Nokia C7 in-depth review -

Look and feel

Akin to a stretched pebble, the Nokia C7 has a metallic look and feel, and as such feels refreshingly cool

Ease of use

Though the capacitive touch-screen is impressively responsive, we found the home screens crowded and the widgets and news feed too small

Features

An eight-megapixel camera complete with dual-LED flash, Wi-Fi, A-GPS and a 3.5-inch capacitive touch-screen make up the C7’s feature set

Performance

Impressive camera and sat nav offerings are let down by an overall lack of fluidity, while the browsing experience has too many glitches

Battery life

Nokia has always had a good reputation for strong battery lives, and the C7 is no exception

 Nokia C7 Review -
2

Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/12/2011 3:59:50 PM

4

out of 10

Performance

8

out of 5

Look and feel

4

out of 5

Ease of use

8

out of 5

Features

8

out of 5

Battery life

Pros:

A cool, metallic design will warrant plenty of admiring looks

Cons:

The widgets and news feeds are so cramped that you?ll have to open them up in their entirety to really enjoy the benefits

Nokia’s faith in Symbian needs to be admired. The Finnish manufacturer's loyalty to the much maligned operating system perhaps explains why it has been able to maintain such a devoted fanbase, with consumers not having to master a host of new menu systems or work out what certain keys refer to.

While HTC, LG and Samsung have all embraced both Android and Windows Phone 7, Nokia has so far refused to follow suit. Of course, they have recently updated their Symbian operating system. Symbian^3 was first seen in the Nokia N8, and it’s present and correct here in the Nokia C7, a touch-screen phone with social networking at its core.

Look and feel

The Nokia C7 is one handsome looking device. Akin to a stretched pebble, the C7 has a metallic look and feel, and as such feels refreshingly cool (we’re talking temperature wise). However, you’ll probably find yourself wiping down the back and front of the phone at regular intervals as they are a magnet for fingerprints.

The 3.5-inch AMOLED display adds to the aesthetic appeal of the phone and we were impressed with how responsive the capacitive touch-screen proved to be. However, the default setting of the Nokia C7  consists of three very crowded home screens. Each home screen is made up of six rows of various widgets, shortcuts and news feeds, and though they can of course be edited or removed, we found no way of doing so individually. Instead we’d have to delete an entire line before re-choosing what widgets we wanted to include on the home screen. There’s also no drag and drop facility a la Android, so to add or delete, you’ll need to go through the various menu settings.

Social networking

As touched upon, Nokia has put a huge emphasis on social networking with the C7. Type in your Facebook and Twitter credentials and feeds from both will be merged into one stream. Then you’ll be able to post updates across both networks, search for specific friends as well as take and post photos directly. However, the feed is so small that unless each update is just a few words, you’ll be unable to read the entire post unless you open up the application fully. But even when you do this, we felt the text looked pixelated, which is very surprising considering the quality of the display.

Nokia has loaded the C7 with both Google and Bing, giving you a choice of what search engine you use. Unfortunately, both these text bars are very small, which left us squinting at the screen to make sure we’d spelt out search terms correctly. Another gripe was that when we loaded webpages in landscape mode, the right-hand side of the screen was largely redundant with an empty white space. We were able to realign it manually by pinching and pulling the screen together, but this seems to be an oversight by Nokia, particularly when it’s fine in a portrait position. There’s also no copy and paste facility, something that is almost taken for granted now among respectable smartphones.

Something else in which the Nokia C7 can’t compete with Android (Froyo) phones is voice search. While we’ve been blown away by Google’s efforts, the C7’s offering (activated by a dedicated key on the right-hand side of the phone) not only sounded robotic it was also disappointingly inconsistent.

It’s not all bad as far as the C7 is concerned. Ovi Maps remains one of the most impressive "free" mapping solutions available and the C7 transpired to offer a fast and accurate A-GPS fix, while the vibrant AMOLED display took care of the rest. Likewise, the eight-megapixel camera is probably the highlight of the C7. The zoom mechanism is smooth in comparison with most other handsets, and there’s plenty of after effects you can apply to improve your photos, including the ability to eliminate red-eye. The dual-LED flash, which can also be used while recording video, was particularly powerful, so much so that we’d advise against snapping too close to someone’s face as it left us startled and seeing spots.

Conclusion

When we reviewed the Nokia N8 we praised the improved Symbian^3, though at the same highlighting its limitations. Both Android and now Windows have come on in leaps and bounds in terms of usability and features, while Symbian is timidly shuffling forward. The Nokia C7 is the perfect example of this. The camera and mapping credentials are impressive enough, as is the design. Yet the crowded widgets, restricted customisation and general lack of fluidity means we’d choose Android, Windows or Apple over Symbian all day long.

Danny Brogan