This classic looking, budget phone from Nokia is an amazing phone that was released in June 2010. The Nokia C3 is a Social Network Service (SNS) enhanced smartphone that comes in as a simple, elegant and fun budget phone. The Nokia C3 is able to achieve this by keeping things simple yet not taking away the visual design features that made other Nokia phones, especially the full QWERTY smartphones from the E-Series line of business phones, very successful.
With its array of vibrant colors the Nokia C3 has done well in being attractive to the young and the young at heart. Nokia has done a good job in making this smartphone a Social Network Service aware smartphone. They have also created a general look and feel that could initially strike you as being a business phone until you take a closer look at the design and features.
Design (5 out of 5)
The first impression given by the Nokia C3 is that it is a Nokia smartphone right out of the Nokia E-Series family of smartphones but apparently it is not so. The basic color scheme is made up of a vibrant set of colors including slate gray, golden white and hot pink.
Turning to the front face, the Nokia C3 comes with a 2.4 inch TFT, 256K color 320 x 240 pixels display with the ear piece centered right above the display. Below the display is the Softkey panel which comes with the standard Nokia controls and keys, which consist of the two softkeys, the D-pad or five way scroll keys. There is also a dedicated messaging key that comes with the Nokia C3 and right opposite it on the left side there is the dedicated key to access the user’s address book. Then there is the call and the end-call buttons, the home and the menu keys which also form part of the softkey panel.
Below the softkey panel there is the full QWERTY keyboard, with its raised keys that make it easy to access the correct keys while in use. Below that is the microphone slot. Moving on to the back of the phone, there is the 2 MP, 1600x1200 pixels resolution camera that also supports video recording and the external speaker is placed right next to the camera. Below the camera is the battery compartment and the SIM card slot is tucked away underneath the battery.
On the right side of the phone you will find that there is pretty much nothing while on the left side of the Nokia C3 you will find the microUSB slot and the microSD card slot that supports up to 8GB of data storage.
The top side of the Nokia C3 comes with the 3.5 mm audio jack and the jack for connecting the phone charger. The total dimensions of this Nokia smartphone are 115.5 x 58.1 x 13.6 mm. The Nokia C3 weighs in at 114g.
There you have it. The design features have been kept simple and basic and yet manage to keep the phone stylish, making the Nokia C3 a light smartphone that is small enough to be tucked away into any pocket but large enough to handle comfortably.
User Interface (3 out of 5)
One would be forgiven for initially thinking that this phone is based on a Symbian S60 OS as the styling and theme portray. Actually the Nokia C3 is based on the archaic Symbian S40 user interface.
This means that there is a lot of stuff in relation to software that is going to be limited. The user interface is of a basic nature and is simple and easy to use to access the basic functions of this Nokia smartphone.
The default Home Screen or the Standby Screen of the Nokia C3 has three sort of Home screen widgets arranged vertically. The first one is reserved for the contact avatars, the second one is for alerts to Social Networking Services like Facebook and Twitter and the third is the shortcut bar where you can place shortcuts to popular apps like the FM radio, the web browser and music player among others. You can place up to five shortcuts on the Home Screen of the Nokia C3.
Pressing the center D-pad key on the Nokia C3 takes you into the the menu which can be laid out either in a four by three grid or as a list. From the menu view you are able to access any application by pressing the D-pad center key as well as navigating by using the five-way scroll keys.
With the Nokia C3 you can access the address book by pressing the dedicated button on the softkey pad and this same concept also works for the messaging functions which also come with a dedicated hardware key.
The Nokia C3 being a Symbian S40 phone has got limited functionality and everything is best kept as basic. You will not find any hidden navigation features or tricks on the Nokia C3.
Features (3 out of 5)
Expecting a phone loaded with excessive features would be asking too much of the Nokia C3, after all the Nokia C3 is intended to be a budget phone. So breaking down what this Nokia phone has, we start off with a display that shows only 256K colors at resolution of 320 x 240 pixels. The Nokia C3 comes with external speakers and supports 3.5 mm audio jack. All this is backed by a MP4/H.264/H.263/WMV video player, a MP3/WAV/WMA/eAAC+ audio player and a stereo FM radio with RDS.
There is an address book that supports practically unlimited entries and it also supports the photocall feature so when a person in the address book with a photo attached to them calls, then the photo is displayed on screen. The Nokia C3 stores detailed call records for a maximum of thirty days after the call.
As far as memory goes the Nokia C3 has 55MB worth of internal memory and up to 8GB external memory. All this is powered by the Symbian Series 40 Operating System that has been styled to the Symbian Series 60 standards. When it comes to data connectivity, the Nokia C3 supports GPRS and EDGE as class type 32 and Wi-Fi for high speed connectivity. Bluetooth and microUSB are available on the Nokia C3 as well.
There is a single camera on the Nokia C3 which does not have much going for it. There is no auto focus on this Nokia smartphone and you will have to contend with the lack of an LED flash. The camera is a 2MP camera with a resolution of 1600x1200 pixels.
The Nokia C3 has the standard Nokia WAP 2.0/xHTML browser as well as the HTML Opera Mini browser. There are no preinstalled games. You are able to download and install games and apps of your choice with support for Java MIDP 2.0.
The Nokia C3 has support for social network integration with the popular social networking websites and services such as Twitter and Facebook. There is also Flash Lite 3.0 preinstalled and a basic organizer.
Performance (4 out of 5)
The Nokia C3 is not a high end phone but that does not necessarily mean it lacks performance. Being a Symbian S40 the Nokia C3 phone cannot multi-task and that would account for the improved performance of individual apps in terms of speed and safety.
The Nokia C3 has poor video recording quality and has also takes poor and grainy photos. Since there is no flash, unless you are in a properly lit area you are not going to get good photos out of the Nokia C3.
The Nokia C3 has got great audio quality over the headphones so listening to music and radio is a joy. The phone reception is also awesome for both ends of the call and the phone maintains a good signal strength throughout.
The Internet connectivity is quite slow through the networks, however there is better performance when using data over the air through the Wi-Fi protocols. While still on the data connectivity the phone makes it easy to be connected to online social networks and this happens seamlessly.
The battery life on the Nokia C3 happens to be awesome with a talk time of up to 7 hours. This is helped by the fact that the phone preserves energy through its lack of 3G or GPS receivers and it uses less resources since it cannot multitask. So some of the lack of features actually give the phone a boost in performance.
The display on the Nokia C3 is not all that great when accessing rich media or browsing the web for that matter. On the upside, the screen is adequate for the standard phone functions as true color features are not necessary.
The Verdict (3 out of 5)
The Nokia C3 is a great phone to get for keeping in touch with your friends and family. It does not matter whether you use text messaging, email, voice calls or social networking websites. The Nokia C3 has done well for itself.
The Nokia C3 is certainly not a powerhouse smartphone with all the latest features, it is a fun and elegant budget phone that does a few things but does them well. With a price of US $160, I would say it is the kind of phone to take with you on vacation where you can have fun, keep in touch with friends, upload the occasional quick video or photo and upload it to your social network site and share with friends. All this without the hustle of complex navigation and functionality to figure out.