The second model on Symbian^3 offers similar features as
Nokia N8 with inferior camera and without HDMI. Welcome Nokia's take on
value for money...
Nokia cannot keep information on new models before their
announcement. Some view it as good PR and moves calculated for effect.
Unfortunately, the naked truth is easier to understand: no top manager
can control events in the company and the number of leaks increases year
after year irretrievably. The amount of information already available
about Nokia C7 makes this model well known and devoid of any novelty.
In this article I will draw upon my personal experience when I used
this phone in Estonia during my vacations. I tried different apps on it
and studied its features. Full review will be published at the end of
the year when its first buyers will be able to pass their judgment. The
text in front of you is not a comprehensive review, but first
impressions. They are quite grounded and I hope they are correct.
In the smartphone lineup from the Finnish manufacturer Nokia C7-00
(hereinafter referred to as C7) occupies a special place. It is the
second smartphone on Symbian^3 to go on sale. Such models will be
offered in abundance at the end of 2010 and in 2011. They will coexist
with old fashioned handsets on Symbian^1 (S60 5th Edition). The company
views Nokia N8 as the flagship and all promotion efforts will be
concentrated on this model, but Nokia C7 will sell better due to lower
price and will prove that cameras in phones are not so important for
average consumers. Why Nokia C7 will attract the attention of people?
The answer is simple. It is Nokia N8 in a different body with a lower
The exterior of the model resembles a crossbreed between a phone
from Korea and a typical Nokia. The mix is unusual, but nice. Photos do
not convey the appeal of Nokia C7. In real life it is pleasant to hold
in hands. The quality of plastic in the white version is similar to
Nokia C6 and Nokia N97. The black one is not so pleasant to touch. The
back cover is made of metal as well as the edge around the screen.
Nevertheless, the phone does not feel like a bar of metal. It is made of
plastic and you can feel it when you hold Nokia C7 in your hands. I
think it was made intentionally to differentiate the model from
aluminium bodies of Nokia N8, Nokia E7 and Nokia N9. Different series
are given different materials, and as far as C series caters for mass
demand the body is made of plastic.
The model retains a 2 mm charger jack, though charging via microUSB
is also supported. Featurewise this model is a copy of Nokia N8 apart
from an 8 MP camera and the absent HDMI. Other characteristics coincide:
the screen, RAM (8 GB of internal storage). I will quote some
paragraphs from N8 review because of 100% match.
The screen looks familiar. It is the one used in other Nokia models,
such as the X6. It has the resolution of 640x360 pixels, 3.5-inches,
covered with glass (that is what the special plastic identical to that
of the X6 becomes called) and allows up to 16 million colors. It is
based on AMOLED, which however shouldn't be compared to Samsung's Super
AMOLED, those are two different technological generations. The Nokia N8
screen is comparable to the one in the Nexus One and is even superior to
the latter in direct sunlight; the picture quality is comparable
indoors. On the whole, the AMOLED screen is not that much of an
advantage; the picture is similar to X6, albeit better in terms of the
color range. The difference is not that apparent (probably, due to the
interface icons and design). It becomes clearer when browsing through
In select modes, the screen can contain up to 16 text rows; there
are three font sizes to choose from in the phone preferences. In direct
sunlight, the colors fade away, which is typical (the notorious Super
AMOLED is an exception).
It is one of the first Nokia products to support multi-touch (e.g.
in the gallery or browser); you just need to make a special gesture
(pinch-to-zoom) to zoom in or out. The screen is capacitive, with the
build quality and behavior similar to Nokia X6. While most of the time,
the sensitivity is okay, every now and then the screen won't respond to
taps (due to the software fault, like in X6). There is no argument about
whether it is the problem of the pre-release software or not; the final
version of the X6 has similar problems. At the moment, Nokia is not
capable of creating screens comparable to Apple's in terms of
convenience or Samsung's latest models which touch responsiveness can
now rival Apple iPhone. It is a minor problem and won't be noticed by
most customers, though.
In a nutshell, it is a good screen that can't boast of its
resolution or color range but is on a decent general level from the
perspective of late 2010. It's good, not the best. The Apple iPhone 4
screen has a comparable diagonal but higher resolution, the Samsung Wave
screen has superior resolution, color range, and brightness.
The integrated light sensor adjusts the screen brightness
automatically based on the environment. The level appears to be
generally lower than it should be, and it's better to select one
manually from the menu (personally I prefer the 60-65 percent level).
In comparison with Nokia N8 the screen became more responsive to
touch. The difference is based on subjective experience, but it was
acknowledged by all people who tested the model.
Memory and memory cards
The phone features 135 MB of memory dedicated to common applications
or your data. The internal memory of 8 GB can be extended by microSD
memory cards of up to 32 GB.
The handset also has 256 MB of RAM (Nokia N97 Mini has 128 MB),
which is a great leap forward for Nokia. It had to increase the speed
and stability of performance. The speed really improved, while the
stability leaves much to be desired. I have to say, that it is better
than before, but there is room for improvement.
BL-5K battery has the capacity of 1200 mAh and offers up to 390
hours in the standby mode and from 5.5 to 12 hours of talk time
The handset features new architecture, which coupled with Symbian^3
provides increased operation time for every mode. Look at operation time
in different modes (in theory and in real life):
- Video playback – up to 7 hours (I managed 6.6 hours);
- Music playback – up to 50 hours (standard headphones, repeated tracks – 49 hours);
- Data transfer (Web TV) – up to 3 hours and 20 minutes (1 hour and 45 minutes, which may depend on the network quality);
- Video recording time – 3 hours and 40 minutes (3 hours and 10 minutes with maximum settings and manual screen brightness);
The difference from Nokia N8 is visible and the operation time significantly increased with the same battery.
