Nokia promises ’41 million reasons to zoom in’ at July 11th event

Nokia EOS Event Teaser Continue reading →

Advertisements

Nokia introduces advert shot entirely on a phone

Remember the Nokia 808 PureView? Announced at MWC, the Symbian device has a 41MP camera that is more than a marketing gimmick. Now, with its launch coming up in the next couple of months, Nokia has released a promotional video on YouTube – shot entirely on the phone itself. We’ve already seen how phenomenal the shots can be, and we can’t wait to go hands-on. Watch the video below, and marvel at the camera over on the galleries at My Nokia Blog.

Nokia 808 PureView with 41MP sensor confirmed at MWC

Nokia shocked the tech world this morning with the announcement of the 808 PureView, the spiritual successor to the N8. While the actual phone itself had been rumoured for some time, the confirmation of a 41 megapixel sensor came as a surprise to everyone. While people may dismiss such a specification as pure marketing crap, Nokia’s new PureView technology can compress numerous pixels into one for ultra-clear images. The technology sounds phenomenal and has been in the works for 5 years, meaning that it launches with Symbian before a planned launch on other platforms. The phone is capable of shooting stills at up to 38MP, but optimal performance comes with compression to 5MP. 1080p video can be shot with 4x lossless zoom, and due to the massive sensor, zooming is actually more like using a different part of the sensor rather than trimming the shot down. The document explaining the tech makes for a great read, and has this sensor diagram to prove a point.

Aside from the 41MP camera, the phone is a standard Symbian Belle affair. A 1.3GHz single core chip powers things, while 16GB of internal storage can be boosted to 48GB via microSD for your photo collection. A 4″ nHD (640 x 360) ClearBlack AMOLED occupies the front face with buttons similar to the Lumia 710, and 2.5D Gorilla Glass coats the device. Having such a large sensor comes at a price, however. At its thinnest, it remains over half an inch and the camera protrudes to 17.95mm. Have a glance at the full spec sheet and some phenomenal sample shots here.

The device is set to ship worldwide in May as the Symbian swansong at €450 before tax, but expect to see the technology making its way into other Nokia products before the year is out if Symbian doesn’t float your boat.

Nokia 100 review

Nokia is still one of the world’s largest mobile phone manufacturers not purely because of high-end smartphones, but certain markets demand different devices, like the latest bargain from Espoo, the Nokia 100. Picking this phone up for £15 unlocked, you can’t really expect much other than Nokia’s standard durability, a feature I most value while finding the perfect phone. With no microSD slot for storage expansion, no camera or any other remarkable hardware this is not a phone for you gamers out there or lovers of music but for those who want a simple, reliable and frankly indestructible phone, this is definitely the phone for you.

Hardware

With a 800 mAh battery, a common capacity for most phones of its calibre, you almost never need to worry about charging your phone. The 100 will give you 7.5 hours of talk time and 850 hours on standby, meaning that you can leave it on in your pocket for a whole month before charging. The flash light equipped has proven useful, being bright and not munching on too much battery. This function can be activated by pressing the top cursor twice. Even though this phone hopelessly fails at providing you with entertainment, it still has a built-in FM radio tuner that, with a compatible headset, plays at an impressive quality. Another, and perhaps my final criticism of this phone is the alarm system. I can’t for the life of me figure out how, or if, it works. I have set an alarm on various occasions, each time going off on time but failing to make any noise, even with all the sound settings on loud. There may well be an obvious feature I have not yet activated but this is still a let down.

Due to the phones simplicity, there is not much more to talk about other than how indestructible it is. As I write this, Xavier and Kieran are playing catch with the 100, which is dust proof and made from very tough materials, just as you would expect from a Nokia.  On occasion, the battery does come out with a very sudden impact landing, but the phone boots in just under 4 seconds. Whether this phone is waterproof I do not know but I do not plan to try it out. (Digixav is not responsible for any broken Nokia phones as a result of them being plunged in water – ed) All visible hardware on this phone is either made from stainless steel, copper, zinc or aluminium and the plastics which make up the majority of the phone are ABS/PC, PET, PA and epoxy. These materials may well be the result of how light this phone is, weighing slightly over 70g including the battery.

