Nokia's attempt to return to the top of the smartphone pile started with the Symbian^3-touting N8, which in terms of hardware is a very impressive handset. If you're looking for something a little less pricey, though, then the more modest C7 may be right up your street. Available for around £280 SIM free or for free on £25pm contracts, most of the networks are stocking it so you've a decent number of buying choices.
Just as with the N8, the C7 sees a return to form from Nokia in terms of hardware design and build quality. The main chassis is plastic but it feels solid and has a nice matt finish, while a metal backplate provides a particularly premium feel. The front is adorned with a quality glass touchscreen that, again, really makes this feel like a high-end device. We're not that keen on the silver finish – particularly the distractingly shiny sections around the screen – but the dark grey version looks particularly appealing and there's a champagne option too.
Under that backplate there is a microSD slot for adding up to 32GB of storage to the 8GB already onboard. You do, however, have to remove the battery to access it.
Looking round the sides it's clear Nokia still isn't shy of having plenty of buttons. Up top you'll find a power button alongside the headphone jack and microUSB socket, while on the right is the camera shutter button, screen lock slider, volume control and voice command button. Finally, on the front below the screen are physical buttons for call, menu, and call-end. Aside from the ever awkward-to-reach screen lock slider all the buttons feel solidly planted and responsive, with just the right amount resistance.
As well as the screen lock slider not being the easiest thing to operate, it's also now pointless as pressing the menu button on the front allows you to unlock the screen, while pressing the power button on the top lets you lock it. It's a small gripe but we tend to dislike having buttons that are somewhat superfluous.
Our other initial complaint is the use of Nokia's proprietary charging socket, which can be found on the left edge. What's most bizarre is that there's even a microUSB socket (supposedly the standard now for charging) on the top but this is only for data transfer and doesn't charge the phone. There's a microUSB socket for data transfer and charging but, for some reason, the supplied microUSB cable doesn't charge the phone so normal charging is done via the proprietary socket found on the left edge.
At 130g, the C7 is a fairly weighty phone but dimensions of 117.3 x 56.8 x 10.5mm mean it's not too large - and is in fact very slim. The smooth curves of its design also make it very comfortable to hold, albeit a tad slippery.