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Nokia 700 - Video, Music, Camera and NFC

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams



Our Score:


To match the top-quality AMOLED screen, the Nokia 700's video capabilities wipe the floor with most smartphone rivals. The built-in video player can handle a wide array or codec types, including MKV, Xvid, DivX and MP4. Our 1080p MKV test files failed to show up within the app whatsoever, but 720p files played back at full speed without a problem. RMVB also failed to play, but as a fairly niche format it doesn't detract too much from otherwise excellent performance.

It just makes us wish that the Nokia 700's screen was that little bit bigger, because 3.2in is arguably a little small to watch anything longer than a few minutes on. The app does let you make the most of the screen, with aspect ratio options built-in - although this option didn't show up for absolutely all file types. Nonetheless this phone makes most Android handsets' built-in video abilities look embarrassingly bad.

Video player

The video player is dead spiffy

The Belle Symbian update hasn't upgraded the music player app, but this is one element that was fine already. It's visually rich, using a slick 'n' quick cover flow system and making good use of album art throughout.

To use as a full MP3 player you'll need to invest in a large-capacity microSD card, because the Nokia 700 only has 2GB of internal memory. The slot lies under the battery cover. Audio codec support isn't as impressive as video, with no FLAC or OGG support, but most non-lossless libraries will be covered - i.e. mp3 and aac are good to go. An FM radio is included too.

Music player

Hopping 'round to the back of the phone for a minute, we find the camera. A forefather of the Nokia 700, the Nokia N8, is perhaps still the best camera phone ever made. However, in recent handsets Nokia has moved its focus (geddit) away from top-end snappers, most notably by getting rid of autofocus and using a fixed focus system instead.

The benefit of fixed focus is that it makes snapping away quicker, as you don't have to wait for the lens to zero-in on a subject. The main downside of this is not being able to photograph anything close-up as it just becomes a blurred mess.

Nokia 700 5

Although its 5-megapixel sensor is more powerful than most fixed-focus cameras have to make do with, the Nokia 700 doesn't break away from these norms. Photos offer very limited clarity and a glazed look that further diminishes the impression of detail. The LED flash is a welcome addition, but image quality is poor. Then again, it is about typical for a a phone of this price.

Nokia 700

Shooting in widescreen - for full-frame check out the gallery

Borrowing its camera app interface from the Nokia N8, the level of control you're given over your photos is, conversely, pretty good. On top of mobile camera staples like colour tone, timer, white balance and exposure settings, the Nokia 700 lets you fiddle with ISO, contrast, sharpness, and offers face detection. The camera app doesn't let you apply lots of silly filters to your snaps, but the nifty Photo Editor app does, and more besides.


We can forgive some neglecting of a phone camera in favour of getting the basics right, but the effort that the Nokia 700 puts into pushing NFC (Near Field Communication) loses it some of this goodwill. NFC lets one device communicate with another over short distances, most famously for use in things like contactless payment systems. It's the latest buzz word in smartphones so Nokia is shouting particularly loud about it with this handset.

Using NFC, you can pair the 700 with another compatible device and share photos or music. Just like Bluetooth. There's also an NFC-capable game available from Nokia Store, enabling NFC multiplayer. As has been done for years, using Bluetooth. How many people use Bluetooth for this sort of stuff these days? Not many. Until NFC wins itself some significant positioning within the real world, as a payment method or similar, it's still only a tickbox 'nice to have' feature.

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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