Moving onto software and the C3 is running Nokia’s venerable Series 40 operating system. It’s starkly simplistic in its general look and feel, and certainly doesn’t push any frontiers in terms of functionality. However, on such a simple phone it feels quite adequate. Moreover, there are a few additions that mean it isn’t completely behind the times.
The Home Screen can be either kept clear or you can add up to three widgets with a choice of favourite contacts, Facebook, calendar, shortcut bar, radio and media player, and notifications amongst others. It’s not on the level of a full smartphone OS but you can customise everything to get you where you want pretty quickly. You can also assign a shortcut to each direction of the directional-pad (D-pad) as well as the two raised silver buttons.
Symbian/Nokia’s love of menus is the only thing that really lets the main interface down, with too many options and a somewhat unintuitive layout. Thankfully, as the phone has such basic functionality that the menu-chaos isn’t too much of an annoyance, as you soon learn the whereabouts of everything.
Also, whereas most of the key apps like contacts and messages are quick to open – and look and feel like native apps – many extras like email, Facebook, and Twitter are Java apps, taking a couple of seconds to load and sporting a totally different look and feel. It’s somewhat irritating, certainly compared to proper smartphones, but thankfully once you’re in the apps they all work very well. Moreover, considering how cheap this phone is, it seems a more than acceptable compromise.
Managing your text messages on this phone is a breeze, with texts stored in conversations making it easier to keep track of what you and a particular contact were chatting about. Thanks to the excellent keyboard it’s also easy to bash out fairly lengthy messages in double quick time. You can also access Windows Live Messenger, though the service is pretty slow.
Email support is basic, even lacking notifications of new messages until you’ve already opened the app, but the layout is nice and intuitive, and there are all the usual options you’d hope for.
Facebook and Twitter are accessed via a Communities app, which appears to be nothing more than a list of the above apps. It can take a little while to load the apps and, like email, you don’t get notifications of updates or messages. But so long as you get in a habit of checking the services every now and then you’ll still feel like you’re in the loop.
The apps themselves are also nicely laid out and easy to use, if a tad slow. You can even upload photos straight from the camera.