Claimed by Nokia to be the world’s smallest smartphone, the Nokia 700 has been released as one of a trio (600, 700 and 701) that run the Symbian Belle interface. The Nokia 700 is a smart phone made for smart people. Weighing 96 grams and measuring 110 x 50.7 x 9.7 millimeters, this phone introduces a new era in touchscreen business. It dons an AMOLED capacitive touchscreen that displays 16 M colors and a pixel density of ~229 ppi. With Gorilla Glass display and Nokia Clear Black display, the user interface is enhanced with beauty and functionality. There is a multi-touch input method to ensure that the user has maximum interaction with the phone. There is also an accelerometer sensor for auto-rotate and proximity for auto turn-off. Those who want a pro-business phone will become instant friends with this model because of its ability to enhance exchange of business-related material.
The Nokia 700 is certainly small, sleek and slim line, at just 9.7mm thick. The phone’s battery cover features a smooth brushed steel texture. The micro-USB port, audio jack and charge port are positioned on the top edge. The front of the phone has 3 keys: Call, End Call, and Menu. It’s an ideal phone for those who want something light, slim and discreet that will sit comfortably in the hand or pocket, yet sturdy enough to withstand a few knocks. Its one design quirk is its bottom ‘chin’, used for the speaker output, which helps to give the phone some character and distinguish it from the bulkier competition. It features a 3.2” AMOLED ClearBlack touch-screen with Gorilla Glass, which is one of its strengths: visuals are clear, bright and vivid, with excellent contrast. This small display might feel cramped to users accustomed to the 4-inch and up bracket of smartphones, but it’s intrinsic to the diminutive handset.
Symbian’s Belle OS is heavily Android inspired, and has borrowed the 6 home screen interface and widget customization. Running on a 1Ghz ARM11 processor, the interface is generally smooth, slick and lag-free as you flick sideways through the home screens. Appearance-wise, it’s dull and somewhat impractical: there are few widgets available for use, and the app menu is simply a long list to be scrolled through. The file system isn’t intuitive, which makes searching for an image or song difficult. The notifications center is a useful touch, however.
The contacts function is dull but functional on the Nokia 700, displaying contacts in one long list with favorites positioned at the top. No social integration means no Facebook or Twitter notifications or info, which is quite a major omission. Making calls is simple – just tap the contact name – and the phone’s telephony is reasonably good, and it includes Nokia features like smart dialing and a detailed call log. Call quality is very good, with a clear loud speaker and good signal reception.
The Nokia 700 supports a range of messaging types including SMS, MMS, Twitter, Facebook, email and IM such as eBuddy. While it doesn’t have a single universal inbox, it’s easy to move between the different app screens within the classic layout, and there’s a handy email widget that sits on the home screen for quick access. Email setup is quick, with multiple account support. The QWERTY keyboard strongly resemblances the one found in Symbian Anna, and on the small screen it was always going to be a painful experience. In portrait, the keys are simply too tiny to use. Landscape is an improvement, but still cramped. However, the screen is quite responsive, and the haptic feedback does help with typing.
The 700 is a respectable media offering, with an internal storage of 2GB. Watching videos on the simple video player app is quite enjoyable: the screen quality is certainly up to standard, although the size is less than ideal, and there is support for a range of formats. The photo gallery app includes a few editing options, and enables quick upload of photos to social networks.
The music player app, opened from a useful home screen widget, is simple and clear, and can run in the background of other apps without slowing things down. Playlist creation is easy using the flowing artwork browser. There is wide-ranging file support. The audio quality is average, with vocals sometimes hollow sounding. The ever-present FM radio is simple and uses auto-tune to enhance the experience.
The phone comes packaged with a 5MP camera with LED flash, a 2x digital zoom. The lens is fixed-focus only, which means that shots lack depth. Nevertheless, there are some useful modes and edit options such as Landscape, Night and Auto, with a Custom mode for editing contrast, exposure, flash, white balance, etc. Image quality is reasonable for the hardware: zoom causes some pixilation and in low light the LED flash performs badly, but in good lighting colors are quite realistic and bright.
The Nokia 700 shoots video of 720p at 30 frames per second, and includes 3x zoom. The video only offers 3 modes – Auto, Night and Low Light – although you can also alter white balance, colors and exposure if you wish. Colors are generally strong and the video smooth, even when zooming in and out. Movement capture is surprisingly good, although the camera often suffers from over exposure.
The phone includes Wi-Fi, 3G and A-GPS. Page loading on Wi-Fi is somewhat choppy, and 3G is also highly variable. Symbian Belle also supports NFC communications, with its nifty tap-to-connect technology, and the micro-USB is handy for PC connections.
The phone comes packaged with a range of organization and time-management apps, plus the usual tools like Calculator and Alarm. These are very basic, so many users will choose to use third-party offerings from Nokia Ovi.
Web browsing on the Nokia 700 is, overall, an enjoyable experience. The browser is smooth and quick, with streamlined scrolling and good text reflow. Some images become noisy when zooming in, but text always appears sharp and clear, and downloads are pleasingly fast. Nokia users also get access to the Nokia Ovi apps market, where you can download essentials like Twitter, Facebook, games and Ovi Maps, but the store isn’t nearly as comprehensive as iOS Store or Android Market.
Nokia 700 users may wish to eschew Google Maps in favor of the excellent Ovi Maps, which performs quick lock-ons and compass calibration, and provides 3D, map and satellite views for vehicle or walking sat-nav. Bolt-on apps like Trip Advisor enhance local landmarks.
For a small handset, the Nokia 700 is surprisingly powerful, which makes its low price even more pleasing. A bargain. Small and lean but well-built, the Nokia 700 is a pleasing handset with much to recommend it – not least its Symbian Belle interface. For a discrete smartphone, it’s an excellent choice.
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