The megapixel camera barrier on mobile phones was recently broken with the releases of upcoming models from many manufacturers and the real thing from many others. Some of these handsets were put down due to the fact that it seemed they were released too soon, and weren’t well thought out. The Nokia 7610 is one of the later released models but it is still one of the first megapixel handsets to hit our shores.
The 7610 is far from rushed and fabulous in every aspect. A high-end camera with other state of the art features like Bluetooth, RS-MMC card support, a Symbian operating system and high resolution display (and there’s the design too), I was impressed throughout my trial with this handset and it was sad to let it go!
Read on for more about the first megapixel camera to be released by the Finnish giant.
The Nokia 7610’s most outstanding feature is the 1mpx camera, a huge boost from VGA cameras which are very common these days. It’s also a new feature from Nokia, being their first megapixel equipped handset. The Nokia 7610 also features Bluetooth, RS-MMC cards to boost the 8mB internal memory, high resolution colour display, loudspeaker, and many multimedia features. The handset has all bases covered from organizing your life to having fun out and about.
The 1mpx camera is at the end of the chrome path (if you don’t know what I mean look at pictures of the back of the handset) and is capable of stunning images and video. Better than any other current mobile phone camera, the possibilities of this camera are more than most could wish for. Cameras once used for just fun playing around can be taken much more seriously with the 7610. The camera can capture still images at 1152 x 864 pixels and also has a 4x digital zoom for quality images. QCIF sized video clips with audio of up to 10 minutes can be recorded on the handset as well. For more about the camera and shots from the handset check out the Camera Performance section.
The connectivity capabilities of the Nokia 7610 are present when you open then sales package – before you even turn on the phone! A DKU-2 USB data-cable is in the package for quick connectivity to a PC or laptop using the Pop-Port™ interface on the bottom of the handset. The handset also has Bluetooth Wireless Connectivity for connection to audio headsets, other devices/computers and even printers with the required features. For wireless data GPRS can transmit and receive at up to 49.3kbp/s.
The high-resolution display is just like many other Nokia handsets like the 6600 which is also based on the same operating system. The display is a 176 x 208 pixel 65,536 colour LCD which among other things also acts as the viewfinder for the 1mpx camera – so quality is required. The Series 60 platform handset uses the Symbian 7.0s operating system which is extremely user friendly and adaptive. A Java gaming and application environment is also there to utilize.
For the business user many features can help you keep on the ball. Firstly, SMS/EMS, MMS, and e-mail messaging are all supported messaging formats. An extensive calendar with many different entry options as well as presence enhanced contacts and to-do list all make the final cut of the 7610. A voice recorder, other voice functions and many other PIM applications are all located in the “Extras” folder of the main menu.
The Nokia 7610 does have some relation to the 7600 handset, but they are more present in the physical side of things. You will notice that the edges of the handset are either curved or pointy, just like the little 7600 model. The 7610 is however bigger than the 7600, at 108.6mm x 53mm x 18.7 mm. The handset weighs 118 grams, compared to the Nokia 6600 which weighs 125 grams, and the 7600 which weighs 123 grams.
The 7610 is available in two different colour combinations in the sales package, silver and gold or red and black with silver accents. I received the silver and gold combination handset for my review which I was most impressed with. Nokia seem to be aiming at the style conscious consumers out there while still impressing us with new features. With the silver and gold handset a silver plate starts from the top left of the display, and makes its way down until it hits the keypad, where the keys are also this silver colour. The entire furthest left row and bottom two rows of buttons are silver. The gold extends from where the silver starts and curves around the display to where the silver ends.
All of the buttons on the 7610 are quite differently shaped, but the numerical buttons are the most similarly sized buttons, to ensure ease of use when inputting numbers or text. The other buttons range in side from the largest being the left soft key and smallest the tiny “c” key nest to the hang-up button. All of the buttons are within reach and aren’t ridiculously small or big.
The on/off button of the 7610 is located on the top of the handset, closer to the left hand side than the right. It is the only external button on the handset. The Pop-Port™ interface and charging port are located on the bottom of the handset, and the speakerphone is on the left-hand side. There are two wrist-strap holes on the 7610, one at the bottom right-hand-side and one at the top-left-hand-side. A wrist-strap is in the sales package matching with the Xpress-On™ colour combination you receive. If you purchase a genuine Nokia Xpress-On™ style pack you will receive the two (front & back) covers and a wrist-strap for the handset.
