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Nokia 3650 Smartphone: GSM Phone

Reviewed by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor

Available from AT&T Wireless, Cingular and T-Mobile, the Nokia 3650 makes its debut in the US with loads of built-in features that make this unit much more than just a cell phone. The 3650 is that latest “Series 60” smartphone from Nokia and offers PDA-like features in a phone-centric design. It’s a tri-mode GSM world phone that also does GPRS for fast data transfers (~50 to 60k/s).

The 3650 has built-in Bluetooth and IR for wireless communications, a WAP 2.0/XHTML browser for accessing the Internet, PIM applications such as Contacts, Calendar, To-Do list, as well as multimedia applications such as RealOne player and more. The built-in digital VGA camera can take still images at 640x480 resolution, and capture video clips in .3GP file format with sound support.

Nokia 3560
Nokia 3560


The voice features include voice dialing, speakerphone, conference calling, voicemail, text messaging and alarm. The 3650 comes with 30 polyphonic ring tones and there are more available for download. Running on Symbian OS 6.1 and powered by an ARM processor, the 3650 will support Symbian OS applications and Java applications. Each carrier provides its own set of applications and games for download.

The 3650 comes with Nokia PC Suite software synchronization software with support for IR and Bluetooth (no cable syncing), a modem driver for notebooks, and the Nokia Multimedia Player.

What does it look like?

It looks like a TV remote control with a large display screen. I really like the design of this phone because I lose smaller phones like those tiny clamshell units. The Nokia 3650 is a candy bar style phone with a large 176 x 208 pixel color display capable of displaying 4,096 colors. The 3650 measures 5.1” x 2.24” x 1” and weighs 4.59 ounces. The circular number pad will either attract or turn off users who may be fond of the retro rotary phones or too accustomed to standard number pads. There is a directional pad/action button inside the number pad area for navigation. The camera lens is on the backside of the phone, on the opposite side of the display. The antenna is internal and is housed in the top of the phone. The power, cable and headset connectors are located in the bottom of the phone.

What comes in the box?

It comes with the 3650 handset, a 850 mAh Li-Ion battery, a 16MB MMC card, a charger, an ear-bud headset, a SIM card, synchronization CD and a User Guide along with several quick start guides.

What applications does it come with?

The 3650 comes with a suite of PIM applications including contacts, calendar, to-do list and more. You will also find applications that will work with your camera, images, videos and other multimedia functions. The connectivity tools include built-in Bluetooth, IR and wireless modem. There are also a quite few trial software packages on the storage card including Photobase, Goldminer, LogJam and more. Here is a close look at some of the built-in apps.

Contacts- There are two views in your contact list, one is the entire contact list, the other is groups. The info you are allowed to enter for a contact includes contact Name, Company, Telephone, Mobile, Fax and E-mail. You can also add a thumbnail-sized image as a photo ID attached to a contact. When you dial that contact’s number or that contact calls you, the contact name, phone number as well as the photo ID will show up on your screen. In addition, you can attach a full size image to this contact on the next page, which you can navigate via the D-pad. There is also a Search function, where you can search by name. Once you’ve selected a contact, you will have options to dial the number, send a text message (SMS), send a multimedia message (MMS), send email, duplicate, mark/unmark or send this contact via IR or Bluetooth. You can also assign a specific ring tone to an individual contact.







Looking for a great case for your Nokia? Read our review of the affordable Krusell case for the 3650.


Read our Great Apps for the Nokia 3650 Review!

Calendar- There are three calendar views: daily, weekly and monthly view. You can set the default calendar view to any of these three views when you launch the application. When you enter a new event, the default selections are Meeting, Memo and Anniversary. You can set up an alarm for your event, which includes alarm date, time and repeat on/off. You can sync this event via text message, email, Bluetooth and IR.

Camera- There are three modes you can use the camera in: Standard, Portrait and Night. You can select the image quality as High, Normal or Basic, and set the default image name and where the JPEG images are stored (internally or on the MMC card). To take a picture, you can press the camera menu button and then press the action button (press down on the d-pad) to snap the shot. After capturing, the image will display on the screen. You can go to an image file anytime by accessing the Options-Go to Images. How is the image quality? BLUE! The camera deals with indoor lighting much better than daylight. Anything you shoot outdoors in bright daylight will have a blue tint, especially backgrounds. The night photos however have more accurate background colors and display on your phone without the blue tint.

Images- There are two views in Images, one shows the content in the phone memory, one shows the card. Once you select an image, you can send it via email, MMS, BT or IR. You can also set up an online photo album and send your images directly to the image server (an Ofoto service accessed via Nokia’s web site which you’ll have to pay for after the intro period). Nokia site offers step-by-step instructions on how to set up a Multimedia server for your phone. You can find that page here, which also offers instructions on setting up email and WAP services.

Video rec- This is simpler than the camera. You can tell the phone where to store the video clips and give it a default name. The video recorder handles the frame rate pretty well (15 fps) and there are no blurs or trails when you move the camera at a reasonable speed. The video clips can be played back in either the video rec app or by using the RealOne Player which of course can also play streaming content. The 3650 unit I bought doesn’t support sound in video recording. I had to go to Nokia’s web site to download the Video Recorder Update software. This will enable the recorder to record video with sound.

