When I first received the Nokia 700 I was relieved to find that it was not a micro-SIM device which is something I’ve come to dislike over the last few months. One of the main attractions of the Nokia 700 would definitely be that fact that it’s one of the smallest and loudest smart phones available on the market today, but the smaller body doesn’t affect it’s usability at all as you’ll see below. Compared to the Lumia 800, the 700 is as tiny as it comes and at 9,7mm it’s quite thin.
The package it comes in is pretty strong and not too large. Upon opening it you’ll find the device itself, the battery, the charger, the USB connectivity cable and Nokia earphones. Because the device has 2GB of built-in memory, the memory card has been left out.
Build quality is superb, it’s a sturdy device and quite strong. The body is plastic, the rear panel is made out of aluminium and the screen is protected by Gorilla Glass.Sadly the Nokia 700 doesn’t have a front facing camera, but that’s not really necessary when you consider the 700’s target market, teens. At the bottom, on the front, you’ll find a large grill which covers the speakers, you’ll also find the menu, call and end buttons on the front as well as the 3,2-inch nHD display, which is quite clear and fairly dense at 229 pixels per inch. The right side features quite comfortable buttons for controlling the volume, taking pictures as well as the unlock button. They’re quite easy to use and feel pretty good in your hands. At the back you’ll find the metal rear panel and the 5MP Fixed Focus camera with its LED flash. Under the rear panel you’ll find the battery, which you’ll need to remove to insert either the micro SD card or the SIM card.
Belle is a huge leap forward for what used to be Symbian^3, if only it were what the N8 launched on two years ago. The home screens are customizable with a wide range of widgets, shortcuts etc. The notification bar can now be dragged down from anywhere in the OS and will reveal you connectivity and any new notifications, I quite liked this, but it can also be found in Android I see, so it’s nothing new. By tapping and holding the screen you’ll go into customization mode where you’ll be able to arrange all the icons, shortcuts and widgets as you see fit. Something I quite liked was the fact that you could add and remove home screens, and in the end I only used one so I removed the rest, you can use up to six. Another welcomed change to the home screen is the on-screen menu key, but you’ll still need the hardware key to access the multitasking view, for closing and switching between applications.
The Menu is attractive and just as customizable as the home screen. You can choose either list or grid views. A search button has been added which does come in quite handy. Tapping the screen and holding it will allow you to customize it by moving and removing icons. It’s quick and easy so you won’t have any trouble at all. Scrolling in the menu is a breeze and you won’t experience even a little bit of lagging. The icons are attractive, but that’s nothing new, they were available from Anna onwards. The onscreen keyboard is surprisingly easy to use despite the screen’s small size.
The browser is a great improvement over the original version from S^3. It still has a way to go, especially since it only supports Flash Lite, which is also no longer being supported by Adobe. It’s snappy, loading pages without any hassles. You can easily switch between tabs and a preview of each is shown making it simpler to identify the one you’re looking for. Your recent pages are shown in tiles, also with previews, and I did like that quite much. The Menu has a lot of options and it isn’t an eyesore. Overall I’m still more comfortable with using Opera Mobile as it’s something I’m used to and quite frankly, it’s faster.
Application wise the Nokia 700 didn’t disappoint at all. It comes pre-loaded with a host of useful applications like Zip manager, Quick Office, Fruit Ninja, Angry Birds Magic, Adobe Reader and the ever so useful Nokia Maps. Nokia Social is also installed, but people apparently aren’t fond of it so you may want some alternate social networking clients like Gravity and fMobi. Multitasking wise it could cope with 32 open applications before flashing a RAM full message, so it’s not exactly as handy in that department as its lesser spec’d ‘cousin’ the E5 which could handle a record 74 open applications. The 700 is also quite capable in the media department being able to view a lot of different audio and video formats including .mp4 and .avi. Sadly, Nokia still hasn’t added the much wanted ability to add or customize equalizer presets and you’ll have to do with those available.
Typing on the 700 was easy even with the portrait QWERTY keyboard. The sound was brilliant, being loud yet crisp. The battery held for quite a while even with extensive use and multitasking. The Nokia Store has a lot of nice applications, games, themes and so forth, all it takes is some scrolling and deciding on what you like. Connectivity was also a plus having Bluetooth, Wifi, 3G and NFC, I just wish I could try out the NFC, but sadly there aren’t much things on the market to try it out on. Bluetooth transfers were a breeze, easy to set up and quick to send and receive. 3G and Wifi was, as usual, dependant on your area and service provider, but I didn’t have any problems there.
The camera took beautiful images despite being of the much frowned upon fixed focus kind, which I’ve never had any issues with. It took magnificent sunset shots and close ups as well. The LED flash accompanying it was bright and gave just the right amount of illumination. It took beautiful videos as well at 720p resolution and the camera and video camera interface did provide a lot of options and tweaks. The 1GHz processor and 512MB RAM have sped up the Symbian experience, even after the name was scraped and apparently when the Belle FP1 (previously known as Carla) update arrives the processor will be overclocked to a smooth 1.3GHz which does sound promising as performance has already been pretty good.
Back to the title, yes, dynamite does come in small packages, the Red colour does somewhat hint to that. The Nokia 700 will blow away any expectations you may have had about it. It comes with a lot of features at a reasonable price, but it will by no means be the hardcore smart phone user’s dream phone. For the budget conscious and teens, it’s ideal, for the others who can afford the larger kind, go for that and leave the 700 be. The superb hardware and ideal software is somewhat disappointed by the smallish display. Sure it’s supposed to be a tiny device, but it’s more likely to become someone’s secondary phone than their primary. It’s good, but it’s not the best, but then again that’s not what they aimed for, so it’ll be up to your preference whether you’ll by it or let the opportunity pass by, especially with the recently announced Lumia 610 ready to heat this market segment up sometime soon.