Not everyone needs a phone with a million apps and a 20MP camera. Sometimes you just want to make calls, text and browse the internet for basic information, with a little style thrown in. Something like the Nokia 7230 slider phone for example. At only 10 x 5.5cm when folded, you're easily able to slip the Nokia 7230 into your suit or trouser pocket with ease.
But it still packs plenty of everyday essentials, including a featured 3.2MP camera, 3G connectivity, a media player with radio and a 2.2-inch screen for viewing everything from messaging and checking your email through to web browsing and fast access to Facebook and MySpace. And there are apps too via Ovi if you want them, with a few demo games and utilities to get you going. All of that in a phone that's mostly free on contract, which isn't bad as a stylish-looking 3G phone.
Small, functional and with smooth curves the 7230 is classic Nokia design. Sized at 98(h) x 48(w) x 14.75(d) mm and weighing in at 100g, the phone is small and light enough to fit into anyone's bag or pocket, with curved, chromed edges that contribute to an ergonomic shape for your hand.
Within the fairly minimalist design is a mini-USB slot (although the cable for hooking up the phone to a USB slot doesn't come as standard), a headphone point and those front facing controls for accessing/ending calls, along with an additional three menu-based controls for getting round the 2.2-inch TFT screen. The rear of the phone is devoted to photography, with a dedicated camera key on the side (or on top if you're taking pictures in landscape) turning your phone into a reasonable outdoor snapper in seconds.
The sliding mechanism is a dream, a 'glide' rather than a 'clunk', exposing a keyboard that's spacious enough for error-free typing and sufficiently responsive when you hit the keys. When you close the slide, the phone automatically locks, kicking off that lock when you flick it back open. Running on the Symbian Series 40 platform, the Nokia 7230 has a functional, if unspectacular interface, offering up three ways of accessing the phone's main functions.
With a click of that central menu button, you'll see icons for all of the basic functions or alternatively, the left-hand selection key brings up the highlights on a scrolling list. The right-hand key offers quick access to your contacts. Finally, opting for the Home Screen mode brings up mini icons for media and networking to scroll through.
But don't despair, you can change the shortcuts to your own preferences with a bit of time and effort through the menu settings, so if web access on the go is a big thing for you, just stick a quick icon to it on the home screen instead of Facebook. But even allowing for that, the interface does seem a little messy purely by trying to cover too many bases.
Granted there isn't a touchscreen interface to play with, but one well thought-out way of accessing all functions (like on the lower budget Samsung Genio Slide) would certainly be better than the three different solutions currently on offer. It's something Nokia is rightly proud of, but we found the experience slow and not without error messages.We got there in the end, but with the thought that the Nokia 7230 might be used by first-time phone and email users, it is something that needs tightening up.
Calls and contacts
Nokia has been making mobile devices for as long as most of us have been alive, so as you would expect, the calling side of the 7230 runs as smoothly as a high-end sports car. Voice calls are clear, with no obvious drops in the network as we were using it. Accessing calls is also a doddle (just a slide and touch of a button), the ringtones, which are both available as presets and MP3, are loud enough to wake the heaviest of sleepers and the keypad is large enough to accommodate the biggest of fingers when fumbling to answer.
Setting up contacts is just a matter of entering details in a few fields, although you can augment your entries with personalised images and sounds, as well as web and email details. Accessing is just as easy, simply press the right hand soft key and you're flung into the contacts list. There's a big, bold font for typing out and reading those texts and an equally large message when a call is incoming.
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