I fell in love with the Nokia 6300 4G ($ 69.99), the KaiOS quasi-smartphone which is a perfect travel companion. The 6300 looks like a candy-bar voice phone, and its unique form will keep you offline. But it has just enough intelligence to help you navigate, play music, and stay connected globally. If you want to stay accessible while keeping your eyes on the surroundings, it is a good decision. That makes it our Choice of Editors with simple voice calls to the T-Mobile network.
21st Century Voice Phone
The big smartphone slabs dominate America, but there is still room in many hearts for voice-focused phones with traditional keypad. Many voice call users will have to upgrade their devices soon because carriers turn off the old 3G and 2G voice networks that rely on it. Fortunately, a new generation of 4G LTE voice phones have emerged, some sold by carriers and others such as the 6300 unlocked.
Open purchase means you can take advantage of very affordable phone plans from operators such as US Mobile, with unlimited speech and a $ 10 text program or a $ 15GB data plan. If you’re familiar with a smartphone, you’ll be amazed at how easy 1GB is. how much of a voice cell like the 6300, whether you’re streaming music or browsing social media.
This smooth plastic slab is available in gray, green or white. It measures 5.17 by 2.09 by 0.54 inches (HWD) and weighs only 3.5 ounces; is slightly longer than the less expensive Nokia 225, but it’s easier to get in the pocket. There is a basic 2.4-inch, 320-by-240-pixel basic LCD under a scratched plastic panel, but not easily cracked.
There’s a standard Nokia and a separate quirk here: no hardware volume rocker. Some people like that. I’m not a fan. You are using the volume switch in the phone; if not, from the home screen, press up and use the on-screen slide to change the volume.
Master of Connection
The 6300 is a rare dual-SIM phone approved for use by VOLTE and Wi-Fi by all three US vehicles. You can use one SIM, US and external SIM, or two US SIM. The quality of the phones has been improved, and the 6300 is one of the largest voice calls we’ve ever encountered: In our test, the earphone was raised to 93.9dB, and the speaker went to 93.2dB by six inches – more than 4dB louder than the Nokia 225.
According to the Nokia Sheet, this phone is well-designed for the T-Mobile network and will work well for AT&T, but will face the difficulties of being available on Verizon. It has LTE band 2/4/5/12/66/71 in the US. That will give it a longer distance to the T-Mobile 71 band, unlike the Nokia 225 and Sunbeam F1. But the spec sheet is not available for band 13, which is very important for Verizon’s long-distance use. That group is available on Kyocera DuraXV Extreme, Nuu F4L, and Sunbeam F1.
The spec sheet does not register any LTE bands across US models, so you may have to get 3G installation abroad. That said, foreign carriers are more aggressive than in America when it comes to shutting down 3G.
There are 26 included ringtones, and you can also use your MP3s.
See How We Test Calls
Wi-Fi is limited to the 2.4GHz band. There is an option to use the modem, so I was able to check the LTE speed. With the phase 4 LTE modem, the 6300 only works with a fraction of the speed available on high-end smartphones. While the Galaxy S21 Ultra showed down 172Mbps down and 49.1Mbps up, the 6300 handled 19.5Mbps down and 24.8Mbps up. That said, the speed of the 6300 is the same as what we have seen on some cheap voice phones with operating modes.
KaiOS, Not Chaos
The 6300 uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 chipset. It has 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage; there is a microSD card slot under the battery which was not a problem with my 256GB card.
KaiOS, a descendant of Firefox OS, is designed to work on low-power devices like this. It has an app store. It is very popular in Africa and India. Here in the US, it has appeared on Alcatel flip phones, but does not have a market share to attract more engineers. If you are familiar with Android or iOS, it will take you a while to adjust.
The phone comes preloaded with the (removable) Facebook and YouTube apps. The Flip TV app broadcasts news channels such as ABC News and Cheddar, and the Kinet TV app broadcasts cable entertainment channels such as A&E. But neither Amazon Prime, Hulu, or Netfl
The best music apps also don’t exist. But I found pleasure in the World Radio app that allows me to broadcast other Listen.FM 80s channels via Bluetooth to my OnePlus Buds stereo. It skipped occasionally but was usually reliable. Due to KaiOS restrictions, live streaming music will not start in the background while doing something on the phone; you will have to give up that desire for more jobs.
The killer app is Google Maps, which first downloads and provides navigation, navigation and driving directions. Maps is the app I remember when I go out with a basic phone and need to find a bookstore, park, or Chipotle. More than any other feature, its installation makes the 6300 a satisfying smartphone experience.