When Nokia announced that they will release a new qwerty phone early this year, I said meh. A full qwerty phone with an old OS (Symbian 40), no 3G and a 2MP camera, what could go right? My view changed when Nokia announced the price. See our full review of the Nokia C3 after the jump.
Hardware & Design
The first thing you’ll notice when you hold a Nokia C3 is how solid it feels. It’s somewhat heavy but not that too heavy for its size. It’s very sleek and very comfy to hold.
The keyboard is superb. You get enough tactile feedback when you type on it, which I really miss from using a touchscreen phone for several years. I can easily hit 40-45 words per minute. Navigation is what you expect from a Symbian 40 series — utilitarian and straight forward. Navigational keypad can be set as shortcut keys and a maximum of 8 shortcut keys you can configure.
The screen is pretty bright and clear. The resolution of the screen is simply perfect for it size (2.4 inches @ 320×240 pixels).
The phone is as thin as most BlackBerrys. The phone doesn’t feel cheap at all. I’d even say that C3 looks more expensive than the Nokia E63. The phone has WiFi and Bluetooth for connectivity but the lack of 3G is something to consider about (only does GPRS/EDGE).
Features and Multimedia
This phone is packed with lots of new features that are comparable to a more high-end phone like Blackberrys and even the other Nokia smartphones.
The phone comes with a new feature called Communities that will allow you to add your Facebook and Twitter accounts which run in your home screen. The Twitter app is pretty simple — you can post a tweet, retweet, reply and send DMs but that’s about it. It’s really basic.
On the other hand, the Facebook app is pretty robust for a feature phone. You can do almost everything you can do on Facebook mobile. You can post, send messages, check events, see notifications and upload pictures taken from the phone’s camera. You can even consider this as a Facebook phone.
Another feature that I really find compelling for this uber cheap phone is the built-in Chat app. You can connect to YM, Google Talk, MSN Messenger and its own OVI messenger. It’s not a full-fledge IM app but it works. You can also set up your personal email too.
The phone has a 2MP camera. It takes decent to mediocre pictures and awful video. It’s there if you need one but it is not something you’ll print and put in an album. The phone can also play videos and music. The speaker is loud and clear, and you can even use your phone as a mobile player.
The Nokia C3 uses Opera Mini as a default browser. You can view websites in mobile view or standard view. The browser is more than decent.
And finally, a threaded SMS on a Symbian 40 phone! This is a must have feature on any phone. Nokia phones never had that feature. One great thing Nokia did to this version is that you still have the option of reading your SMS in the regular Inbox/Sent items view and in threaded “conversation” view.
Battery Life and Performance
Battery life of this thing is amazing. A full charge can last for 5 days of normal usage (yep, 5 days!). The phone is pretty snappy when you navigate the UI. I didn’t encounter any lags or bugs.
When making calls, the line is okay — not bad but not great either. I haven’t dropped a single call unless I’m in a dead spot. When on loudspeaker mode, the phone volume is great and even usable for a conference call.
Nokia C3 may not be a smartphone but all the features listed above can run in the background. Its basically a limited smartphone and it does it effortlessly.
Nokia C3 specs:
2.4″ QVGA display @ 320×240 pixels
2MP fixed-focus camera
QVGA video recording @ 15fps
Series 40 UI, 6th edition
FM Radio with RDS
Bluetooth 2.0 w/ A2DP
microSD card slot (8GB supported, 2GB included)
After using this phone for several weeks, I simply fell in love with this phone. Not because it’s the best phone around but I’m amazed with all the things it can do for its price. With WiFi on, you now have a mini computer that can do Facebook, surf the net, post tweets, chat on IM and send emails.
Now selling between Php6,000 to Php6,500, this is one of the best featurephone you can get at that price point. With great built and excellent battery life, this is the smartest dumbphone around. With all these features, who needs a smartphone?