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First look at Nokia C7-00
Nokia cannot keep information on new models before their announcement. Some view it as good PR and moves calculated for effect. Unfortunately, the naked truth is easier to understand: no top manager can control events in the company and the number of leaks increases year after year irretrievably. The amount of information already available about Nokia C7 makes this model well known and devoid of any novelty.
In this article I will draw upon my personal experience when I used this phone in Estonia during my vacations. I tried different apps on it and studied its features. Full review will be published at the end of the year when its first buyers will be able to pass their judgment. The text in front of you is not a comprehensive review, but first impressions. They are quite grounded and I hope they are correct.
In the smartphone lineup from the Finnish manufacturer Nokia C7-00 (hereinafter referred to as C7) occupies a special place. It is the second smartphone on Symbian^3 to go on sale. Such models will be offered in abundance at the end of 2010 and in 2011. They will coexist with old fashioned handsets on Symbian^1 (S60 5th Edition). The company views Nokia N8 as the flagship and all promotion efforts will be concentrated on this model, but Nokia C7 will sell better due to lower price and will prove that cameras in phones are not so important for average consumers. Why Nokia C7 will attract the attention of people? The answer is simple. It is Nokia N8 in a different body with a lower price.
The exterior of the model resembles a crossbreed between a phone from Korea and a typical Nokia. The mix is unusual, but nice. Photos do not convey the appeal of Nokia C7. In real life it is pleasant to hold in hands. The quality of plastic in the white version is similar to Nokia C6 and Nokia N97. The black one is not so pleasant to touch. The back cover is made of metal as well as the edge around the screen. Nevertheless, the phone does not feel like a bar of metal. It is made of plastic and you can feel it when you hold Nokia C7 in your hands. I think it was made intentionally to differentiate the model from aluminium bodies of Nokia N8, Nokia E7 and Nokia N9. Different series are given different materials, and as far as C series caters for mass demand the body is made of plastic.
The model retains a 2 mm charger jack, though charging via microUSB is also supported. Featurewise this model is a copy of Nokia N8 apart from an 8 MP camera and the absent HDMI. Other characteristics coincide: the screen, RAM (8 GB of internal storage). I will quote some paragraphs from N8 review because of 100% match.
The screen looks familiar. It is the one used in other Nokia models, such as the X6. It has the resolution of 640x360 pixels, 3.5-inches, covered with glass (that is what the special plastic identical to that of the X6 becomes called) and allows up to 16 million colors. It is based on AMOLED, which however shouldn't be compared to Samsung's Super AMOLED, those are two different technological generations. The Nokia N8 screen is comparable to the one in the Nexus One and is even superior to the latter in direct sunlight; the picture quality is comparable indoors. On the whole, the AMOLED screen is not that much of an advantage; the picture is similar to X6, albeit better in terms of the color range. The difference is not that apparent (probably, due to the interface icons and design). It becomes clearer when browsing through the pictures.
In select modes, the screen can contain up to 16 text rows; there are three font sizes to choose from in the phone preferences. In direct sunlight, the colors fade away, which is typical (the notorious Super AMOLED is an exception).
It is one of the first Nokia products to support multi-touch (e.g. in the gallery or browser); you just need to make a special gesture (pinch-to-zoom) to zoom in or out. The screen is capacitive, with the build quality and behavior similar to Nokia X6. While most of the time, the sensitivity is okay, every now and then the screen won't respond to taps (due to the software fault, like in X6). There is no argument about whether it is the problem of the pre-release software or not; the final version of the X6 has similar problems. At the moment, Nokia is not capable of creating screens comparable to Apple's in terms of convenience or Samsung's latest models which touch responsiveness can now rival Apple iPhone. It is a minor problem and won't be noticed by most customers, though.
In a nutshell, it is a good screen that can't boast of its resolution or color range but is on a decent general level from the perspective of late 2010. It's good, not the best. The Apple iPhone 4 screen has a comparable diagonal but higher resolution, the Samsung Wave screen has superior resolution, color range, and brightness.
