Nokia 3250 review: Rubik's phone

Michal Sedlák, 05 April 2006. Read the original review at
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You should be particularly careful with your ears when you use the earphone located above the display. It is quite powerful. I have no special remarks to make here.

Nokia 3250
Earphone in pink

You should think twice before you apply the handset to your ear also because the plastic cover on the top of the phone does not verge smoothly into the pink rim of the display. After a 20-minute call one's ear feels insensitive and even hearts.

Nothing new in the active sector

What a pity that Nokia has not used a QVGA display. Nothing has changed in comparison with Nokia 3230, except for the fact that the display of the new model features 262K colors. All the rest is the same - resolution of 176 x 208 pixels, a surface of 35 x 41 mm, etc...

Nokia 3250 Nokia 3250
Display in the dark

In comparison to other Nokia models with Symbian OS, the 9.1 version brings along a few innovations, for example a higher amount of icons and far smaller font, which seem to require a higher resolution than the one the phone is equipped with.

As I have Nokia 6681 right next to me, let me offer you some more comparison. Apart from the above mentioned roughness, the display of Nokia 3250 is notably brighter and features a significantly better contrast than the one of Nokia 6681. I like the fact that the manufacturer has once again appealed to the well-proven solution of the cover glass lapping over the surface of the display, as it makes the display look bigger. Image is fine and even. There are no gaps where dirt may enter.

Before I approach to the rotary joint, let me test the keys located right below the display. Designers have used the same distribution method as in Nokia 3230. Apart from the two context keys and the pair of red and green buttons, through which call are controlled, there are several other keys we all know from previous smartphones with Symbian OS:

  • Key for access to main menu and activation of the manager for currently running programs
  • Pencil for work with clipboard
  • Correction C button

Nokia 3250 Nokia 3250
Main control buttons

A silver joystick is the main control element of the device. Press it to confirm your selection; each of its four ways can be set up to start a particular function, but when you use them, be sure the active stand-by mode is off. More information on this topic is to be found in the next chapter. I find the joystick extremely hard to move. Getting used to work with it is not impossible, but it definitely requires a bit of an effort. The correction key and the tiny pencil are much too small, so several times I happened to get it wrong and press something else unintentionally.

Nokia 3250
Joystick dominates the entire front cover

Plenty of innovative functions

The alpha-numeric keypad of Nokia 3250 is definitely phone's most attractive element. If I am not wrong, Nokia N90 is the only Nokia model, whose parameters include an item "body with a rotary segment", so far (one of our readers made a remark that actually it was Nokia 6260 to first feature this specifications). The same holds true for the new Nokia 3250. Besides a standard keypad its rotary segment also features a 2 megapixel camera and four control keys for the phone's built-in music player.

Nokia 3250 Nokia 3250
Do you remember the Rubik's cube?

The bottom part of the device turns one way to an angle of 90° and the other way up to 180°. It moves in four-rev cycles. Stopping is precise, and is accompanied by a pleasant dimmed clap. Apart from fulfilling certain functions rotating is also quite entertaining and reminds me of Rubik's famous cube. I can assure you that if not on Nokia 3250's color your friends' looks will certainly lay down on phone's rotary keypad.

Nokia 3250 Nokia 3250
Elements of the rotary keypad

Main number and letter keys are good. Rubber layer guarantees perfect adhesion between them and user's fingers. The keypad is so well elaborated that you will hardly ever write so fast to "make it sweat". Reactions are exact, uplift and overall work are brilliant. All keys are illuminated in white, except for the two receivers, which keep their original color. The left key column seems to illuminate a bit less than the others. In general, however, the backlighting of Nokia 3250 is above average standard.

Nokia 3250 Nokia 3250 Nokia 3250
Keypad is very easy to work with

If you turn the left side of the keypad towards you, you will see the lens of the built-in camera. This position is ideal for self-portraits. Camera is activated from the main menu. If you turn the keypad the opposite way, the camera application starts running by itself. If you turn the keypad to 360°, you will see in front of you four buttons that get automatically illuminated. They control the music player.

Nokia 3250 Nokia 3250 Nokia 3250
Both-side view at keypad backlighting

What I cannot get is why the buttons serving the music player remain illuminated even after the keypad has been turned back to its original position. To make number keys start to illuminate again you will have to turn the keypad to the position I described first (with the camera looking at you) for a moment and then turn it back. Another drawback - the music player does not get started automatically once the keypad has been turned around, but has to be selected from the menu instead.

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