Conclusion

If you want a cheap, durable, brick of a phone that does precisely what it should, ie. call and text, then look no further than the indestructible Nokia 100, or its dual-SIM cousin the 101. The phone is compact, simple and reliable, and it will almost certainly be able to handle anything you throw it at.

Nokia Lumia 710 review

Nokia’s first Windows Phone, the Lumia 800, was just what they needed to get back into the market. Running Windows Phone 7.5, the phone won multiple awards and the hearts of many consumers. Also announced at Nokia World in London at the same time was the Lumia 710, pitched as the affordable Lumia device. Now, this device has made it to the UK at a slither under £200 on pay as you go, but, with fierce competition from hordes of Android and BlackBerry devices in the same price range, is it enough to win people over?

Hardware

Internally, the 710 is almost identical to its more expensive bretheren, the 800 and the 900. The phone comes equipped with the same 1.4GHz single core Qualcomm MSM8255 processor and Adreno 205 GPU, resulting in snappy performance in everything we have tried with it. The phone has a 3.7″ display with the current standard Windows Phone WVGA (800 x 480) resolution and Nokia’s ClearBlack technology, allowing for deeper blacks and slightly more vibrant colours. While the 800 and 900 both use AMOLED displays for more vibrant colours, Nokia used an LCD to cut costs on the 710. It still looks quite good with the same 252ppi density as the 800, but, comparing the 2 devices side by side, the difference in the displays is very noticeable. As ever, the PenTile layout of sub-pixels causes occasional problems while reading text, however this can easily be rectified by zooming in when able to. The phone has fantastic viewing angles with very little discolouration occurring, with more problems being caused by the overly glossy screen.

One of the main advantages of the 710 over the 800 is its removable 1300mAh battery, allowing for the obligatory battery pull if problems arise. Booting from a battery pull is incredibly quick, certainly around 3x quicker than my aging HTC Wildfire and also the HTC HD7. Nokia claim that the battery lasts around 7:40 on a single charge while connected to a 3G network, and we have found this to be not far off the truth.

The phone is quite heavy at 125g, but it feels very comfortable in the hand. One problem I have with small screened devices is that they are often very thin and, as such, sit low down in the hand. The 12.5mm deep chassis feels fine in my hand, allowing my thumbs to move freely across the device without engulfing it as with the iPod touch. The phone is both thicker and heavier than my daily driver, the HTC Wildfire, but it is hardly noticeable in my pocket and I could easily move up to a phone of this size. Being a Nokia, it feels like it has been made with care, and that it could withstand anything. A sheet of Gorilla Glass is on the front to protect against cracks and scratches, but we didn’t want to test the ruggedness of it on fear of something going wrong.

The phone requires a microSIM card which can be slightly awkward to insert and remove from its slot, but, most importantly for a phone, the call quality is fantastic. When using the O2 network, the Lumia provided crisp, clear sound, and the caller was very audible throughout. This feature of a phone is often overlooked, but it is good to see Nokia ensuring that users get the best experience from the HSPA+ radio inside. My biggest problem with the entire phone, however, is the lack of storage. Since the phone has no ROM, the OS takes up a good chunk of the paltry 8GB storage, leaving only 6.4GB free to the user. With no option to expand this with microSD, you must rely heavily on the cloud for your media consumption if you pick up the 710.

Camera

Similarly to the 800, the Lumia 710 does not have a front facing camera but video calling with a phone is not something that matters to me. If you want this option available or feel it to be a necessity, then an HTC Radar would probably be the best option for you, despite the premium of about £80 over the 710. The rear facing camera lacks the Carl Zeiss optics of Nokia’s high-end cameras, but shoots decent, albeit slightly grainy, shots at 5MP in a 4:3 aspect ratio. The phone also shoots video at a 720p resolution, but we are unable to upload the test footage at the moment. We will update this review when can to include this footage, which is surprisingly good, handling movement very well for a mid-range phone.

