After being away for almost an year from Symbian, Paul from www.nokiaconnects.com give me a chance to trial Nokia 701, a 131 grams device running Symbian Belle FP1. Symbian was never an alien OS to me, since I was following the news about it on twitter and various tech blogs. Still, Belle was something new and exciting for me, after being used to Android for an year, It felt bit different. I might have compared it with the other OS, but still tried to come out with an unbiased review of the small and beautiful Nokia 701. Let us start it in phases:-
131 grams metallic body having dimensions 117.2mm X 56.8mm X 11mm sporting a 1300 Mhz Arm 11 processor (Earlier 1 Ghz but clocked to 1300 MHz in FP1 update) has a 8 megapixel full focus camera with dual LED flash at the rear and a 0.3 MP VGA camera in the front for video calls. It has a 3.5 inches , 360X640 pixels Clear Black Capacitive LCD Display with Corning Gorilla Glass. You can keep your stuff in 8 gb internal memory and if you think it is not enough for you, you can always expand the memory by 32gb using the microSD card slot. Light sensors and Proximity Sensors are few of the other common features. To keep all this running it is powered with a 1300 mah removable battery which can be charged either using a usb cable or 2.0 mm pin charger. The battery lasts for 8-10 hours of average usage in one charge. Since it is not a no-key device it has following hardware keys:-
Call Creation Key
Call Termination Key
It has got a 3.5mm Jack and a usb port with a cover on the top, a 2.o mm charging point to the left and a speaker and a mouthpiece at the top and the bottom part of the phone. Due to the metallic body and smart curves, it looks a strong and stylish phone.
As have mentioned above, Nokia 701 has been upgraded to Symbian Belle FP1, which has overclocked the CPU to 1300 mhz apart from other changes.
In Symbian Belle you can add multiple homescreens and then can add widgets, shortcuts etc. It too has a drop down notification bar, which has 4 toggle buttons for mobile data, Wifi, Bluetooth and Silent. To the best of my knowledge you can not change the order of these toggle buttons neither you can add/remove any of them. Also in the notification bar you get notification for Mobile Data, Wifi, Message, Missed calls etc. I couldn’t see a notification for third party app say ” a whatsapp message”
Long pressing on empty screen gives you an option to Add widget, Add shortcut and Change wallpaper, which gives you an option to choose from plenty of widgets/shortcuts. To delete a homescreen you have to press the option button in the bottom right and then click delete homescreen.
In applications menu you can arrange the applications according to your wish, arrange it alphabetically, create a new folder and toggle between list/grid view. You also get a search button to quickly search for the desired application if you have plenty of applications installed.
It has got a potrait qwerty keyboad in which you can activate prediction. It can also be converted to landscape mode or alpha numeric keyboard as per your convenience. The keys are evenly spaced and after using it for a while you can easily get accustomed to it. But there is one major drawback, there is no send or back button in the keyboard itself so even for sending the message you first have to type in the whole message, then hide the keyboard and then click send in the message menu. Same is the case with the back button, absence of back button in phone’s hardware make it bit difficult.
Though in symbian with the presence of Opera Mini and Opera Mobile, one hardly use the native browser. But, the native browser in itself is quite sleek and fast with an user friendly interface. At the top there is an address bar and the send button (which changes to refresh button on complete load) and at the bottom there are back, forward, add bookmark, tabs and options buttons. You can add multiple tabs and then toggle between those tabs using the tab button. I personally think that the horizontal swipe to toggle between opened pages would have been a good idea, which hasn’t been implemented here.
Since it has a 8 Megapixel camera and a dedicated camera key, so clicking photographs are always fun with it. The camera UI gives you plenty of things to play with on the first screen itself. You can easily toggle between still photographs/videos, front/rear camera, flash setting,, scene setting, zoom, geo tagging and settings like face detection, self timer colour tone, etc. Though you can not go to the gallery directly from here but in menu there is an option to go to gallery. Also after clicking a picture, you can go to gallery, share it online, delete it or send it, use it or open it in an image editor to edit it as per your wish and need.
Similarly in the video mode, you get an option for various scene modes. Also you get an option to switch on/off the flash light for video recording, it comes very handy while recording at night or low light.
Nokia maps is one of the best map service on all the platforms and it works perfectly on 1.3 Ghz belle device. But, that in itself needs a full review, so I am skipping that part for now.
After using the device for almost a fortnight, I have found that this is a pretty fast device with a decent camera. Looks are also good and it feels good in hands, but with so many competitors in the market it is slightly over priced. If you can ignore the price factor, then it is a must have Belle device with NFC.