Nokia might be the world’s biggest mobile phone manufacturer, but when it comes to smartphones, the company has been struggling in the face of strong opposition from the likes of Apple’s latest iPhone as well as a whole army of Android-powered devices such the HTC Legend and LG Optimus One.
Recently, the Finnish company has signalled its intent to put the shine back in its top of the line offerings with the recent release of its highly anticipated N8 as well as its revised Symbian^3 mobile operating system (OS). They have now followed this up with the C7, a more budget conscious S^3 device.
The C7 boasts fairly standard but still pocket-friendly dimensions of 117.3 x 56.8 x 10.5 mm, weighing in at 130 g. It sports the same 3.5" AMOLED (640 x 360 pixels) capacitive touch-screen as the N8, as well as the same ARM 11 CPU running at 680 MHz. This display doesn’t match the resolution of other high-end device displays, found on the likes of the Apple’s iPhone 4’s (640 x 960 pixels) and the Samsung Wave (480 x 800), but none-the-less it displays photos, webpages and videos very well.
It also enables a host of multi-touch functions such as pinch-to-zoom in and out of webpages as well as photos and pictures. Although not matching the responsiveness of the iPhone 4’s display, the C7’s screen feels really slick when tapping or swiping your way through its menu system, a lot more so than on the LG Optimus One.
Overall the C7 reminds a lot of the XpressMusic 5800, although more rounded and also a lot thinner. Its overall build quality is very good and the device feels solid in hand.
Although as thin as the N8, the C7 doesn’t employ the same type of concealed (and difficult to open) ports for the SIM card and MicroSD card. Instead it utilises a conventional back cover that pops off once you pull back on its lever. Once off, the cover reveals the places where you have to insert your SIM card as well as the Micro SD card (support for cards up to 32 GB in size), which is not hotswappable, as you have to remove the battery to insert the memory card.
The C7 packs 10.2 Mbps 3G support as well as compatibility with HSDPA, HSUPA, GPRS as well as EDGE networks. It also incorporates FM radio, a solid 8 GB of internal memory, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP. Integrated GPS with A-GPS receivers, allows for free car and pedestrian navigation using the excellent Ovi Maps. All in all a decent amount of features and given that amount of functionality, its batter life of 1 and a half to two days is above average for such a feature rich smartphone.
The C7 seems less well-endowed in the multi-media department than its N8 big brother. It makes use of a less powerful (but also less bulky) camera than the N8, featuring an eight megapixel camera with auto-focus, face recognition software and dual xenon flash. Like its bigger brother it is capable of shooting really good quality videos in high-definition (720p) at 25 frames per second (fps), but it doesn’t boast an HDMI output so you won’t be able to display all your stunning HD videos on your HDTV. Very few phones feature this output though, while also absent is the USB to MicroUSB converter.
Daring to be different
Powering this full touch-screen mobile is Symbian (S^3), which is the Finnish manufacturer’s new OS, offering users access to a less than average three home-screens that can be easily edited and populated with widgets according to your choice. S^3 also introduces integrated social networking, in the form of Twitter and Facebook, although to be able to use this functionality you will be required to have (and be signed into) an Ovi account, which isn’t the norm with other OS’s and an unnecessary hindrance in doing business with Nokia’s new OS.
Another issue is that although you are able to manually link contact info from your phonebook with Facebook, the C7 will not automatically do this as is the case with other smartphones such as the BlackBerry Bold 9700, which is not very practical when you have a multitude of FB contacts. Regardless S^3 brings the company’s Symbian OS out of the OS stone-age although we can’t wait to see what’s happening with MeeGo, since this new version of Symbian feels more like an evolution of the former version as opposed to an exiting, new operating system.
For better or worse, Nokia is sticking with Symbian, but with the N8 and now the C7, the company has shown that it has stepped up its game. The C7 is a solidly built device with good multimedia functionality, including its HD video-recording. S^3 is a great deal better than its predecessor Symbian Series 60, which is employed on such phones as the Nokia N97 mini, but as we’ve said before the new OS isn’t up to the standards set by iOS and Android, making us even more eager to get our hands on the first MeeGo-running Nokia smartphone.
The phone carries a recommended retail pricetag of R3699.
HD video recording, packed with multimedia functionality, Symbian^3 much better than the previous OS version, build quality.
Symbian^3 isn't as cool or entertaining as iOS or Android, no HDMI output, you need an Ovi account for the social networking apps to work.
PROSHD video recording, packed with multimedia functionality, Symbian^3 much better than the previous OS version, build quality.
Symbian^3 not as cool or entertaining as iOS or Android, no HDMI output, you need an Ovi account for the social networking apps to work.