Light without feeling cheap, the C3-01 is a slim, aluminium phone with comfortably sized keys and a capacitive touch-screen
Built on Symbian S40, Nokia’s software for its non-smartphones, the C3-01 runs smoothly enough, but the home screen is not as customisable as we would have liked
A feature list including a five-megapixel camera with LED flash, high-speed HSDPA internet and push email is impressive on a phone at this price point
The C3-01 performs all its standard functions pefectly, and the combination of touch-screen and keypad really works
Naturally, without the burden of a long feature list draining its battery, the C3-01 will last through a few days without needing a charge
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,6/13/2010 10:17:49 AM
Look and feel
Ease of use
Natural navigation with combination of touch-screen and hard keys, fast internet for a standard phone, efficient text/call features
Customising the home screen isn?t very intuitive, while there is a measly 30MB of on board memory
If you miss the parade of classy basic phones that was Nokia in the 90s, cast your eye on the C3-01 Touch and Type. It’s your straight up candybar with a twist - a touch-screen in place of the standard display. Upshot? One of the most efficient little phones to pop out of the Finnish manufacturer in a while.
Hardware-wise, Nokia has done a top job. Light without feeling cheap, the C3 is a slim, aluminium phone with comfortably sized keys and a capacitive touch-screen. No D-pad of course – navigation is done entirely on the 2.4-inch touch-screen – and this adds to its streamlined look. The combination of touch-screen and keypad really works – it’s intuitive to use a finger to select icons on the screen and then head to the hard keys for texting and calling. Its standard functions are all note perfect, and it takes a minimal number of clicks to send texts and make calls.The 3.5mm audio jack for standard headphones is a good feature on a low-end phone. If you want to load music on, the 30MB of internal memory isn’t up to much – though there’s a microSD slot that supports cards of up to 32GB. It’s handily placed so you can swap cards without powering down the phone.
Built on Symbian S40, Nokia’s software for its non-smartphones, the single home screen has room for four toolbars – time/date, favourite contacts, and a customisable shortcut bar, where you can put any of chat, calendar, mail, notes, notifications and communities, a set of hot links to the Facebook and Twitter sites.Tapping the time takes you to the clock app, where you can set an alarm, while hitting date takes you to the calendar, which is wonderfully intuitive. The touch-screen is quite responsive, but we did have to tap harder than on say, the iPhone. Scrolling in particular is a bit jerky.
Unfortunately, in order to customise the home screen or shortcut bar you have to head to the somewhat buried settings menu, and it’s not immediately clear that’s what you have to do. Of course, this is how it worked in phones of yore, but in this day and age, the ability to customise your shortcut bar from the home screen isn’t such a huge ask. If this is all too much for you, at least you can go into settings and turn ‘home screen mode’ off to display a grid-style menu screen.
A dedicated shutter button lets you operate the five-megapixel snapper like a real camera, though despite the LED flash, colours were a bit faded indoors. Shots in daylight were decent, and once snapped, you can send pictures by MMS, email or Bluetooth – though not to any social networks directly. Web and email is pretty basic, and non-mobile sites don’t display very well in the browser. However, with touch-screen navigation and high-speed HSDPA internet, this is one of the best web experiences on a standard phone. You can load Hotmail, Gmail and Microsoft Exchange email accounts onto the phone, but the email program can’t run in the background, so you’ll only get email when you actively use the app. It’s a full-featured program for such a dinky phone though, and with Hotmail you can launch your Windows Live Messenger chat account as well. Naturally, without the burden of a long feature list draining its battery, the C3-01 will last through a few days without needing a charge.
Nokia has always been top of the class with its basic phones and the C3 Touch and Type is a well-executed twist on the form. The touch-screen updates a tried and tested phone so that its standard features and low-octane web are even more usable.