In recent years, Nokia has been forced into playing catch-up with companies like Apple and Google. Hardware has been at par, if not better, but on the software front, Nokia phones haven’t exactly been able to stand up to the competition. The Finnish company has recently introduced the new Nokia 701, running the latest Symbian Belle OS. Does this phone give Nokia the edge against its competitors? Read on to find out.
Design and Build Quality
The 701 has a silver metal body with a black finish on the front, and it weighs 131 grams, which is quite light. Nokia has retained the rounded edges, which has been a trademark in most of their phones. The metal used in the phone definitely adds to its charm, and the 701 looks quite impressive in its overall design. The power button, a 3.5mm headphone jack and a microUSB slot are located at the top of the phone. The left side doesn’t have any ports, except for the charger jack. The right consists of the volume rocker buttons with the voice command key placed in between them. There’s also the lock slider and the camera button. The bottom consists of the lanyard eyelet for those with butter fingers, while the back consists of the camera with dual LED flash and 8 megapixel sensor. In terms of overall design and build quality, the 701 exudes class.
The metal back exudes class
Most people have been under the impression that Nokia hasn’t really met the standards set by Android and Apple, but with the new Symbian Belle operating system, Nokia definitely proves a point to the naysayers. The phone runs on a 1 GHz processor and it clearly shows when you’re navigating through the interface. It’s fast, quick and very responsive. Users can add up to six home screens and there’s a loop so you can get back to the first one once you reach the end. There’s a quick search option in the menu itself, which is a handy feature for those who’ve loaded a whole lot of applications and games. As far as closing apps is concerned, there are two options – pressing the ‘Menu’ button will keep the app running in the background, while pressing the ‘End’ button will terminate it. That’s definitely much better than having pressed the ‘End’ button and realizing later that the application is still running and draining your battery; an annoyance that Android users are all too familiar with.
The home screen supports auto rotation
In contrast to Android, Belle supports auto rotation on the home screen as well, although it looks best in portrait mode. Nonetheless, it’s good to see Nokia giving users options based on their personal tastes. There’s detailed customization for apps, shortcuts and widgets; arranging, deleting or moving them to a folder simply requires a long press to bring up the options. Also, they’ve added the Android-like pull-down notification bar that has quick toggle options for mobile data, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and silent mode. Sadly, notifications for third party applications don’t show up in the notification bar; they only come up on the home screen. There’s no quick toggle button to adjust the brightness. However, these are just minor issues and the interface is extremely intuitive and responsive. Nokia might have borrowed a few ideas for the interface from Google, but most of the navigation, customizations and interface is Nokia’s own, so they deserve credit for it.
The media, notification interface and multitasking
The music player is pretty basic, with standard options and home widgets for easy access. The album art occupies a big chunk of the screen and the shuffle, repeat and back options are located at the bottom of the screen. It does take time to populate the songs if you’ve restarted the phone, but that’s just a minor issue. More often than not, manufacturers bundle extremely poor headphones that don’t do justice to their devices’ audio prowess, but thankfully, Nokia has realized that. The bundled earphones are pretty impressive and produce good sound, with the right amounts of thump and treble. The loudspeaker is pretty loud as well.
The phone supports MP4, H.263 and H.264 video formats and MP3, WAV, еAAC+ and WMA audio formats. There’s no support for 1080p video playback via the stock media player and we couldn’t find any third party app for that either. Videos look good on the 3.5-inch screen and colors are vivid and bright. There’s FM radio and FM transmitter options as well, so all media options are pretty much covered.
Side views of the phone
The 701 is a quad-band GSM phone and connectivity options include Wi-Fi b/g/n and 3G with HSDPA at 14.4 Mbps and HSUPA at 5.76 Mbps. There’s Bluetooth 3.0 and USB on-the-go as well. The FM transmitter app is a nice feature to have. No more searching for connecting cables to play music in your car stereo. The Web browser is pretty good and allows tabbed browsing as well. There’s an option to find specific words as well via the settings sub menu.
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