Nokia 6790 Surge review

The smartphone market might be dominated by phones from Apple, HTC and BlackBerry, but there are some users, mainly teenagers, who can't afford high monthly phone bills. What happens then? The Nokia 6790 or Surge to use its American name is a QWERTY sporting smartphone with a strong focus on attempting to be cool. You know, for the kids.

Those who sign up get a 2.4-inch QVGA screen, a slide-out keyboard and 3G connectivity. Kids might be all about happy slapping and sending picture messages, but Nokia doesn't seem to care that they'll want to do this with any quality. So on the back there is a rather disappointing 2-megapixel camera with 4x digital zoom.

If you're worried about getting lost you don't have to as GPS is included, while stereo Bluetooth should appeal to those of a music disposition although the lack of a 3.5mm headphones jack is disappointing. A microSD card slot, not hot swappable, makes up for the rather poor 128MB of internal memory.

As this isn't your high-end smartphone, you don't get Wi-Fi nor do you get a stylish, mature design. It's not Sony Ericsson Walkman handset crazy, but then it is rather plastic. Designed to be used landscape rather than portrait as you would normally expect a phone to look, the black glossy handset is small enough to put up against your head for the 4 hours of talk time you get without looking like a tool. Compared to the Motorola CLIQ/DEXT, this is decidedly miniature.

In use and that design is cluttered with buttons. Besides the four row QWERTY keyboard, which features flat rectangular keys, the top slider element that houses the screen is awash with them as only Nokia know how. That means two home screen keys (why oh why?) a very clicky loud d-pad and shortcuts to the browser and mail.

Get past the design and surprisingly you do get Nokia's S60 rather than S40 operating system giving you plenty more scope when it comes to apps. If that wasn't enough to get Nokia fans excited then full Flash support that you can show full screen probably will. None of this  coming 2010 malarkey, Flash videos from YouTube and other players on your phone. Take that Apple fanboys.

Of course you can't say that too loudly as the browser certainly isn’t the speediest around, and even on the 3G network it will take time to stream those YouTube or Flash video favourites you've found. Getting a "Running low on memory" error message mid watch, doesn't help the cause either.

Head over to the social aspects and you get Facebook on-the-go and JuiceCaster pre-installed, not that it makes much difference as you can download them and others anyway via the Ovi store. This is S60 remember.

Verdict

As an entry-level phone the S60 sporting Nokia Surge is best described as a mini mini N97 with some of the features stripped out.

The S60 interface is looking tired, certainly compared to many of the more innovative handsets from Samsung, LG and INQ, although we are pleased that Nokia opted for the more functional S60 over S40 OS.

The form factor does make for easy typing, but everything else just lacks excitement. Sorry.