Nokia C3-01 Touch and Type 4 Stars

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If you remember fondly the excellent basic phones that Nokia produced in the 90s, you’ll be happy with its latest launch – the C3-01 Touch and Type. While at first glance it looks like the traditional candybar handset, it actually boasts a touch-screen. And the end result is one of the most efficient devices the Finnish phone manufacturer has presented for quite some time.

First looks

Nokia has achieved something with the hardware. While the device is light, it still maintains an air of class. The aluminium chassis is slim and offers decent-sized keys as well as a capacitive touch-screen. The pared-back design doesn’t leave room for a D-pad – instead you use the 2.4in screen for navigation. We liked the way the touch-screen and keys are used together – it’s sensible to tap some icons on the display, while still using hard keys for texting and calling.

We were impressed with all the basic functions, and found that a minimum amount of clicks were necessary for texting and calling.

Music fans will be pleased to see a 3.5mm headphone jack, so that you can use your favourite headphones, but bear in mind that you’ll need to go and buy a microsSD card for storing tunes, as built-in memory only comes in at a paltry 30MB. The microSD card slot allows you to expand this to 32GB, and Nokia has placed the slot in a sensible position so it’s not necessary to take out the battery if you’re swapping cards.

Basics

The C3-01 runs on Nokia’s own system, Symbian S40, which has been specially designed for non-smartphones. There’s just the one home screen, which affords space for four toolbars – time/date, favourite contacts and a shortcut bar that can be customised – this means you can add what you like, from chat and notes to calendar, mail and communities and notifications. Or you could choose to add a set of hot links to the likes of Facebook and Twitter.

To access the clock app, simply tap on the time. Here you can set your alarm. A quick tap on the date will bring up the calendar app, which offers up an impressively intuitive calendar. The touch-screen itself is reasonably responsive, but you will find you have to tap harder than you might on the iPhone screen, for example. Scrolling, though, did prove somewhat jerky.

It’s a shame, though, that to customise your home screen and shortcut bar you have to go trawling through the menu settings – it’s rather tricky.

We know, of course that this is how phones used to work, but nowadays things have improved and we would have liked to see the facility to customise the shortcut bar from the home screen. If this doesn’t please you, delve into the settings menu and you’ll find you can turn off the ‘home screen mode’. Then you’ll find you’re presented with an alternative grid-style menu.

Images and web

There’s a dedicated shutter button, so it feels like you’re using a proper camera when you take a snap. The five-megapixel camera worked well outside, although indoor images were somewhat faded, despite the LED flash. You can send your images via MMS, Bluetooth and email, although the option to upload them to social networking sites has been omitted.

For internet and email we found the functions a bit basic – and non-mobile sites don’t present well in the browser. However, we must say that because of the speed HSDPA connection, along with navigation via touch-screen, it’s one the best internet offerings from a basic device.

When it comes to email, you can load Microsoft Exchange, Hotmail and Gmail accounts, but bear in mind that the mail program is not capable of running in the background, so you will only receive email if you’ve got the app running.

Mind you, it’s a very workable program for such a basic device, and if you’re a Hotmail user you’ll find you can also run your Windows Live Messenger chat account.

You won’t be surprised to hear that, with so few terribly advanced features, the C3-012 is kind on the battery and you’ll be able to go a few days between charging.

The verdict

Nokia has always done a good job of producing basic devices and the C3-01 Touch and Type offers a new look on an old favourite. The capacitive touch-screen is a new twist on an otherwise tried-and-tested device, and has the benefit of making its basic functions and internet surfing more usable.

Pros:
Texting and calling are simple; fast web browsing; using touch-screen and keys provides intuitive navigation.
Cons:
Customising the home screen is not straightforward; built-in memory is a measly 30MB.
Rating:
  • Look and Feel 4 Stars
  • Ease of use 4 Stars
  • Features 4 Stars
  • Performance 4 Stars
  • Battery life 4 Stars

Final verdict: 4 Stars

Review by Mobile Choice