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Preview: Nokia 3250 Twister Phone

April 2, 2006

I had the chance today to hit up some of the cell phone stores in NYC Chinatown today, with the highlight being the chance to play around with the Nokia 3250 cell phone.

And if you’re ever in the Chinatown area, I highly recommend the “WTC Wireless Group” store (63 E. Broadway).

Nokia 3250 Thumbnail

The Nokia 3250 Phone at a Glance

Nokia 3250 Phone

Operating Frequencies: Tri-band 900/1800/1900
Form Factor: Candy bar / Twist
Display: 176×208 TFT, up to 262k colors supported
Camera: 2 megapixel
Interface: Series 60, Symbian 9.1
Memory: 10 MB internal, expandable microSD up to 1GB
Battery: BP-6M 1100 mAh, up to 3 hours talk time, 10.2 days standby time
SAR value: 0.88 W/kg on ear, 0.44 W/kg on body (more info on SAR values and cell phone radiation here)
Connectivity: Bluetooth, EDGE
Special Features: Twistable with 3 modes (camera, phone, music)
Dimensions: 103.8 x 50 x 19.8 mm
Weight: 130 grams / 4.5 ounces

Release Date: Q4 2005
Expected Cost: $599 USD
Buy From: Amazon (Nokia 3250)

My first impression of this phone after picking it up was “damn, those are some small keys!” Nokia sort of squished together a lot of the keys, especially the ones involving the call/send button area. It’s a little weird and definitely something that you need to get used to.

As with most higher-end Nokia phones these days, there’s a very big “gimmick” with the Nokia 3250 phone. The keypad can rotate 270 degrees, and depending on how the keypad is positioned certain features are opened up. So if you turn it 90 degrees, here’s what you get:

And this opens up Camera mode. The camera is average – it’s 2 megapixels but lacks a flash or any serious Nokia N90-ish camera features. The camera mode on the Nokia 3250 phone is very similar to the way the N90′s camera works in terms of twisting it when the phone is closed – the phone uses the screen as a viewfinder which is very neat.

If you twist the keypad the opposite direction, you’ll enter the music mode. Basically, the dedicated music player buttons are on the reverse side of the keypad so after you turn the keys 180 degrees you’ll end up with the music controls. This is actually a pretty nifty idea and, if anything, shows that Nokia still has a few tricks up their sleeves design-wise.

One drawback to the music player aspect is that you’ll need the headset cable to plug in your own headphones. Also, oddly enough the Nokia 3250 phone only has 10 megs of internal memory – you’ll need a microSD card if you really want to take advantage of the music features/video features.

The Nokia 3250 phone uses an 1100 mah battery which, according to the Nokia specifications, will last for up to 10 hours of playback. Or 3 hours of talk time. Which makes me wonder: if the battery is so large, why’s the talk time so low?

Another notable-but-not-useful feature is the Nokia Sensor application. Basically this is a program that lets you view personal pages of other people within the vicinity (of the bluetooth connection). Personally, I don’t know anyone who keeps bluetooth on all the time unless they’re actively using a headset so I don’t think this application will take off.

The Nokia 3250 phone is a tri-band world phone which functions on 900/1800/1900 mhz frequencies. For the record, it’s also a Series 60 device. The price quoted to me by the store above, with a 1-year contract on Cingular was ~$315 USD. Average price on fleabay is about $350 bucks. Considering it’s fairly new to the “U.S” market which means Chinatown stores, expect the price to drop by ~$100 bucks in the next couple of months…

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