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Review of Nokia C7-00 GSM/UMTS Smartphone
Live photos of Nokia C7-00
In the box:
The Nokia C7-00 (hereafter, just the C7 for the sake of brevity) has been assigned a special role in the Nokia smartphone lineup. It is going to be the second Symbian^3 device to make it to the market. I would like to remind you that there will be quite many of such models in 2010 and 2011 along with the older devices based on Symbian^1 (S60 fifth edition). The Nokia N8 is considered to be a flagship and will be promoted the most. Yet it is the Nokia C7 that will sell better due to its lower price and will prove a very simple thing Ц i.e. that a camera is not much of an advantage for the mass market (provided that the customers are not aware of the camera "quality" in the C7 and will be buying the device only for its megapixel galore). Why is the Nokia C7 going to be attractive to the customers? The answer is simple. Essentially, it is the same Nokia N8, albeit in a smaller packaging and at a lower price.
Since the company tried to understate the cost of the Nokia N8, the C7 couldn't be made attractive in terms of price. That would predate the sales of the N8. As a result, the otherwise balanced solution became a prisoner of Nokia's pricing policy. The price difference between the C7 and C6-01 (save for the screen, both models are the same) is EUR 75, whereas the difference between the C7 and N8 is mere EUR 40. In the meantime, the Nokia C7 was designed as a solution with an optimal price/quality ratio, in a way, a logical continuation of the E series. Of course, there is also the Nokia E7-00 available on the market, yet it is a QWERTY device, whereas the C7 is an immediate successor to the E52/E72, featuring a similar design and overall device feel. It is a sensor solution, though. Initially, the model was supposed to become one of the first touch-sensitive models in the E series. At some point, however, they decided to turn it into a flagship in the C lineup comprised of casual, everyday devices.
All those perturbations played a nasty trick on the smartphone in the end. On the one hand, the customers may not understand why the Nokia C7 is so much more expensive than the C6-01 and on the other hand, the Nokia N8 appears more attractive whereas the price difference is not that critical. Unfortunately, the unbalanced product portfolio is going to have an impact on the Nokia C7 sales, preventing them from reaching the maximum level that the device actually deserves.
In terms of looks, the model appears as some odd yet attractive blend of the Korean phone design and the typical Nokia. You can't really feel the charm of the Nokia C7 in the pictures. It feels good in one's hand and is quite a nice device in general. The weight is 130 grams and the dimensions are 117.3 x 56.8 x 10.5 mm. It is tall and thin and I really like holding it in my hand.
Nokia C7-00 vs Nokia N8:
The Nokia C7 is available in three colors: Frosty Metal, Charcoal Black and Mahogany Brown. In my opinion, all of them are good and the red-brown version should be a hit with ladies.
On the front panel, you can find an extra camera for video calls, light sensor (on the left-hand side from the speaker) and a proximity sensor. The Call, Hang Up and Menu buttons are actual hardware keys, which is a plus. The lock slider on the side follows the general style of the phone. Right next to it, there is a camera button and a volume rocker, which is quite handy unlike the one in the C6-01.
On the top, there is a microUSB port, 3.5 mm audio jack and a power button. The 2 mm power adapter jack has been moved to the side.
The loudspeaker is located on the back, right next to the dual LED flash and 8-megapixel camera without autofocus. The SIM card slot can be found under the battery cover and although the card itself can be reached without actually taking out the battery, the phone will reboot automatically once you do that.
I do not have any complaints about the quality of the device: it is well built and makes a good overall impression. The protruding design element of the voice speaker (i.e. the glossy strip you can see in the pictures) will wear off very quickly if you have a habit of putting the phone upside down on the table. I don't know why they couldn't make it level.
The display is 3.5 inches wide, has a resolution of 640х360 pixels, supports up to 16 million colors and is covered with glass (that is how they refer to the special plastic layer also used in the X6 but different from that in the N8). The display type is AMOLED, and my guess is that it is made by Samsung, just like it is with the N8. In fact, it is absolutely identical to that of the N8. There is no polarized layer (ClearBlack Display) there.
Up to 16 text rows (depends on actual working mode) can be displayed at a time. You have a selection of 3 font sizes in the phone preferences. The screen remains readable in direct sunlight.
The inbuilt light sensor adjusts the screen brightness automatically based on the environmental conditions. The level appears to be generally lower than it should be, and it's better to pick one from the menu (personally I prefer the 60-65 percent level). The brightness cannot be adjusted manually.
It is a decent up-to-date screen, not a superstar but not a loser.
The phone has 350 MB of memory, which is used for ordinary apps or user data. There is 8 GB of additional in-built memory and microSD memory cards of up to 32 GB are supported. The memory card slot is under the back cover.
The model boasts up to 256 MB of RAM (Nokia N97 Mini offers 128 MB). It is a giant leap forward for Nokia and it had to bring increased stability and speed. The handset is indeed considerably faster, but the stability is not as good as it could be. I have to say that we definitely have an improvement in comparison with other Nokia models, but it leaves much to be desired anyway.
