The Nokia C2-01 is a budget phone, but selling for Â£69.99 at the cheapest in the UK its price is veering dangerously close to budget smartphone territory. Swimming in waters filled with razor-toothed Androids and budget Qwerty models is a dangerous game for a phone like the C2-01.
The phone's design is classic Nokia, with a candybar form factor and standard T9 keypad. There's a silver trim but the C2-01's body is made entirely out of (admittedly fairly tough feeling) plastic - what you'd expect from a phone at this price.
Next to today's attention-grabbing smartphone stars like the iPhone 4 and HTC Desire HD, the 2in 240x320 pixel screen of this phone sounds puny, but is near-enough what we'd expect of device with this form factor. With a generous black expanse above and to each side of the screen, we have a hunch a 2.2in model may have fitted-in just fine, but the display used is bright, sharp and offers acceptable viewing angles.
Cheaper phones that slink into the ultra-budget sector often use poorer-quality LCDs with awful viewing angles and fewer colours (65k against the C2-01's 256k), resulting in an image that looks washed-out and is more likely to strain the eyes. We're glad the C2-01 bettered this budget standard, however our review C2-01's screen did have some odd bright lines that appeared in the display whenever the phone was angled more than thirty degrees or so - although this is likely to be a one-off manufacturing fault.
Each side of the phone features a flip-out plastic panel that covers a microSD slot, on the left hand-side, and a microUSB slot. The sides are otherwise blank - there's no dedicated volume control buttons so you have to use the central D-pad to alter the volume of calls or music playing. On top of the handset are the proprietary power socket and standard 3.5mm headphone jack, letting you use your own earphones.
Keeping everything but the SIM slot above the battery cover means you'll hardly need to take the cover off - as people who frequently have to do this, we can attest to this being a good thing for the phone's durability. Still, the C2-01 demonstrates Nokia's usual strong build quality, with all the fascia buttons having a firm, clicky action. Next to the Sony Ericsson Cedar and cheaper Nokia C1-02 though, the keypad does feel slightly cramped, owing to its subtler contouring.