The Nokia C3 might have been the lowliest of a trio of Symbian messaging phones the Finns outed earlier this year, but it was certainly the one that caught our interest. Looks like a BlackBerry right? It very nearly is, and for a mere £80 on Pay As You Go, too. Read on and find out what we made of it in our full Nokia C3 review.
While mobile makers are gunning for the high end of the phone market with triumphs like the iPhone 4 and armoured tanks like the Samsung Galaxy S, the budget end of the market is just as competitive. While INQ’s Chat 3G phone and the Samsung Genio Slide held top spots in our hearts for their top notch messaging skills at a knockdown price, the Nokia C3 kicks it with them, and for a full twenty quid less.
At a glance, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the Nokia C3 had fallen straight out of Nokia’s expensive Eseries of business smartphones for the email obsessed. It’s certainly got the looks to match them, from an easy on the 2.4-inch screen to a firm back case, and a backlit keyboard and a 3.5mm audio slot on the top for plugging in your own headphones.
Nokia’s performed a little bait and switch though, as inside the Nokia C3 are low end parts that help keep the price down. There’s no 3G, just Wi-Fi for kicking it in hotspots, and the two megapixel camera has no flash. Most apparent though is the operating system: it runs Symbian S40, the limited, low power software Nokia’s been using on its tiniest, cheapest phones for years, rather than the more powerful and customisable S60 on its smartphones.
As that QWERTY keyboard makes clear though, the Nokia C3 is a phone for messaging obsessives, and none of these compromises will really get in the way of chatting, texting, emailing and calling – to the point where you might wonder what real benefits a BlackBerry will get you for so much more.
That’s down to Nokia whittling down and ticking off all the right boxes. Even though you can’t even multitask with Symbian S40, it’s still easy to open or leaf through your Facebook and Twitter streams straight from the homescreen, and email and instant messaging through popular services like GTalk or integrated right in too. That’s just about every box ticked for someone who wants a cheap way to keep an eye on their friends, rather than someone who needs a handset that’ll run on the corporate enterprise network.
Some of these core features work better than others, admittedly: the Twitter app for the Nokia C3 is all but unusable if you follow more than a handful of people, and there are some puzzling UI flaws that we dig deeper into in the Symbian S40 section of our Nokia C3 review.
But that QWERTY keyboard’s so good, that anytime you lose waiting for Symbian to load is more than made up for by the speed at which you can type. We were firing off texts at speeds we simply couldn’t reach on a phone of the same price with a 0-9 keypad, and this alone should appease alot of people with designs on a BlackBerry, but without the funds to cough up for BlackBerry Internet Service every month. And in the process, you get a handset with excellent battery life that can run for days on end without the need to top up. RIM can’t say that about any of its pricey emailers.
The Nokia C3 isn’t going to satisfy businessmen looking to cut back in harsh times, nor will it do for older teens who want BlackBerry Messenger above all else. But for Facebook obsessed tweens and those who want nothing more than a reasonably sized screen for texting, it’s perfect.
Review sample supplied by Vodafone