Nokia 701 review: Belles and whistles

GSMArena team, 17 October 2011.
Pages: 123456789

Introduction

Symbian Belle is on the march and the leader of the pack is the Nokia 701. It busts out the big guns - a 1,000 nit floodlight of a screen, a fast, modern processor and an up-to-the-minute connectivity package, complete with NFC.

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Nokia 701 official photos

If you're experiencing a deja vu, rest assured it's nothing out of the ordinary. What we have here is a Nokia C7 reincarnate (the gilded Oro too). It may not be a new design, but it's fairly attractive and with a good deal of metal used around the shell. Plus, recycling a design seems to have become commonplace in the mobile world (*cough* iPhone4S *cough*).

We already talked about the screen in the preview and we'll go over it again - it's hands-down the brightest mobile screen we've tested. Nokia promise 1,000 nits of brightness when a typical LCD usually runs in the 300-600 range. The Nokia 701 actually goes a little beyond the promised value - don't miss our test in the hardware chapter.

As for the phone's innards, it ticks at 1GHz and packs 512MB of RAM, a quantum leap over what Symbian phones have used thus far.

Here are the ups and downs in the Nokia 701 spec sheet:

Key features

  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support
  • Penta-band 3G with 14.4 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA support
  • Slim alloy body
  • 3.5" 16M-color nHD ClearBlack TFT LCD capacitive touchscreen; 1,000 nits of brightness
  • 8 megapixel fixed-focus camera with dual-LED flash and video-call camera; geotagging, face detection, smart zoom in video
  • 720p video @ 30fps recording, stereo sound
  • Symbian Belle OS
  • 1GHz CPU and 512 MB RAM
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • 8GB of inbuilt storage, microSD expandable
  • Active noise cancellation via a dedicated mic
  • DivX, XviD, H.264 video support
  • Good audio quality
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Stereo FM Radio with RDS, FM transmitter
  • microUSB port with USB On-the-go support
  • Stereo Bluetooth 3.0
  • GPS receiver with A-GPS support and free lifetime voice-guided navigation; Digital compass
  • Flash Lite support in the web browser
  • Smart dialing and voice commands
  • NFC support
  • Built-in accelerometer and proximity sensor
  • TV-out functionality (SD)

Main disadvantages

  • Display is very bright but has low contrast
  • Browser lacks full Flash support
  • Camera lacks auto focus
  • Relatively limited 3rd party software availability
  • No office document editing (unless you buy an upgrade)
  • Non-hot-swappable microSD card
  • No HD TV-Out

The buzzwords are Symbian Belle and NFC. Belle was impressive in our dedicated review, making a convincing case that Symbian has finally caught up to Android and iOS.

As for NFC, Nokia and other phone makers along with carriers and credit card companies are lauding it as the next big thing. Not just in mobile phones, but our lifestyle in general. Pay with your phone, open doors with your phone, buy tickets with it - if Nokia have their way, mobile phones will be more important than your wallet and set of keys.

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Nokia 701 in our office

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