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Review Nokia 1100

Nokia 1100, live pictures

Standard kit

  • Phone
  • Charger
  • User's guide

Nokia was reproached for quite a while because of the cheap budget phone lack; a phone that could have been competitive with products from other manufacturers. The only cheap phone Nokia had to offer was the 3310, although the model itself was pretty old and outdated. The Nokia 1100 release seemed like a cure to the itch in this particular case, but it turned out being not as easy as planned. Nokia announced the first model from the 1000 series in Moscow, before this moment this series was known only in the USA. Nokias representatives marked that its targeted to develop the markets consumers. But they stated that its NOT a budget phone. A cheap phone at a reasonable price, yes, but not cheapness were Nokias arguments.

Distributors accepted the new phones release with a great amount of inspirit, believing that if the phone will have slightly bigger price than its competitors have, the model will conquer a big market share in its segment. Carelessness and stereotypes played a bad joke on Nokia. Theyve marked that this phone is made for older people, being conservative consumers. This means the sort of people who will buy a phone once, holding on to it as long as it works. Stevedores, small shop owners and similar people were shown in pictures of every presentation. People with average or slightly less income in other words. Hence this model cant be considered as massive, its a close circle targeted phone. Nokia realizes this fact and tries to deal with it. In our opinion this is a budget model with its own consumer category, not a cheap phone as the ones were used to. This model is adequate to the consumers needs and can satisfy him/her to one hundred percent. On the other hand, the extra charge for the brand itself is extremely high. It isnt likely that many phones in the 1000 series will be released. The Nokia 1200 (youth solution), the Nokia 1300 (mature audience, second phone replacement for the owners of the Nokia 3310/3330). As you can see, Nokia builds new product lines with the help of distinguishing models for specific target audiences, and not by price.

The Nokia 1100 has an unusual design which seems like an attempt of stylizing for industrial design, disguised under the bright cases colours. Exchangeable covers are supported, and you can change front and rear panels. We believe that this opportunity will not be used widely by the users, except for occasions when the casing has been damaged and needs a replacement. There are six additional panels, all of them very bright and monotonous. Some of them look very appealing.

The phone is not big (106x46x20 mm), but it doesnt sink in your hands either. You can actually feel its weight, although its just 86 grams. Whenever I was trying to measure the phone I got a strange feeling that its weight is not located proportionally. The lower part is much lighter than the upper one where the display is located. By the way, its the feeling of weight that proves this model being made for senior citizens. Researches show that senior citizens prefer feeling the object, so it has to be more heavier than light, which obviously associates with a sensation of solidness and reliability.

The sides have ribs which prevent your fingers from slipping when using it. Dropping the phone accidentally even from wet hands is rather problematic. The phone doesnt have any water proof casing neither anti-fall technology. Perhaps its only protection is the plastic or its keylike shape, but nothing more. If you accidentally drop this phone into the water, the result will be the same as if there was no protection at all the phone will be broken.

A flashlight is located right in the middle of phones top. It consists of one light diode and doesnt give as much light as the one used in the Nokia 3200 does. In order to activate the flashlight, youll have to press the C button, pressing it twice will leave it turned on constantly.

The fact that the phone has two holes for straps seems rather interesting, placing one strap into both of them will secure maximum stability.

The microphone, charging port and interface connector are located on the bottom. The display is graphical and black & white. Its resolution is 96x65 pixels. Four text lines and once extra line for service needs can be displayed at once. The displays backlight is provided by green LEDs, just like in the Nokia 6210/3310. Information shown on the screen is easily readable and the font size is large enough. Even if the display is exposed to direct sunlight, no problems are encountered when reading it. Its a good old monochromic display after all.

The keypad is made of silicone, and while changing front panel you should make sure that this block is monolithic.

Keys stick densely to each other which is not always comfortable. They are average by size and are rather tight when pressing them. The symbols are presented with a large font (because of the eye-sight problems that most older people have) and the keypads backlight is green as well. Unfortunately the keys are not clearly seen in complete darkness which may affect the speed of SMS typing, but suitable for both dialing numbers and composing SMSs.

Removing the back panel will reveal the battery. Its a Li-Ion type at 850 mAh capacity (BL-5C). A nice battery in this segment. Nokia claims that it can work up to 400 hours during standby mode (100 hours is the minimum amount), and from 2 to 4.5 hours when talking. The phone worked for approximately one week while we were testing it with forty minutes used talking and about 10 minutes of other functions used daily. Three hours are required for the battery to charge up. This parameter can be easily compared with Philipss best models.

