I’ve been using my new C7-00 for just over two weeks now and I’d like to share my thoughts on the device. Overall, I’m very happy with it and feel I’ve made the right choice of phone upgrade. The device hasn’t crashed or locked up once, despite using some old S60 3rd edition applications (Resco News and Y-Browser). The feel of the phone is a testament to Nokia’s industrial design and feels like a quality product through and through. I’ve even started to get used to the touch screen, which despite my protestations that ‘I’ll never buy a touch screen phone’, I’ve taken to it far quicker than when trying out my wife’s Apple iPhone.
I’ve been laid up for a couple of days due to illness and had a few other ‘real life’ things going on, however I’m now catching up with my usage and I want to note my findings below.
Having been spoilt by my E71’s lithium-polymer battery that lasted forever, I have high expectations of Nokia’s performance in this area. Even though the phone has a lower capacity battery (1200mAH vs the E71’s 1500mAH), its performance is pretty good. I can get a full days use (with a phone call or two during the day and a good couple hours usage during the evening) web browsing, tweeting, reading and generally playing around with the device and have between two and four bars left on the battery gauge.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the speed that when connected to the MicroUSB port, how quickly the battery charges. From one bar to fully charged in about two hours – similar performance to using the 2mm mains charger. I still need to confirm this, but for USB charging to occur, I think your USB port has to be of a certain type to charge the C7 and the laptop must be connected to the mains. I will confirm this theory however. The Nokia CA-101 cable (from the E71) also works in this regard, so there is no need to use the short cable from the C7 box.
Symbian ^3 Software:
Despite what has been written in the various (mainly American) tech-blogs who continue to berate Symbian for not being as ‘shiny’ as iOS or Android, I’m enjoying using S^3. Its robust, functional and feels more open and accessible than other mobile O/S’s. For example, try finding a file manager for iOS that gives you ‘proper’ access to files stored on the phone.
I do have one gripe though – Ovi Store. It has took a couple of goes to get the payment through my phone provider to purchase Angry Birds, however it downloaded ok and is just as good as the iOS version.
Buttons and controls:
The buttons and controls are located at generally decent locations around the phone. The camera button allows for easy activation of the camera application, with on screen controls and a wide range of camera functions, such as ISO and exposure. The lock key is very useful – I like the ability to lock the keypad before storing the phone in its case, a function that isn’t available on the iPhone. A very useful feature is the torch – if you hold the lock key down for a few seconds, the twin LED flash lights will illuminate, until you repeat the same action to switch it off.
No ifs, no buts. This is one area where when you need a phone to be a phone and make that important call (yes, even in 2011, people do still talk to each other), for me the phone I use has to be a Nokia. Call quality is A1 and having a microphone/headphone combination set in the box is great. I like to use these when working to make calls, which allows me to use a keyboard to type with both hands. This was proved during this week when my wife’s iPhone was almost under constant use and she was point of contact for a number of important phone calls. Unfortunately the phone’s reliability was not good enough and I put the old E71 on standby, ready to swap the SIM card. A minor thing to watch, I had a problem with a 3.5mm jack adaptor – that I’d previously used to connect various devices to a set of speakers. For some reason the C7’s headphone socket wouldn’t allow the plug to be inserted and I had variable quality sound output. However, I discovered that the headphone/microphone set supplied with the C7, needed to be ‘used’ and inserting this for the first time, seemed to loosen the socket up a little and I was able to use my other plug without further issue. The difference is that the C7 set has a stereo/microphone connector, the other plug was just a stereo plug (see images). I’ll put this quirk down to ‘newness’.
I think people in the tech blogs are getting too hung up on the specifications of phones (cpu, ram, gpu), in the same way as PCs have been compared. The C7-00 is quick, responsive, seems stable and has 8Gb of internal storage with a microSD card slot, supporting upto 32Gb card size (40Gb total). Enough for me – I’ve installed my old 8Gb card from my E71 which has given me instant access to all my music and files. I like the slim design which makes the phone easy to handle and not feel as though I’m lugging a ‘slab’ around like so many smartphones are becoming these days. As for the rest of the spec’s, who cares – it works!
(I must be getting old – a few years ago I would have obsessed over the spec’s – now I happy for something that does the job for me).
As I understand things, all S^3 handsets have essentially the same hardware under the bonnet, which makes writing games and applications easier for developers. My personal experience of the video playback is that the screen and quality is fantastic. However, after having to convert video to 320×240 @ 15 frames per second for the E71, its probably not a surprise I’m impressed with this. I’ve yet to try connecting the AV port upto my TV yet, but I’m expecting good things. nHD 640×360 resolution movies and clips are crisp and there is no jerkiness in the frame rate. Sound quality from the rear-mounted speakers is excellent, even if they are mounted on the back. I can’t decide if I should put the C7 on its front or back to ensure I get the full audio experience!
The C7 sports an 8Mp EDof (extended depth of field) camera. EDoF means that when taking the majority of pictures, they will always be in focus. For the average user, this is fine and means that there is a greater chance of the snapshot being in focus and the user being pleased with the result. However, the limitation is that close-up shots are blurred and the
camera can’t be used for macro shots or images of business cards or documents. If this is something you do a lot of, then I would recommend you try before you buy. I haven’t really tried the video recording yet so I’ll save that for another review post.
Overall Impression so far:
I’m very impressed, I’m surprised how quickly I’ve taken to using the touchscreen when previous experiences with other brands have been so bad. I’ve got all my main applications available so I’m going to be quite happy for a while yet! It will be interesting to see what the Microsoft/Nokia partnership brings to the table in the coming months and years, in the meantime watch out for my long-term report on the C7, which I’ll look to post in a few months time.