Nokia C3-01 Review
Here at tracyandmatt.co.uk we have had so many Nokia's in for review and most of which we have liked but there have been the odd exception to the rule so is the C3-01 one of those that we don't like? Or will it be in the liked category?
Read on for the full review.
What's in the box?
- Nokia C3-01 handset
- 3-Pin UK charger
- Wired headset
- User Guide
The 10 Second Review
- Product: Nokia C3-01 Touch and Type
- Price: £112.33-149.00 from various UK networks, and from £15.32 on contract from various.
- Summary: This unfortunately is very much the same as the X3-02 that I reviewed, I don't like the concept to be honest but I do think that it will have its appeal, but it just isn't good enough for the money you are forced to spend on it.
- Best of: Design, build quality, camera, simple interface
- Worst of: Operating system, keypad not good enough, lock button
- Buy from: Various
Nokia C3-01 Touch and Type specification:
- Symbian Series 40 6th Edition
- 2.4" TFT Resistive Touchscreen (240 x 320)
- 128MB ROM/ 64MB RAM
- MicroSD card slot up to 32GB
- 5 MP camera with LED flash
- Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/USB 2.0
- Java Yes, MIDP 2.1
- MP4/H.264/H.263/WMV player
- MP3/WAV/WMA/eAAC+ player
- Flash Lite 3.0
- Voice memo
- Predictive text input
- 1050 mAh
- Dimensions- 111 x 47.5x 11mm
- Weight 100g
On the right of the handset is the up/down volume control rocker, the lock/unlock key and the dedicated camera button.
On the left of the device is absolutely nothing apart from a smooth, shiny bezel.
The top of the phone is where the 3.5mm headphone jack, MicroUSB and Nokia charging ports are held as shown below.
On the back at the bottom is the loudspeaker, the middle is where the Nokia logo along with the phones model number (C3-01) are placed and at the top left is where the 5.0 megapixel autofocus camera and LED flash are held.
Now the front of the device, on here is the alphanumerical keypad, 2.4" touch screen and just above the keypad are the call/end call keys. Also hidden away in the centre of the silver strip is a tiny LED that flashes (if on in settings) when a text comes through.
In the not too distant past I reviewed the Nokia X3-02 Touch and type device and had no end of problems with it, so when Matt sent me the C3-01 touch and type I wasn't really sure what to expect. Even before I began to test the handset I was a little sceptical, but when it came to using the phone as my everyday handset I found no problems whatsoever which you can imagine I was very happy about!
When greeted with the handset my first thoughts were as I imagine thousands would think too... "Wow what a good looking, well built phone!" Having used the phone for little over a week I have to say that my first impression was 100% accurate, as the handset definitely is gorgeous to look at and it feels nice in my hand but it is also one of the best built handsets I have seen in a very long time! The combination of plastics and metals really works brilliantly with this little phone, I'm not sure why it works but it just does if you know what I mean?
Everything with this phone seems so simple, which is what I think Nokia are aiming for with their range of touch and type handsets, the keypad is very simple to use but the little strips of metal in-between each line of keys can get in the way quite a bit which is very annoying to be honest mainly because I don't think that the phone needs them to be there, maybe it's just an aesthetic thing? Whether it is or not I'm still not sure it's needed.
On to the touch screen now and I will say first of all that it just isn't big enough to be very good, that may sound odd but I will attempt to explain it. Basically what I mean is 2.4" resistive touch screen on a candy bar phone? Don't you think that sounds a bit strange? The screen itself isn't very responsive or very nice to use because it almost feels as if you are pressing a sponge when using it, and because it's also resistive you don't really get the feedback that you want from it so I definitely think that if Nokia wanted this type of design to work at all well then they should have maybe tried a capacitive or slightly bigger touch screen?
There is another thing about this phone that I think could be a lot better, the Lock/unlock key on the right side of the phone. You have to press it really hard to get it to work because it is only very slightly stuck out of the side. It is unlike any phone I've seen because, for example, if an elderly person or someone with Arthritis bought this handset they would find it hard to unlock, which would essentially deem the phone unusable, so I definitely think that Nokia have a long way to go to make this sort of phone work because there are definitely a few design flaws that I have found so far.
