Smartphones that we have in the market currently have a variety of specs that entice users into buying them like a huge screen, a dual core processor or even a proper QWERTY keyboard. What Nokia 701 has decided to focus on is the screen brightness, one of the biggest problems we face when using a phone under direct sunlight. So are there other features to complement this phone and make it a phone wanted by many?
The Nokia 701 is made up of some classy material like the metal cover you will find on the back. Otherwise, the rest of the phone is made of tough plastic that gives you the feeling of holding a very solid in your hands just like most Nokia phones do. At a thickness of just 0.43 inches, this is a thin phone and will not make your pocket bulge. The edges of the phone can be said to be overly rounded to the extent of making the phone feel like a toy at times. This smartphone comes with a 3.5 inch LED-backlit IPS-LCD screen at a resolution of 360 x 640 which steals the show with its ClearBlack technology, but more on that later. The Nokia 701 has an 8MP fixed-focus camera sitting majestically at the back and it boasts a dual LED flash too.
One of the buttons you find on the right side of the phone is the voice control button which brings up a few apps on your command. For instance say you are driving some place and get lost and would like to use the Maps application on your Nokia 701, all you got to do is say it and the phone obeys you like a genie. However, it stops short at just bringing up the app for you which means you still have to work your way through the app with your fingers. The volume rocker as well as the lock button can be found on the right side as well. At the top of the phone is where the power key, standard audio jack and the microUSB port reside.
Performing all your tasks on the Nokia 701 like browsing the internet and just getting around the interface are all quite fast and smooth although it might start to show some signs of delay when dealing with heavy apps. The boost in speed should be credited to the fact that the phone comes with a 1GHz processor. It has also got a 512MB RAM which helps make things faster than the 256MB RAM that we are used to with Nokia.
Apart from the screen, the other standout point for the Nokia 701 is that it comes running the Symbian Belle which in some aspects is able to match the other more well known UIs out there. With this UI we have multiple homescreens which can have their very own wallpapers, something new for a Nokia phone. Widgets now come in various sizes and there is also a swift pull-down notification bar that has connectivity switches. The contextual navigational buttons found at the bottom of the screen is where Belle stamps its class. The buttons are usually the back, search and context menu button, but what’s cool is that the button actually changes according to the app that you are using. The main menu has been refined to a scrollable list of icons instead of having folders and subfolders that we used to have before. Moving on into the Belle OS, we find that the apps that come with the Nokia 701 have been updated. For instance the Contacts and Calendar apps have both had their interface improved and there were also minor details that were improved like the more compact font which means you can fit and view more of your contacts’ details in one page. Being a touch screen phone you would expect it to have a virtual keyboard and the Nokia 701 does have one. It has the same split-screen appearance that we had seen on the Symbian Anna. The messaging app is also better as you can now attach stuff to your messages easily thanks to the super cool contextual navigational strip at the bottom.
Moving on to the next highlight of the Nokia 701, the 3.5 inch LED-backlit IPS-LCD display which looks to have solved the age old problem of not being able to view your screen properly under direct sunlight. This is thanks to the 1000 nits of brightness it gives compared to the like of iPhone which gives 600 nits and the Samsung Galaxy S which stands at just 400 nits. Other than that, the viewing angles of this phone are also good and it produces bright and vivid colors.
With the navigational strip at the bottom, when you open your camera interface, all the options for taking photos can be found there which is pretty impressive. The 8MP camera on the Nokia 701 comes with the option of geotagging your pictures and it also has face detection function which comes on when the camera app is opened. The photos themselves were great when taken in well-lit environments but when you move to low lit areas, they are not so good. Another downer is that the dynamic range is not so good whenever you have contrasting or bright objects in the picture. Recording videos are now in HD 720p at a rate of 30 fps resulting in the recording to run smoothly. The noise cancellation mic did well too as we can make out our voices clearly in the videos.
Meanwhile internet browsing experience is undoubtedly the best we have seen on a Nokia phone. With the improved hardware and new interface, things like scrolling and panning in while browsing is claimed to be three times faster by Nokia. All the usual connectivity options that you would come to expect of a smartphone are found on this phone too.
The earpiece on the Nokia 701 is pretty good as we heard no hollow sounding voices or hiss although that may also be due to the lack of volume. We are happy to inform you that on the other end, our voice can be heard clearly thanks to the noise-cancelling mic. Nokia claims that battery life isn’t not affected that much due to the brighter screen. So we put it to test and realized that using the display at maximum brightness drains the battery 20-30% quicker but it is important to note that we would not be using it at that brightness level the whole time as we won’t be under direct sunlight the whole time.
Pros and Cons
The Nokia 701 has the brightest screen out there meaning you can view the phone clearly under direct sunlight. The Symbian Belle is also very improved and can be compared to other modern UI we have today in more than one aspect.
The camera found on the Nokia 701 could use some work while the default browser also needs some improvement with its rendering engine.
Although the screen is the obvious highlight of this phone, there are other features in the Nokia 701 that can interest you. There won’t be any regrets getting this phone unless you need a good camera to go with it.