Nokia 6682: The biggest interface flaw of them all? 30 Aug 2005

40 comments Latest by Rishabh

I’m loving the Nokia 6682, but there’s a huge void in the UI that still surprises me every day: It doesn’t tell you how long your call is until the call is over.

Every phone I’ve ever had had a call timer going during the call. This is valuable information when you’re on a cell phone plan with a limited number of minutes. But in order to see how long the call was on the 6682 I have to actually end the call.

This is my first Nokia, so perhaps this is something inherent in all modern Nokia phones, but what gives? How can you not display the call timer during the call?

40 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Michael Simmons 30 Aug 05

I bet it has something to do with the evil phone companies. If you can’t see how long you have been talking, you will most likely run over your minutes. Cha-ching!

Joel 30 Aug 05

My phones have never displayed the call time, not even after the call. With my current phone, I have to dive into the menus (3+ levels deep) to see how long the last call was.

Never thought this was a missing feature before…

Dave Marks 30 Aug 05

I’ve had a million Nokia’s and wouldn’t choose anything else…

Who cares how long your call is… I mean if you need to be having that conversation - have it, if not - don’t, simply as that.

Do you really want to be counting minutes all the time? relax!

Guan Yang 30 Aug 05

Maybe it’s in a setting somewhere?

Dan Boland 30 Aug 05

The funny thing is, where my phone tells me how long I’ve been on the phone, I really just wish it would tell me what the hell time it is during the call!

Robert Simplicio 30 Aug 05

I think the point of the Nokia timer (I’ve used several Nokia’s in the past) is to tell you how long the call was, not how long it is.

So if you know you have 100 minutes left this month, and you make a 4:32 phone call, you know you have 95 mintues left thanks to rounding.

Which brings me to another point: Why do cell phones even bother to include a “total call time” or similar timer? Again, because of rounding, this will never actually reflect the number of minutes your carrier has you down for.

I do have to say that I really like Nokia’s UI in their phones; I didn’t think it really mattered until I started buying cheaper Motorolas or Samsung phones. I yearned for the consistency and usability of the Nokia UI. Making me press 4 buttons & going 3 menu levels deep to get to my directory isn’t very user friendly. Nokia (and other good phones) usually let you access this from one of the navigation buttons. Very strange experience for me, because I figured, How hard can it be to make a cell phone menu?

Jim Hughes 30 Aug 05

If that’s the biggest flaw you can find in the Series 60 interface then I’d say it’s got to be pretty good :-)

I suppose it’s is a valid point, and all the Series 60 phones I’ve used have displayed this “flaw”, but it’s not something that’s a problem in practise because the screen is against the side of my face when I’m making a call.

Do you frequently take the phone away from your ear in mid-conversation?

Don Schenck 30 Aug 05

Well if you hadn’t spent SO FRICKIN’ MUCH on your S4, you wouldn’t mind the mobile phone bill, now would you???

(Sorry, couldn’t resist!)

Damien Tanner 30 Aug 05

At least it beats the Motorola A1000 which as NO call time!

Brad 30 Aug 05

I’ve had a million Nokia’s and wouldn’t choose anything else…

Wow, those phones must be really unreliable if you have to replace them that often! ;-)

pwb 30 Aug 05

Do you frequently take the phone away from your ear in mid-conversation?

Ever heard of hands-free?

I’ve had a Qualcomm, 2 Samsungs, Sony and Nokia and definitely preferred the Samsung UI (N200/3500). The Nokias are actually kind of lame when it comes to digging in the menus for common stuff like ringer volume and received/missed calls. The Qualcomm had one of the best input devices: scroll wheel. It’s criminal that phones do not take advantage of such a great input device.

Mark Kawano 30 Aug 05

As Michael Simmons pointed out, this was most likely a business decision. Successful designers must consider business objectives in addition to user and technical considerations and find the right balance when creating the overall experience.

Reed Wiedower 30 Aug 05

To echo Jim’s statements, I think Series 60 is a great UI. I’m using an older Series 40 phone and I’d be an idiot to move away to a non-Symbian powered phone. It’s multi-tasking, intuitive, customizable and extensible. I don’t think monopolization of phone OSs is a good thing, but when you compare Symbian to the multiple, propietary phone OS systems out there (including Windows Mobile) you can see that the guys at Symbian really worked hard to make theirs the best.

Besides, complaining about the number of minutes in your mobile phone plan sounds remarkably like complaining about the number of minutes remaining for your 14.4kbs modem internet access plan.

Abdul Ovaice 30 Aug 05

What if the phone had 2 counters:

1) Total minutes of the current call
2) & total remaining minutes left on your phone plan

Another cool thing would be to have the number of estimated minutes you can talk based on the amount of energy your battery has.

- abdul ovaice

Wesley Walser 30 Aug 05

I don’t think I have ever had a cell phone that displays the call time while in call.

I have a Motorola right now, and it just says “Connected: other lines name/number”.

I only get the time once I hit the end button once, or look at my call history.

Sean 30 Aug 05

Just out of curiosity, where did you pick up the 6682? Last I checked it wasn’t available from Cingular or…

Robert Simplicio 30 Aug 05

Just to throw another possibility in the ring: At least on T-mobile and every pay-as-you-go service out there, you can use a SMS text message to get your remaining minutes for the month. My Virgin mobile phone actually had a menu function (with a shortcut tied to the navigation button for one-push access) that would automagically query your remaining minutes and display it on the phone as soon as it received the information.

