Nokia certainly knows how to impress its customers by introducing a social networking phone with a ‘message’. The Finnish company not only provides simple, easy-to-use features in its vibrant gadget but also plays it cards cleverly by tagging the phone in the inexpensive phones quota. It is a known fact that these days’ desktops are for the rural community whilst social messaging phones/high-end smartphones adorn their role as the latest device to poke the internet. The Nokia C3 plays this role well, with good screen coverage, QWERTY keyboard and a S40 interface to keep you well connected to your social networking circle. It is not a business phone, though it is somewhat a Blackberry copy in its design, yet it is meant to hit the target with its balanced scorecard of price and features. Whether it passes with excellence or misses the target depends on the user’s verdict and the sales are a proof of that.
Look, Design, Feel (/10)
Dipped in glossy yet freaky looking pink and gold colors, the Nokia C3 is thankfully available in the regular grey. The gaudy colors might take to the liking of some, but its glossiness certainly will not. . The front cover with your thumbprint could certainly become proof of evidence in a forensic test if it was the case. On the contrary, the back cover has a matt finish giving a good grip and is less prone to smears.
The QWERTY keyboard consumes most of the lower space on the Nokia C3. This time the verdict does not quite tilt in Nokia’s favor as the screen space is taken for granted. Above the QWERTY, the call buttons and the D-pad sit well, and are large enough for stout thumbs. Similarly, the silver buttons rest well on opposite sides, the left one to guide you to SNS communities whilst the right one is customizable.
Other hardware pieces like the 3.5mm headset rule the handset on the top neighboring the power connector. The USB port and microSD card slot are both situated on the left, roofed by hinged covers.
The happy trip suddenly comes to an abrupt end when you view the screen. Weighing 114g, one expected a larger screen then the 2.4-inch offered. Its 320 x 240 pixels resolution is also not ideal for web browsing or viewing photos/videos. Furthermore, the lack of touch screen leaves us hanging on the 4-way navigation pad for scrolling and browsing. Not quite what we prefer, but we could not ask for more at that price.
Those affluent with the S40 interface, will soon get the hang of the Nokia C3. The S40 user interface is no Hitchcock movie and people unexposed to advanced user interfaces’ will surely not crib about it. On the other hand, S60 users will drop their heads in disappointment and surprise as everybody is aware that the S40 is outdated and not used on Nokia’s high-end smartphones.
Divided into three panels, the top panel is assigned for contacts, the middle one for social networking sites and the bottom panel for multimedia shortcuts like the camera, media player etc. Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are tightly integrated, as it is easy to access them through contacts or directly using the Communities’ shortcut. Rightly, the Nokia C3 makes a good phone for the chatterboxes.
Messaging is swift with various accounts knitted into each other and found at the dedicated messaging hub. Your emails, SMS’s and instant messages are all at one place at the click of a button. Similar was the case with email and instant messaging accounts. Set it up at the flick of a finger and Nokia provides you a variety of services to choose from, including Google Talk, Yahoo Messenger, Gmail and Ovi Mail.
Boasting about being a social networking phone, Nokia seemed to have suffered from amnesia while including the connectivity features. Wi-Fi is demonstrated with full aplomb, but 3G is nowhere to be seen. Not all countries or areas offer Wi-Fi coverage and we are left to the evergreen GPRS/EDGE to support us.
Shooting videos and clicking photos is left to the minimal 2MP camera that is worthy of only contact pictures and nothing more. Other media features like the music player and radio are the regulars and do their expected job.
The usual connectivity options for the Nokia C3 are its GPRS/EDGE and Wi-Fi support. Sadly, it does not support 3G, a must if you are marketing your phone as a social messaging device. When in a Wi-Fi hotspot this phone works like a dream as it comfortably browses webpage’s and downloads data.. Other connectivity options include 2.1v of Bluetooth and a 3.5mm jack for audio listening. Then there is the miniUSB port for transferring data onto the PC, aptly backed by the Nokia Ovi Suite.
Making calls on the Nokia C3 doesn’t take much of an effort and is well supported by the quality of the call. However, the main flaw of the Nokia C3 is the lack of 3G. Why?! When there is no Wi-Fi coverage available you are left fuming at the frustrating GPRS/EDGE speeds for downloading and browsing. Moreover, the in-built memory capacity is limited to 55 MB, but that can be upgraded with a 2 GB microSD card. It is sufficiently enough to store photos and videos, considering multimedia data is regularly transferred to the PC.
2MP cameras are passé and the C3 also lacks a basic flash and autofocus functionality. Keep the camera limited to contacts, and the dream of directing videos at bay.
Regarding the battery life, it is measly to say the least. In other words, in just two hours of operation the battery bar drops one place. It is advisable to charge the phone daily if you want to avoid missing important calls.
As mentioned earlier the music player is fine and the radio works only with a 3.5mm audio jack. However, it comes with RDS, so you know which station you are listening.
Value for Money (/10)
Nokia C3 is not a dream phone in the line of other social messaging smartphones. However, it offers a budget device and tends to chomp off features that we would have liked to see.. The S40 has its limitations and the dated battery life blurs out the good parts of the phone. At the same time, going by the low price, supportive keyboard and fantastic social networking features, it deserves a fair trial by Nokia fans.
- QWERTY keyboard
- Tightly integrated SNS sites
- 3.5mm audio jack
- Budget phone
- No 3G
- Poor quality camera resolution
- No LED flash, autofocus
- S40 UI is passé
- No multitasking
- Lack of accessories such as USB cable, in the box
- Disappointing web browsing