Nokia C7 review: Rise and shine

GSMArena team, 03 November 2010.
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Final words

Nokia C7 is a nicely made handset with an extra thin profile. Maybe it’s too rounded for our taste, or maybe it’s just us. This cool cat provides distinct E-series styling and the no-nonsense C-series attitude in a package that means business.

The 3.5-inch screen is surely among the best touch displays we’ve seen from Nokia (we have yet to check out a Nokia Clear Black display). The HD videos produced by the camera are a treat to watch – on the handset itself and on a computer screen. You can also put the mobile display to good use with some DivX/XviD videos as those are seamlessly supported. The excellent audio output quality and the great connectivity package also set the C7 apart - you rarely see penta-band 3G, WirelessN, Bluetooth 3.0, an FM transmitter, TV-out and USB-on-the-go functionality all in one device.

The stills from the 8MP fixed-focus camera on board the C7 were a definite downer but nearly everything else works just fine.

The latest iteration of Symbian clearly shows Nokia’s will to change and improve, but there are still ghosts from the past that we discover when we dig deeper in the user interface – such as the camera UI or the web browser.

Nevertheless, we do believe that Nokia will continue to better Symbian so it catches up with the standard-setters. And there is much to catch up on – the competition, the iOS, the Android OS, even Bada OS – they are still ahead when it comes to handling. Application-wise the Ovi Store is not in the lead, but it’s still growing well.

Currently, the Nokia C7 can be purchased for a bit less than 350 euro. That, considering the phone’s great feature set (with some reservations) and the fact that the handset has just hit the market, sounds fair enough. Actually, this is how much you would have to spend if you want to get another Symbian^3-based smartphone, the Nokia C6-01 which is just hitting the market as well.

Feature-wise, the C6-01 is almost identical to the Nokia C7. Both run the Symbian^3, sport 8MP fixed-focus snappers, offer diverse connectivity options and come with AMOLED capacitive touchscreens on board. However, while the C7 has a 3.5-incher, the display of the C6-01 only measures 3.2 inches.

Nokia C6-01
Nokia C6-01

For a few more bucks you could get the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10, which has just got its long awaited update to Android 2.1 or the Motorola MILESTONE XT720, which runs Eclair as well. Both of them pack 8MP snappers with autofocus and 720p HD video recording. Of course, you could also go for the Froyo-serving HTC Desire which only has a 5 megapixel AF camera but it shoots HD videos too.

Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 Motorola MILESTONE XT720 HTC Desire
Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 • Motorola MILESTONE XT720 • HTC Desire

The recently unveiled Samsung S8530 Wave II should start selling later this month for about 350 euro. It is based on Samsung’s Bada platform and like its predecessor, the Samsung S8500 Wave, features a 5MP autofocus camera with 720p videos enabled. This time around, you get a 3.7” Super Clear LCD display instead of a 3.3” Super AMOLED. Oh, and the Wave II runs the latest Bada OS 1.2.

Samsung S8530 Wave II
Samsung S8530 Wave II

So, the only true C7 rival is Nokia itself. If it went for a better camera, the phone’s future would’ve been way brighter. You’ve heard that before and you’ll hear it once again: when it comes to digital cameras, it’s NOT the megapixels that count but the image quality. And the C7 image quality fails to impress. And the missing autofocus is only one of the reasons for that.

Luckily, there are enough other reasons to go for the Nokia C7. It has the potential of a bestseller and now it’s up to Nokia and the upcoming software updates to unlock it.

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