Chris Mear 30 Aug 05

Weird. My 6680 (the UK version) does display a timer during your call. It looks like this. It also displays the total call time in a different window after you hang up.

Rafael Apocalypse 30 Aug 05

It’s not only the Nokia phones that don’t display a timer during a call. I had 2 Siemens that don’t display too, 2 motorolas and only onde dizplayed the timer, and I’m in my second Nokia, but these I don’t remember if displays or not a timer.

It’s valid to remember that I’m in Brazil, so all my celphones are diferent than yours.

Jason G. 30 Aug 05

My 2-year-old Samsung picture phone (US) displays the time elapsed during the call and for a few seconds afterwards, but when that display clears, there’s no way to see the length of any of my previous calls!

Pete Prodoehl 30 Aug 05

Hmmm, my Nokia 7610 (Series 60) using Cingular does show a call timer during a call. It looks just like the photo Chris Mear linked to above. I don’t think I did anything special to enable this… Did you Read The Fine Manual?

Ben 30 Aug 05

I seem to remember that my Series 60 6620 had an in-call call timer, and it looked like Chris’s 6680, but maybe I am mistaken. It seems odd that different releases of Series 60 would remove that feature… perhaps there is a setting to turn it on? Windows Mobile of course displays it, and the call progress screen is just another app you can switch away from if you want to look at the clock time or whatever.

Sebastian 30 Aug 05

My 6600 on T-Mobile DOES NOT show the in-call timer. The “space” is there in the bubble, it’s just empty.

I looked through the options and couldn’t find anything.

Inge Jørgensen 31 Aug 05

Nokia 6682 is a Symbian-based Series 60 phone, which means you’re free to install third party software (via Bluetooth or HTTP). Google around, I’m sure you’ll be able to find some piece of software that does exactly what you want. Maybe this: ?

Oh, and in case you haven’t noticed: you can press and hold the menu button (even while speaking) to toggle between multitasking apps.

JK 31 Aug 05

It’s not a flaw in the interface, it’s a flaw in the cell phone plan. Why would anyone be on a plan with limited minutes? In the civilized world we pay by the minute and get billed at the end of the month.

Michael Ward 31 Aug 05

Just be glad that your phone company hasn’t completely disabled the active home screen and replaced it with their own proprietary garbage. If you could see what Orange have replace the active home screen with then you would cry. THAT is a UI nightmare!

JF 31 Aug 05

Why would anyone be on a plan with limited minutes? In the civilized world we pay by the minute and get billed at the end of the month.

You are so civilized, aren’t you? Actually, there is no limit to the # of minutes you can use. There’s a package with X-# of minutes at a reduced rate and then you pay for each additional minute at a higher rate.

pwb 31 Aug 05

Per minute billing is hardly civilized. Do you get billed per minute for watching TV?

bob 04 Sep 05

You can turn on the call counter you describe wanting above by going to the Logs application and selecting ‘settings’ from the options menu

Gustaf Erikson 05 Sep 05

Instructions on how to turn the timer on are here:

JF 05 Sep 05

Wow, there it is! Thanks so much for posting this. And yes, it works on the 6682.

Bilal 06 Sep 05

I have both in-call timer and after call summary on my 6620. Settings->Logs to turn it on . I remember only 8390 was the only Nokia where Rogers Wireless had removed that functionality nor its enabled by default. Probably on request from the wireless companies

Ahmad Alhashemi 10 Sep 05

You need a billing model that scales with your costs.

That’s why all civilized hosting companies bill you per megabyte bandwidth and space ;)

TV, however, doesn’t cost more per watching hour.

kujuga 07 Jan 06

You also can hear a beep tone before the minute ends (in case if u live in such country where operators charging for minutes not for sec).
Unfortunately its only third part software which its not free:(
I looked for myself and found only this one:
minute beep

Keylogger 31 Jan 06

Great job Nokia!!! My compliments to you, this is such quality piece of equiptment that I cannot say enough as to the great job you have done. For the first time in almost 10 yrs I have a phone that doesn’t drop calls and works when it supposs to. This should be the only only phone that Cingular should cell, with the millions of dollars they loose (Cingular) in drop call credits they should seriously consider equiptment like the 6682. My son is in the Cellular bussiness and according to him he’s yet to see a 6682 come back, in fact people pay more money just to change their phone. Want something that works? Get this unit

Hadius 03 Mar 06

What’s the extension for cingular that sends an SMS text message to your phone with the remaining minutes on it?
#something right?

Brian 13 Mar 06

Maybe a little off-topic, but IMHO the biggest flaw of this otherwise excellent phone is the lack of integration with the calendar. I expected to be able to set up a meeting with a person, then easily call them. Nope. No link between calendar and contacts! Smart phone? Not really. A good cell phone otherwise? Yeah, I guess so …

Anonymous Coward 09 Apr 06

plss give me a celphones

knickdaddy 27 Jul 06

With Cingular, the code to get your usage(minutes) is *646#, then send.

Rishabh 08 Oct 06

I would say, its still one of the best phone offered because it is flawless. It shows call duration if we turn on the option.
Go to Menu, select Log, press Options, then select Settings and then just change the SHOW CALL DURATION option to YES. There you go. It will display the timer as soon as you are connected. I hope now everyone loves this flawless phone.

Post a comment

(Basic HTML is allowed)

NOTE: We'd rather not moderate, but off-topic, blatantly inflammatory, or otherwise inappropriate or vapid comments may be removed. Repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. Let's add value. Thank you.