Nokia 3250 review: Rubik's phone

Michal Sedlák, 05 April 2006. Read the original review at
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Incompatible applications

Nokia 3250 is the first smartphone to feature the new 9.1 version of Symbian OS. It comes along with various innovative functions, but also with one very disappointing drawback: it is incompatible with older applications. I tried to install a few programs into the phone, but every time I was shown the same error message "Download not supported by the system".

Such a restriction complicates the situation a lot, as program manufacturers will now have to prepare new versions of their products, while users will spend unnecessary long time searching for these new versions, downloading them, pre-registering them etc. For this reason our team did not manage to install our picture saving program into Nokia 3250's Symbian, which led to the necessity to take pictures of phone's display by the use of a standard camera, just like we would do with a non-smart phone. Original graphic themes are not applicable, either.

Most images on the main display - time, date, day, operator's logo, and the battery and network indicators - have remained unchanged. In the bottom bar you will see the names of the two applications assigned to the buttons below the display (customizable). Font type and size are new.

Main display and Active stand-by mode

In the middle of the display you will find the common active stand-by display, which first appeared in Nokia 6681. Nokia 3250 features six icons for fast activation of frequently used programs instead of five. All icons are customizable in accordance with user's preference. Below this bar you will see the events of the day according to the calendar or the first event of the following day. The number of unaccomplished tasks, the name of the respective MP3 file (if played), as well as radio frequency/station (if active) are displayed in this area too. Besides, all blocks listed above are active, that is, by marking them you go directly to the calendar, the task manager, the MP3 player, the radio...

There is one trouble though. All moves in the active stand-by mode are made via the joystick, which restricts the functionality of its ways. They can no more be used for fast opening of frequently used applications. However, at the same time the stand-by mode can be deactivated. In this case Nokia 3250 behaves like older smartphones.

One more line

Main menu is displayed in a standard matrix of icons. Originally, all smartphones featured a 3 x 3 matrix. Nokia 3250 has four of them. Its matrix menu consists of 4 lines x 3 segments, which fit in seamlessly as display is big enough. Yet, let me remind you once again that a bit higher resolution would have made images look much more vivid and sharp.

Matrix format is not necessary

Menu can be displayed as a list of items too. Icons represent various applications and can get hidden into folders up to the first menu level. They can also be redistributed and adjusted to user's need so that frequently used applications appear in the upper line.

The outlook of the display can be modified by using graphic themes, which change not only wallpaper on the main display, but also the menus' background. They also modify icons, colors, symbols etc. There are several pre-installed themes in Nokia 3250. More themes can be obtained through downloads, purchase or simply by creating them in PC Suite.

All pre-installed themes

Generally, smartphones' control is logic. Yet, inexperienced users may have difficulties at the beginning. It may take them quite a long time to get to the main menu, for example. That is why Nokia has developed an application called Instructions, which should get started directly from the right context button (we cannot confirm this information as the device we tested had been used by somebody else before it got to our office) and explain the basic work steps with Nokia 3250.

Regrettably, Nokia 3250 shares one annoying feature with Nokia N70, that is, a single press on the red receiver button closes running applications instead of taking the user back to the main display. Such a function is extremely unpleasant as you may find yourself with a closed ICQ client in the middle of an important conversation, for example.

Turtle express

Nokia 3250 is notably slower than common mobile phones - a typical problem for all smartphones. The device needs about half a minute only to get started. No difference as to Nokia 6681, for example.

However, Nokia 3250 performed brilliantly in the Java speed tests. Applying a standard testing process and the JBenchmark application I got the following results:

  • JBenchmark 1.0: 5897 points
  • JBenchmark 2.0: 534 points

Comparison with Nokia N70:

  • JBenchmark 1.0: 4534 points
  • JBenchmark 2.0: 194 points

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