Some of us want a phone to be all singing and all dancing. We want a large touchscreen, social networking, app stores, great video playback. You name it, we'll probably want it – yes, I can even see a use for a kitchen sink if you can somehow fit it in my pocket. However, this certainly isn't true for everyone. Many of you just want a simple, easy-to-use phone for, you know, calling and texting. It's at just such a market that the Nokia 7230 is targeted so let's see if it's a good bet.
This is a fairly elegant phone. Thanks to its slider format, its front is kept clutter-free and the chrome, gun metal and black colour scheme is simple but effective. Slide it open and a white-on-black keypad is revealed, which again is plain but generally attractive. Closed, the phone measures 98 x 48 x 14.8mm so it’s a fair bit shorter but noticeably fatter than your basic candybar phone – something that's to be expected for a slider, of course. With it open, the phone's length increases to a sizeable 127mm.
On the whole, build quality seems to be good with a strong, sprung slide mechanism, individual plastic keypad buttons, and a generally solid feel. The only obvious downside is the screen and its surround. They're both built from slightly wobbly plastic so are going to be prone to scratching and just feel rather cheap. On top of this, the finely etched screen surround and the bevelled chrome edge are particularly adept at catching any and every possible distracting light.
The same circular etching found on the screen surround is mirrored on the battery cover on the back. Rather like the front, it doesn't look bad as such but doesn't exactly stand out from the crowd. Yank the battery cover off and remove the battery and you can access the SIM slot and a microSD slot. As always, we would rather you could access the microSD slot without having to power down your phone, though this is a relatively minor grievance.
Another thing that bugs us is the lack of volume controls. During calls and while you have the media player open you can adjust the volume using the up and down buttons of the D-pad. However, if you have music on in the background while browsing the web or want to adjust ringer volume, you have to scurry back to the media player or dive deep into the menu structure to make your adjustments. This omission is relatively common on cheaper handsets but the Nokia 7230 is not really a budget phone and models much cheaper than it still have these controls.
What makes this all the more baffling is that this phone has a proper headphone jack, making it easy to use your own choice of headphones – something that's much rarer on cheap handsets. Alongside the headphone jack is a micro-USB socket for connecting the phone to a PC and charging it. There's also an old-school proprietary Nokia charging socket, which is useful as it will charge the phone faster than over USB.