Onto the user interface now and to be honest this is another part of the phone that disappoints because of how limited the operating system is (Symbian Series 40 6th Edition is installed) It is such a basic operating system that in my opinion is somewhat dated in today's market. The menus super simple which is both good and bad really, good because it is ridiculously simple for literally anyone to use because there are a mere 9 icons to choose from, all of which have an equally simple interface within them. The reason that simplicity could be seen as a bad thing is because in today's Market thousands upon thousands of people are investing in smart phones, so this phone unless the price is heavily reduced I really don't think it will sell that well at all, which is a shame because I like the idea of a candy bar touch screen/keypad phone but it's just not really been executed in the correct way with this device.
Below are just a few pictures of the menu just to give you an idea of what you would be getting if you purchased the phone.
I think I will move onto the media side of the handset, as with any modern mobile phone there is a music player, video player, radio and voice recorder but as we know by now not all of them are actually that good really so how does the C3-01 perform?
Well you will have to judge that on my view for now and my view on the music playback is a little bit indifferent, on the one hand it's quite good for the type of phone this is but on the other hand it's not that good to be honest. Playback through the bundled headphones is nothing short of awful but when you use a decent set of your own headphones the quality starts to pick up quite a bit and with the variety of equalisers available to choose from, there are 5 set equalisers to choose from and 2 customisable equalisers to choose from, now obviously it depends on the type of music that you are listening to as to which one you choose but they do make a difference.
There is 1 other nice feature in the music player, when you add album artwork with the album when you drag and drop from your PC the phone will display that artwork not the most important of features but it's quite cool.
The music playback via the phones loudspeaker is something that I really wouldn't recommend unless you enjoy your music to sound extremely tinny, I would stick to a decent set off headphones if I were you because the only thing that the loudspeaker is good for in my opinion is ringtones.
Below are a couple of pictures of the music player just to show you how it looks.
Onto the radio which I will keep short and sweet, in short it isn't the best phone radio application I've used but it also isn't the worst. When you are in a really good radio reception area like where I live the phone just doesn't find any stations whatsoever unless you enter the frequencies manually then the stations actually work! Very strange if you ask me but it does work once you've entered and saved the stations but the quality isn't brilliant so again unfortunately I wouldn't recommend using the radio.
Now I would usually do a biggish paragraph on video playback but you see with this phone seen as it isn't really made for this purpose I don't see the point so what I will say is that unless you know your stuff and have some pretty great converting software on your PC/MAC then the video playback isn't too bad at all, but if you don't have any software then I would suggest buying an iPod touch/iPad or other tablet PC for video playback.
Now as this phone isn't a smartphone should we still expect the Internet to be good enough to use every day?
Now I am really interested to see what you guys actually think the answer to that question should be but my view on it is an absolute YES! Basically the world as we know it today is pretty much always online somewhere across the earth so I definitely think that with any phone whether it's £50 or £500 that we should be able to enjoy using the internet on it!
The reason that I pose that question to anyone reading this is because the C3-01 has an almost unusable Internet browser whether you use Opera Mini or the built in browser, and I figured out that this is because the screen isn't that good so when you simply want to move an Internet page down a little bit you end up moving it to the bottom so I found myself getting really annoyed so to be fair I haven't really used it for much of what I do on my iPhone because it's just not good enough.
Below is an example of the quality of the phones own browser, the reason I haven't shown opera as well is because the quality and interface are basically the same.
Onto Social Networking now and I know that a lot of thousands of people use social networking to communicate with friends and family, I am one of them so I like many others who may read this review expecting the Facebook and twitter applications on any phone that we buy to be great to use. To be honest the 'Communities' application on this phone which includes Facebook and Twitter is actually just as good as any smartphone application, there is only so much you can cram into either application really I expect to see the same level of quality on any phone that has Facebook/Twitter capabilities.
I won't say much more on the subject other than the applications are so easy to use, all you have to do is press the communities application in the 'apps, extra' part of the menu and enter your account details for both accounts (if you have both of course) and away you go, so before I start to bore you with the same things that you've probably read many times before I will tell you that below I've provided pictures of both my Facebook and Twitter accounts to show you what you would be getting if you got this handset.
I thought I would move onto E-mailing on this handset now just to let you know the sort of thing to expect if you bought the handset, in short it simply works but the slightly longer answer is that it works but it isn't brilliant. If you are a businessman looking for a new phone that is cheap to buy and does business things with ease then this isn't the handset for you because the emailing in particular just doesn't work the same as on some other handsets around the same price as this one, because there isn't actually an application on the C3-01 I don't think it was ever made as a business phone to be fair to Nokia, I think their target audience is much younger because of the phone being very good looking and even simpler to use. To set up an email address on the phone you have to go into the messaging section of the menu and scroll to email, then add email address and providing you enter your username and password correct the handset will fetch your emails in a minute or 2 so as you can gather it's quite simple to use but unfortunately it just isn't that good.
