The new Nokia 700 claims to be the smallest smartphone ever. In a world where several top phones aren't much thicker than 8mm, this is a pretty bold claim. Much more important than its size, though, is its price. Available for free on contracts around the £15 mark, it competes with mid-range smartphones, not those that tend to be able to make superlative claims about their specs and abilities. The big question mark is whether its Symbian 3 operating system (OS) is enough to take the fight to the mid-range Androids of this world.
While the Nokia 700's tagline of being the "smallest smartphone ever" sounds impressive, it's something that goes against the current trend in smartphones. The "bigger is better" motto has been rejected by Apple's iPhone 4S, but Android makers like HTC and Samsung have taken it to heart. It's in the disregarding of this ideal that the Nokia 700 has become so teensy.
Its 3.2in display will feel like a compromise for some users, but it is what let the 110x50.7x9.7mm body become so compact. It's a tiny bit thicker than the iPhone 4, but is undeniably slim. Using a Gorilla Glass-fronted touchscreen and metal backplate, it feels similar to the Samsung Wave in-hand. It's exceptionally well-made, dense and reasonably stylish - much more so than the drab-looking Nokia C7.
Its one bold design move, aside from shaving down those dimensions enough to wave a banner about how small it is, is the step at the bottom of the handset. Looking like part of a slider mechanism, this "chin" is deceptive. It doesn't move, slide or extend - it's a speaker output and little else. However, it doesn't extend the bottom of the phone too far and, finished with metal effect plastic, doesn't spoil the look. Remove it and you'd have the very archetype of a modern smartphone - shiny, black and anonymous - so perhaps it's a good thing it's here to differentiate it from other bigger rivals.
Although the Nokia 700 looks and feels nicer than previous affordable Nokias like the C5 and C6, its maker hasn't decided to let the look smother functionality; its sides aren't bare. Several seams are clearly visible and there's even a little lanyard loop on its bottom edge.
It features two buttons on its right edge that would be left off many mid-range smartphones. There's a physical camera button and a dedicated lock button, to take the phone in and out of standby. They're slim and subtle enough not to make the body seem cluttered.
The proprietary charging socket is another Nokia staple, one we'd happily wave goodbye to. Especially when plugging a non-Nokia microUSB cable into the data transfer socket charges the phone anyway - the bundled one doesn't. Nokia may argue this lets you charge quickly while transferring data, but we'd rather have the simplicity of standard microUSB charging. As has often been said on this front, Nokia needs to get with the times.