The premium looks and excellent build quality are a nice place for the Nokia C3-01 to start. Things are looking good for the whole Touch and Type concept too – there’s nowhere else to go for a set with both touchscreen and a numpad. This doesn’t mean the Touch and Type phones are free of competition. In fact, they will need to work hard to convince users. Especially those considering a smartphone or a full-touch handset.
Affordable smartphones and touchscreen feature phones will be the main source of pressure for the Touch and Type lineup. And since affordable smartphones are a Nokia specialty – the real competition is perhaps limited to the likes of the Corby and the Cookie – and all the sequels that followed.
There’s a very clear distinction though: the Corbies and the Cookies of the world are for the young. The Touch and Type will likely appeal to a more grown-up audience, and more mature tastes. We guess Nokia must‘ve been thinking: “There’s no room for more touchscreen dumbphones. Let’s do something else instead, something we’re good at anyway.”
And that’s where S40 makes a lot of sense. The C3-01 is part of a new beginning but tradition is what will draw returning customers. Touch and Type will certainly be hoping to recapture the magic that made the Nokia 6300 and the 6700 classic what they are.
Touchscreen is only part of the S40 evolution. Handsets like the Nokia C3-01 Touch and Type are trying to give you more bang for your buck. High-speed network data, WLAN and USB-on-the-go are great things to have – especially considering that S40 is still falling short on other key features such as multitasking and smart dialing.
But then, there’s more than one way to make up for the failings. It’s not every day that we meet such a perfectly manufactured device. The Nokia C3-01 is made entirely of metal and the gaps between the parts are so tiny, it’s almost a unibody. The phone is hard to resist and you’ll know it the moment you open the box.
As for competition, there’s no point looking for rivals that fit the Touch and Type description. The likes of the Sony Ericsson Aino and the LG KF750 Secret are hardly relevant here. The meaningful competition is somewhere between entry level smartphones and touch and non-touch dumbphones.
Nokia X3-02 is the first and obvious competitor. It packs exactly the same specs, but offers different colors and unique redesigned keypad. There are dedicated messaging and media keys too, but the battery is not as capable as the C3-01 one. Oh, and it’s €10 cheaper.
The candybars Sony Ericsson Elm and Nokia 6700 classic are worth your thought too. Both of them are feature phones with small displays, and both have great 5-megapixel autofocus snappers. There's plenty of metal used on both of them too. Unfortunately the classic Finn lacks WLAN support but makes up for it with free navigation with Nokia Maps.
You may also want to check the smarty Nokia C5 running on Symbian S60. It has a few drawbacks - the lack of Wi-Fi and the poor camera - but looks classy and resembles the classic Nokia design.
There are a few smartphones that also worth mentioning.
The original LG GT540 Optimus and the recently released Optimus One P500 run on the Android Eclair and Android Froyo respectively. Both pack everything that the today’s smartphone requires and are quite popular in their class. The Optimus is quite cheap today with its €130 price tag but you’ll have to settle with a resistive touchscreen. On the other hand, the Optimus One bets on the capacitive technology but it will cost you about €220.
In the Nokia camp we find the 5530 XpressMusic, which comes with a bigger, higher-res screen, an auto-focus 3MP camera and 4GB microSD in the box. The Symbian S60-powered Nokia 5530 can be yours for €160 – the same as the C3-01.
Whatever the competition, Nokia C3-01 Touch and Type has everything to become a best-seller and the price is more than reasonable. We fell in love with its design and build quality, and we certainly hope to see more handsets by Nokia with the same design theme.