LONDON – At Nokia World 2011, I won myself a Nokia 701 from the Nokia Vending Machine. I checked in using a Nokia 603 by using the on-board NFC function and a few clunks later a white tube appeared from the slot in the bottom of the machine. Much to my disbelief, this tube contained a Nokia 701 and the usual accessories you’d expect to find with a new phone. I’ve been using it for several weeks on and off, and here’s what I think of it.
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room here. Hardware wise, it’s very similar to the Nokia C7 that we’ve seen before. It’s the same size and shape with all the same parts in the same place. However, there is a slight difference.
The coloring of the Nokia 701 is much improved. Rather than having the shiny chrome finish, this is a much more sedate experience on the eyes. The matt black finish on the back rolls nicely right around to the front of the phone until it meets the glass touchscreen.
The screen is made of Corning® Gorilla® Glass, the case surrounding the screen and battery cover is made of metal and the rest of the phone is made out of plastic. This leaves the device feeling very sturdy and solid weighing in at 131 grams.
It’s surprisingly slim at 11mm, only one millimetre larger than a jewel CD case, so it sits in my pocket nicely when I’m out and about. When I pull it out of my pocket to make a call it sits in the hand nicely with the unlocking key perfectly situated on the right on the phone. Handy, because I’m right handed. With a flick of my thumb, the Nokia 701 springs into action.
The Nokia 701 runs the latest version of Symbian, Symbian Belle. Having used a Nokia N8 for about a year, which I still use today when I go out taking photos, I’ve been very happy with Symbian Anna. Symbian Belle on the Nokia 701 runs very smoothly and that’s down to a combination of the 1 GHz processor and the overall improvements that Symbian Belle brings.
The first improvement I love with the Nokia 701, and therefore Symbian Belle is the ability to add more homescreens – up to six. This means I can cram as many apps, games or anything else I find useful on the front screen, easily accessible with a flick of the finger left or right.
The new email widget is something I admire, too. I use email a lot for work, so being able to keep up to date with what’s important is an absolute must, for me. With a new white background and the increased space to read the subject lines more clearly, I can scroll through 20 of the previous emails from within the homescreen widget. This makes it so easy to find something relevant and read it much more quickly.
Another thing I’m into at the moment is NFC. I really like the idea of being able to touch my phone to something and have it send some information, receive it or to activate something and the Nokia 701 is an NFC-enable phone. While there’s not much I can do with it at the moment, other than pair up a headset or two, or check-in to my office on Foursquare.
Overall, this is a great phone. If I didn’t have easy access to the latest Nokia Lumia 800 I’d have no concerns about using the Nokia 701 as my main phone. I do love to own the latest phone if possible. The Nokia 701 is a sturdy, smooth running, high-featured smartphone that does everything I’d possibly want it too.