As we reach further into technology, there are new features left right and centre - but there are also style improvements. Slider phones, clam-shell phones, rotating phones and more are just some examples of style-improvements from mobile phone manufacturers. The new ionic or “block” shape has been adapted with the Nokia 7600 phone - with the key pad located next to and below the display.
The 7600 operates on both 3G and 2G networks seamlessly, so whichever network generation you’re with the Nokia 7600 is a magnificent acquaintance. The phone has many features to keep you connected and personalized all of the time.
Read on to find out more about the 7600 and it’s features, including a VGA camera, huge internal memory, Bluetooth & Infrared connectivity and rich multimedia capabilities.
The Nokia 7600’s most outstanding feature is the physical aspect of the phone. A revolutionary new ionic design, known as the “block” form factor to some has brought on wild impressions of the phone by just looking at it. With the display in the middle and the rest of the keys surrounding it, it’s a convenient way to keep size down and functionality up. The 7600 also has Bluetooth and Infrared support, full messaging capabilities, 3G network support, Xpress-On™ sleeves, 30mB of internal memory and a VGA camera.
The Xpress-On™ sleeves change the overall look of the phone in just a few seconds. They clip onto the sides of the phone, one curving from the top of the handset to the bottom right and the other from the top to the bottom left. A single set of these Xpress-On™ sleeves will be included in the sales package to put on the phone straight away. They don’t fit on perfectly though, check the Build Quality section for more on that.
With an internal memory of 30mB, one would expect the Nokia 7600 to be feature rich. Well it is, with an MP3 player, VGA camera, Java application and gaming support, and much more. The memory shouldn’t run out too fast - and if it does you can always ship data off the phone in a number of ways.
Bluetooth, Infrared, and the USB capable Pop-Port™ on the bottom of the phone can all be used for PC connections and the first two can be used to connect two devices together for sharing of information. The Nokia 7600 has Bluetooth Headset profiles for use with an Audio headset, and images, video, music, and more is easily sent with Infrared.
The Nokia 7600 can send and receive all the standard messaging formats - namely SMS, EMS, MMS, and e-mail. MMS messages containing video, images, audio and text brighten up the old and somewhat monotonous text messages. Messages longer than 160 characters (SMS) can be both sent and received with extra-long messaging support.
The VGA camera enhances your MMS messages, with video and image capturing - this will surely help fill up the 30mB of internal memory! The images can be up to 640 x 480 pixels, and the video can include audio. For more information about the camera and example shots, check out the Camera Performance section of this article.
Totally redesigned from other Nokia models, the 7600 is in a league of its own when it comes to style and wow-factor. A new ionic shape with two curved corners and two rounded corners, the 7600 also has Xpress-on™ sleeves to personalize the sides of the phone. The un-changeable sections of the phone are silver and white, complimenting any Xpress-on™ sleeve combination you may choose.
From the front, the main difference from other phones is that the display is now more centred due to the fact that the buttons are in two rows beside the display. You may remember the Siemens SX1 which also has this design, except it was a standard form factor phone but large buttons below the display. The directional and selection buttons are below the display on the 7600, but they wrap around the display to make a U shape around it.
The Xpress-on™ sleeves change the look of the sides of the phone, one reaching from the top left hand corner to the bottom right on the top of the phone, and the other from the top left to the bottom right on the bottom of the phone. They encase around all of the external buttons on the 7600, including the on/off key, infrared sensor, Pop-Port™ interface and charging port. The only other removable part on the 7600, although not changeable is the back battery cover which can only be removed when the bottom Xpress-on™ sleeve is removed. The bottom right hand corner of the 7600 is stationary and has an insert for the wrist-strap.
The camera can be slightly seen from the front, a small lump on the top of the handset is where the Xpress-on™ sleeve curves around it. The lens protrudes out on the back of the phone just above the battery panel in a section that cannot be removed but moulds in with the battery panel.
All of the buttons on the 7600 remind me of porcelain, but offcourse they aren’t! They are white and the numerical keys from 1 to 5 including the * button run down the left side, and 6-9 including 0 and the # key run down the right side. Underneath the display resides the directional pad, hang-up/pick-up buttons and the two selection keys. On the left side of the 7600 you will find the recording button and volume up/down keys, and the infrared panel. On the top far left is the on/off button, and further right is the dedicated camera button. The speakerphone is located on the back of the phone adjacent to the volume keys, and the microphone is at the bottom, just right of the Pop-Port™ interface.
The 7600 is a great looking phone, and will turn heads thanks to its uniqueness.
User Interface & display
The well-known Nokia Series 45 interface makes another appearance in the Nokia 7600. The listed menu or grid menu can be changed as you please, and for those who are familiar with the interface from other models like the 6610, and 7250i will notice the similarities immediately. The display that brings to life the 7600 is a 128 x 160 pixel 65,536 colour TFT LCD.
There are 16 main menus on the 7600, a boost from other models in the Series 45 range of devices that only had 10 or 11 if you have a SIM Services menu. The new main menus include “Music,” and “Media Player” along with some others that have appeared singularly on other devices. The menus on the 7600 all have icons and text labels clearly explaining what they are enabling you to find what you want quickly. The icons for the main menus was something I didn’t really like, they just looked very plain to me. Only a few basic colours are used, something more bright and colourful like the Sony Ericsson icons would have looked much better.
