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Nokia 700 review

Andrew Williams

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Nokia 700
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  • Nokia 700
  • Nokia 700
  • Nokia 700
  • Nokia 700
  • Nokia 700
  • Nokia 700
  • Apps menu
  • Music player
  • Camera

Summary

Our Score:

7

User Score:

Pros

  • Excellent screen
  • Great build quality
  • Comprehensive video support

Cons

  • Limited app support
  • Ropey camera
  • Symbian OS is still limited

Key Features

  • 1GHz processor
  • 5-megapixel camera with LED flash
  • Symbian Belle OS
  • 2GB internal memory
  • 3.2in AMOLED screen
  • Manufacturer: Nokia
  • Review Price: £279.00

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.

Nokia 700 9

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.

Nokia 700 6

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.

Nokia 700 7

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.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

DrDark

October 13, 2011, 10:21 pm

I can only assume something was very faulty with the package you received because:
a) I'm pretty sure that usb cable SHOULD be charging the phone (and to suggest Nokia is somehow slow to conform when they were one of the first manufacturers to do so is a bit...)
b) Those pictures... NO, just no... I'm not saying it was the photographer, but either the lens was smudged (or still covered by a sticky film?) or the camera unit was faulty. Nokia phones haven't taken pictures that bad since 2003, and I'm sure several people at TR know that.

Also, I found the review a bit confusing, switching between praising the excellent performance/value and then dismissing everything and suggesting Android phones instead.

In fact the end of the review then praises Symbian again, questioning Nokia's decision to go WinPho, before ending with a verdict lamenting "the constraints of symbian".

If I was someone wanting to know these constraints, I don't feel they were pointed out to me (apart from /quantity/ of app). During the review Maps, Video Player and Music Player were praised, as was 3d game performance comparable to an Android device in the same bracket. It's multitasking is one of the better ones. And yes a Kindle app is missing, I'll give you that. But Facebook has at least 6 or 7 alternatives on there (who needs an official one? iPad's took over a year and doesn't work properly!)
And why is having to go to the Spotify site to download the app a bad thing?

Finding "hidden gems" to uncover is as much of a chore on iOS and Android anyway. iOS is so overrun with crap that you have to visit a site (like TR or many others) to find out what's decent to download. The Android market is similar, and since it allows non-market apps (something Symbian had been doing for years), it's a similar experience of discovering interesting apps to trial on forums etc.
Not to mention Nokia's own BetaLabs.

Anyway, I needed to have a bit of a whine maybe, but the first main points were what I meant to point out: regarding usb cable and camera.
I'll ask around about the cable but can't imagine they'd package a non-charging one in...

Andrew_TR

October 13, 2011, 11:25 pm

Hi DrDark, thanks for the comment.

I was somewhat bemused by the camera too. The close-up performance was predictable thanks to the fixed-focus sensor, but the odd sheen on standard photos is rather odd. Having fallen prey to the unexpected plastic covering of camera lenses before, I did give it a good check so ensure it wasn't covered/horribly smudged. I'll take a few more shots and see if it can produce something better.

As for charging - USB charging works just fine but didn't seem to with the bundled cable. Will double-check that too of course. As much as anything else though, the only bundled charger is a proprietary one - and as a device that should (and hopefully will) bring a few new, non tech-head people to the platform, this is at the core of my argument. It works, but it's a secondary thing. A great many 700 users will continue to use the Nokia charger.

Symbian's main current issues for me are, to an extent, the same ones that affect Bada. They dip their toes in the functionality offered by others, but it all feels so limited. There aren't many more widgets to get, you can't tailor your smartphone experience anywhere near as much as Android - and the apps thing is the main problem for me. The quality and quantity of apps just isn't good enough. And it's not something I particularly blame on Symbian or Nokia. Developers make apps, and I just don't think there's the pay-off there on Symbian at present. To an extent it's one of those chicken and egg situations - Symbian needs a greater app/games buying audience to encourage development, but greater existing development itself would help in bringing this about.

The 3D games are nice, but there aren't many - and not a great deal of variety. Casual gaming fares even worse. Angry Birds is there, but there are so few that make use of Symbian 3's assets - it's all legacy S60 stuff. Not worthless by any means, but nothing that really makes use of the phone. There's no feeling of vitality to the Symbian apps scene, unless you get down to the real "scene" level.

I do like the phone though, and was close to giving it an 8. If it wasn't for the super-narrow body making typing a pain...

Andrew_TR

October 13, 2011, 11:26 pm

btw nice Journeyman Project avatar!

Marcus H

October 14, 2011, 4:14 am

How was the 700 for taking videos?

Andrew_TR

October 14, 2011, 2:05 pm

Hi Marcus. It's a bit hectic at TR towers today, but I'll try and get a sample clip stuck up asap so you can see for yourself!

Fishbourne

November 3, 2011, 3:10 pm

Saw in another review that the 700 only works with its own headset. Not had this problem with previous Nokia phones but this would be a deal breaker for me as I want to use my own in ear phones. Can you shed any light on this? Did you try a different headset/earphone?

Apart from that, this phone seems a pretty good option for the money. I've not been so antagonous to Symbian, as have others, so the latest improved version should be great. Also I don't see the problem with the screen size, this is a small phone that should fit nicely in a pocket, it is not a small tablet.

Cyd07

November 10, 2011, 2:34 pm

Don't understand. If I read your overall note, it seems it's not a good phone. If I read the review, it seems it's very good.

You always say it's far better for the price than any other Android device in the same category.

In fact, the only problem is the lack of apps...well, it's a mid-range smartphone, do you think you are dealing with power users that want many apps on their phone. You say yourself that the 700 do many things out of the box. If some users want more great apps, they can go on the betalabs (they have the level to search by themselves).
Mid-range Android can really use all apps you will find ? You speak about games...how many mid-range Android support HD games on Android market ?

I like this site, it's objective most of the time, but here you just see "that's Symbian, that's bad", there are not 500 000 apps, that's bad. But I do'nt see any device near the Nokia 700 for free on 20£ contract : you say it yourself screen far far far better (and it's one of the most important things, no ?), really good quality build - not far away from a high-end, stylish (subjective, but at least it's not as every other phones), good call quality, excellent gps solution.

What more do you need for free with your 20£ contract ?

PS : I concede the number of apps can be important, but just 7/10 is a really unfair statement given all the other great qualities, especially when you say that the average user will not need more than the apps installed out-of-the-box...
I concede screen is too small...but it's the same size as competitors.

K31van

November 13, 2011, 5:43 pm

I have just taken delivery of the Nokia 700 and comparing the features with this review I can say confidently that the review is rubbish. For a proper review go to http://www.allaboutsymbian.com/reviews/item/13431_Nokia_700.php

Avishek Prakash

June 5, 2013, 6:20 am

I want to know is there any "Beep Sound" while Call recording is going on or Not ?

Avishek Prakash

June 5, 2013, 6:20 am

I want to know is there any "Beep Sound" while Call recording is going on or Not in Nokia 700 ?

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