The Nokia 7705 Twist cannot be mistaken for anything apart from what it is: a dedicated quick messaging device. The handset is targeted at the younger demographic of mobile phone users, where the most important function is to communicate via text messages. It serves this purpose admirably, as the review presently discusses at length.
There are other reasons why this handset would appeal to a younger crowd, like the exchangeable back panels included in the packaging. As establishing an individual identity is usually a top priority with teenagers, the panels will be highly appreciated. There are a number of unique features in the Twist that are further explored below.
Design (3 out of 5)
The appearance of the phone is highly unusual. While most manufacturers opt for candybar-styled handsets, the Twist is a rounded square. Admittedly, it has become harder to innovate in this area, therefore Nokia’s 7705 Twist is refreshingly different, at least to look at.
The handset is designed to swivel open and close, with a fully QWERTY keyboard under the screen. This action can be accomplished with ease using just one hand, which is a useful feature. The hinge snaps into place with an audible click, although the connection is rather more tenuous that one would hope.
The front of the phone is simple, with the 2.4 inch screen sporting a resolution of 320 by 240 pixels. There is the omnipresent directional pad, flanked on either side by contextual touch-sensitive buttons. There is an unusual ring located on the hinge, with a view clear through the other side. This is called the contact light ring, and it flashes different colours depending on the identity of incoming callers. It is an interesting feature, although not strictly necessary.
The keyboard is spread across five rows, much like a computer keyboard. The buttons are flattish with a slight bump, which responds well, although it is prone to mistakes. The right edge has the microSD expansion slot and the 2.5 mm headphone jack. The left edge has the volume rocker switch and the USB port. The top edge has the external speaker, while the back panel has the camera lens. When the phone is open, the back panel of the screen is a mirror, which is a useful feature for self-portraits.
The overall design of the handset is nicely finished, with glossy black and silver highlights. The casing does not seem strong enough to withstand moderately rough usage, and the glossy coating may wear off sooner rather than later.
User Interface (3 out of 5)
Nokia introduced the Habitat Mode with one of its older handsets, the Intrigue 7205. There are multiple layouts from which a user can choose, which essentially work as themes. Contacts are displayed artistically in the form of themed icons against a colourful background. They are ordered based on the most recent interaction, and upon clicking on any one, the communication history will show up. Habitat Mode is really an interactive and interesting contacts manager, but has little utility outside its aesthetic value. However it is certainly useful to have contact history sorted by contact and easily available.
The 7705 Twist is definitely a quintessential messaging phone. The QWERTY keyboard has been designed well and to aid in quick typing. People with large fingers will find the keys slightly cumbersome, but all in all it works well.
The only cause for concern is the hinge mechanism, which is flimsy and designed poorly. When the keyboard twists out from underneath the screen, the mechanism does not engage securely.
Features (2 out of 5)
Apart from the Habitat Mode described in the previous section, the contacts application is fairly standard. It has all the same functions as on other Nokia phones, with the notable addition of the contact light colour. Setting this will instruct the phone to flash a particular colour when that contact calls or sends a message. There is no real utility in this feature except identification, and it is similar in concept to personalized ringtones.
The camera is a surprise and a disappointment, as although it is 3 megapixels, the picture quality leaves a lot to be desired. The flash is ineffectual at best in lowlight conditions, while bright light seems to hamper the process rather than make it easier.
The Twist has a music player with basic amenities. There are no settings to speak of, and the player is rather boring in design. However it does get the job done. The 2.5 mm jack reduces options as far as headphones are concerned. There is only one speaker, therefore the sound is decidedly mono. On the whole the music experience is only average.
Surprisingly there is an HTML web browser, although its capabilities are severely limited. After using a number of high-end phones with more sophisticated applications, it is difficult to readjust to a basic version once again. Again, although it does the job, the application is barely average.
Performance (4 out of 5)
The Nokia Twist is a speedy device with no lag in loading applications or webpages. It is a mid-range handset with limited smartphone features, which perhaps accounts for the good performance.
The camera and picture quality is very disappointing indeed, with poor images and video recordings as a result of bad design.
The battery life lasts as long as the specifications say, which is about 4 hours of talktime. Since the phone is not expected to carry out any major tasks, the battery is more than adequate.
The Verdict (3 out of 5)
There is one major flaw with the Nokia 7705 Twist: it is not at all durable. The hinge on which the screen swivels does not click into place securely, and as a result it is prone to severe wear. It does not seem likely that the phone will last prolonged usage.
Apart from the build, the camera and music player are both average applications with much more potential than what is available on the handset.
This phone is perhaps ideal for a moderate user, who uses text messaging more than any other function. It does not have standard smartphone features like document viewers or a sophisticated web browser, but leans more toward aesthetic appeal. A user who wants to ease into mobile handsets without splurging too much on a full-feature smartphone will find the Nokia 7705 Twist a good starting point.