(Pocket-lint) - We give a lot of time over to smartphones here at Pocket-lint. If you have a digital life to converge into a single pocketable device then fine, but for some people this is unnecessary, impractical or simply unwanted. Whilst almost every phone will cater for those who want less, few do it with the style of the Nokia Classic range.
The Nokia 6303 Classic is exceptionally well designed and built. It feels like a high quality phone in the hand, thanks to its metal back and solid, creak-free, construction. Build quality is important in this sort of device, because it means you can buy the phone outright and opt for a SIM only tariff to cut costs. The Nokia 6303 Classic feels as though it will last you for many years, which is exactly what you want in this scenario.
It doesn't quite reach the beautiful good looks of the Nokia 6700 Classic, but it is substantially cheaper, at £125 SIM free. It's compact too, measuring 108.8 x 46.2 x 11.7mm, but weighing a reassuring 96g.
The device itself is of the candybar design, with a standard 12-key keypad at the bottom, a central bar of calling buttons and navigators and a 2.2-inch 320 x 240px display at the top. The top sees the power button whilst the side gives you the volume rocker, but other than that it is button-free.
Around the back you'll find a 3.2-megapixel camera supported by an LED flash. At 3.2-megapixels it doesn’t make any outrageous claims about being a camera phone, but it's adequate for the odd MMS to friends and you also get the option to share on Ovi or Flickr within a few button presses.
Sharing your media isn't going to be a strong point of the 6303 Classic with tri-band GPRS and EDGE available. You do get Bluetooth, but you don't get Wi-Fi on this level of handset.
Running the Symbian S40 operating system things are simple and will be familiar to Nokia users. In fact with a simple single page of nine icons (which even tell you what they do if you pause on them for a while), the Nokia 6303 Classic should be straightforward for all, irrelevant of experience with mobile phones.
But that said the Nokia doesn't leave you disconnected. You'll still find the Opera browser pre-installed, along with Windows Live Messenger and Flickr apps for connecting and sharing. Yes, it doesn't rival the Twitter, Facebook, MySpace packing phones out there, but you can at least access mobile versions if you wish.
The real strong point of the 6303 Classic, however, is the keyboard. It is perhaps a little small for those with bigger hands, but the key action is very good. They are well-separated and have a firm enough action to make fast texting easy.
Media lacks the direct controls that you'll find elsewhere, however you do get a 3.5mm jack which is a real bonus, meaning you can use the bundled headset, or to get a better result from your music or the FM radio, then use your own headset.
If music is your thing you will be pleased to know you can expand on the (almost non-existent) internal memory, with a microSD card slot under the back cover and a 1GB card bundled in the box, with Nokia claiming it will support up to 4GB. If you don't fancy using the Nokia bundled software to put music on your phone, then a memory card arguably offers the easiest method of transfer.
There are some minor niggles, like having to manually disable predictive text in some applications through the menus and those looking to get more from their phone are limited by what the S40 OS can do. Nokia Maps is included, but only really offers basic searching functionality, unless you happen to have a Bluetooth GPS receiver to hand.
The upside of not having a huge screen or 3G connectivity, is that the battery life is pretty good, with a cited 7hrs talk time and 450hrs of standby.
In action the Nokia 6303 Classic is a great phone to use, calls are clear and it's compact size means it slips easily into any pocket. The most surprising thing, given its "budget" status is that it doesn't look or feel like a budget phone. The attention to detail that Nokia has lavished into this phone, such as the subtle sparkle around the screen and the metal back, make it an exceptionally good phone for the price.
Sure, its hardware specs fit its status and those with wider demands from their mobile phone may find that the 6303 Classic is just too basic for their needs. If calling and texting is the mainstay of your mobile use, with the occasional photo here and there, then it might just fit the bill.