Software

By and large, the phone has a stock Windows Phone 7.5 operating system which is as superb as ever. On the 710, it performs fantastically, with no problems handling games such as Rainbow Rapture and Crazy Survival. One thing that people use against Windows Phone is the relative lack of apps, however, at the time of writing, the Marketplace has reached As our unit came unlocked, it is fortunately free of carrier bloatware, but, as Nokia made clear at the unveiling in October, the Lumia range comes with a number of predominantly functional and useful pre-installed Nokia-centric/exclusive apps which can thankfully be uninstalled if desired.

  • App Highlights – Basic app suggestions in 4 columns: Starter Kit, Top Apps, Promo and Cool Stuff.
  • Contacts Transfer – A simple app that can be used to transfer contacts from your old phone via Bluetooth.
  • ESPN – Just as you would expect, this app has the latest sports news and videos from ESPN. Great for sports fans.
  • Marketplace – A Nokia Collection is featured in the Marketplace with the pre-installed apps along with other Nokia-exclusive apps WRC Live and TuneIn Radio.
  • Network Setup – An app that allows you to select which mobile network to connect to. Pointless after first boot.
  • Nokia Drive – Fully functional voice navigation for free – a great reason to buy a Nokia phone full stop.
  • Nokia Maps – Nokia’s fantastic map service is now on all platforms, but it is still better than the pre-installed Bing Maps app.
  • Nokia Music – Listen to mixes of music selected by Nokia, once again for free. A store is also available in the app.
  • We Care – Nokia tell you that they respect your privacy and about what they do with your data. Waste of space.

One thing that is missing is the ability to tether from the phone. Enabled with the Mango update, Nokia oddly chose not to include a tethering option in either the 800 or the 710 at launch. A software update enabling it was promised for the 800 so, should such an update ever come, the 710 should also be in line for the update. The lack of tethering is off-putting for me as I tether perpetually at the moment, but I could survive through the phone itself should it become necessary.

Design

No matter how you look at it, the 710 is the ugly duckling of the Nokia Lumia family. When compared to the elegant 800 with its sweeping curves and polycarbonate shell, the 710 is rather disappointing, something I mentioned when I wrote about the phone shortly after its launch. Granted, the phone does look a hell of a lot better in the flesh than any images could demonstrate, but there is something about it that doesn’t look right. In accordance with how the N9 design was recycled for the 800, the 710 borrows its form factor from the Nokia 603, a phone released with Symbian Belle that, like the N9, has not had an official UK release.

To appeal to certain demographics, the 710 comes in black and white with a whole host of interchangeable back covers to fit your mood. The black model that we reviewed came with black and blue covers out of the box, however I have yet to find a retailer that stocks the other colours. The black cover is coated with a soft-touch plastic and it feels very nice in hand, but I cannot say the same for the blue one. It feels of a lower quality and not as robust as its counterpart, and I think that the phone looks better as plain black anyway. The covers go on in a rather strange and fidgety manner. Unlike most battery covers which lock on from the bottom or top, the cover on the 710 requires connection on the right hand side at first, before wrapping around the device. Often, the case requires a further press above the camera lens to ensure a secure connection, and the method of removing the case takes some getting used to.

Unlike the 800 and most other Windows Phones on the market, the 710 has physical keys at the bottom instead of the normal capacitive buttons. The strip feels solid, but aesthetically it is not pleasant. The LEDs for the back, Windows and search buttons appear quite far away from the surface of the plastic, which itself is almost flush with the glass on the front, making the buttons hard to press on occasion. I can’t help but think that capacitive buttons would have been a better choice, but I understand that the corners had to be cut somewhere to get the phone to be half the price of its polycarbonate brother.

Conclusion

The Nokia Lumia 710 is a fantastic smartphone for those on a tight budget. For half the price of the 800, you get the exact same hardware, save for the display, the camera, the storage and the design. As I said, the phone looks so much better in the flesh than in pictures but undoubtedly the 800 and 900 look better. That being said, the phone is tremendous for the price. For Nokia to be selling such technology at such a low price is worthy of celebration, and I would thoroughly recommend this phone to anybody in the market for a great all-round smartphone at a low price.

Many thanks go to Digixav reader Joseph Bryant for lending us his phone for this review

The Poll: Are Nokia making a Facebook phone?

It could happen.