The Nokia C7 is the second Symbian^3 smartphone to hit the market after the Nokia N8. The Nokia C7 could be summed up as the Nokia N8's little brother - and something that has the potential to be as good as the N8, but falls short.

The Nokia C7 has plenty of features that are very similar to the N8, but there is still a lot in terms of features and performance that separate the two phones.

Nokia C7: Features

The Nokia C7 is a high-end smartphone with the hardware to match. The C7 is powered by an ARM 11 680MHz processor and its graphics performance is taken care of by a dedicated graphics accelerator. The C7 also has 256MB of RAM along with 8GB of internal storage. The Nokia N8 has the same specs, except that it provides 16GB of internal storage.

Again like the N8, the Nokia C7 also provides USB-on-the-Go support, which means it can power and directly read off certain USB devices such as pen drives and other Nokia phones. However, while the N8 has a miniHDMI port to output HD content to a display of your choice, the C7 only allows the same through regular TV-Out output.

You can shoot pictures and record videos using the C7's 8Mp fixed-focus camera. The camera is capable of recording 720p videos and has a dual LED flash for low-light shots. Like any other smartphone, the C7 supports Wi-Fi, 3G and GPS (bolstered by the free Nokia Ovi Maps service).

Nokia C7

The Nokia C7 runs on the Symbian^3 mobile OS and you can download apps for it from Nokia’s Ovi Store. While the Ovi Store is growing and includes plenty of quality apps (free and paid for), it’s still a long way from achieving the standards set by Google's Android Market and Apple's App Store. However, the good news is that Nokia seems to be taking the Ovi Store quite seriously and you can expect it grow steadily over the course of time.

The Nokia C7 lets you set up multiple email accounts and allows you to fully customise the schedule of when to pull emails down from the servers to the phone. Setting up an email account is really simple and credit must be given to Nokia for streamlining the process of setting up email accounts from numerous providers.

The Nokia C7 also comes pre-installed with a couple of widgets that you can place on the three available homescreens including widgets by National Geographic, Reuters, CNN, E! and so on. Social networking is taken care of by the pre-installed Twitter and Facebook apps. Of course, you can download other dedicated apps for the social network of your choice from the Ovi Store.

The pre-installed apps list on the Nokia C7 also includes QuickOffice Viewer that lets you view Microsoft Office files on the device and a couple of pre-installed games.

Nokia C7 app downloads

You can download more apps from Nokia's Ovi Store

Nokia C7: User interface

Like the N8, the Nokia C7 feels like a much improved product over the earlier Nokia Symbian^1 devices such as the 5800 XpressMusic and the Nokia N97 but there are still a few drawbacks about the phone.

There is actually nothing much to separate the usability aspect of the Nokia C7 from the N8. The user interface (UI) works in exactly the same manner, which means that the strengths and weaknesses of the Nokia N8 are carried over to the C7. The strengths include a much more streamlined UI over Symbian^1 S60 devices. The haptic feedback is again really impressive and improves the touch UI greatly. The C7 is also a lot faster than what you probably remember from the Nokia touchscreen phones of yore.

But Symbian^3 does have some weaknesses that spoil the party for the Nokia C7. The UI still looks dated and is reminiscent of the not so great things about the Symbian^1 S60 interface. The UI still falls short of the functionality that Google Android offers. For example, on the C7, the number of home screens is limited to three, and within those home screens placement of shortcuts is still restricted to shortcut widgets. Compare this to an Android phone, where the number of home screens can go up to 12 and you can pretty much place any shortcut or folder anywhere on the home screen.

Nokia C7 homescreens

The three available home screens on the Nokia C7

Also, while Symbian^3 has thankfully taken care of the double-tap predicament that Symbian^1 had introduced, there is still a whole lot of menus that you have to go through to get things done. A prime example of this on the Nokia C7 is text input, where if you want to fill out any text box, instead of letting you do so in the same instance, a new text box opens up where you have to input text. This adds an unnecessary extra step to a lot of processes such as typing the address to a website, creating a new contact or even composing a message.

Another issue is that the Nokia C7's virtual qwerty keyboard doesn't support multi-touch, which means typing at speed on the qwerty keyboard results in multiple mistakes.

Next page: Looks, design, multimedia features and our expert verdict >>

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