Nokia 6555

Nokia presents its 6555 3G phone in a clamshell configuration. Opening the phone with one hand is simple enough by working your thumb between the two halves. The hinge mechanism seems to be sprung just strongly enough to snap the phone open easily. Also, when open, the ear piece and microphone are in their traditional spots with the mic residing near the user's mouth, below the keypad. For folks not comfortable with smaller phones, this can be a plus. Rubber padding in the hinge contributes to noiseless opening and adds to an overall high quality tactile experience. Despite its price, the phone doesn't feel cheap.

Our evaluation unit was finished in glossy black with chrome accents. The overall effect is a classy look. When in the open position, the exterior chrome accents meet to form a rather nifty looking loop. While the glossy finish may be vulnerable to scratches, it's worth noting that not even micro abrasions were apparent after our time with the phone. These would stand out readily against a black finish so it seems that Nokia used quality materials when building the 6555.

The keypad and controls are fairly straightforward. The nicely backlit keys are laid out conventionally, with the only exterior buttons being the volume control and the push to talk button for AT&T's Nextel-style walkie-talkie service. Additional buttons for AT&T internet and video services are clearly marked with the AT&T logo and a TV screen logo. The d-pad that is used for navigation has a separate selection button in the center. While this configuration takes a lot more real estate, it is more accurate than the all-in-one d-pads used on some phones.

Powering on and off is intuitive. As with most phones these days, the 6555 is brought to life by pressing the same red button that is normally used to end calls. Pressing the same button for an extended period returns the phone to a powered down state. The volume control is also intuitive. A long, sleek rocker control is located just where your thumb tends to land when holding the phone left-handed, making it easy to adjust volume during a call. Tactile button feel is good, so you know when you've pressed it correctly.

From button design and placement to the phone's shape while open, the design reflects well thought out ergonomics everywhere. As is common for a clamshell phone, the exterior display on the 6555 can be set to depict an analog clock, which adds an additional layer of class to the phone. Both displays are vivid and easy to read even in bright sunlight. Colors, too, are bright and clear. The primary QVGA (240x320 pixel) display is particularly nice. For wearers of polarized sunglasses, these had little impact on the screen's legibility which can be a frequent problem with LCD displays and polarized lenses.