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Nokia C7 - Apps, Performance and Verdict

By Edward Chester



Our Score:


Most of the rest of this phone's apps – the music player, video player, alarms, calendar – follow the similar sort of trend already set out: they get the job done but aren't exactly a joy to use.

The same could be said for social networking. Apps for Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare (among others) are available and they're reasonably easy to use - you can even manually sync Facebook events to the phone's calendar and get updates on a homescreen widget. However, there's no proper contact integration and the general interface is sluggish.

After the N8's impressive photographing abilities, the camera on the C7 is a big disappointment. While its 8 megapixels allow for quite a detailed picture, the lack of autofocus means it's of very limited benefit. The small lens and sensor mean that most objects further away than about a metre are all in focus so general photography doesn't suffer too much, but the inability to take any sort of close-up is annoying. It's all the more of a shame considering there are twin LEDs on the back for otherwise capable shooting in the dark.

HD video is also on offer and the same positives and negatives apply. Overall, though, we think the lack of autofocus is less of an issue for video and the footage this phone produces is generally rather good with plenty of detail and accurate colours.

Where this phone really excels, though, is in its most basic phone duties. Call quality is excellent for both caller and receiver, and the loudspeaker is as good as we've come to expect from Nokia. Battery life is also superb, with a week between charges easily obtainable under light usage. It's also worth noting that Nokia has said a software update will be arriving shortly that will improve the browser and add a portrait keyboard amongst other things but until those updates actually arrive we obviously can't take them into account in this review.


The Nokia C7 is another return to form from Nokia on the hardware front. It's well made, has great battery life and call quality puts many rivals to shame. However, except for the incredibly useful OVI maps application, the software trails pretty much all other smartphones for ease of use and - in some cases - functionality.

As such, we think that anyone used to slicker OSes like iOS, Android and WebOS won't be tempted by this device. On the other hand, fans of previous Nokia and Symbian devices will probably see this as a nice upgrade. Regardless, with this phone only costing about £50 less than the much better N8, we'd recommend that anyone tempted just stump up the extra cash and go for that phone instead.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut


December 22, 2010, 12:30 pm

Good review, Ed. The bottom line is that Nokia's hardware and feature set is excellent but they need to up their game on the UI front and attract developers to Ovi. If they can do this then the future is bright. If not...

We'll know better in early 2011 when the first batch of firmware updates come through. Hopefully by then we should also be seeing more of the big boys appearing in the Ovi store although this will depend a lot on how well the S^3 series phones have sold globally in Q4.

Hamish Campbell

December 22, 2010, 1:24 pm

Speaking of Dora the Explorer, here in Denmark my kids watch it, it's in Danish with whole lots of english mixed in for 'learning' (rather irrelevent for my bilingual kids), I guess it's from the US where they add Spanish......buy what do they do in the UK?


December 22, 2010, 1:54 pm

@Sleeper: Cheers. Thanks for the reminder regards updates - I had meant to mention that in the copy.

@haim: The UK version is exactly the same as the US I think so, yeah, they occasionally throw in Spanish words to learn.

Neil B

December 22, 2010, 3:16 pm

Great review, thanks. I really can't decide between this and the N8 and could do with a few real world comparisons. Battery life is very important to me and I like the fact I can go away for a weekend and not bother taking a charger. Obviously the C7 is great in this respect but how does the N8 compare? Also, it's all well and good knowing the dimensions but how do they both feel in your hand. I've never owned a full touchscreen phone before and I'm always put off by how cumbersome they seem. The C7 looks a little better but I'd like to know how the N8 compares.


December 22, 2010, 3:42 pm

@Neil B

I can't speak for Ed but I have an N8 and my boss has a C7. Personally I find the N8 more comfortable to hold (the camera module acts as a nice little shelf that sits on your finger when holding it in portrait mode) and the C7 a little slippy.

Given they're essentially the same phone most things are the same but the camera on the N8 is miles better than the C7 and it has more memory. Both have 1200 mAh batteries and will do at least two days on normal use. That said, if you have a lot of active widgets and use push mail constantly it'll last about a day and half (AccuWeather is particularly heavy).