The SIM-holder is rather unusual and definitely attracts your attention. However, it works fine.


Press central key in order to access the main menu. Its traditionally presented with a set of animated icons provided with definitions. All sub-menus are arranged in lists. Key number navigation is supported. Press the C key in order to access upper menu level. Menu scrolling is done with the help of dedicated arrow keys. Their position near the right edge doesnt seem very logical, and it would have been better if Nokia had placed them where the NaviKey is located. I always wanted to use the NaviKey instead of the arrow keys to navigate through the menu while I was using this phone. Perhaps its because Ive used Nokia 6210 for too long but I cant say for sure. People who havent been using a mobile phone previously wont have a problem getting used to this kind of navigation solution.

The lack of separate call/end call keys seems more critical and uncomfortable. In order to accept the incoming call you will have to press the central key, but if you wish to dial one of the recent numbers youll have to press the upper arrow key. Its not intuitive and requires memorizing the sequence. Considering that the missed calls list can be accessed only through the menu, claims for the menus become of great importance. Menu navigation convenience is lower than that of other phones, but both the keyboard (buttons positioning) and structure of the main menu are part of the blame.

Phonebook. In order to access the list of phone book entries press the lower arrow key. Numbers from SIM-card and phones memory are displayed at once. The common list has a search option. 50 entries can be stored in the phones memory with only one number attached to each entry, which you also can set various melodies for.

Messages. 50 SMSs can be stored in the phones memory. Predictive text input T9 is supported. A multisend feature is rather unusual for this type of phone, and you can create up to 6 lists with 10 contacts in each and send one message to several numbers at once, Chat support is not typical either, however its present. The phone supports Nokia Smart Messaging, and even 8 pictures are present from the start Plus there is a set of 8 smileys (and two empty slots for your own). Seems the digit 8 becomes becomes a factor in this phone, as there are also 8 pre-installed message templates. Joined messages are supported.

Call list. A basic set of last received/dialled/missed calls with date and time for each entry. There are three lists. The dialed calls list can be accessed by pressing Call button when in standby mode. I find the absence of a combined list a not a very wise decision. 10 numbers are stored in each list. The call length and cost is shown here as well.

Sounds. All sound settings are located here. Choose a ringtone for calls, messages, alerts; its volume, etc. The profiles are rather interesting and you can personalize each profile and use it, being very useful.

Settings. Choose date, time and some additional settings like auto key lock. Thats about it, actually.

Alarm Clock. The Alarm Clock can be set to go off once or at specific days selectable from the list.

Reminder. You can create short reminders and insert notifications for them. Nothing special.

Games. The phone has two games - Snake II (good old Snake), Space Impact + (arcade, shooter). In my opinion, they were added in order to enrich the phones functions, and not for entertainment needs.

Extra. Calculator, which is a unit converter as well, stopwatch, countdown, melody editor, screen saver (turns activated constantly or after a period of time, and you can't choose the picture for it).


This phone offers a basic set of functions and a great battery duration. It would have been a typical Nokia phone if the network quality was alright. Your conversation partners voice doesnt sound as clear as it does in more expensive models; its rather deaf and not nicely synthesized. He/she hears you the same way, and most likely its the fault of the speakers position.

The ringtones are usual and not polyphonic. Theyre pretty loud, so dont worry about hearing your phone when its ringing, youll hear it almost everywhere. The vibrating alert is good and it has enough strength to be surely felt when youre carrying it in your jacket. A special mode can be activated as well: making the vibrating alert turn on first, followed by the ringtone. Another alternative is switching on the Rhythm, making the vibrating alert beat with the selected ringtone.

Its a dual band model, which is usual for a phone in this price range. The Nokia 1100 costs $105-$115 at the moment which is rather overpriced. You can buy a phone with polyphonic ringtones and a colour display installed for the same amount of money. But the phone will still be popular in its segment, although not as popular as it could have been. The Nokia 1100s price will decrease after the release of new 1000 series models, lowering the price from 89-90 to 69-70. Only then the sales will rise, but unfortunately well probably have to wait until the spring of 2004.

Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
Translated by Alexander "Lexx" Zavoloka(Lexx@i-5.delfi.lv)
Text editor: Tommy Kellerman (Tommy.Kellerman@kama.se)

Published — 22 December 2003

Have something to add?! Write us... eldar@mobile-review.com



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