Smartphones may be an unfamiliar term to you. But such devices have been around for some time in various forms - with examples including the Ericsson R380, Motorola “Accompli” series of handsets, and the Nokia 9000-series communicators. So far, most smartphones aren’t all that feasible to use or to carry around with us.
The Nokia 7650 is the first of many smartphones which tries to bridge the gap between usability and functionality, and is also the company’s first smartphone to reside outside the 9000-series range of communicators. But what really makes the 7650 a real “stepping stone” is the package that it offers its users - a set of PDA-like features, an easy-to-use colour interface and designed within acceptable sizes. Of course, there is that built-in digital camera (no, I haven’t forgotten about that :)
The 7650 comes fitted with the Symbian operating system and utilises Nokia’s own Series 60 platform, which is designed for single-handed usage. Compared to previous Nokia phones, the 7650 comes with an enhanced set of PIM applications and also providing support for third-party Series 60-based software and Java applications. All information on the 7650 shares the 3.6-megabyte (MB) dynamic memory area for such data. The large colour screen also acts as a viewfinder for the built-in digital camera.
A wide range of connectivity options are available on the 7650, including Bluetooth and infrared support on the physical level. Messaging options include POP/IMAP e-mail and MMS (multimedia messaging service) support on top of the standard SMS text messaging feature.
Size may be an issue to some, while there are those who find the phone’s appearance to be anything but “look good”. Yes, it is true that the 7650 is somewhat large in size and quite thick when closed (bulky in your hip or back pocket if you choose to carry it this way). But when you start to truly comprehend what the 7650 has to offer, it may just change how you see this handset. After using the phone for the last few days, I can see that Nokia has put in a lot of time and effort into making this phone ergonomically sound. For example, typing on the 7650’s keypad with a single hand is far from hard since the phone doesn’t weigh down your hand at all - while using the 5-way joystick with the phone closed up wasn’t anything different.
Another thing that I noticed was that when you had the 7650 on a flat surface, the phone’s front would always be horizontally upright no matter how far you had the phone opened or closed (if you wonder why the phone doesn’t rest on its head when its fully opened, it’s because the “Nokia” emblem keeps it up!)
User Interface (UI)
If you’re a current Nokia user, you won’t have to worry about learning how to use basic features on the 7650 - as it adapts similar menu layouts and dialogs. Thanks to the larger and very clear colour display, more information can be presented on the screen without having to scroll up and down all the time. In addition to the hidden keypad, the 5-way joystick makes menu navigation and application usage a breeze as it adds another dimension to movement (left/right).
For those who have used very early Nokia models, you will also notice that the both the “ABC” and “C” buttons have returned as well :)
Making and receiving calls
Calls can be made or received with the phone’s slider either opened or closed. For voice dialling, a quick access button is located on the side at the top left-hand section of the phone. The same button can also be used to access the speakerphone handsfree feature.
The 7650 also supports the use of an external wired headset (there’s the standard one supplied with the sales package). But if you are thinking of pairing your Bluetooth headset or car kit with this phone, you may be in a surprise to learn that this is not possible. This is because the 7650 doesn’t come with the Bluetooth audio profile support.
Given that the phone comes with a built-in camera, the 7650 comes with picture phonebook support. This means you can snap up a picture with the digital camera using the “portrait” mode and add it to the respective phone book entry as a thumbnail, which shows when you make or receive a call from that same person.
There are four modes of messaging that is supported by the 7650 - e-mail, MMS, picture messaging and concatenated SMS text messaging support. All four modes share the same user interface for composing such messages. A similar T9 system (found on other Nokia models) is used for predictive text input. The 7650 also supports personal folders for the storage of received messages.
Probably the biggest issue I have with this phone is its battery life. Considering that the phone comes with a large colour display and sufficient illumination, using a standard Nokia lithium-ion battery (BLB-2) is surely insufficient. So far, I have only been able to manage 1-2 days’ worth of usage - with a minimum of around 12-18 hours on heavy interaction with the phone. Maybe getting an additional battery is a good idea in the long term.