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Review of Nokia C3-00 GSM phone

Live photos of Nokia C3-00


  1. In the box:
  2. Positioning
  3. Design, dimensions and controls
  4. Screen
  5. Keypad
  6. Battery
  7. USB, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
  8. Memory
  9. Camera
  10. Software
  11. Impressions

In the box:

  • Nokia C3
  • BL-5J 1320 mAh Li-Ion battery
  • AC-3 Charger
  • Wired stereo headset WH-102
  • microSD 2 GB memory card
  • User Guide


In the middle of 2009 Nokia decided to develop QWERTY segment as it already missed the opportunity to get a foothold in the touchscreen market and did not want to follow suit with QWERTY phones. At the same time Nokia always enjoyed high sales in the area. Remember such bestselling models as Nokia E71 and Nokia E63. Other solutions were not so successful. The company decided to come up with as many QWERTY models as possible. The product portfolio would have been incomplete without an appropriate S40 handset. S40 is one of the most popular mobile platforms on the planet. It offers good value for money, an opportunity to provide accessible models and lead them to markets in record times. On the other hand it does not have multitasking and several features are not implemented properly. In particular price segments these downsides are not relevant.

С3 targets mass market audiences and competes with models from smaller manufacturers and Samsung C3222. Taking into account the popularity of Nokia in this segment and the fact that not everybody needs a S60 smartphone, this model suits its target audience perfectly well. First of all, we see a tried and trusted S40 with several improvements. Then Nokia is still quite attractive for this audience and will be automatically popular. Finally, Nokia offers good models without touchscreens if there are no manufacturing defects.

Who may like Nokia C3? This question is not easy at all. I think the main customer group will contain young people who like QWERTY models and buy them. Consumers above 25 will prefer more expensive solutions. This phone will also suit those who send text messages, but don't use mail often. It is a model for conservatives, which is confirmed by Alcatel and the sales of its QWERTY phones. I think Nokia will be in the same position.

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Design, dimensions and controls

It is an ordinary model with a QWERTY keypad, which follows in the footsteps of more expensive phones. C3 is offered in three colors: Slate Grey, Golden White and Hot Pink. Golden White model has white elements at the back, while for other 2 versions they are black.

Dimensions are 115.5х58.1х13.6 mm, weight is 114 g. The phone is typically broad, but it fits a hand well. The main material is plastic with the back cover made of thin metal. I have no complaints to the build quality. The plastic covering the screen is soft and can be deeply scratched unless handled with care. I have not carried the model with keys, but somehow ended up with such scratches.

Nokia C3-00 с Nokia E63:

The left side features a memory card slot covered with a plastic cap. Nearby you can see a capped microUSB jack. At the top we find a 2 mm charger jack and a 3.5 mm jack for a headset or headphones.

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A 2.4″ screen provides the resolution of 240х320 with 262,000 colors (TFT). In the sun the screen can still be read due to large interface elements. Viewing angles are not the best, but it is not crucial here. In the majority of lists you can get up to 5-6 lines, while in the browser this parameter goes up to 14.

I found the screen relatively dim. As far as its main purpose is to write SMS or read and not to watch video it is not too important.

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The keypad has 37 keys plus two dedicated buttons to access Messages or Contacts. They can be traditionally assigned other activities and features for short and long pressings can also be selected. These keys are not usual because of decorative elements and you tend to press area near the key instead. The adjustment takes little time though.

The keypad quality is excellent, keys are easy to press and separated courtesy of their shape. Text input is fast. I liked the model as the keypad is impeccable. In comparison with older versions with 39 buttons here the lower row has no keys with @, / symbols, which is not a serious loss. Owners of Nokia C3 are unlikely to have experience with previous QWERTY solutions from Nokia and will not pay attention to this change at all.

The backlight is white, balanced and can be seen in different circumstances.

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The handset has a 1320 mAh Li-Ion BL-5J battery. The manufacturer claims up to 7 hours of talktime and 800 hours on standby. Music playback equals 30 hours.

In real life the phone worked around 3-3.5 days. Daily workload included 1.5 hours of talktime, several dozens of photos, two minutes of video and three hours of music playback. Full charging takes approximately 2.5 hours.

Maximum operation time in different modes is the following:

  • WEB surfing (EDGE connection) – 4.5 hours
  • Music playback in headphones – 28 hours
  • Radio – 30 hours

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USB, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi

USB. In USB settings you can choose one of three modes:

  • Data Storage (Mass Storage USB) – both phone memory and memory card are available without any drivers as the OS recognizes the phone independently.
  • OVI Suite – work with OVI Suite, access to all model’s features, backup of all information and so on.
  • Media – photo printing, MTP mode.

