The sizable (1.25 inches diagonal) external display on the front cover is great for a Nokia phone, but at 4,096 colors, it pales in comparison with the high-resolution screens found on some of today's handsets. Still, it shows useful information such as your signal strength, battery level, time, and caller ID (where available). While you can change the color scheme, the wallpaper, and the screensaver, you can't adjust the backlighting; however, the time is still visible even after the backlighting turns off. In the bottom-left corner are the camera lens and the flash. In addition, you can use the external display for self-portraits.
Flip open the Nokia 6255i, and you're presented with a 2-inch (diagonal) screen that displays 65,536 hues. Again, we were somewhat disappointed by the quality of the screen, particularly for a device that places such a heavy emphasis on its multimedia capabilities such as video streaming. It's not as sharp or as bright as competitors' screens, especially the Sanyo MM-5600's gorgeous 262,000-color mug. That said, the menus are easy to use, and you can choose between two menu styles.
Below the screen, you'll find two soft keys, the Talk and End keys, and a dedicated camera button. They all surround the five-way navigation toggle. While there's a convenient OK key in the middle, users with larger digits might want to inspect the layout since it's easy to slip and press the wrong button. Thanks to the 6255i's ample real estate, though, the phone's backlit keypad is spacious, making it easy to dial by feel.
On the left spine, there's a volume rocker, but you can't use it to navigate through the menus. A 2.5mm headset jack and a power button are at the top, while the infrared port and a voice recorder/camera shutter key are located on the right side of the front flap. The latter button serves several purposes. A quick press of the key brings up the voice recorder, and once the camera is activated, you can use it as a capture key, though not to activate the camera. Also, if you hold down the button, you can answer or make calls via the speakerphone even if the phone is closed. Finally, hidden behind the battery pack is the 6625i's MMC slot. While we certainly appreciate its inclusion, we still can't understand why Nokia continues to place it inconveniently underneath the battery rather than on the side of the phone.Just like its size, the Nokia 6255i's feature list is big and plentiful. The mobile has a 500-name phone book that lets you store up to five numbers; an e-mail, Web, and street address; and a note for each contact. For caller-ID purposes, you can pair a contact with an image or any of 24 polyphonic ring tones or assign it to a caller group. Messaging fanatics will be pleased to see text and multimedia messaging supported, as well as e-mail (POP3 and IMAP4). Other treats include a calendar with notes and reminders, an alarm clock, a calculator, a to-do list, voice commands, a WAP 2.0 Web browser, and support for 1xRTT networks for high-speed data transfer. And while the 6255i certainly has a playful side, business users can take advantage of the handset's conference-calling feature as well as the speakerphone and the integrated Bluetooth, two things noticeably absent from the Sanyo MM-5600. The mobile also provides USB-cable support for data transfers between your phone and your PC.