Nokia 7380 review: Weird and stylish

Marek Lutonský, 07 January 2006. Read the original review at MobilMania.cz
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Looked at abeam Nokia 7380 reminds of a circus arena. Its matt brown-goldish layer merges into a chromium-plated gold band. The latter is incrusted with orange elements. The back side of the phone is manufactured in soft beige. The phone's rear cover is irremovable, which makes the battery practically inaccessible. The SIM card fits into a slot located on the phone's side part, whose moving cover is the only loose part on the entire device.

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SIM card slot

On one side of the device you will see the loud speaker, while the other side is decorated with a plate with the Nokia logo. This plate plays no functional role. It is decorative only, which I find quite regretful as it could have been used as an ideal release button for the camera application. The phone has no system connector. Instead, it is equipped with jacks for the charger (the old big connector) and the handsfree/earphones. Of course, the phone has an eyelet to thread the pretty silver chain delivered in the original package. In the box you will also find a luxury silky golden case.

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Useless plate • loud speaker • a party of connectors

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Fabric case and metal chain

When I saw Nokia 7380 on the first official pictures, I got the impression that its back side was covered with true leather, but it's not. The used material only resembles leather and is similar to the one applied on the dashboards of some automobiles. On the back you will find nothing else but the camera lens accompanied by a flash LED. Nokia 7380 doesn't have an infrared port, opposing to its forerunner.

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This is not leather

I forgot to mention one detail, which may seem pointless, but also raised the greatest attention of those around me: the fabric logo on the side of the phone. Nokia has copied this low profile advertising method from world's most famous luxurious brands.

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Details make difference

Display: fine and horizontal

The display of the older Nokia 7280 was breaking records at the time, being the finest mobile phone display manufactured ever. Nowadays, it is still impressive, even if not a miracle anymore. Same old 4807 pixels on a square centimeter make Nokia 7380 display look extremely fine. It has an untypical resolution of 208 x 104 pixels and a relatively small size of 30 x 15 mm. It's active and shows 65K colors.

Nokia 7380 
Display is very fine even nowadays

User's environment in Nokia 7380 is predetermined by the landscape mode of the display. Even though the phone belongs to Series 40, its menu looks different, behaves in a different way and is controlled with different methods. The display is divided into two functional sections. The right section (1/3 of the entire display) contains descriptions of the functional keys, while the left one is reserved for work area. Space is evidently being wasted with this type of distribution, but I presume that the landscape mode of the display wouldn't permit applying a different one. The drawbacks caused by the small size of the display are most visible in WAP. Picture views can sometimes be problematic too.


 
Phone's environment 

 
 
There are several graphic themes available

A scroll wheel instead of a keypad

Both control elements and the entire navigation process in Nokia 7380 are worthy of closer attention despite the absence of a common keypad. Let me start with the two functional buttons and the two keys for call control. They are all located in the outer ring: the functional keys are closer to the display, while the green and the red receivers are placed at the opposite end. Rubber ribbons cover the phone's micro switches.

In the middle of the entire assembly there is a red button. Inside it there is a red light, which glows nice when the phone is in an inactive mode. It slowly lights up and fades away repeatedly. In case of missed calls or unread messages it starts to twinkle and thus alerts you even if the display is inactive. The red LED twinkles in a different way according to the type of event that has been missed. The backlighting of the other control elements has been designed with elegancy as well. The following picture will give you a more precise idea of it:

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Impressive key backlighting

The most important element in Nokia 7380 is its scroll control wheel, or Navi Spinner. It's a ring around the middle button, which scrolls both ways without restraint. 360 degrees are divided into 16 segments by the help of soft end stops. These segments correspond to the items in a common main menu.

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Buttons are in the outer semi-ring, confirming key is in the middle, control wheel is in-between

Whatever you think, do not expect the phone to manage everything if you scroll unstoppably. I recommend you to stay calm and not overspeed scrolling, especially when you are inside the main menu. On the other hand, when you search the phonebook, Nokia 7380 takes a precise record even if you scroll fast. So when you stop, it takes you where it was supposed to, even if it doesn't give any indication of follow-up in the meantime.

The method of scroll control may seem quite unusual, but it isn't uncomfortable. Unfortunately, left-handers are in a disadvantage as the scroll button is located on the right side of the phone. What a pity since we know that this obstacle can easily be eliminated by applying a software turn option for the display. The keypad can be locked either manually, or automatically.

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