Data transfer speed reaches 5 Mbps. Computer connection triggers the charging.

Bluetooth. Bluetooth 2.1 supports EDR and the following profiles:

  • A2DP
  • BIP-ImagePush
  • DUN-GW
  • FT-Server
  • HandsFree-AG (1.0)
  • Headset-AG
  • OBEX
  • OPP-Client
  • OPP-Server
  • SIM Access-Server

Data transfer speed for Bluetooth connections reaches 100 Kbps. We tested the transfer of stereo sound to Sony Ericsson DS970. Tracks control, rewinding and random playback are easy to use, but the title of the currently played track is not displayed on screen.

WiFi. Networks set up wizard can also store found networks in memory. Sadly, the phone cannot activate WLAN wizard during the browser connection. 802.11 b/g (WPA2 AES/TKIP) is supported.

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User can have access to 55 MB in the handset to store any data. Hot swappable microSD cards use a slot located on the side. In the box you will find a 2 GB card. The maximum size is limited to 8 GB. The RAM is 64 МБ. Apps are limited to 2 MB, while the heap size is also 2 MB.

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The phone comes equipped with a 2 MP CMOS module without the autofocus (fixed focus from 20 cm to eternity, EDoF). For the price the camera is decent.

The interface is horizontal (S40 Simple). Look at pictures samples and make your own conclusions.

Video recording. The phone supports video recording in 3GP format with the resolution of 320х240 (15 fps). The length of recording can be limited or it can be maximum and depend entirely on the amount of free memory in the phone or on the card. Effects applied to video coincide with those of the photo section. During the viewing on the phone the quality of pictures is acceptable even if you use maximum resolution.

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All features of the platform are described in a detailed article, so feel free to read it. Below you will see pictures of preinstalled apps and they do not require any explanation. As the phone uses an album orientation we provide you with photos of major features for you to know how they look. Click here to access the detailed description:

Software features of Nokia S40 6th Edition (Compact UI)

The desktop may have bars with shortcuts, links to apps and widgets, for example Twitter. These widgets have limited usefulness and give no additional information. The rationale behind this solution is to resemble S60 as closely as possible.

Games are represented by Block'D, Bounce Tales, Diamond Rush, Sudoku.

In Applications you can find Communities (pruned down clients for Facebook and Twitter), converters of measurements and clothes sizes, World Clock and Opera Mini.

The handset boasts OVI Chat, which allows communicating with other OVI users. Unfortunately, these people are not numerous, while other similar services are not supported. On the other hand, the app can be folded into the background and still receive messages, which shows signs of multitasking. We will see how the application will develop further if it gets AIM, ICQ and Skype support. That would be interesting, but it is just wishful thinking.

For the first time a mail client for S40 was replaced by an appropriate Nokia Messaging app. It has some advantages: support of 10 accounts, fast setup for popular services and the redundancy of server settings input. Other positives are optimization of pictures before download from the server to save traffic (works for OVI Mail). A 1.8 MB picture was turned into a 16 KB one, which is a good option for viewing on the phone's screen. It's a pity, but if you need an original it will not work out. The mail client is a bit slow, but if you don't have tons of messages that will do.

All of the screenshots you can see here.

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I don't have complaints in terms of speech reproduction. The speaker is loud enough and you can always hear any interlocutor clearly. Connection quality is good, while ringtones are excellent with the above average vibro.

There are already several accessible QWERTY models on the market. For example, Alcatel OT802 costs €80, while Nokia C3-00 fetched at least €90. For the same amount you can get Samsung C3222 Chat, which has no WiFi, but offers dual SIM support. Models target different audiences and the head-to-head comparison is senseless.

I think that Nokia C3-00 is almost ideal for its customers. The model is nice, though its price is slightly inflated in comparison with Alcatel, but you have to pay for the brand too. If you need a QWERTY keypad and the phone for calls you should definitely consider Nokia C3. If you require advanced specifications think about S60 or models from rival companies. In its segment Nokia C3 is one of the best and I can sincerely recommend it for purchase.

Do you want to talk about this? Please, go to our Forum and let your opinion be known to the author and everybody else.

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Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
Twitter    Livejournal
Translated by Maxim Antonenko (maxantonenko@ukr.net)

Published — 23 January 2010

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



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