There are a couple of handy usability features which even the least technically-minded should be able to get their heads around.
You can configure the right softkey to access a series of shortcuts to things you use frequently. You simply hit the softkey then scroll through the list on offer and hit the softkey again when the one you want is highlighted. The configuration utility is linked to the softkey so you'll have no trouble finding it when you want to change things.
Perhaps even more useful is the light on the top of the phone whose sole function is to be a torch. You can turn it on and off via the right softkey, and I have to say that it did come in handy on a number of occasions.
Meanwhile, three of the four directional buttons on the navigation pad can get you to SMS creation, the phone's calendar and the contacts book.
Now don't get all smartphonishly excited about the calendar. Although this is what Nokia calls it, it is in fact just a simple a way of noting things you want to be reminded about. You can make a short note and set an aural alarm. It is probably good for birthdays or appointments but no good for anything that requires more than a few words of notes. Even if you could be bothered to T9 them up, there is no space for more than about ten words in the notes area.
The number pad and other keys lie under a rubbery covering. While this design has nothing like the panache of separate keys, I found hitting what I wanted to be unproblematic.
The navigation button is a bit more of a challenge. Its outer rim has a function as I explained earlier, but its centre is not a select key. In fact the centre has no function at all. This did catch me out a few times, but probably won't trouble anyone choosing the Nokia 1200 as their first phone.
The screen is woeful by modern standards. It presents 96 x 68 pixels of display in a space that measures 2.8cm wide and 2.3cm deep. It is black and white, which basically means black pixels on a dark (not white) background.