The Nokia Oro isn’t intended for the likes of you or I, it’s a play-thing for the cash-rich, for those who like the idea of owning a smartphone but only if it’s dripping in gold and jewels. Costing twice the price of a Nokia C7, on which it’s based, is this smartphone a ‘bad boy’ or just ‘bad taste’? Find out with our Nokia Oro smartphone review.
The Nokia Oro is subtle in the same way that Lady Gaga is understated. The box it ships in kind of reminds us of that giant egg Gaga presented herself in a short while back, it that it’s all theatre, all about making an entrance. Okay, so the box isn’t egg-shaped but the gold and black design and attention to detail makes the same impact, peel back the layers and you’re presented with a glorified Nokia C7 and a matching white and gold-plated Bluetooth headset.
There are two versions of the Nokia Oro available, Dark and Light Editions, of which we were sent the latter to check out. Nokia has taken the basic mid-level Nokia C7 and instead of upping the tech-spec, it’s decided that a makeover is in order. So we get 18-carat gold plating on the bezel, camera housing and function buttons, with a sapphire on the Menu button and the leather from some exclusive Scottish cow on the back plate. Lil Jon would be all over this.
All about body image
All this extra trim makes it slightly fatter than the original version (132g compared to 130g) but the Nokia Oro is still nice and slim and feels pretty good in the hand. The leather back cover we may not visually like but it but does mean the Oro doesn’t slip in your hands, a failing the Nokia N8 and Nokia E7 have both suffered from of late.
The 3.5-inch AMOLED screen has the standard 360 x 640-pixel resolution and images look bright and clear. There is a screenlock on the side, gold-plated of course, or you can simply press the Sapphire pimped Menu button and then press the onscreen Unlock icon.
To remind you you’re using an exclusive phone, there is a special Light Gold theme pack installed that changes the icons to a uniform gold colour, which we like. Such a pity then that any apps you install are still in colour, which spoils the effect Nokia is clearly trying to get over.
Nokia has been slow to get with smartphone program and while Windows Phone is coming down the line later this year, for now we have to contend with the same old Symbian platform. Things are slightly better, as the latest Symbian Anna update comes preloaded on the Nokia Oro.
The phone feels faster and slicker than the original Nokia C7, for example, but it’s still nowhere near matching the latest Android phones, or iOS. While the UI feels more stable and obvious than before (though the baffling array of settings for Wi-Fi, rather than On/Off, will leave most of the Russian popstars likely to buy this phone scratching their heads), we’re still left with the same under-pinning OS, which is clunky and out-dated and clearly seems to be on its last legs.
Of the new features, the web browser is the most impressive, as it actually means you can search and surf without throwing the phone away in frustration and blemishing that “veautiful” finish. Then there’s the Pportrait QWERTY onscreen keyboard, which works well enough, but reminds you that it should have been there from the start!
When it comes to features, you’ll find Nokia plays for the mainstream market. The 8-megapixel camera is fairly standard these days and being EDoF based delivers decent snaps, once you get used to the rather awkward fixed lens nature of it all, and the inability to nab decent macro shots.
Multimedia aspects of the Nokia Oro seem to be pretty much what you’d expect: they work well once you’ve got them loaded but with too many taps needed to pull up your music or videos in the first place, if feels like a chore.
Like the Nokia C7, you’ll also find NFC built-in, which hasn’t really gone mainstream enough for people owning the Oro to consider using. Plus if you can afford this phone, you can probably have asssistans buy stuff for you anyway. On top of this you have WiFi, HSDPA and Bluetooth, so connectivity and staying in touch is well catered for.
If you’re looking for something technologically advanced you can buy two Nokia N8s for the price of the Nokia Oro but that’s not what this smartphone is about. It’s aimed at people who don’t see the price tag, just the lifestyle and while taste is a fickle beast it may sell well on looks alone.