To-Do list- This is a very simple to-do list where you can add new to-do notes, view the current to-do items or mark to-do items as done. When you add a new to-do note, you can specify the Due date and Priority. You can change the Priority by using the D-pad, and you will see an exclamation mark (!) next to the notes with High priorities.

Sample Photos. Top: outdoors in daylight (no, the ground isn't really blue!) and bottom: indoors.

sample photo

sample photo

Connection- This includes Bluetooth, IR and Modem options. If you turn Bluetooth on, your phone will search for all Bluetooth devices. Select the device you wish to pair with and the phone will initiate the pairing. Everything is easy and painless. I tested the Bluetooth functions with a Palm Tungsten T, HP iPAQ 3970 and Compaq Presario laptop running Windows XP with a Belkin Bluetooth USB adapter. The IR function works very similar to the BT functions except it works with IR enable devices. You can set to use the modem either via the Bluetooth or IR.

Tools- This includes Settings for your Phone, Call, Connection, Data and time, Security, System and Accessory options. You can go through each of the settings to customize your phone. There is also an App Manager in the Tools folder for you to manage any installed applications on the phone. In addition, Tools also includes Message where you can access your message box and 1-touch dialing set up. You can assign up to 9 1-touch dialing numbers (1 is assigned to voicemail).

Profiles- It lets you set 5 profiles on the 3650 including Normal, Silent, Meeting, Outdoor and Pager. You can customize each profile with your choice of Ringing tone, Ringing options and Volume, Message alert tone, Vibrating alert, Keypad tones and Warning tones.

Synchronization software- On installation CD, you will find software for setting up the modem, installing PC Suite software and Nokia Multimedia Player. You can install either IR or Bluetooth modem connection on your PC by following the installation walkthrough. You don’t need to install the sync software if you only need to transfer image files or application files since you can either beam them with IR or send via Bluetooth. But if you wish to sync your calendar and contacts, it might be a good idea to install the Nokia PC Suite software. The Belkin Bluetooth USB adapter is compatible with PC Suite (hint: when getting started, select all Bluetooth serial port checkboxes). File transfer and installation also work great using Bluetooth software on the PC rather than PC Suite.

Other applications- There are other applications such as RealOne, Services for mMode (on AT&T network), games and more. RealOne player is a good solution for playing back the video clips you recorded or downloaded. But I don’t know how much people will use it for streaming content because of speed and cost issues. If you’re an AT&T Wireless customer, in the Service folder, you will find mMode apps that you can use to go online and browse the web or download apps. In the mMode, you can add bookmarks and find all your download files.

AT&T Coverage and Service Packages

It is amazing how fast AT&T has put up so many towers in a short time period. The GSM service on the phone so far has been excellent. Because the Nokia 3650 is a new phone, AT&T is doing a promotion to lower the price on the device. If you can find online or local store that offers additional rebates, you may get this new and exciting product for very little money. The AT&T voice plans offer standard packages at various levels, similar to other major cell phone carriers. The mMode GPRS data service offers 4 levels of packages. At the Mini level, you pay $2.99/month plus 2 cents per KB. At the Mega level, you pay $7.99/month which comes with 1MB of free download plus 1 cent per KB for additional data. The top two tiers cost $12.99 and $19.99 per month which comes with 4MB and 8MB free download respectively, and between .08 and .06 cents per KB for overage.

What I like about it

I like the form factor. It’s big enough so that I don’t misplace it or can’t fish it out when I put it in my bag. The plastic frame helps to absorb small impacts in your pocket or bag, and makes the unit not feel too cold compared to metal body phones. The camera takes decent quality pictures at high resolution. It deals with nighttime lighting better than I expected. Videos at 15 fps look quite smooth. The built-in Bluetooth works very well with PDAs, laptops, BT Access Points and accessories. It has good amount of storage space including 3.4 MB of available internal memory and an MMC expansion slot. With rebates, you can get this new phone for a very low price right now.

What I don’t like about it

Daytime photos have a blue tint. The round number pad doesn’t bother me at all except that there will be applications developed for square number pad. For example, if a game that uses certain number buttons as directional buttons, it won’t make sense on a circular number pad. If you have several storage cards and exchange them on your phone often, you will find it annoying when you have to take out your battery to access your storage card. It supports the hands-free profile rather than the much more common headset profile for Bluetooth.

Good FAQs:

Suggested list price $399



Display: TFT color LCD, 12 bit, 4096 colors. Screen resolution: 176 pixels wide x 208 pixels high.

Battery Lithium Ion rechargeable. Battery is user replaceable. 850 mA. Claimed battery life: Talk Time 4 hours, 200 hours standby.

Performance: 32 bit ARM RISC processor. Processor speed: not disclosed by manufacturer. Total internal memory: 4 Megs, 3.4 megs available to user. Can be expanded using MMC cards.

size: 5.1” x 2.24” x 1” . Weight Approximately 4.59 oz.

Phone: GSM triband world phone (900/1800/1900MHz bands). GPRS for data.

Audio: Built in speaker. Mic with voice recorder functionality.

Software: Symbian operating system. Java support. WAP browsers, Messaging application for email, Image viewer, video player, Real Player, several games, Calendar and Contacts and more.

Expansion: MMC (Multimedia card slot). 16 MB memory included. You can use any brand and size of MMC card (SD cards not supported).


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