Around the handset is a rubbery black material which is very hard and sturdy. The Xpress-On™ covers sit on top of this and click into it, hence why it is hard. The back of the 7610 houses the camera lens, which is extended out of the casing, so there is a hole in the Xpress-On™ covers where it pokes through. The entire back of the 7610’s Xpress-On™ cover is a design, with a mirrored chrome surface beneath it to give you some judgement for self-portraits. A small black latch on the back of the handset will all removal of the back cover.
User Interface & display
This new handset from Nokia uses the Symbian 7.0s operating system, on the Nokia Series 60 platform. This combination is used in many other Nokia phones – like the 6600 and N-Gage phones. The display size is another trademark of the Series 60 range of devices, which is a 176 x 208 pixel 65,536 colour TFT LCD. The display on this handset is particularly important for the 1mpx camera, later explained in more detail.
The Symbian interface on the 7610 isn’t only a Nokia operating system; other companies around the world (around 14 at time of publishing this article) also use the same operating system thanks to how user friendly it is and the expansion that is available. Symbian is created solely for mobile devices, and was launched in 1998 as a private company, and has been growing ever since.
When you first turn on the phone and open the menu you get an insight to the ease of use the Symbian operating system offers. The main menu has 22 irremovable menu icons which are clearly labelled. Continuing on from these 22 are any other applications that the phone may have installed, like the Opera web browser, Photo editor application, and so on. Some of the menu items are folders, namely the “Games,” “Extras,” “Tools,” and “Connectivity” folders. These contain more functions beneath related to the name – it’s pretty simple.
To navigate around the menu, the 5-way directional pad and the two soft keys are used, but mostly the directional pad. Both the soft keys can be personalized to a function of your desire for the idle screen so you can quickly jump to your most-used functions on the handset. Pushing in the 5-way directional pad will jump straight to your contacts. The actual main menu button is on the left hand side of the phone, it’s the two lines with the boxes on each end. The pencil button is used to change text-input, but that’s more to do with messaging than the general user interface.
Regarding the keypad lock function; whatever you select as your left selection key will still be part of the lock sequence. Press the left selection key and the star button to lock the keypad when the phone is idle, the phone will know what to do! :) No changes in the lock sequence, its still (basically) the same.
The layout from other Symbian phones is the same in the 7610, and everything is well labelled and in it’s most logical place. The menu tree’s are kept simple and don’t reach very deep. The tabbed system in most functions is a very functional way of display a load of data easily. When you are in the settings menu the first tab is phone settings, and then pressing the left direction key will go to the call settings, then connection settings and so on.
The 7610’s user interface has support for themes, which can be downloaded from almost anywhere. These will change the whole look of the user interface, from menu icons to wallpaper. Wallpapers on the 7610 will take up most of the idle screen – but the top of the screen will always be occupied by the time, date (or profile if not on General), operator name, reception and battery life. A small section of the bottom of the screen has the names of the functions assigned to the soft-keys.
Some of the functions of the 7610 can be operated by your voice with support for voice commands. Take full control over your device!
Making and receiving calls
The Nokia 7610 has Bluetooth support, so you can make and receive calls using a Bluetooth headset, the unbuilt speakerphone, a wired Pop-Port™ headset, or the standard phone-to-ear method. There were some issues I had with the speakerphone function and volume/quality, but all other aspects of the calling section on the 7610 were fine.
The hang-up/pick-up buttons on either side of the handset are on the top row of buttons, they’re the [ icons that face downwards. The pick-up button is on the left hand side, and the hang-up button on the right hand side. When a call comes through you can use them to start conversation or end it before it’s even begun! :)
Pressing the middle of the directional key in will open the contacts list. It’s best to transfer all your names and numbers to your phone memory; otherwise they won’t show up by default in the contacts menu. Your contacts in the phone memory can then have voice tags attached to them, and speed-dials, and even a small photo of your choice.
When a call comes through and you accept it, and you don’t have any enhancements attached to the phone, the left soft-key will activate the loudspeaker. This same button pressed again will change the audio back to the handset’s normal speaker. The volume can be adjusted using the left and right directional keys, as there are no dedicated volume keys on the outside of the handset.
Ring tones supported on the 7610 are MP3, AAC, AMR, and 40-chord polyphonic. Whichever you choose will sound very loudly – but there is a decrease in quality with MP3 tones. Ring tones can be stored on either the removable memory or internal 8mB memory, whichever you select!
