Nokia 6170 we find out that it's a midsized phone (88 x 46 x 22 mm). It's also pretty heavy, 121 grams is nowadays weight above the average. It won't tear away your pocket, of course, and also it's not bad sometimes to feel that you hold something in your hand. Higher weight brings one more advantage: even that it's a very long flip phone with a thick display; it won't lose balance when you open it.

Click to zoom. Nokia 6170 Click to zoom. Nokia 6170 Click to zoom. Nokia 6170
Even that it's a long and thick clamshell, it won't lose balance

Compared to the 7200 clamshell, Nokia has significantly improved the construction. Whilst previous phone creaked just by looking bad at it, the new 6170 is very solid.

Four dots in the left bottom corner of the front surface are covering the loud speaker. The phone uses it for ringing and for a loud handsfree as well. Unfortunately, this model features no radio. The lens of the integrated camera is placed a bit asymmetrically which doesn't look good to me. If it was situated a bit higher and a bit more to the right, it would perfectly fit to the rectangular composition, respecting all other elements.

Click to zoom. Nokia 6170 Camera lens

Secondary display with a color animated wallpaper

Small front display size is 26 x 20 mm. It is a color one, displays 4K color shades, it uses however a passive technology, so its quality is not as good as e.g. of the main (inner) display. It shows standard information about calls and messages and by pressing the switch button a list of ringing profiles appears. Ringing profiles can be changed fast, without opening the phone, but that's all from the interactive features of the mini display. Further functions are only informative.

Secondary display photo gallery

Standby - with a Silent profile activated • somebody's calling • a missed call

Ringing profiles selection • this picture appears when you open the phone • incoming message

Three different color wallpapers on the mini display

A photo can be on the mini display

You'll find a separate menu used for customizing the mini display in the phone. You can set wallpaper there, possibly an animated GIF (the animation switched off after a while but this can be a characteristic of the tested piece only). After some time a saver appears, it can also be a picture or an animation. If you wait longer, it shows a digital clock. Also it's possible to set colors to the battery symbol and a signal strength indicator. It can't be set on white color, so the image is almost invisible with dark wallpapers.

Main/mini display graphics settings

Nokia has no diode to indicate missed calls or incoming messages. This information is shown on the display only. You can see it even after the illumination switches off - it stays as the text for a while, later it turns into an icon.

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