The Nokia C2-01 comes in a plain cardboard box. Once you take the phone out, all that’s left is a charger and the good old one-piece headset that ends on a 3.5mm audio jack. There is no USB cable and no microSD card enclosed: keeping the price down was their main objective.
The Nokia C2-01 is not the most compact phone around though its size and shape are the norm in this class. It measures 109.8 x 46.9 x 15.3 mm and weighs 89 g: a simple all-plastic handset.
We wouldn’t mind if the C2-01 was a bit thinner, but durability counts more than styling as far as such phones are concerned. The Nokia C2-01 is solidly built though its body is likely to get scratched pretty quickly. Aesthetics will suffer but overall, the phone will keep working – it’s what this kind of phones do.
The design of the Nokia C2-01 is as basic as it gets – screen, two soft keys and call buttons around a D-pad and a phone keypad below. The D-pad is a five-way key – unlike the most basic of Nokia phones, it has confirm action. And by the way, we don’t mean basic in a bad way. This layout has been used just about since the dawn of time (of mobile phones anyway) and it’s proven to work.
The 2.0” TFT screen has QVGA resolution (240 x 320) and is OK as far as colors and brightness go, but viewing angles are terrible. Sunlight legibility isn’t any better.
The softkeys and D-pad are well-sized and have a good feedback. The call keys are rather small knobs but sufficiently raised. Calling is after all the primary function of the Nokia C2-01.
The 12 keys of the keypad are decently big and the slightly convex shape makes them quite comfortable. We don’t quite agree with making the bottom row taller – the extra height should have been spread out equally, which would have looked better too (more symmetrical at least).
The exposed 3.5mm audio jack and the charger plug are up top both clearly marked with easy to understand symbols. On the left and right respectively are the microSD card slot (cards up to 16GB are supported) and the microUSB port (charging), both of which are covered by plastic flaps.
Our memory cards had an annoying tendency to get stuck in the slot and we had to pull hard to eject them.
There is no volume rocker, nor a dedicated camera key – the D-pad is used instead.
Rearside are the large hole of the 3.2MP fixed-focus camera lens and the loudspeaker grill.
Under the back cover lies a 1020 mAh BL-5C battery that is rated at 16 to 19 days of standby (depending on network : 2G or 3G) and the C2-01 will give you up to 8 hours 40 minutes of talk time (in 2G, about half that in 3G).
Budget puts limits to what the C2-01 can do and we’re glad Nokia spent most of it on good build. The choice of materials and the finish are unexceptional but the different parts of the phone are well put together – no gaps, no squeaky noises. With a durable battery, the C2-01 does a great job of being a phone and the Finns even managed to add a few bells and whistles before they reached the price limit they set for themselves.