The integrated light sensor adjusts the screen brightness automatically based on the environment. The level appears to be generally lower than it should be, and it's better to select one manually from the menu (personally I prefer the 60-65 percent level).
In comparison with Nokia N8 the screen became more responsive to touch. The difference is based on subjective experience, but it was acknowledged by all people who tested the model.
The phone features 135 MB of memory dedicated to common applications or your data. The internal memory of 8 GB can be extended by microSD memory cards of up to 32 GB.
The handset also has 256 MB of RAM (Nokia N97 Mini has 128 MB), which is a great leap forward for Nokia. It had to increase the speed and stability of performance. The speed really improved, while the stability leaves much to be desired. I have to say, that it is better than before, but there is room for improvement.
BL-5K battery has the capacity of 1200 mAh and offers up to 390 hours in the standby mode and from 5.5 to 12 hours of talk time (UMTS/GSM).
The handset features new architecture, which coupled with Symbian^3 provides increased operation time for every mode. Look at operation time in different modes (in theory and in real life):
The difference from Nokia N8 is visible and the operation time significantly increased with the same 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.
USB. 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 first 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 N8 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 N8 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.
WiFi. 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 WiFi networks lookup wizard and the corresponding widget (I installed it and enjoy the convenience).
Here we have an ordinary 8 MP camera with autofocus. We cannot realistically review the camera, because it is a prototype. When new samples appear we will definitely review the camera as well.
This model embodies the futile attempts of Nokia to create the social networks software for its smartphones on S60. As you remember Nokia offers a separate app, which unites all social networks accounts with the authorization through OVI. They artificially tried to boost the number of OVI users and make it look like they are quite active. The first defeat was inflicted by Facebook, which independently develops its own app for different platforms, including Symbian. I remember that in Nokia N97 review I mentioned that Facebook app was one of the best on that model courtesy of Facebook. The situation repeats itself in Nokia C7 and here we have a standalone app, which works fine. If you compare it with Nokia app under OVI brand you will immediately feel the difference. It is still a secret for me why Nokia followed this route.
I would like to remind that all features of Symbian^3 have been covered in our detailed review. Nobody else has done anything similar yet. I know the reason for the unique nature of our review Ц the company does not give samples of Nokia N8 to anybody to protect the activity of its PR department from incorrect interpretation.
Describing my impressions from Nokia N8 I asked the readers to participate in the questionnaire on the prospects of Symbian^3 and answers were quite symptomatic. It is good for Nokia, but does not impress against the background of other solutions. This is the best description of this range and Nokia C7 is not an exception. People who are accustomed to Nokia phones will like the model, but this solution is hardly a market leader. Among flagship models on Symbian^3, you will not find a more balanced handset. Think yourself, the model successfully got rid of an unnecessary HDMI output and a 12 MP, but retained other features of Nokia N8. Nokia E7 will be more expensive. So, we have a winning solution for the next several months. The handset will appear in shops in mid October or November. The recommended price will be around И300-320 before taxes. In real life the price will be higher as we see in the case of Nokia N8 (announced price of И370 became И450-470 in shops). Depending upon the market this phone will cost around И360-390, but even such a price is quite attractive.
In C series we have Nokia C6 with QWERTY keypad, but it costs a lot and is not very attractive. Unfortunately, we should not expect any OS update for the model as Nokia C7-01 (imagine this index) will appear in this capacity. It can be announced in the first quarter of 2011. This will allow Nokia to sell Nokia C6 and launch Nokia E7. It looks that Nokia C7 is the main model on Symbian^3.
Those who are accustomed to Symbian and know this OS will find the model attractive. It offers few interesting games, austere and outdated interface. Taken together it means that Nokia C7 will not attract new customers, but Nokia fans will choose it quite consciously. After all it is the best value for money on Symbian S^3.
Finally, compare Nokia C7 and Nokia N8.
I think this table clearly illustrates the difference and resemblance of two models.
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Published 26 August 2010
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