SMS/EMS, MMS, E-mail, and instant messaging are supported on this handset. Presence enhanced contacts also come under the messaging heading and are supported. The messaging windows of the 7610 all have support for T9 predictive text, which has little to no lag, something I really detest in mobile phones! You can select whether you want your messages to be either saved on the phone’s internal memory reserve, or on the RS-MMC card.
The messaging window where you type your messages is extremely easy to use. You can enter either the phone number of the recipient of your message, or press the pencil key on the left side of the handset to change the input from numerical to text and enter the name. When you send your message later and there is more than one name in the contacts that has the inputted name you will be prompted to select from the options. Underneath the “To:” field is the message body section, which for SMS/EMS messages will show text and/or the small picture you’ve attached, and for MMS all the sections of the message will be shown. The message editor also shows important information about your messages when composing them, like characters used and size in kB for MMS messages.
That pencil button can be used in almost any text entry box on the 7610 to switch between the different input methods available to you. A thing to remember if you’re moving from a non-Symbian phone to this, the “c” key is used to backspace text, not the right soft-key! Pressing the right soft key will save your message in the drafts folder and bring you back to your previous menu.
MMS messages on the 7610 support images, video, sounds, animations, and normal text. The inbuilt 1mpx camera livens up messages sent from your device, and there are settings in the camera application (explained in more detail on page two) to make sure that your video clip or image will fit into the MMS message. MMS messages can be sent from your phone to either another phone or e-mail address, once you have set up MMS messaging with your service provider.
The e-mail client on the 7610 supports SMTP, POP3, and IMAP4 mail servers. These are the most common these days, so you will be able to connect to your home and work e-mail servers and download your messages on the go with GPRS connections. E-mail messages can be sent when a GPRS connection is started, or sent in a large heap so GPRS costs are kept to a minimum.
This handset from Nokia has removed the common hardware connectivity method, Infrared. The 7610 only has Bluetooth and USB Pop-Port™ connectivity for connection to a local PC or laptop for synchronization and data transfer. GPRS is the only wireless protocol supported, which is fine for most needs as anything faster is not supported on Australia’s 2.5G networks as yet.
Bluetooth and synchronization connection settings are located under the “Connectivity” folder in the main menu. The connection manager application is also located here, which will show all your active connections and the control you have over these connections. The sync icon contains all your synchronization profiles and logs from previous synchronizations (SyncML sync’s, not PC-phone synchronizations). Next to this is the Bluetooth connection manager, where you can define the name of the handset, visibility, and more. Pairing new devices is also done in the Bluetooth application.
The USB data-cable that comes in the sales package needs to be installed before it can be used on a PC/Laptop. The CD that also comes with the phone has all the data-cable drivers (must be installed first!) and PC Suite 6, which will manage everything from synchronization to file transfer to and from the phone. The USB data-cable makes use of the high-speed Pop-Port™ interface located on the bottom of the 7610.
The GPRS settings for the web browser are hiding in the “Web” main menu. Once opened, press the left soft-key for “Options” and then select “Settings”. The default access point and other settings are located here for your configuration. In the Web browser application you can press the left directional key to view your saved pages, or in the first tab input an address or select from recently visited pages. GPRS can connect at around 42kpb/s.
The 7610 has great craftsmanship, even with the Xpress-On™ back and front covers. Most phones decline in build quality when exchangeable items come into play. Both the back and front covers can be removed on the 7610, but the back must be removed before the front is.
The small black latch on the back just needs to be lifted up and the cover given a little pull off. The front cover is a little trickier to get off, but try lifting the two sides at the top, just near the speaker on the left side. Remember to be careful though, the covers are quite thin and will easily break if not treated well.
One small issue about the 7610 and the build – the RS-MMC card is once again, underneath the battery. It is easy to remove however, and the SIM card sits in its slot perfectly. There is a generous amount of room for you to grab the battery and lift it out as well.
The 800mAh lithium-ion battery is more than suitable for the needs of the 7610. With a megapixel camera with video support, Bluetooth, and many other battery draining features I was impressed with the performance. A full charge lasted more than my expectations with a combination of talk time and idle standby time.
Nokia state that the single 800mAh battery will keep the phone up and running for up to 180 mins of talk time, and up to 10.4 days standby time.