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Nokia 700 - Screen, Virtual Keyboard and Touchscreen

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams



Our Score:


As a phone that can be had for free on a £15-a-month contract, the Nokia 700's screen is a stand-out feature. You simply don't normally get a screen of this quality at this price.

It uses an AMOLED panel, which is rather different from the usual TFT screens we see at this price. AMOLED screens don't use a traditional backlight - which fires light through pixels a bit like light passing through a stained glass window. OLED panels are rather more dynamic. The pixels illuminate themselves, so there's no need for a global backlight.

This lets black parts of the screen stay truly dark, giving unbeatable contrast when executed properly. Nokia calls its stab at the tech a ClearBlack display, and while that's just as much a marketing label as Apple's Retina Display, it's right on the money. Contrast is superb, and blacks are black.

While the 640x360 pixel display doesn't sound particularly high-res when the Orange San Francisco packs in 800x480 pixels, its 229dpi pixel density supplies a very sharp image. 230,400 pixels is a lot for 3.2in, in other words.

Huawei vs

A high res AMOLED screen vs lower res TFT. Quite the difference...

As with most AMOLED screens brightness is excellent, offering overkill levels of luminescence for most situations at max setting. Also common to AMOLEDs, the Nokia 700's screen is significantly oversaturated. Colours are extremely vivid, and while it looks fab for the most part, we wish there were some colour controls nestled within the Settings menu to let you turn this down a notch.

Angled viewing poses no problem, with just a slight blue hue cast over the image at extreme angles. This may mean that that nosey chap setting next to you on the train may be able to read your text messages, though.

Typing on the 3.2in screen is a bit tricky if you're used to using a larger touchscreen. The keyboard's width is very limited in portrait mode, making it easy to mis-type characters - this is where the Nokia 700's 5cm width becomes a disadvantage. Symbian^3 doesn't offer as aggressive auto-correct functionality as Android, so prepare for some deleting and re-typing as you get used to that smaller screen. It's particularly noticeable here, as its screen is more slender than most 3.2in smartphones.


The small size is handy, but not for portrait typing

Nokia has ported Swype to Symbian (available from Nokia Store), which lets you drag a path over the keys in a vague approximation of to spelling out a word, then it guesses the word you want from your movements. Some find this easier when limited to a small screen. If you really can't get on with portrait typing, the landscape virtual keyboard is much more spacious.

When holding the Nokia 700 on its side like this, when typing or playing a game, it's too easy to accidentally cover the light sensor. This is what determines how bright the screen needs to be when set to automatic brightness. It's not a disastrous bug, but can make it seem as though your phone has gone a bit bi-polar - dimming and brightening-up every handful of seconds.

Light sensor

Matching the top quality of its AMOLED display, the touchscreen uses a Gorilla Glass front. This feels great as you glide a fingertip across it - with a more luxurious feel than the hard plastic used in cheaper phones. It's also commendably scratch-resistant. The Nokia 700 shouldn't emerge scuffed and scratched from a day's punishment in your pocket.

The touchscreen itself is capacitive, like that of the iPhone 4 or HTC Desire S. Although occasionally held-up by the Symbian OS software, it's very responsive. As already noted, it's capable of multi-touch gestures too.

While Symbian^3 continues to lag behind its smartphone rivals in several key respects, hardware-wise the Nokia 700 is an extremely impressive little device.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut


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...


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...


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?


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!


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.


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.


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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