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Nokia’s fallen behind in the smartphone race on the back of its clumsy, cluttered Symbian platform, but can this performer compete with Android?The C7 follows suit in Nokia’s line of business-centric phones that offer practical tools like extensive mail options and office tools over a giant backlog of apps. While Nokia has offered free apps as part of a marketing campaign to grab the modern consumer, this smartphone runs quite well regardless of extra apps.

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While many other Nokia models running on the Symbian 3 operating system have suffered from convoluted context menus and lacked the smooth experience, the processing power behind this little steel device makes it solid and smooth, both on the outside and in.

The 3.5 inch screen isn’t as high quality as many of its Android-run competitors (though still looks good regardless) but the touch sensitivity and feedback is top notch. At the same time though, the screen doesn’t suffer the blurred, tapered edge that is noticeable on some phones from other brands like HTC.

 

Following Symbian’s typical rigidity, swiping between home pages doesn’t feel very natural, taking the swipe motion as an individual command rather than following the finger along. Otherwise, the responsiveness for all other touch functions is seamless, with little to no lag during most activities on the phone.

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The web browser runs smooth, rendering pages quickly. The C7 runs smooth as a whole while multitasking web browsing and opening other applications at the same time. This is a very welcome bit of processing power since Symbian has a tendency to leave functions running if you don’t formally click ‘exit’ the application via the menu (eventually bogging down the phone).

The general lack of a ‘back’ button on the main page while browsing gets a little annoying, though does minimise the amount of clutter on the front of the phone (which only sports an answer, decline and ‘home’ button).

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Though there’s no slide-out keyboard that Nokia excels at delivering, the QWERTY format does come out while typing messages and in the web browser. But this is only when you hold the phone landscape. Otherwise you’re stuck using the outdated three-letters-per-numeric-key format during portrait mode. A relic for the modern smartphone, but possibly a little nostalgic for anyone still keen on the slower means of texting.

Unlocking and locking the phone with a small sliding button on the side of the phone is a welcome addition over the typical on/off button then slide to unlock formula of many smartphones.

 

I was originally excited to try out the 8MP camera that seemed to be one of the top additions to the C7, though poor auto-focus and performance in darker areas let it down. Edges come out somewhat soft rather than crisp, even with the flash.

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That being said, it outperforms many of the competing lower-res smartphone cams out there, and being able to (marginally) control ISO levels and exposure is a plus.

Overall, the Nokia C7 is a top performer for a Symbian phone that manages to compete with the barrage of Android phones out there thanks to a slim but weighty profile and quick performance that breathes professionalism.

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The Nokia C7 is available in two colours, Charcoal Black and Frosty Metal, from Vodafone for $0 upfront on a $29 CAP over 24 months (total min cost $696) or $0 upfront on a $45 Vodafone Infinite plan over 24 months (total min cost $1080).

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