December 22, 2010, 4:16 pm

Correction to your review! USB port in C7-00 is chargeable. At least I do charge my C7 with USB. It just comes with regular ("old-style") Nokia charger with 2mm round socket, but can definetely charge via USB. { http://europe.nokia.com/fin... go to Connectivity section }


December 22, 2010, 7:15 pm

@Toifeli: You're right. I just tried a different cable to that provided with the phone and it does work. It's bizarre that the supplied cable doesn't work though (despite it working for data connection). Apologies to all for the mistake. I shall update the article.


December 22, 2010, 7:35 pm

@Ed: The Nokia C7 has a NFC chip (will be activated in 1Q2011)


December 22, 2010, 7:38 pm

@Sleeper: the C7 has more memory than the N8 ;-)


December 22, 2010, 9:03 pm

@swift11: I think he means internal storage. The N8 has 16GB, the C7 has 8GB.


December 22, 2010, 9:03 pm


I think the RAM's the same at 256MB. The N8 has 16GB storage as opposed to the C7's 8GB. Also NFC is OK but to be honest I don't think we're going to see any meaningful applications in the UK until 2012 to 2013 so less of an issue to me. YMMV.

I should have mentioned the other important factor about the C7 for battery worriers though: its battery is user replacable, the N8's is not. Plus it has hard call buttons which is something I miss on the N8.


December 22, 2010, 11:22 pm

@sleeper: Nand Memory N8: 512 MB, C7: 1GB;

Maximum User Storage N8: 135 MB, C7: 350 MB


December 22, 2010, 11:38 pm

@Ed: "The homescreen consists of three panels onto which you can place various widgets and shortcuts. It's not as customisable as some rivals, with the widgets often being too small to be of much use"

Symbian is sooo hard for a Iphone user, lol

Arctic Fox

December 23, 2010, 1:16 am

I think that the sooner Nokia releases meego versions of phones like the C7 and the N8 the better. I am beginning to get tired of being able to sum up all the latest reviews as "great kit, shame about the UI/os" - and I have always been something of a fan of Nokia!


December 23, 2010, 8:13 am

I have the Nokia C7 and had a good laugh reading this review.

To sum it up: this is like a Mac guy doing a PC review: he just hates the thing but he's doing his job: agonisingly describing all the things that "add to the frustration"...


December 23, 2010, 2:25 pm

@swift11: The fact that, by the evidence before me, you commented three times before actually reading my review (and considering the content of those comments), I don't really feel you're worthy of a constructive response.


December 23, 2010, 3:27 pm

@Ed: I very much prefer your pre-review:

"Symbian phones tend to be rubbish is all"


To give this phone's features a 7/10 is laughable, at best.

As a C7 user, I could write a review of your review ...

Neil B

December 23, 2010, 3:46 pm

@Ed, I have to agree with swift11 and I have read the review. I'm really fed up with people (not just at TR but in the comments too) slating Symbian. There's a few of us who really rate it. I find iOS really basic and (amazingly) I find it clunky to use. Give me Symbian any day, you can do so much more with it. Reviews will always be subjective but things that irritate you, I see as plus points. I like the fact that Nokia phones have lots of buttons, I will always prefer physical controls to software (and I'm a software engineer by trade). Whereas the iPhone's single button, what's that all about? Apple are too bothered about making the package look good instead of the functionality of the device. This is just my opinion and I realise that I'm probably in the minority. But on the plus side, at least I look a bit different to everyone else when I'm using my phone.


December 23, 2010, 4:24 pm

The issue with Symbian is you need to give it time to find out the best functionality out of it.

Sure phone OS users will claim theirs are better than others and show bias esp. when they use other devices, but often they don't give much time in using the other options which is needed to find the best out of an OS like Symbian.

Used the old symbians rather than the touchscreens/S3, but I would like to have a look at the C7 and see how it works and maybe see if the updates next year improves it or not. Some features like Ovi Maps have caching to the phone to avoid data charges which is great, but it does look brutally simple compared to Google maps or iPhone equivalents.

Different strokes for different folks really.


December 23, 2010, 4:43 pm

Just out of interest, before I read the rest of the review or any of the comments: does anyone else have any problem with Nokia's Lock sliders? Ed seems to comment on them often, but I've had no problems.