Underneath each main menu are text submenus, sometimes only one line and others are two per screen, with details underneath the main name of the function/option. The main menus are as follows; Messages, Call Register, Contacts, Profiles, Settings, Camera, Media Player, Music, Gallery, Organizer, Games, Applications, Extras, Connectivity, Services (this is the WAP Browser), and Go-To. The Go-to menu can be selected for the right selection key if you wish.
The display on the 7600 is big enough to accommodate the needs of the features, and isn’t anything too small or overly large. It measures 128 x 160 pixels and can display 65,536 colours in that range. Using it as a viewfinder for the VGA is fun, and viewing pictures, WAP pages and multimedia using the Media Player is much the same. With the buttons on the side of the screen a sense of being even more control of the device is given off.
Making and receiving calls
When I received the Nokia 7600, I really had no idea how I was going to talk into it due to the ionic form factor. However, once having a close inspection of the handset it becomes clear, the phone is held like any other, with the top left corner on your ear. This isn’t difficult when using the phone on the left or right ear. The speakerphone function is always there if you need it, and then there is Bluetooth and the supplied stereo headset to use also.
The phonebook on the 7600 supports portrait sized photos to display when a contact rings you, and also multi-line contacts including e-mail addresses, work and home address, notes, and additional phone numbers. Contacts can be synchronized with a PC or remote server using the 7600 too. Entering numbers into the 7600 may take a while to get used to thanks to the new keypad design, but if you can’t remember a number just press either the down or up button to jump to the last or first contact respectively.
When in a call, most functions on the 7600 are accessible. You can access the main menu, record sections of your call, read received messages and more. Changing volume is easy with the dedicated buttons on the left side of the handset, and de/activating the speakerphone is just as easy!
Ring tones on the 7600 can be a range of different formats, including the cool 24-chord polyphonic type, and the even better full-quality MP3 format. With around 30mB of user-accessible memory, the 7600 can accommodate all your MP3 ring tones. AMR and AAC files can also act as ring tones.
The only minor problem I had with the 7600 and making/receiving calls was when using the speakerphone - even when at 100% it’s quite hard to hear what the other person is saying. This isn’t due to location of the speakerphone, even when close to my ear it was hard to hear. Other than that, the 7600 performed well in this section.
Messaging on the 7600 is to the tune of SMS, EMS, MMS, and e-mail. The intergrated VGA camera personalizes MMS and e-mail messaging, with either video or images. SMS Chat is also supported, which is just SMS messages displayed in a chat-format like many Instant messaging services. All messaging formats can be sent and received on the 7600.
The new keypad layout takes some time to get used to, don’t get me wrong. At the end of my trial I was only a little bit slower than normal keyboards, and with T9 predictive text the slow down was barely noticeable. There is very little typing delay which is something that made me very happy! Pressing the ‘#’ button will change between text input modes, and holding it down changes to numerical input.
The e-mail application on the 7600 is a Java application, and can connect via the default wireless connection protocol, or another connection installed on the phone. Up to 5 mailboxes can be defined, and the 7600 can send and receive e-mail messages. MMS messages can contain images, video, text, and audio files when they are sent and received, as long as they are below the maximum 100kB MMS limit.
The voice recorder on the 7600 allows you to personalize MMS messages for the recipient, which can either be an MMS supported phone or e-mail address. The digital camera is capable of capturing video with audio and images for MMS messages that won’t go over the size limit.
Using the Nokia 7600 you will be able to connect to wireless services on 3G networks, wireless services on 2G networks, and local Bluetooth and Infrared devices. The Nokia Pop-Port™ interface at the bottom of the phone can be used for high-speed USB connections with a data-cable.
The 7600 is a dual-mode device, so it works on 3G networks like “Three” in Australia. The WCDMA data-speeds allow a maximum 384kbit/s downlink and 64kbit/s uplink in packet transmission areas. This means rich multimedia streamed to the device in the form of video, audio, and images. Multi-tasking also allows you to take and send images while you talk.
GPRS and HSCSD protocols are supported for connecting to wireless services on 2G networks, however in Australia the only protocol supported is GPRS - with a maximum speed of around 48kbit/s. The internal browser is WAP 2.0 compliant and has support for xHTML and cHTML pages.
Bluetooth headsets and computer adapters can be paired with the 7600 for high-speed wireless transmissions with the two devices up to 10m away from each other. The infrared port on the side of the 7600 can send and receive files wirelessly too, but within a much more limited range. From the menu you can choose to send files via Infrared, Bluetooth, or MMS.
The 7600 is built well because of its size and shape, and the only issue I had was with the Xpress-On™ sleeves, and the fact that the top of the one on the left side crept upwards and became un-aligned with the rest of the phone. When you push it back down the lights behind the sleeves can be clearly seen.
Other than that, the 87 mm x 78 mm x 18.6 mm and 123 gram Nokia 7610 is built fine.
The 7600’s BL-5C battery powered the phone all through my trial without any dropouts. The charging port is next to the Pop-Port™ interface on the left hand side, hidden almost inside the handset.
Nokia state the battery has different talk-times for GSM and WCDMA networks. On a normal GSM network (2G) the talk time is 3-4hours, and for WCDMA networks 1.8-2.9 hours. The standby time for both networks is 7-12.5 days on the single 850mAh Lithium-ion pack.