Nokia 700 Symbian Belle mobile phone - Quick Review

Product Name: Nokia 700

Website: www.nokia.co.uk/nokia700

Specifications: Symbian Belle, 3.2-inch 640x360 capacitive AMOLED touch screen, 1GHz processor, 2GB storage, 5MP camera, LED Flash, NFC, GPRS, EDGE, 3G, HSPA, GPS, WIFI b/g/n/, 3.5mm audio jack, microUSB, GPS, A-GPS, Bluetooth 3.0, 1080 mAh Li-Ion battery

Nokia's 700 was announced at the end of August this year, along with the 701 and 600 which were all the first set of handsets to be unveiled with the new Symbian Belle operating system - where only the 700 has come to the UK.

Dimensions

The Nokia 700 is the smallest and thinnest smartphone the Finnish mobile phone maker has ever produced, measuring just 110mm in height, 50.7mm in width, 9.7mm thick and weighing in at 96grams. In terms of the overall capacity, the 700 only takes up 50 cubic centimetres and actually fits into a the lighter pocket on a pair of Jeans.

Besides being the smallest Nokia mobile phone, it is also the fastest - until the Nokia Lumia 800 arrived, in the last few weeks. The 700 runs from a 1GHz processor, whereas the Lumia 800 shipped with a 1.4GHz CPU. On-board is just 2GB of memory, which can be expanded to 32GB from a microSD card. Both the memory and processor is a good fit we feel for the device, where no lag was really experienced and most retailers will offer a microSD card of some capacity.

Screen

The screen is a bright 3.2-inch 640x360 AMOLED responsive capacitive touch display and Nokia's seventh phone to feature this type of screen. This is coupled with the ClearBlack technology and is the fourth mobile in their arsenal to house this display standard.

ClearBlack allows for better outdoor viewing of the display, by dramatically cutting down on reflections and has even just been featured in the company's flagship Nokia Lumia 800, running the Windows Phone 7 Mango OS.

Nokia has increased the responsiveness of the capacitive touch screen from past handsets, in both this version of the Symbian operating system and the hardware used. There is better fluidity in moving between the various screens, with the transitions being much smoother - as compared to the Nokia N8 and Symbian ^3 and Anna.

This is thanks to the quality of the screen deployed, along with four times the amount of memory dedicated to graphics acceleration. The screen memory has gone from 8MB, in the likes of the Nokia N8 and E7, to 32MB inside of the Nokia 700.

There is a hardware graphics acceleration chip inside of the 700, where the new memory allows the OS and the handset to handle different sized widgets for the first time on the platform.

Operating System

Belle has been designed around the user experience as the UI has changed dramatically; instead of the rectangular widgets of Symbian ^3 and Anna there are now six different sized variants inside of the OS. These are all available for developers to utilise, but at the same time, these are already featured in Belle.

The more varied array of widgets does bring the OS alive more and feels a better platform as a result. These can also contain streaming information too - matching up with widgets seen elsewhere, such as the live titles of Windows Phone 7.

As an example, the email widget has changed from being one of those rectangular styles to a more rounded and larger version that contains more information from the emails being received.

These widgets on the whole can be moved around the screen, by just selecting them and altering where they are located - in the past it wasn't so easy. Long pressing on the widgets opens up the application too, which is also a new ability of Symbian Belle.

This all relates to how customisable the home screens now are in the OS, where there are six of them on offer in the new platform and in the past only three were available. This brings the whole experience of Anna on par with that of Android.

Nokia has reorganised the applications in the Belle OS, to have them all listed together in one long screen and not in individual folders which have always been a feature in the past versions of Symbian. This also has a feel of Android, where the Finnish has clearly taken a page out of Google's handbook.

Another big change is the drop down menu from the top of home screens. This offers an easy way to access connectivity and check notifications, which when pressed upon launches the full native application.

Once again, this appears to be on par with Android in terms of accessibility to the more commonly used features such as WIFI, mobile broadband, Bluetooth and silent mode which are all very responsive.

Brought into Symbian Anna was the multi-tasking with multiple applications being able to run at once, which appears to have been improved on the Nokia 700. Holding down the middle key shows several applications running at once, which are all paused when not in use and can be accessed at the press of a button or closed down from the ‘x' in the corner screen.

The accompanying web browser has been improved too, to be around three times faster than previous versions in terms of rendering pages.

Hardware

The 700's on board camera is a 5 megapixel variant, which allows for HD 720p video capture with auto focus and an LED flash. This offers decent picture capture, where some precision is still needed in preparation for the perfect picture to be captured.

Built into the Nokia 700 Symbian Belle run phone is NFC. This is a useful addition and we've seen this in action with a feature that doesn't involve any payment transactions - Bluetooth pairing.

The 700 can be used to pair with a Bluetooth speaker that also has NFC abilities, by just tapping the two devices together where the pairing automatically happens without any need to search, type in passcodes or change any aspect of the phone.

We tested the 1080mAh battery of the phone, which managed to last for seven hours and forty minutes worth of making calls whilst still gathering emails and social networking updates. In our experience, the handset should last for around a day or so on heavy use, two days on minor use and three or more with infrequent use and without the need to recharge.

Bottom Line

As a smartphone the Nokia 700 is a compact mobile phone and powerful enough to take care of most people's needs, although calling it a smartphone is a little misleading when compared to the Nokia Lumia 800 and the likes of the Apple iPhone 4S.

In truth, the 700 is more of a mid-rang handset with a premium design and operating system for the non-adventurous - as it is very easy to use.

The downside is that there isn't a massive amount of applications available, just as there is with Android or the iOS devices. In saying that, there is the standard preinstalled Nokia Maps as well as the Spotify, Shazam and an NFC enabled Angry Birds version which hit all the sweet spots.

We found the mobile phone and good all round handset, which is both easy to use for social networking, web browsing and email with a non-complex operating system that is said to be sticking around until 2016.