By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla
Continuing the trend of Symbian powered touch-enabled phones in a similar vein to their N8, Nokia's C7, available to WIND Mobile subscribers for $350, brings a 3.5" inch AMOLED screen, a superb 8 megapixel camera, a full complement of sensors (ambient, accelerometer, digital compass, proximity sensor) and Ovi Store enabled apps to a slim and light form factor.
With the C7, WIND Mobile subscribers now have a premium Nokia Symbian smartphone with many of the high-end features found on the flagship N8 tucked into a more affordable and less premium package. The N8 was an audacious love letter to the smartphone and how far it has evolved, a maxxed-out, specs-to-the-ceiling affair from Nokia that showed the world just what was possible on a phone.
The C7 is a practical cousin of the N8, it shares the pedigree, features and refinements without the latter's movie star aspirations.
Users who are worried that the venerable but ageing Symbian OS will be dropped by Nokia in favour of the shiny and new Microsoft Windows Phone OS (which Nokia is set to focus on immediately) need not worry. A recently released "Open Letter to Developers" from Nokia stresses their ongoing commitment to Symbian, at least for a few more years.
Two features stand out, the OLED screen and the 8 megapixel camera that's capable of HD recording at 720p resolution. The OLED screen's power efficient yet crisp and saturated. It is one of the better screens for playing back video on. You can play 720p HD video at 30 frames per second. We watched recent episodes of NCIS as well as movie trailers and were thoroughly pleased with the playback quality.
The camera may not have Carl Zeiss optics but is still a very well implemented and usable stills and video camera. Figure out the controls, download a few photo apps and you won't be needing to carry a separate point and shoot camera with you.
The C7 also comes with 8GB of onboard memory, expandable up to 32GB by microSD card but no HDMI-out port. As a smartphone, you get all the benefits of the Symbian OS plus the OVI store (which sees around 3 million downloads a day) running on Nokia's hardware. The browser supports Flash and is reasonably fast although we noticed that keyboard input can take up a lot of the screen real estate. It is not horrible but definitely something to get used to.
The keyboard is our least favourite aspect of Symbian specially in portrait mode where we're greeted with an old-school multi-tap key placement. Seriously, what's up with that? You're much better off thumbing in landscape mode but it isn't always convenient to do so.
Mobile OS agnostic Wind Mobile subscribers who want a cool and connected phone and whose needs are satisfied by Symbian, can do double duty as a Flip camcorder and point-and-shoot camera will also be pleased with what the Nokia C7 has to offer.
This includes a decent web-browsing, sensible e-mail and messaging and free lifetime navigation from Ovi Maps. This is one of the better phones available to Wind Mobile.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5