On the downside, I have to mention the average operation time of no
more than two days, though it is not bad, because many devices need a
recharge after 24 hours. The major share of power is used by the home
screen with widgets (they need a lot of resources as any other data
transfer apart from Wi-Fi). The battery is also heavily used when you
browse the web pages. Taking into account the operation time, it becomes
clear why ARM11 boasts only 680 MHz, which is a compromise for the
better operation time. If you set the screen brightness at 70%, the
operation time in my profile goes down by 10%. The maximum brightness
will eat out around 20 %.
The total recharge time is about 2 hours.
USB, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
USB. In USB settings you can choose one of the following 3 modes:
- Data Storage (Mass Storage USB) – the phone
memory and memory cards are detected; no drivers required and the OS
recognizes the handset without additional help.
- OVI Suite – work with OVI Suite, access to all phone features, back up of all data, etc.
- Printing & Media – photo printing, MTP regime.
Data transfer speed reaches 5.5 Mb/s. When USB cable is connected the phone starts recharging.
Bluetooth. This is the first Nokia model with
Bluetooth 3.0 also known as High Speed. During the file transfer to
other devices with this technology Wi-Fi 802.11 n is used and
theoretically the transfer speed can be around 24 Mb/s. The transfer of 1
GB file from Samsung Wave S8500 to Nokia N8 and back showed the maximum
speed of 10 Mb/s over a distance of three meters. During the transfer
of large files the connection often gets interrupted, which does not
happen during the transfer from Nokia N8 to the same model or from
Samsung to Samsung. It may happen due to the incompatibility of
settings. The transfer of large files to usual S60 smartphones also
often results in the loss of connection (without the use of BT 3.0).
The phone supports different profiles: Headset, Handsfree, Serial
Port, Dial Up Networking, File Transfer, Object Push, Basic Printing,
SIM Access and A2DP. There are no questions as to the use of headsets.
Everything is quite traditional here.
WiFi. 802.11 b/g/n standard is supported, but it is
not the first model on the market with such a range of protocols. The
feature works just fine. There is WiFi networks lookup wizard and the
corresponding widget (I installed it and enjoy the convenience).
Here we have an ordinary 8 MP camera with autofocus. We cannot
realistically review the camera, because it is a prototype. When new
samples appear we will definitely review the camera as well.
This model embodies the futile attempts of Nokia to create the
social networks software for its smartphones on S60. As you remember
Nokia offers a separate app, which unites all social networks accounts
with the authorization through OVI. They artificially tried to boost the
number of OVI users and make it look like they are quite active. The
first defeat was inflicted by Facebook, which independently develops its
own app for different platforms, including Symbian. I remember that in
Nokia N97 review I mentioned that Facebook app was one of the best on
that model courtesy of Facebook. The situation repeats itself in Nokia
C7 and here we have a standalone app, which works fine. If you compare
it with Nokia app under OVI brand you will immediately feel the
difference. It is still a secret for me why Nokia followed this route.
I would like to remind that all features of Symbian^3 have been
covered in our detailed review. Nobody else has done anything similar
yet. I know the reason for the unique nature of our review – the company
does not give samples of Nokia N8 to anybody to protect the activity of
its PR department from incorrect interpretation.
Symbian^3 – Main Applications and Features
Describing my impressions from Nokia N8 I asked the readers to
participate in the questionnaire on the prospects of Symbian^3 and
answers were quite symptomatic. It is good for Nokia, but does not
impress against the background of other solutions. This is the best
description of this range and Nokia C7 is not an exception. People who
are accustomed to Nokia phones will like the model, but this solution is
hardly a market leader. Among flagship models on Symbian^3, you will
not find a more balanced handset. Think yourself, the model successfully
got rid of an unnecessary HDMI output and a 12 MP, but retained other
features of Nokia N8. Nokia E7 will be more expensive. So, we have a
winning solution for the next several months. The handset will appear in
shops in mid October or November. The recommended price will be around
€300-320 before taxes. In real life the price will be higher as we see
in the case of Nokia N8 (announced price of €370 became €450-470 in
shops). Depending upon the market this phone will cost around €360-390,
but even such a price is quite attractive.
In C series we have Nokia C6 with QWERTY keypad, but it costs a lot
and is not very attractive. Unfortunately, we should not expect any OS
update for the model as Nokia C7-01 (imagine this index) will appear in
this capacity. It can be announced in the first quarter of 2011. This
will allow Nokia to sell Nokia C6 and launch Nokia E7. It looks that
Nokia C7 is the main model on Symbian^3.
Those who are accustomed to Symbian and know this OS will find the
model attractive. It offers few interesting games, austere and outdated
interface. Taken together it means that Nokia C7 will not attract new
customers, but Nokia fans will choose it quite consciously. After all it
is the best value for money on Symbian S^3.
Finally, compare Nokia C7 and Nokia N8.
||1200 mAh, Li-Ion
||1200 mAh, Li-Ion
|Charging from microUSB
||640х360, 3.5″, glass, AMOLED
||640х360, 3.5″, glass, AMOLED
||8 MP, autofocus
||12 MP, autofocus
|DivX from the box
||From €350 (end of autumn) * estimated price
||From €450 at the end of September
I think this table clearly illustrates the difference and resemblance of two models.