Here it is, folks: my review of the Nokia 1600 on Net10. I got the phone from Dollar General, for $30 plus tax, including $30 worth of airtime (300 minutes) and activated it on what is now AT&T via Net10's website. The process of activation and number-getting was easy enough. But what about the phone, which has (edited) proved out an astounding ten-day battery life?
First, the one problem with the phone I found, and this has gotta be a model-specific problem because I haven't heard of this problem from other Nokia 1600 users: the phone won't stop ringing on an incoming call, and if you get it to stop ringing, you have to restart the phone to get it working again. Pretty serious software bug, but I have heard of nobody else who has experienced this, so everyone is probably good to go getting this phone.
Why is everyone good to go with this phone? Because it is to GSM what the Nokia 2126i is to CDMA, or pretty close anyway. To get an idea of the size of the phone, I actually have a few pictures comparing it with the Nokia 2126i. Apologies for the quality; they were quick, low-light shots with my iPhone.
As you can see, form-factor-wise, the two phones are pretty near identical. Granted, the 1600 is a bit more boxy and, on Net10 at least, black, but they're basically analogs of each other. Great build quality on both, by the way.
Let me stop right here to say that if people are wondering whether the Nokia 1600 is a step up or a step down from the Nokia 2600 that preceeded it, I'd say it's a step down in some things, such as display quality (the 1600 screen is the same low-res affair as the one found on the Nokia 1600, or very similar at least) but a step up in others, such as sound quality...but I'll talk about that later.
Signal-wise, it has been awhile since I've tested a GSM phone on the now-AT&T network, but the 1600 seems to pull a decent signal in my rather informal testing. Then again, we're talking about using a network that was owned by a local cellular carrier, not the cellular hash that passes for AT&T in some other places.
As to ringtones and such, the Nokia 1600 offers a truckload of 'em, plus a few empty spots for I-don't-quite0know-what, and they're all loud and clear over the speakerphone. Some of them are the regular polyphonic ringers, but a surprising number are "real music" tones, which the phone does a nice job of reproducing. The vibrate motor is also solid.
Software is, no surprise, great; Nokia has been in the cell phone business since way back and it shows. The UI is easy to get around, though not particularly customizable. And yes, you get the requisite bunch of games and tools that all modern phones sport. Though that one calling bug is pretty important, I'm sure it''s just the unit I got, though I didn't return the phone yet because I'm now in Colorado and the phone is in Texas (I got it while I was down on spring break from school) so I don't have anything to compare it against, save other reviews.
My advice to everyone; if given the choice between this and the Motorola c139, get this, but that's obvious. Given the choice between this and the 2600, it's a bit of a toss-up, though I'd go with the 2600. Given the choice between this and a non-Nokia phone of similar features, I'd go with this little guy...again, it's basically the GSM equivalent to the Nokia 2126i that everyone loves so well, except minues a flashlight and plus real music ringers...and with Net10 service instead of Tracfone. As an added bonus, you can get the phone reconditioned from Net10's website or new from a few places (see the Tracfone Deals thread on the forums) for less than the value of the airtime on it, or at most for the value of the airtime on it (aka $20-$30). My verdict: good buy.
Stay tuned for a review of the LG Flare on Virgin Mobile in the next week or so, and reviews of the upcoming LG 400g and Motorola w175g phones when they come out on Net10 and Tracfone, respectively!