Review of the Nokia 2125i

The 2125i is a small Nokia model offered by Virgin Mobile and Bell Mobility in Canada. The model begged for comparison with the 6015i, which Virgin also sells. I never actually tested a 6015i, but it is apparently identical to the 6016i, which I did test and is available on Bell.

Last Updated: 08-Nov-2005

Before reading this review, please read Some Thoughts on Phone Reviewing.

RF Performance

RF Sensitivity: Despite some serious flaws that I have yet to get to, I could hardly complain about this specific aspect of the phone. The RF sensitivity of the 2125i was nothing short of excellent, and even slightly better than the 6016i. This makes the 2125i among the best CDMA phones out there in this category.

Over-the-road Performance: The 2125i also shares all of the other Nokia phonesí ability to provide almost faultless over-the-road performance, especially compared to phones that use the Qualcomm chipset (which is virtually every other CDMA phone out there that doesnít have the name Nokia on it).

Click on this link for a full description of RF Performance, and how to interpret it.

Audio Performance

Tonal Balance: So with such a glowing review for the phoneís RF prowess, this is where things totally fall to pieces. I can only HOPE that the 2125i I had was faulty, because if it wasnít then this phone has the TINNIEST sound of any phone Iíve heard in ages. It sounds like Iím listening to a super-cheap kidís toy instead of a serious piece of electronic equipment. Earpiece volume is quite acceptable, but youíll probably keep it turned down anyway to avoid the headache-inducing tonal quality from getting to you.

Sound Reproduction: As if tonal balance wasnít bad enough, the sound reproduction on the 2125i was dreadful. Iíve had my reservations about other Nokia CDMA models, but they sound positively gorgeous compared to the 2125i. As I noted above, I can only HOPE that the phone I tested was faulty, because itís hard to image that Nokia would let something like this out of the factory.

Fortunately outgoing sound quality isnít all that bad in a quiet environment. However, when there is a lot of background noise (such as the food court over at Square One) the overall sound quality of the outgoing audio degrades rapidly. Unless you get a kick of out of punishing your callers, try not to use the 2125i in noisy places.

Speakerphone: At last, an audio-related feature that the 2125i actually does well. The speakerphone on the 2125i produces lots of volume and it can be understood even in noisy environments. The tonal balance of the speaker is decidedly tinny, like the earpiece, but it doesnít seem to matter as much under these circumstances. The microphone sensitivity is boosted slightly in this mode, but that only serves to worsen the problem I noted above with loud background noises.

Click on this link for a full description of Audio Performance, and how to interpret it.

Support Features

Ringer Volume: Because the ringer uses the same high-volume sounder as the speakerphone it is capable of very impressive volumes. Like all phones that contain a number of musical ringtones however, youíll have to make sure you choose your rings carefully to get the maximum effect from the sounder. Certain frequencies come out decidedly louder than others.

Keypad Design: I didnít like the all-in-one keypad design at first, but I found that it had good tactile feel, and the slight valleys between the keys (horizontally) actually made it possible to feel which key I was pressing without having to look at the phone. I still had a small problem with pressing two keys simultaneously, but as funky keypad designs go however, this is probably one of the least annoying.

Display: There is only one word to describe the display on this phone, and thatís TINY. Itís even smaller than the display on the old Nokia 6190. The resolution of the display is a mere 96 x 65 pixels, which also happens to be the same resolution as the ancient 6190. However, I will agree that the text looks crisp (if colors are properly chosen) and within the limited resolution it provides a surprising amount of information with fairly handsome fonts. Nokia provides a way to display photographs, but with so little pixels, donít except to make out much in the image.


If it werenít for the simply horrible audio qualities of this phone, it would actually be a fairly decent low-end model for Virgin and Bell. However, the 6015i provides virtually all of the same features with vastly superior sound quality and a larger screen (though admittedly with the same low resolution). The only thing that the 6015i doesnít do as well is the speakerphone.

If it were me having to decide to buy this phone, I wouldnít touch it with a 10-foot pole. The sound quality is just SO ANNOYING that I donít even consider it a possibility, even if it came with lifetime free service.