Genuinely interested, as doesn't seem to be commented on often.



December 23, 2010, 5:13 pm

I think there's a bit too much information left out in the statement about Folders (in the review). Symbian has had folders for ages, but they're stored in the menu system, not on the home screen(s). iOS doesn't really have any home screens, everything is just there on the Springboard, so it's the equivalent of the internal menus on a Symbian phone.

In other words everything on the Symbian home screens is just supposed to be a shortcut to your application, if you need to organise stuff, you can still do that to your heart's content. This is to stop things getting messy on the home screens. Similarly to the swiping. The fact it doesn't move until you finish swiping is to reduce mistaken swipes. Or say you're reading the header of an email, and about to go to the next homescreen to check FB updates or something, you can start swiping and finish reading, then let go to have to move on.

I know most of you know all that I was explaining above, but I was just trying to point out that it isn't bad design or a lack of research or thinking on Nokia's part, it's simply a design decision.

P.S. I haven't a Symbian^3 device at the moment, so don't know whether it's possible to add a shortcut to a folder on the homescreens or not, but might be worth a try {Nokia were supposed to be sending me an N8 but it hasn't turned up yet :(}.

P.P.S. I believe the C7 also supports miniHDMI and USB OTG but they don't ship the cables in the box.


December 23, 2010, 5:43 pm

@drdark: the lock slider is very useful, indeed !


December 23, 2010, 6:22 pm

@drdark: Just a quick point, the fact that videos of Nokia's upcoming UI improvements show it having homescreens that do track your finger, would suggest the current arrangement is far from a choice.

As for the lock slider. I just find it very awkwardly positioned - I've often found phones flying out my hand as I try to operate them - the slider isn't conveniently positioned for lefthanded people either. What's more, it's quite easy to knock accidentally, thus inadvertently unlocking your phone.

Yes, you can add shortcuts to folders but it's not the same thing.

A general statement on the comments on why Symbian's great:

Yes, there are some things that are nice about it like the sheer customisability of it. And, yes, some of the UI issues you would just get used to. However, you all seem to be ignoring the other more fundamental failings it still has. The typing experience is very poor, the web browser is still behind the competition, email isn't as slick, and contact management (certainly in terms of social network integration) isn't great. All these things add up and leave Symbian way behind the likes of Android.


December 23, 2010, 6:26 pm

I think Ed's review is fine and it's quite obvious that some people didn't read it before commenting. That said, I did and I missed a couple of minor things first time through:

1) Folders can be stored on the homescreens as shortcuts. I do this with my Apps folder on the N8.

2)You can show multiple mail accounts - you just set them as separate widgets on a homescreen.

3) Flash video is supported on the browser - or at least most of it is - the browser has Flash Lite 4.0 built in.

The review is OK because Ed has made it quite clear that Symbian's UI isn't as easy to use the UI of other manufacturers and that is one of the key differentiating factors for TR's reviewers.

Everything Ed says about the UI and experience is true - the default browser is usable but clunky, the keyboards are, again, usable but could be better (not in terms of word recognition, they're really good at that and they learn, but in presentation) and there are too many pops ups (Yes, FM Transmitter, I know I've turned you on, you don't have to tell me again) and inconsistencies (the camera UI is a throwback to S60).

My view is that if they get the UI packages right over 2011 then a lot of that pain is going to go away and we'll have excellent hardware, performance and software but, and Ed is clear about this, TR can only review what they have at the time of the review.

So, as I've said before, for a user the C7 and N8 are 7's out of the box, 8's once you configure them (Opera Mobile, Gravity, etc) and, if the new UI works, 9's or more. I can wait for that but others may not want to. That needs to be taken into consideration.


I like the spring mechanism on the slider. It's really handy and intuitive.


December 23, 2010, 6:43 pm

@Ed: I wasn't ignoring the failings, I'm well aware of them.

P.S. Listing UI improvements including "instant swipe" homescreens is actually an indication of them getting fed up with all the US bloggers/reviewers who didn't realise it was a design choice and called the N8 "laggy".

I didn't say it was the best choice. But it was definitely intentional.

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