A smartphone with AMOLED display
The latest C7 launched by Nokia uses the technology to navigate on the web, take movies in HD and connect to your Facebook community. This is a smartphone full of qualities. They can certainly be improved. After the N8 model launched last year, the Nokia C7 impresses us once again. If its ergonomics were better, the device would be perfect.
The new Nokia C7 smartphone is powered by the latest operating system, launched by Nokia: the Symbian 3. We discussed it during our testing of other Nokia phones. The gadget is powered by an ARM 11 CPU running at 680 MHz and it has 256 MB of memory. The phone also sports 350 MB of internal memory supported by a second internal memory storage of 8GB. The product is able to work with microSD cards. Beside the equipment, this smartphone is full of features: an eight-megapixel sensor with two LEDs for photos, a second sensor front for video calls, a radio receiver, a GPS and so on. It’s very clear that Nokia pushes all the guns to return the fight against Apple and Android mobile technology.
The quality of the finish used by the Nokia C7 is undeniably good. This is a very pleasant surprise for us. We should have foreseen it, since it’s in good ol’ Nokia tradition. This smart phone is only 1.1 cm thick and weighs just 130 grams. This good weight is accompanied by a great 8.9 inch AMOLED display with a resolution a bit small: 360 x 640 pixels. The rear is covered in a metal plate. The whole package is very well made with good materials and has good solidity that inspires confidence. We just wish the cover plate of the screen were different, maybe a little bit brighter without being affected by glare and fingerprints.
If you compare this model to the N8 (also powered by Symbian 3), the C7 is another Nokia multimedia smart phone. Its video player is compatible with all video formats (Xvid, H.264 main profile base, DivX, 3GP, MPEG-2) and the format of the file most used (even AVI MKV formats). We are impressed, this phone behaves perfectly in this area and reads all these videos up to 720p (not able to read in 1080p). The music player offers a Coverflow mode (inspired by the iPhone 4), which is extremely fluid and responsive. It’s a real pleasure to use this gadget. It could easily read almost any format that we submitted (MP3, MP3 Pro, AAC, WAV) and sound quality was simply excellent ! We recommend however to use a real headset, because the poor earphones supplied by Nokia are not able to show the quality of sound reproduction. It lacks compatibility with OGG (open) and Flac (lossless compression) to achieve perfection.
It is possible to adjust an audio equalizer and to choose between a few profiles, but without any manual adjustment. Anyway, the quality of sound rendition of the phone is excellent, without even applying a particular profile. For video, the drive is full, you can quickly move forward and back with all file formats. We’ve seen just a single small problem: it does not resume playing a video at the point where the user has previously stopped. This can be a problem if you want to see a long movie and you want to come back to a certain scene.
Functions almost complete
The transfer of files on the smartphone is very easy to perform, it’s almost like a USB key transfer. Windows OS recognizes the C7 media device and offers, apart from simple operations for files, full access to the applications store called Ovi Music Store and Ovi Music.
Another interesting feature is the geolocation system of the phone. It is very fast and responsive, with access to Ovi maps for free and world maps. In offline mode, the phone shows the most used geographical areas. The maps are accompanied by supplemental information coming from Michelin and Lonely Planet, for example. Similar to a real GPS, this smartphone has a very well projected car function. You can choose from many voice guides available in several languages. We reviewed the gadget and the calculation and clarity of the route are very well done. This is so much better than browsing the latest integrated Google Android phones. Unlike similar applications for iPhone, it’s completly free!
Virtual keyboard included
Another thing is the presence of an FM radio receiver, now classic, but also an integrated FM radio transmitter. This way it is possible to switch the music from the phone to a radio or car stereo without any connection, just by picking up the FM preselected on the phone. An interesting thing is that the Nokia producer has really made efforts to make his smartphone very attractive. Another thing is the system of multitasking, very well-organized and easy to use.
The Nokia C7 does not include everything, but still points out the high quality of the virtual keyboard on the phone. This smartphone has a full keyboard that appears when the device is held horizontally. Its use is very easy to perform. The keys may seem too close together, but the keyboard is well calibrated and typing errors are not present. The excellent reactivity of the keyboard also allows users to type very quickly, even with the completion system activated. It is a certain thing that the Nokia C7 offers good performance for its price.
At the ergonomics chapter, the problem is change. Let’s see the first step, which is the Nokia Web browser. Even if it’s fully compatible with all versions of Flash (not for playing videos, however), the device is really weak at the aesthetics and usability chapter. The history of navigation is difficult to access, URL suggestions are bad and the menus don’t have many options. In short, a little weak is the fluidity of page scrolling, which other than that detail is good, just like zoom-multipointing. It still has problems at the ability to configure the browser not to show simplified mobile versions of Web pages (probably absent, or very difficult to find). The solution to the problem is given by the Opera browser, available for download, although the flash and zoom multi point are absent.
However, in our tests, the smartphone lasted about 9 hours in voice communication, 4 hours and 40 minutes in web surfing/3G + and 5 hours 20 minutes in video playback. Another weak point: the sensor does not focus and photos look blurred, be they taken during day or at night.
Ovi Store access
Ovi Store is an online shop with applications from Nokia. It works when it wants: the installation of some applications was not possible (we got a lot of errors after downloading the installation kit), including Skype or games. Very annoying, unreliable, with a not so good UI. The Ovi Store requires change of its functions and a profound alteration. So this device is still very far from competitors: Apple’s App Store and Google’s Android Market.
At the end of this review we can say that the C7 smartphone is a success for Nokia. Its Symbian 3 Operating System is technically excellent and reliable and the device has an impressive array of features. However, ergonomically, it remains unsatisfactory, because the phone has some cons at this chapter. It does not receive five stars after our tests because of these imperfections and, more importantly, because of its Ovi Store.
Positive points (pros)
* HD video mode able to read multiple file formats;
* AMOLED technology used for the display;
Negative points (cons)
* Ergonomics must be improved;
Keyboard: No physical keyboard – touchscreen;
Operating System: Symbian 3 Version;
Play Audio: Yes;
Video Recording: Yes;