Reviewer: Alex Kidman
Nokia’s 6110 Navigator is a great mobile phone, and comes highly recommended if you want a psuedo-smart phone in a small and well designed casing. If you’re after a phone that does GPS, steer well clear of the 6110 – unless you like accidentally steering into trees, that is.
The 6110 runs on the Symbian 60 mobile phone platform, which makes it a very capable mobile data device. Forget about simple MP3 playback, offered by most GPS devices – the 6110, in concert with its supplied 512MB microSD card, can offer a whole world of entertainment. Combine that with the 2.0 megapixel camera on the back of the phone, its small carrying size ? it may just be the smallest GPS we’ve ever tested – and its ability to work on traditional GSM and high-speed HSDPA networks, and you start to get an idea of why we like the 6110 so much as a phone.
The 6110 has an inbuilt GPS receiver – we’re not sure which, as Nokia’s product page just lists that it exists, but not the manufacturer. Nokia supplies Australian map data via Navteq, a new player in the local maps market – most other GPS units use data from Sensis. GPS is run as a dedicated S60 application on the 6110’s 2.2″ display screen, with a dedicated launching button at the bottom of the phone.
The one thing you won’t find in the 6110’s box is any kind of vehicle suction cup or in-car charger. For that Nokia expects you to stump up an extra $84.95 for a mount and car charger. On the plus side, the mounting arm is one of the best we’ve ever seen, with soft arms that securely hold the phone in place.
As a phone, we’ve no complaints whatsoever against the 6110. It’s sleek, mostly easy to use and the battery life for calling, standby and data transmission is excellent. As a GPS, however, the story is much less impressive. The 6110’s primary problem is that it’s only equipped with a mobile-phone sized screen, and that means that every single bit of onscreen data is tiny, especially if you’re moving at speed. That means you’ve got to squint and concentrate to make out navigational detail – at speed. That means you’re staring at a 2.2″ TFT, rather than at the road – at speed. You can probably see where this is going, and thankfully we took our eyes away long enough to avoid the oncoming truck, but extended use of the 6110 revealed that it didn’t get any better – the screen is simply too small and too crowded to be a safe GPS device, at least if the driver is the sole navigator. That’s backed up by the fact that the 6110 uses an essentially SMS-like data entry mechanism – it is a phone, after all – and that means you’ve got to jab a lot of buttons to alter courses, search for points of interest or just navigate your way home. Trying to do this while the car in motion is probably suicide; we pulled over every time it was necessary, which is less than optimal.
On the plus side, the 6110 did a very good job of quick triangulation and discovery, and the Navteq map data was no better or worse than we’ve seen from Sensis. There were still some points where it was clearly ignorant of the road rules on certain paths – but they were different ones to the ones Sensis gets wrong.
The 6110 is a decent enough phone, and if you wanted a good phone and you’re sure you’ll always have a passenger on board to interpret its tiny screen, then it’s not a terrible option for your GPS needs. If you’re a solo driver without a death wish, then steer clear.