Nokia announced the first Symbian Belle devices — Nokia 700, 701 and 600 in Mumbai two days ago. These are three devices with similar hardware and the same Symbian Belle update. At the launch we managed to quickly get our hands on the Nokia 700 and Nokia 600 while the Nokia 701 continued to evade us.
Nokia 700 and Nokia 600 together look like a good pair of smartphones with 3.2 inch displays. However, Nokia 700 offered a brighter display with vibrant colors. The reason was simple — Nokia 700 has an Amoled touchscreen with ClearBack technology whereas the 600 has a TFT LCD display. Both devices offer the same 640 x 360 pixel nHD native resolution and are claimed to be the smallest smartphones in the market.
The handsets kept for hands-on demos were prototypes rather than proper Nokia 700 and Nokia 600 handsets.
As told to us, the smooth polycarbonate chassis that the 700 and 600 handsets have are built using recycle-able bio-plastics and the inner components carry recycled metal. The smooth surface and compact form of both the 700 and 600 makes them quite comfortable to hold. Also, neither device is too heavy to carry around since the Nokia 700 weighs a mere 96 grams while Nokia 600 weighs 100 grams — inclusive of battery.
Symbian Belle has six customizable homescreens to which one can drag and drop any widget. One can set different wallpapers for each screen. The widgets are resizable and also come with in-widget scrolling, something Android still hasn’t got. When you pull down the status bar the notifications tray brings up the notifications toggle switch interface. Though it appears inspired by Android, Nokia Software developers have done a commendable job with the icons and the blue highlight which indicates that the service is on.
Swiping between six different homescreens was a smooth experience as there were less or no widgets on most of the screens.
Nokia had also announced the Just Tap application that allows an NFC enabled device to exchange multimedia when it is tapped to an NFC transmitting chip.
After adding the NFC toggle switch to the homescreen we tried the Just Tap feature by tapping the device on a Ra.One NFC-enabled poster. Immediately a notification to open a link popped on the phone. On accepting the request, the phone downloaded music video content that worked very well on the native video player of the 700. Notably the speaker grill at the bottom of the Nokia 700 did give out some nice stereo-like output. At the same time the loudspeaker behind the 600 was literally screeching out audio and obviously drew the attention of other folks in the room.
Nokia 700 has a 5 megapixel full focus camera with third generation LED flash. There was lack of proper lighting after the event and the camera captured images that appeared a bit washed out. Because it was a prototype we did not expect any more from it and found similar image results with the 600 as well. Let us hope the final versions of these phones do better.
The improved lockscreen that shares more information about the missed status of calls, texts or email certainly adds icing to the cupcake. The web browser loads pages quickly on a full WiFi network, however there was a slight lag in Flash performance. That too was acceptable since both smartphones support Flash Lite 4.0 which has features picked from the full blown Flash Player 10. Nonetheless, the native browser is way quicker, more responsive and scrolls nicely compared to the ones found in previous generation (pre-Anna) Symbian software.
Nokia 700 was slimmer and displayed pleasant colours compared to the 600. Nokia had loaded both the smartphones with several apps but we did not get enough time to try all of them.
Both devices are meant for different audiences though each carries very similar hardware. Nokia 600 is more for the younger generation seeking a budget friendly smartphone with Symbian Belle UI, which does pretty much everything under the sun.
In terms of build quality, Symbian Belle and a smoother user experience both the smartphones are impressive.
Nokia 600 will be available from next month at Rs 12,999 while the Nokia 700 will be available for about Rs 18,099. These prices may drop by around Rs 1,500.
Note: Due to poor lighting post phone launch event, we were not able to capture phone images and when we found out that the display units were prototypes, we totally skipped the photography part.