I've provided a couple of pictures of the email interface so that you can see how it looks.
One thing that I must talk about before moving on are the 'applications' available on this handset via Ovi Store and that are preinstalled, to be honest the Ovi store isn't of any use to anyone because the phone isn't capable of any of the half decent applications available from the full version of the Ovi store which is on phones such as the Nokia N8. Applications that are preinstalled on the device are things like Opera Mini web browser and a couple of little games which are nothing more than boredom busters to be fair, but other than the Opera Mini browser there isn't any decent applications available to download from the store itself because the phone just isn't made for such intense things.
Even though the OVI store isn't really much use to people I thought I would provide a couple of pictures for you.
Now to the feature that Nokia more often than not excel at when releasing a new mobile phone...The camera. The camera on this handset is a standard 5 Megapixel camera with LED flash, so as you can probably already tell this camera isn't like some of the other Nokia handsets with the added Carl Zeiss lens so right from the off before I started to take any photos I knew that it wasn't going to be superb.
One thing that I would say this camera has in its favour is that the interface is very simple to use because it has an almost plug and play functionality, basically what I mean is that you can open the camera application and take a picture straight away without the need to mess about with any settings. The actual picture quality is OK, it won't knock your socks off with its quality but it is a very useful substitute for if you've forgotten your main camera on an outing.
There aren't many settings built into the camera application but there are a few that can definitely help when taking photos in different lightings in particular, settings included are: Flash, White balance with 4 settings (Automatic, Daylight, Incandescent, Fluorescent) Effects including 4 choices (Normal, Grayscale, Sepia, Negative) there is also a self timer with 4 settings (self timer off, 3 seconds, 5 seconds and 10 seconds). All of the settings offer something a little different but to be honest none of them cause a real stir in the quality department but I have to say that for the type of handset that this is (standard feature phone) the camera really isn't too bad at all and to prove that I have provided some photos taken with the camera on the device to show you the quality.
We mustn't forget though that this device is actually capable of calling a texting so how does the C3-01 perform in these areas?
Brilliantly is the answer to that! I will tell you about calling first of all because that's the thing that I did less of (Not really a caller, more of a texter) But I did use it quite a bit with this phone as the clarity is just superb! When in a phone call I felt as if the person on the other end of it was stood right next to me, of course this is a feature that Nokia generally excel on anyway so I wasn't the least bit surprised to see that it was this good.
Adding contacts to actually make the calls is very simple also, you press the contacts icon in the menu and simply add your contact's name and number and its added to be honest, that simple! To make a call though isn't as simple as it could be, unless you have your 'Favorite contacts' on the home screen you have to go into the contacts page to find the person you want to call, unless you know their number off by heart of course in which case you can simply type the number in with the keypad.
To be honest though no matter how much hassle making a call is, the in call quality is superb so a big pat on the back for Nokia here.
Onto texting now and as you can imagine that for an iPhone user like me, getting used to an alphanumerical keypad would be hard? Well to tell you the truth I got straight into it and found it to be super simple to text, I found myself texting without looking at the screen again! I know that might seem a little daft to some people but for me it was a joy to do once again, the keypad makes texting an absolute joy and I really enjoyed it when using this handset and I don't often say that about candy bar mobiles anymore.
Below are a couple of pictures of the messaging for you to just see what it looks like.
Now I am at the end of another review I will end it with what I usually do and talk to you about the phones' battery life which on this phone is yet again absolutely fantastic! I have managed to get nearly 4 days with average usage and around 2 with heavy texting/ calling so I have been super impressed with the battery life of yet another Nokia handset, I have grown to expect brilliant build quality and even better battery life from Nokia now so this really didn't surprise me at all.
I have to say that reviewing this handset has definitely taken me back to my first few handsets which were candy bar with a lovely keypad, now you might think that is a bad thing but it isn't necessarily to be honest because simple isn't a bad thing I would just call it different to a smartphone.
This type of handset design is definitely a refreshing change to all of the super LCD touch screen android devices that seem to be being released faster than I can say smartphone! So having said that I really think that a touch and type phone like this could have a place somewhere in the mobile phone Market but this one is maybe not quite there on the quality, if the touch screen became capacitive and the operating system was a little more expansive then maybe it would fit nicely into the Market but as of now this could be a none starter. I could be wrong of course in which case I take that back but I know for sure that this isn't my type of phone but it could be a lot of people's idea of a great phone.
Review by: Chris