For the past couple of weeks I’ve been fooling around with one of Nokia’s more recent budget phones, the 3555. Inside: a mostly full review* of this Series 40 quad-band flip.
The Sexy-back Nokia 3555.
And here it is, the 3555. A big thanks, as usual, to my friends at WOMWorld for providing me with the phone trial!
Chances are you haven’t heard much about the 3555, if at all. That’s because it’s one of those low-cost “affordable” handsets that fly under everyone’s radar. Yes, the T-Mobile-exclusive 3555 can’t hold a candle to any Nseries phone, but for the price you do get a decently-featured (although slightly boring) flip phone.
Size and Weight
First off, the 3555 is a serious underweight in the world of cell phones. It’s a mere 93.9g or 3 ounces, and it doesn’t leave much of a footprint in your pocket. I might even have to say that it’s too light. It does have a rather plasticky type of feel to it – it’s missing that dense “heft” that you get with other phones – even phones like Nokia’s 6085 flip phone. And at 20.5mm, the 3555 is not a slim phone.
The top part of the flip houses the external display, camera, and speaker. The outer display, for some reason, was rotated 90 degrees counter-clockwise which results in having to manually turn the phone to read what’s on the screen. But the screen itself is clear and easy enough to read. Note that the front cover is not removable (at least not easily like an Xpress On cover). Since the 3555 is a pseudo-successor/counterpart to the 6555, it features the “sexy-back” seamless look when fully opened. Basically this means the hinge is completely on the inside in contrast to the typical clamshell ugliness. It definitely gives the phone a different, classier look.
The sides house two volume buttons and the dedicated camera key.
Not a whole lot to say here. The 1.8″ main display won’t be winning any awards, but it does its job. The pixels are humongous though.
The keypad is completely devoid of any weirdness on Nokia’s part. The buttons are big, round and pretty equally accessible, and you shouldn’t be pushing the wrong buttons by accident.
The 3555 sports a Music Player application as well as expandable memory which should appeal to general music fans. Most of it is standard fare, with the exception of the external mono speaker. The speaker is actually surprisingly decent. There are no dedicated music buttons, which is a little annoying when you’re playing music and then decide that you want to shove the music app into the background. If you do not have Active Standby enabled (the default), there’s no easy way to get back into the Music Player. You’ll have to go through a number of menus and sub-menus to get there. Savvier phone users might figure out that you can create a shortcut (or just turn the blasted Active Standby on), but it really should be a major menu option.
A little bit about the Music Player application. It’s a really simple, childish-looking program that gets the job done. And it manages to show cover art too. On the downside, adding music to the song library takes a noticeably long time. At max volume, everything also sounds pretty much like crap.
There is support for microSD cards on the 3555, but it is absolutely, positively not hot-swappable. Nokia’s actually gone so far as to put the microSD slot UNDER the battery, ie where the SIM card is. The mechanism is also pretty flimsy I might add.
Bluetooth headphones do work with this phone, but you end up getting mono sound out of both channels. With that said, it’s not bad as bad as it sounds.
You be the judge. Important things to note: it’s VGA and that’s all that needs to be said.
Actually, no, there’s more that needs to be said. Pictures take an average of 4 seconds from the time you push the button to completion. On an interesting note, there’s actually an option to completely mute the camera shutter sound. I’d been under the impression that USA-based cell phones had to keep the shutter sound on no matter what. Stalkers rejoice I guess.
As mentioned before, the 3555 is a Series 40 device, which means large, ugly menu screens. The 3555 is no exception here. With Active Standy though, you can at least pretend that you’ve got a Series 60 phone.
Moving through menus is fairly quick and for the most part the user interface is pretty responsive.
There are three main ports: power, headphone, and micro USB. The power plug is your standard Nokia (small) jack. The headphone jack is similar in size to the power plug port – it might be the 2.5mm headphone jack but I’m not 100% sure on that. Either way, the retail box comes with one mono headphone/headset that you can plug into the port.
Also note that the box does not come with a micro USB cable, which would normally be handy for transferring items from the memory card to your PC (especially considering the lack of hot-swappable cards). Transfer time is generally slow, taking about 1.15 seconds per megabyte. Before I forget, the 3555 does NOT come with a microSD card.
The Nokia 3555 retail box comes with the following: phone, BL-5C battery, mono headset, charger, and manuals. You do not get a microSD card, microUSB cable or anything else, for that matter.
There’s one slight caveat to this “mostly full review”: I couldn’t actually make a call with the phone, because it was locked to T-Mobile and I’m not. So I’ll have to update sound quality and battery life at a later time, when I get my hands on an unlocked model.