The phone employs a 1200 mAh BL-5K battery, which gives up to 380 hours on standby and 5.5 - 12 hours of talktime (UMTS/GSM).
The handset features new architecture, which coupled with Symbian^3 provides increased operation time for every mode. Let's look at parameters in real life compared with levels claimed by the manufacturer:
The difference from Nokia N8 is visible and operation time considerably increased with the same capacity of the battery.
On the downside, I have to mention the average operation time of no more than two days, though it is not bad, because many devices need a recharge after 24 hours. The major share of power is used by the home screen with widgets (they need a lot of resources as any other data transfer apart from Wi-Fi). The battery is also heavily used when you browse the web pages. Taking into account the operation time, it becomes clear why ARM11 boasts only 680 MHz, which is a compromise for the better operation time. If you set the screen brightness at 70%, the operation time in my profile goes down by 10%. The maximum brightness will eat out around 20 %.
The total recharge time is about 2 hours.
In USB settings you can choose one of the following 3 modes:
Data transfer speed reaches 5.5 Mb/s. When USB cable is connected the phone starts recharging.
Bluetooth. This is the second Nokia model with Bluetooth 3.0 also known as High Speed. During the file transfer to other devices with this technology Wi-Fi 802.11 n is used and theoretically the transfer speed can be around 24 Mb/s. The transfer of 1 GB file from Samsung Wave S8500 to Nokia C7 and back showed the maximum speed of 10 Mb/s over a distance of three meters. During the transfer of large files the connection often gets interrupted, which does not happen during the transfer from Nokia C7 to the same model or from Samsung to Samsung. It may happen due to the incompatibility of settings. The transfer of large files to usual S60 smartphones also often results in the loss of connection (without the use of BT 3.0).
The phone supports different profiles: Headset, Handsfree, Serial Port, Dial Up Networking, File Transfer, Object Push, Basic Printing, SIM Access and A2DP. There are no questions as to the use of headsets. Everything is quite traditional here.
Wi-Fi. 802.11 b/g/n standard is supported, but it is not the first model on the market with such a range of protocols. The feature works just fine. There is Wi-Fi networks lookup wizard and the corresponding widget (I installed it and enjoy the convenience).
An ordinary 8 MP camera without autofocus is similar to that of Nokia C7. Surprisingly, Nokia decided to continue the megapixel race and the autofocus was ditched. I think that a 5 MP camera with the autofocus would have been more appropriate here. On a clear day and at large distances the quality of pictures is decent, but if you move closer everything goes to the dogs. Pictures of text are impossible to describe and the flash can't help either. Symbian always concentrated on the camera quality and in this case we have a complete turnaround. It is a huge disadvantage, because the camera is well below par. Look at pictures yourself though.
Video. The camera records video in 720p (25 frames per second, H.264 codec) resolution. The quality is ordinary.
I would like to remind you that all features of Symbian^3 have been already described in the review. There is no need for repetition, so feel free to follow the link below to get the information on all parameters of the OS.
The handset has one speaker, but it offers loud and clear sound you can hear from pockets and bags. I like shallow and frequent vibro tremolos, but the majority may view it as weakness. There are no complaints regarding the connection quality.
The major downside of the model is its camera, which cannot be but criticized. This is another Nokia move to highlight photo features of Nokia N8. The rationale is strange as the prices of both models are quite similar. I would like to remind you that cameras were always high points of S60 smartphones, which gave them the edge over Windows Mobile and Android. In this case this advantage was disposed of.
The price of Nokia C7-00 starts at И350, while Nokia C6-01 costs И260-270 and offers similar features. This is problem No 1 for Nokia C7. The second issue is the existence of Nokia N8 with rich accessories from the box (case, adapters, etc.) and the minimum price difference. The camera of N8 is head and shoulders above the one used in C7-00. C7 seems to be a middle of the road solution in Nokia portfolio and suffers from the sales of both C6-01 and N8. It's a pity as the model had to offer the best value for money and despite certain reservations it is still the most balanced Symbian^3 model today. Add a camera with the autofocus into the equation and the bestseller is ready.
It has many rivals and some of them have been around for a long period. We should mention Samsung Wave, Wave II (priced at И320 and И400 respectively), HTC Desire (И360), Motorola XT720 aka MOTOROI (И400). The list can be continued. To my mind the mistake with pricing jeopardizes good sales of —7 and customers will have to pay a 20% premium for the brand. It is a nice solution in Nokia lineup and it can be recommended to those who are familiar with touchscreen Symbian and know how to handle such models. Especially, if you don't need a camera. Then Nokia C7 is a good choice. Others may go for rival models with superior interface, better speed, features and additional applications.
And finally look at key features of Nokia C7, C6-01 and Nokia N8.
I think this table clearly illustrates common points and differences between models.
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Published 21 November 2010
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