|The Nokia C3 is part of Nokia’s new lineup of messaging phones, which includes the E5 and C6. As its name implies (the further along the alphabet and the higher the number, the more advanced the phone), the C3 is a basic and budget phone which will appeal to hardcore texters and social networkers (simply put, most of the younger generation). The main highlights of the phone are its full QWERTY keyboard and Social Network Service (SNS) enhancement, and not forgetting its affordability.
As mentioned earlier, messaging is the C3’s forte. The QWERTY keyboard is a joy to use, even for first-timers (although it will take a little getting used to for them, naturally). The C3 also makes messaging a breeze with its various sending options – no more wasting time finding the send-to contact. What’s more, messages are stored in conversations with contacts, making them a lot easier to keep track of. The C3’s email support is basic, but gets the job done, with support for SSL, POP3, IMAP4 and SMTP. Another feature of the phone is Instant Messaging (IM). Ovi Chat is one of the C3’s native apps, hence it is quick to load, and users can choose to stay connected even when it’s not visibly running. Ovi Chat has pretty complete functionality and allows users access to Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo Messenger and Google Talk, in addition to Ovi Chat. The Communities application connects users to Facebook and Twitter. When users are logged in to one of the two sites, Communities will display messages received through the site as well as the sender, on the homescreen. The app takes a while to load (it being a J2ME app) if users wish to use it to post replies.
In addition to its messaging prowess, the C3 covers its basics pretty well too. In-call and loudspeaker sound is loud and clear, but the phone vibration could be a little stronger.
The C3’s 2 Megapixel camera is capable of snapping photos with a resolution of 1600 x 1200 pixels. This is where the C3’s compromise for affordability is most evident. Those into photography will be appalled by the very limited settings. Its slow shutter speed and lack of autofocus and flash translate into disappointing images. Photos are severely lacking in detail and show a high level of noise. All in all, it is decidedly subpar even for a 2 Megapixel camera.
Video recording is equally mediocre – the camera shoots at a QVGA resolution of 320 x 240 pixels or QCIF 176 x 144 pixels, and manages 15 – 20 fps. Apart from MMS, users will be hard pressed to find any use for the video recording feature.
The C3’s music player is basic, and supports WMA, MP3, AAC, AAC+ and eAAC+ formats. There is a 3.5mm audio jack which allows users to use their favourite headsets with the phone. Audio quality is quite good with clear sound produced through the phone speaker as well as through headsets. However, audio volume through the headset is a tad low, even when cranked up to the maximum. The video player is not anything to shout about either. It supports up to QVGA H.263, H.264, AVI, MPEG-4 and WMV files. Playback is often laggy due to the C3’s paltry 64MB RAM.
The C3 offers nothing exciting in terms of connectivity but taking into account its price, it is not half bad. WiFi is not a feature you see in most budget phones (it is often absent in midrange ones too), so the fact that the C3 has it is a major plus point. It supports 2G (GSM/EDGE) but not 3G. EDGE is sufficient for IM, social networking and light web browsing; heavy data transfers will require WiFi connectivity. Local connectivity comes in the form of microUSB v2.0 and Bluetooth with A2DP support for audio streaming to Bluetooth headsets. Strangely, the phone cannot be charged through USB – an inconvenience indeed. The C3 also supports up to 8GB microSD cards and the good news is they’re hot swappable.
The C3 comes with a Nokia web browser and also the Opera Mini browser. The former cannot be used to browse the web; it is used only for “Web Services”, for instance, when accessing Nokia’s mobile site, MySpace, AccuWeather and so on. For browsing, the Opera Mini browser is the solution, and an excellent one at that. Opera renders the pages on its servers, compresses the images and sends them to the phone in a much smaller size. This considerably lowers the amount of data transferred, therefore cutting down on data charges as well as page loading time.
The BL-5J 1320mAh battery that powers the C3 provides up to 7 hours of talk time and 800 hours of standby time. It is adequate but hardly impressive, considering the lack of advanced features like 3G.
Pros and Cons