Nokia 700 - Built-In Apps, Browsing and Maps

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The Nokia 700 may not come across as an app king when sat next to an iPhone 4 or an Android like the HTC Wildfire S, but it can do quite a bit sans a trip to the Nokia Store. Twitter and Facebook are integrated into the Social app, there are built-in iPlayer and YouTube apps, Shazam, a video editor, Vlingo voice commands and – our favourite – a voice synthesiser to read your SMS messages, among others.

Apps menu

All these apps live within a vertical scrolling main menu. Like the home screens, this has been thoroughly overhauled in the latest iteration of Symbian. Clunky-looking icons have been replaced with better rounded-off ones, providing a snazzier look. These icons can be organised as you like, with completely manual positioning and support for folders. Any app fans will want to use the latter, as the 3-icon columns mean it’s easy to turn the apps menu into a mile-long list.

Some built-in apps are a bit frivolous, a bit niche, but others are desperately important. Mercifully, the basics of social network integration are decent. The Social app lets you view the latest updates from Facebook and Twitter as a single stream, or delve deeper into the content of the two networks – messages, events, @replies and so on. As we saw with the Nokia 700’s widgets, it’s not a desperately attractive app but functions well, with a look that’s a step above the standard set by the dark old days of Symbian.

Facebook

The standard web browser has been given some significant – and much-needed – UI improvements since Symbian^3’s retail launch in 2010. There’s now a static nav bar at the bottom of the screen, removing the need to constantly bring up the menu manually.

The nav bar offers back and forward buttons, a bookmark shortcut, access to tabs and a button to bring up the expanded options menu. This offers slightly lesser-used things like Feeds, History, link sharing and the option to add a bookmark. You can choose whether you want the Nokia 700 to use Google or Bing too, which is nice.

Nokia 700 1

The phone’s touchscreen is happy to perform multi-touch gestures like pinch zooming, and text re-rendering is quick. One sadly missing feature is full Flash 10.1 support – the Nokia 700 makes do with the relatively limited Flash lite 4.0. The 1GHz processor could have coped with the strain too. Ho hum.
Maps
(centre)Maps. Not Ovi Maps.(/centre)

Like any GPS-enabled Nokia smartphone, it comes with Maps – previously Ovi Maps – pre-installed. And it’s just as great as ever. For many people, it won’t seem much better or worse than rivals like Google Maps, but it is a little bit special. It’s a pro at pre-loading maps using the phone’s memory (inc. SD cards). You can download maps over Wi-Fi so they don’t have to load over slow (and often costly) 3G while you’re out. Having cached maps also makes dashing across large areas within Maps super-quick – which the 1GHz processor also has no trouble with.