Nokia 7500 Prism review: Daring difference

GSMArena team, 20 September 2007.
Pages: 1234

Tags: Nokia, S40

Finally, we come to the keypad. All keys are triangular but surprisingly that didn't bother us at all when typing. It goes to confirm that Nokia does know how to produce a comfortable keypad. Right in the center of the front panel of Nokia 7500 is the joystick. It is a little too rigid for our taste and requires a little extra effort pressing it but, on the other hand, we found it very reliable. There is little chance that it will go slack with time or start losing responsiveness. We will refrain from calling it uncomfortable but we'll note that it does need a little time getting used to. The Call and End keys are on its both sides. The Menu and Clear keys are also a little unusual here, as they are not situated above the mentioned Call and End keys but to their sides instead. Not that it bothered us once we got used to them, but we need to mention that. It probably just adds to the one-of-a-kind image the phone strives to project.

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The keypad is surprisingly comfortable to use despite its weird looks. The joystick however needs time getting used to.

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Nokia 7500 is quite compact but still feels great, when held in hand

Light, more light

The display in Nokia 7500 may not be the largest on a feature phone, but its 2.0" diagonal is just about right, on par with most of its segment competitors. What bothers us here is not the size but the quality of the display - it definitely lacks the brightness of 5700 for example and, despite having a QVGA resolution, it is definitely not the best Nokia achievement in that area. The graphics are smooth and legibility under direct sunlight is very good but still, the overall performance is a bit below the Finnish standards. Nokia has raised the bar really high and now has to jump accordingly, so to say. Well, this isn't the most successful attempt.

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Nokia 7500 display is on a good general level but we've seen Nokia produce much better ones

Neither backlighting, nor contrast is user-configurable. In the menu you can only set up the phone's behavior, if left inactive. An animated screen-saver can be set up to appear on the display and consequently convert into a screen-saver showing a digital clock, the current date, and icons indicating missed events, if any. All these details are perfectly legible in any light condition. In the menu you will also find a sleeping mode option, when the display goes out completely.

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Nokia 7500 in the dark focusing on the keypad.

Calls all over

Nokia 7500 signal reception lives up to the high expectations you would have with a Nokia phone - flawless. The loudspeaker is also good and, although we wouldn't completely rule out the chance of missing a call or two in a very noisy environment, we would say this is very unlikely. Ringtone volume is loud enough, making it audible even in crowded places. The vibration of the phone is at decent level but be careful, as with the preinstalled silent profile it is set to off. You will probably have to change that manually to make the profile more usable. In terms of sound during calls, Nokia 7500 is very good and even manages to successfully muffle most surrounding noises, allowing better communication even in noisy places where you usually have to repeat your words a couple of times.

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Nokia 7500's telephony lives up to the high expectations

User interface: time-proven quality

There are no surprises here. Nokia 7500, alike plenty other Nokia siblings, is built on the Series 40 user interface but this time the 5th Edition was used. In other words, neither the menu, nor the controls of the phone differ much from those in other Nokia models based on the same platform. You will be pleasantly surprised by the wide-ranging user-configurable options of the phone; the drawback is that these make the menu structure somewhat complicated and hard to navigate.

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Series 40 interface is well known

When in stand-by, the display visualizes not only the pre-selected wallpaper, but in the top bar you can also monitor signal strength, battery state, time, and the icons of any other currently activated functions. Beneath the top bar are the operator logo and the date. The bottom bar is reserved for the descriptions of the functions assigned to the center of the navigation key and to the two context keys. The center of the navigation key opens the main menu, while the context keys can be assigned a function of your choice. The left key is pre-set to serve the Go to menu, where you can insert all your favorite or most used items. The font on the main display can be of any color. Naturally active stand by is also present here. The one implemented in Nokia 7500 consists of several parts that can be edited or relocated in various ways. In the standard case, the top area is reserved for instant access to favorite functions indicated by their respective icons. The central area provides instant access to the music player and the built-in radio. At the very bottom are displayed events from the calendar set for the current day.

All keys are triangular but surprisingly that didn't bother us at all when typing. It goes to confirm that Nokia does know how to produce a comfortable keypad. Right in the center of the front panel of Nokia 7500 is the joystick.

A cool feature here, that even Nokia smartphones do not have, is the possibility to add a note to the active stand-by. The two softkeys' functionality is also configurable. The left one however will wait about a second before executing your command. The reason for this is the standard keylock pattern of left selection key and asterisk. So when you press the left key, the phone will wait to see if a lock command is to follow.

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Series 40 active stand-by is even more configurable and generally better even than Nokia smartphones

The main menu in Nokia 7500 can be visualized in four different ways: a grid of icons with or without captions, a list of items, and tabs. Nonetheless, our personal choice was the typical grid view - a matrix of 3x3 icons with legends. The icons are designed with style; the active icon is animated. Icons can be freely re-ordered.

The other menu levels follow no consistent pattern. Some items have captions, others do not. In certain cases, you will be able to see the selected item described in small font, so you will not need to step further into another menu level. As usual, the menu items are intuitively accessible through keyboard shortcuts. The color background of the entire menu, as well as the wallpaper on the display, can be easily modified by applying one of the pre-installed themes. There is really a great bunch of such themes on Nokia 7500. No less than 12 of them were to be found on our handset, and most of them went pretty well with the phone's design.

The menu responds quickly, without lagging or holdups. This is probably the greatest benefit of the Series 40 user interface in comparison to other devices on the market. There were also no halts or unexpected restarts for the time of our testing of the phone.

Themes for everybody

As we already mentioned the preinstalled themes in Nokia 7500 reaches the respectable count of 12. Along with the standard Nokia theme, there are 11 extra, which all seem designed to suit the phone's extraordinary looks.

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Some of the preinstalled themes on Nokia 7500 are pretty nice looking

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