How many of you people out there are actually getting tired of seeing the same looking Nokia phone, which is also being marketed as a different model altogether that has one or two new features thrown in? The models within the Nokia 3300 series of phones are a fine example of this - and Iíd wish they hadnít based up to four handsets (3315, 3330, 3350, and 3410) on the same look and feel!
And for those who feel that the 3510/3510i are no different either, then you can add that to the list too!
Anyway, Nokia has recently wakened up to this fact (possibly) and have come up with a somewhat fresher design. The 2100 is the new trendsetter for market entry handsets, taking on a new physical design plus providing minor improvements in areas that are yet to be covered by some other current models.
An el-cheapo handset is not your cup of tea? Never mind - you can read up on those other reviews. But for those first-time buyers and conservationists who just wants a phone that simply does what itís designed for, read on to find out more about the 2100! :)
The most noticeable difference between the 2100 and older models is its new translucent design, which gives off a slight sense of freshness to current phone designs. The 8310 used a similar design concept, which I believe has been welcomed by many up till today.
It does not try to impress on features. Similar to the 3310/3315, the phone doesnít have WAP or connectivity capabilities. Itís simply a phone for making and receiving calls and text/picture messages with - probably enough for many people who donít really give a stuff about WAP.
Oh, Nokia decided to give the 2100 a bigger phone book than before - supporting up to 100 single number entries where you can assign a specific ringtone for any one of them. It also has a simple reminder function that keeps your daily routines on-track!
Sized a tad smaller than the 3300-series models, the 2100 is definitely more friendly to your jeans or shirt pockets that it calls home when youíre out and about. Although it has a more rectangular footprint, Nokia never fails to include rounded-off edges for any physical objects that you can see or touch. The use of the new BLD-3 type battery (being used similarly on the current 6610 and 7210 models) could be one of the reasons why the 2100 can be smaller and lighter.
For the keypad, Nokia has gone back to the use of a rubbery material previously found on older models like the 6110 and 7110 (and the Communicator models - but I donít really see models like the 9110/9210 as being mainstream mobile phones). Each row of three buttons is pieced together, which makes removing and replacing the keypad set easy when the covers are changed.
Donít get me wrong - thereís nothing wrong with going with the rubbery material. Just that it has been a while since Iíve seen the use of this by Nokia. And incidentally, the rubber keypad actually conveys the white backlighting through pretty well, matching near-perfectly with the translucent casing design too!
A new SIM bracket design has been incorporated into the 2100, which seemingly makes it easier to insert and remove a SIM card plus reducing any possible problems that may surface (for examples, ďinsert SIM cardĒ messages because of a slight dislocation of the actual SIM card within its holder. A little clip/latch at the top of the SIM bracket needs to be locked or unlocked before the phone battery can be inserted or unlocked respectively.
Nokia has also made some slight revisions in the designs of the Xpress-on covers, where removal of the back cover is now done by pressing down onto a tab at the top end of the casing. Traditionally, all Nokia phones with Xpress-on covers requires the depressing of a button on the back cover, which can then be slid off and subsequently allowing the front cover to be lifted off. On the 2100, the back cover also comes off via lifting, and is actually easier to remove and replace than covers found on the 3310.
User Interface & display
The 2100 retains a similar look and feel of other black-and-white-screened Nokia handsets, but you may realise a slight difference in the type and size of the typeface used on the screen (in other words, the font for the text display). On most Nokia models, you could only fit up to nine numbers on a single line before the digits start appearing on the row above. For the 2100, ten digits fit comfortably on a single line - and not sacrificing readability either!
White backlighting also plays a part on improving screen clarity and the overall user experience (imagine squinting at the LCD screen because of lack of lighting!) The 2100 is probably one of the first entry-level handsets to use white LEDs for illumination, with most still retaining the traditional and very-boring green lights.
These slight differences arenít all that new. If youíve seen and/or used the 3610 before (available in Asian markets only), you will know the 2100 adopted this from there (a little clue - 3610ís hardware code is NAM-1, 2100ís is NAM-2).
However, I found that the 2100 design is more than just ďbasedĒ - but more like taking the 3610 hardware design and removing whatever is not required (like WAP). Some of the inherent problems found on the 3610 are still existent on the 2100, which goes to show that Nokia isnít all that proactive about perfecting or refining their products (for more details on this, please refer to the Problems/issues section on Page 3 of this review).
Making and receiving calls
There are a few things to take note here. For those who have or are using models in the Nokia 3300 series, they all came with the voice dialling capability. On the 2100, voice dialling is not an available feature - weird when you consider the fact that the 3310 predecessor had this, which was positioned and marketed to the same consumer segment as the present 2100 model.
Another slight problem I experienced with the review unit I had was the intermittent feedback in the audio from the earpiece. At the same time, you can hear a bit of the ďbuzzingĒ sound through the earpiece as well, which directly affects call quality. Iím personally not too sure whether these are common problems with the 2100ís - but it has been a while since Iíve last used a Nokia mobile phone with such problems.
A standard set of Nokia messaging support is provided on the 2100. This means the ability to send standard text messages with concatenation available, SMS chat, and picture messaging.
The 2100 also offers a new feature, appropriately named distribution lists, which allows its user to set up lists that contain a specific group of numbers in them. You can uniquely identify groups by giving them a name. When paired up with the messaging functions, it allows the user to send that same message to all the people in a list with just a few simple steps. Distribution lists is a feature thatís probably very much needed in todayís texting environment.
A revised Xpress-on cover design offers improved ease of use (removal and replacing) plus improving on the phoneís rigidity and build. Previously, Xpress-on covers required each other (front and back) to be held together - but there were still minor problems like faint squeaking sounds. For the 2100 covers, however, there are clips on the sides of the covers that actually grab onto the phone itself which can reduce the previously-mentioned problems.
Overall, the 2100 is a tough little phone that is indeed comparable in quality as compared to most other Nokia models.
On average use, I was able to obtain approximately 2-3 hours worth of talk time, and 2-3 days standby. Comparatively speaking, the 2100 is not the best performer when it comes to energy conservation.