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Review of the Nokia 6790 Surge for AT&T Wireless

Review by Ricky Cadden on Tuesday September 08, 2009.

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The Nokia 6790 Surge is the third Symbian-powered smartphone for AT&T this year and features a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Highlighted as a social networking machine, the Surge features a 2 megapixel camera and is preloaded with a JuiceCaster application that promises quick photo and video uploading to Facebook, MySpace, and others.

Physical Aspects

The Nokia 6790 Surge from AT&T, from the front, looks like a standard portrait-oriented cell phone, with a small display and a column of shortcut keys just off to the left. However, slide the phone to the right and a spacious QWERTY keyboard is revealed as the display quickly rotates to landscape orientation. The slide mechanism is sturdy, smooth, and spring-assisted, with a confident thud in either direction. The phone itself is built from plastic, but does not have any unwelcome creaks or sounds when in use. Looks are deceiving, and the Surge, while it appears large, is actually quite small, measuring in at 97.5mm x 57.2mm x 15.5mm (3.84in x 2.28in x 0.61in) and only weighing 124g (4.4oz).

The front of the Nokia 6790 Surge has a very crowded look, even with its small 2.4-inch QVGA (240 x 320 pixel) resolution display. Below the screen is a small d-pad and navigational cluster, with two softkeys and a pair of end/send keys. The send key doubles up as the power key, as well. To the left of the display and navigational cluster is a column of 3 buttons. The center button is the menu key, while the remaining two can be customized by the user to access any application or internet bookmark on the phone - a nice touch, indeed.

The micro-USB port, used for data connections via USB cable, is positioned in the center of the left edge of the phone. However, AT&T does not supply a USB cable with the phone, so this port is essentially wasted unless you've got your own cable already. Along the top of the phone, you'll find the single mono speaker, 2.5mm audio port, and covered 2mm Nokia charging port. The volume rocker is awkwardly positioned along the right edge of the phone, towards the bottom, just above the dedicated camera button.

Sliding the QWERTY keyboard out, the display automatically rotates to landscape orientation, which makes the front part, with the display, look much more natural. There are four rows of buttons on the keyboard, with each button shaped in a slightly elongated rectangle, with edges that are tapered down. This tapered edge serves to separate each button from the next without wasting any physical space, and works quite nicely. The buttons have a definite tactile click, and make up one of the best QWERTY keyboards we've ever used on a phone, period. Unfortunately, there are no directional buttons included on the keyboard, which means you must reach up with your right hand to use the d-pad when navigating through the Surge's menus. There is a standard numeric keypad embedded in the center of the QWERTY keyboard, as well, accessible by using the grey highlight key in the bottom left corner.

On the back of the Nokia Surge, there is a 2 megapixel camera, with no flash. The entire back cover of the phone needs to be removed to access the massive 1500mAh battery, as well as the SIM card slot and microSD card slot.

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Becky @ 1:17:29PM EST on Wednesday March 3, 2010

I need a new sim card for my Nokia Surge, where do I purchase?

bstro @ 10:49:20PM EDT on Saturday October 23, 2010

Is this phone now available on the Straight Talk at Walmart? At straight Talk does it work with the AT&T network?

jen @ 11:38:40AM EST on Friday January 21, 2011

can i set ringtones for texts on the nokia 6790?

Robin @ 12:21:29AM EDT on Monday September 26, 2011

Straight Talk is slowly converting to AT&T. So this particular phone only works with the AT&T towers. I purchased this phone because it is the first smart phone from Straight Talk but came home and then to my surprise it had no service. So I did some research and found out that all of the new straight talk phones that have just come out and all future straight phones will be using the at&t towers only. I you have an older straight talk phone then you don't have to worry, you will always have service with Verizon. With all these facts I discovered on my own I decided to switch back to Verizon and purchased a smart phone and pay only &65.00 a month for unlimited talk and text and you get you left over minutes rolled over to the next month as long as you keep your phone activated by paying on time. NO COMPLAINTS HERE. Hope this helped. Robin/GA

About the author

Ricky Cadden
Former news editor Ricky Cadden runs Symbian-Guru.com. Ricky is based in Texas.

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