To match the top-quality AMOLED screen, the Nokia 700’s video capabilities wipe the floor with most smartphone rivals. The built-in video player can handle a wide array or codec types, including MKV, Xvid, DivX and MP4. Our 1080p MKV test files failed to show up within the app whatsoever, but 720p files played back at full speed without a problem. RMVB also failed to play, but as a fairly niche format it doesn’t detract too much from otherwise excellent performance.
It just makes us wish that the Nokia 700’s screen was that little bit bigger, because 3.2in is arguably a little small to watch anything longer than a few minutes on. The app does let you make the most of the screen, with aspect ratio options built-in – although this option didn’t show up for absolutely all file types. Nonetheless this phone makes most Android handsets’ built-in video abilities look embarrassingly bad.
(centre)The video player is dead spiffy(/centre)
The Belle Symbian update hasn’t upgraded the music player app, but this is one element that was fine already. It’s visually rich, using a slick ‘n’ quick cover flow system and making good use of album art throughout.
To use as a full MP3 player you’ll need to invest in a large-capacity microSD card, because the Nokia 700 only has 2GB of internal memory. The slot lies under the battery cover. Audio codec support isn’t as impressive as video, with no FLAC or OGG support, but most non-lossless libraries will be covered – i.e. mp3 and aac are good to go. An FM radio is included too.
Hopping ’round to the back of the phone for a minute, we find the camera. A forefather of the Nokia 700, the Nokia N8, is perhaps still the best camera phone ever made. However, in recent handsets Nokia has moved its focus (geddit) away from top-end snappers, most notably by getting rid of autofocus and using a fixed focus system instead.
The benefit of fixed focus is that it makes snapping away quicker, as you don’t have to wait for the lens to zero-in on a subject. The main downside of this is not being able to photograph anything close-up as it just becomes a blurred mess.
Although its 5-megapixel sensor is more powerful than most fixed-focus cameras have to make do with, the Nokia 700 doesn’t break away from these norms. Photos offer very limited clarity and a glazed look that further diminishes the impression of detail. The LED flash is a welcome addition, but image quality is poor. Then again, it is about typical for a a phone of this price.
Shooting in widescreen – for full-frame check out the gallery
Borrowing its camera app interface from the Nokia N8, the level of control you’re given over your photos is, conversely, pretty good. On top of mobile camera staples like colour tone, timer, white balance and exposure settings, the Nokia 700 lets you fiddle with ISO, contrast, sharpness, and offers face detection. The camera app doesn’t let you apply lots of silly filters to your snaps, but the nifty Photo Editor app does, and more besides.
We can forgive some neglecting of a phone camera in favour of getting the basics right, but the effort that the Nokia 700 puts into pushing NFC (Near Field Communication) loses it some of this goodwill. NFC lets one device communicate with another over short distances, most famously for use in things like contactless payment systems. It’s the latest buzz word in smartphones so Nokia is shouting particularly loud about it with this handset.
Using NFC, you can pair the 700 with another compatible device and share photos or music. Just like Bluetooth. There’s also an NFC-capable game available from Nokia Store, enabling NFC multiplayer. As has been done for years, using Bluetooth. How many people use Bluetooth for this sort of stuff these days? Not many. Until NFC wins itself some significant positioning within the real world, as a payment method or similar, it’s still only a tickbox ‘nice to have’ feature.