Nokia 701 preview: First look
Nokia 701 360-degree spin
The exact measurements of the Nokia 701 are 117.2 x 56.8 x 11 mm (64cc) and 131 grams.
Design and construction
Okay, so the Nokia 701 won't win any awards for original design, but the iPhone went three generations without fear of becoming boring. The rounded corners give the Nokia 701 a pleasant look and the sturdy shell made mostly of metal feels quality.
The screen merits a chapter of its own, so let's get the rest of the hardware out of the way.
Above the display is the earpiece with proximity and ambient light sensors and a VGA video call camera keeping it company. Below the display are the three hardware keys – Menu, Answer and Ignore. The call keys are easy to hit but the Menu key is slightly on the thin side.
One design flaw we found here is that it's too close to the screen and sometimes you'd press both the key and the screen. The Menu key on the C7 was placed slightly lower and the problem was avoided, so we don't know why Nokia moved it.
The mic pinhole is located just below the menu key.
The top side of the Nokia 701 features the power key, which also handles screen lock and the ringing profiles. The two wired connectivity ports are here too – the microUSB has a plastic flap (and can be used for charging), while the 3.5mm audio jack is left exposed. That one doubles as a TV-Out port.
The left side of the 701 would have been completely bare if it wasn’t for the 2mm charger plug. The right side is much busier – the volume keys flank the voice command key, and further down we find the screen-lock slider and the shutter key. It cannot be half-pressed as the camera on the Nokia 701 lacks auto-focus.
The shutter key is small and almost flush against the side of the phone, making it rather uncomfortable to press. This might result in some extra camera shake – you might want to use the on-screen shutter to prevent that.
The Nokia 701’s bottom side features just the lanyard eyelet.
On the back we find the camera lens, dual-LED flash and loudspeaker banded together on a silver strip. The phone rests down on the camera, perhaps making the lens prone to scratches.
Even though there are two symmetrical grills, only one of them (the one next to the lens) is an actual loudspeaker – the other one is there just for the sake of symmetry, we guess.
The back cover is metal and very pleasant to the touch. It’s held in place by a latch found at the bottom. Adjacent to the latch is the second microphone, which is used for noise cancellation and stereo sound for videos - you should be careful not to cover it with your palm.
Popping the cover open reveals the 1300mAh Li-Ion battery (BL-5K). The 701 boasts some impressive battery life on paper - 17 hours of talk time in 2G (only about 7 hours in 3G), 21 or 23 days of standby in 2G and 3G respectively.
It doesn’t end there - Nokia's official specs promise nearly 9 hours of video watching, 6 hours 25 minutes of video recording (if you have the storage for it), almost 3 hours of video calling, 11 hours of navigation (free navigation courtesy of Nokia Maps) and the really impressive 3 days of music playback.
The Nokia 701 has the same problem as the C7 - the SIM card compartment is easily accessible once you pop open the back cover. But you can't get to the microSD card slot as that is behind the battery (not under it, behind it).
With the 701 you get typically good Nokia build quality and the mostly metal shell really gives it a sense of solidity. The scratch-resistant glass and metal build offer good durability.
We played with the Silver Light color version and it's quite a looker. It's not the most compact phone around, but the elongated shape of the Nokia 701 makes it fit just right in the hand and it should slip into pretty much any pocket without a problem.
Brilliant IPS-LCD ClearBlack display
The front panel of the Nokia 701 is mostly taken by the next-generation ClearBlack display - 3.5” IPS-LCD display of nHD resolution.
As you could expect, the blacks aren't quite in the same league as those of the AMOLED ClearBlacks but the 1,000 nits of brightness make up for that. It's the brightest display we've seen, not counting the Nokia E6 (which was much smaller).
The balance of this is excellent contrast ratios - 1470:1 at full brightness and 1818:1 at 50% brightness. Those are very impressive figures, pretty much the best we've seen on a non-AMOLED screen (the E6 comes close too). Here's the table that compares brightness and contrast among the phone's we've tested. You can learn more about the test here.
|Display test||50% brightness||100% brightness|
|Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2||Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2|
|LG Optimus Black P970||0.27||332||1228||0.65||749||1161|
|Motorola Atrix 4G||0.48||314||652||0.60||598||991|
|Apple iPhone 4||0.14||189||1341||0.39||483||1242|
|Samsung I9000 Galaxy S||0||263||∞||0||395||∞|
|Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc||0.03||34||1078||0.33||394||1207|
|Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II||0||231||∞||0||362||∞|
The screen brightness helps achieve excellent sunlight legibility too, beating the likes of the SuperAMOLED Plus and the first-gen ClearBlack displays.
The IPS technology promises 160-degree viewing angles and for the most part delivers. There's a slight but noticeable loss of contrast when you tilt the phone, but there's no color shift.
The pixel count of Nokia 701's screen is just 60% of WVGA screens (common in high-end phones), but as this is a smaller screen the pixel density is virtually identical to that of the Galaxy S II, for example (210 ppi for the 701 vs. 217 ppi for the S II).
The sharpness is okay but you can notice jaggies on circles (or just rounded corners like the menu icons) and diagonal lines.
The 701 screen sensitivity is as good as we’ve come to expect from capacitive units. The excellent haptic feedback is a boost to usability.