Review of the Nokia 6120 Classic

Despite its somewhat familiar numeric designation, the 6120 Classic has nothing in common with the old TDMA model with which it shares this number. The 6120 classis is a GSM Smartphone using the Symbian operating system.


The 6120 Classic is not sold through any providers in Canada.

Last Updated: 24-Aug-2007

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

RF Performance

RF Sensitivity: I performed the usual tests of the phone over at the Hall of Shame 2 in Square One shopping center in Mississauga. The phone was compared to the Nokia E65, which I reviewed previously. The 6120 performed identically to the E65, which in previous test was compared with the aging, but otherwise excellent, Siemens A56. Subsequently the 6120 proves that, like virtually all of Nokiaís recent models, it has excellent RF sensitivity that is among the best out there.

Over-the-road Performance: I found this aspect of the phone to be almost identical to that of the E65. I will therefore use the exact sentences I wrote for that phone. The 6120 has approximately the same over-the-road performance as most other Nokia models Iíve tested, which is to say okay, but hardly stellar. Handoffs are generally tamer than in earlier Nokia models, but the number of handoffs and the overall network experience while on the move is decidedly sub-par compared the recently-tested Sony-Ericsson z710i. If it werenít for the z710i I might be more impressed with the E65, but alas technology marches on and the z710i raises the bar. That leaves the E65 looking like old-tech.

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

Audio Performance

Tonal Balance: I was a bit disappointed in the 6120ís overall balance, which was generally okay, but with a distinct hollowness to it. I also found that some voices sounded a bit harsh, whereas they sounded fine on other phones, such as my old Nokia 6310i. Fortunately it didnít seem to suffer from the muddiness that I complained of in the E65.

Sound Reproduction: This aspect of the audio was fine however, with no difficulty reproducing the nuances of speech. Typically Nokiaís GSM phones provide excellent sound reproduction, and the 6120 is no different.

Earpiece Volume: Earpiece volume is often a problem with Nokia phones, but the 6120 produced globs of audio, even before the standard Volume Boost feature kicked in. The boost feature has been on virtually every Nokia model since the days of 6190. The phone automatically kicks up the volume (even when itís set to full) when it detects loud background noise. The only fly-in-the-ointment was that the earpiece had a rather low ceiling on maximum volume before it began to distort.

Outgoing Audio: This is perhaps the best-sounding Nokia Iíve tested to date in terms outgoing audio. The tonal balance and overall clarity is astonishingly good, and the phone deals quite well with background noise, for the most part. When it was tested on the highway with opened car windows the phone did a very credible job of keeping the audio perfectly clean, despite the terrible wind noise.

In the noisy food court at Square One the phone continued the Nokia trait of picking up quick a bit of the background din, but the audio remained remarkably clean and distinct in spite of the noise.

Speakerphone: As Iíve noted before, Nokia speakerphones seem to range from virtually inaudible to quite loud. The 6120 falls decided upon the quite loud end of the spectrum. While it wasnít loud enough to use in a noisy environment (like the Square One food court), in quiet and moderately-noisy conditions itís terrific. And not only does it have good volume, it has exceptionally good sound quality. The microphone sensitivity it boosted during a speakerphone call and it continues to provide the excellent sound quality I noted for regular non-speakerphone calls.

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

Support Features

Ringer Volume: As with all recent Nokia phones, the same device is used as the speakerphone speaker as the ringer speaker. When the speakerphone has good volume, the ringer has good volume. Thatís certainly true of the 6120, which has excellent ring volume.

Keypad Design: Hereís one aspect of the phone thatís simple way below part. The keys are so tiny and fiddly that itís nearly impossible to use them. Even Howard Chu, who lent me the phone, said that his smaller fingers still had enormous problems with the keys. I was forever pressing incorrect keys during my testing and I found it really annoying. Especially poor are the keys clustered around the tiny 4-way pad below the screen.

Display: Like all Nokia Smartphones that Iíve tested, the 6120 comes with a gorgeous-looking 320 x 240 screen. The only problem is its overall tiny size, which makes seeing many things on the screen a real squinter for many people (especially those who wear contact lenses for distance viewing). The backlighting is bright, and the screen is visible in bright daylight (though direct sunlight is a bit of an issue).

Icing on the Cake

Camera: The 2-megapixel camera is about par for Nokia, which means it suffers from a lot of digital noise. If that noise was just noise, it wouldnít be so bad, but the noise gives shadows a distinct green cast that impossible to remove easily with photo-editing software such as Photoshop. I reported exactly the same problem with the E65ís camera, and so most likely they both use the same device.


With the exception of the really fiddly keypad and the slightly harsh incoming audio quality, thereís very little to complain about in the 6120 Classic. It has excellent RF performance, generally good audio performance (the harshness notwithstanding), and a terrific speakerphone. Itís also quite small, which is a good thing in many ways, but a bit of issue when it comes to the screen.