The Nokia C2-01 runs the S40 operating system, a simplified alternative to the full smartphone Symbian S60 operating system still used in Nokia's mid-range phones. In-line with the demands of today's social networking generation, it comes complete with a built-in Facebook app, although tweeters aren't similarly catered for with a Twitter app.
There's a home screen that features four rectangular slots you can fill with 10 different widgets or shortcuts. These include a calendar notification bar, a scrollable row of shortcuts and a memory-jogger note. You switch between these on the home screen using the silver directional pad, while other functions are accessed from the main menu.
This Nokia-standard three-icon-wide menu houses all your apps, within an "Apps" subfolder, as well as supplying links to basic phone features like SMS messaging, the web browser and your contacts book. Delving further into the menu, the Nokia C2-01 comes with a handful of additional apps pre-installed including online photo service Flickr, a unit converter, size converter and world clock, plus a handful of games such as Bounce Tales, brain trainer Brain Champ and Digital Chocolate's City Bloxx.
It's a paltry selection of apps but can be added to thanks to the Ovi Store, Nokia's own app store. Like any S40-powered phone though, the roster of apps available for the C2-01 isn't impressive. eBuddy Mobile Messenger lets you talk to friends over the popular IM networks and Snaptu fills the Twitter functionality void but the apps available can't match the offerings of any of the true smartphone platforms. Games are better served though, as long as you can make do with 16-bit style graphics rather than the flashy 3D games Android and iPhone buyers can show off.
With 3G connectivity on-board, this phone is web-ready and comes with a built-in browser to prove it, but its form factor and price don't convince us that this is a particularly effective web buddy next to alternatives. The Wi-Fi enabled Nokia C3 has a full Qwerty keyboard, the T-Mobile Pulse Mini has a larger, touch-sensitive screen plus both 3G and Wi-Fi, and the similarly-specced Sony Ericsson Cedar is available for a good Â£20 cheaper - not small change at this price.
You navigate through web pages using the D-pad to control a cursor, which feels very slow and ineffective if you're used to the slick touchscreen navigation of a smartphone. Flash lite 3.0 is supported, so your web experience isn't entirely cut down to the basics, but the internet on a small, non-touch screen doesn't feel like the opportunity for entertainment (and who knows, perhaps even some learning) it is on a larger, more capable device. As with almost any phone on the market today, email support is included, but for simply checking the odd email alone, 3G might be considered overkill.