For the past two years, techno-geeks and regular folks alike have heard plenty about the third-generation devices with built-in cameras that let you send the picture immediately via an advanced messaging service or e-mail. Well, now you don't have to wait until that uncertain date that your operator launches (or not?) 3G.
Nokia´s new cameraphone, the 7650, let's you use GPRS to send those photos. To top it off, the Java-enabled software - combined with the large color screen - makes such functions as calendar and the calculator so much more appealing to use than your typical mobile phone. (This is the first time in a long while that I actually wanted to use the phone-calculator instead of my regular one).
The phone also comes with Bluetooth and more than 30 polyphonic ringtones, including one - Montuno - I love to hear so much that I'll even ask friends to call me even if they're right in front of me!
And despite the extra applications, the phone's weight and size are still handy enough to fit into your pant pocket.
Ease of use: 4/6 stars
The phone's main functions - taking and sending photos - are easy (and fun). So is the wireless web experience.
The first time you open up the keypad, it may not open up as easy as you expect. However, once you get used to it, it's a relatively easy procedure. The fact that it doesn't glide up that easy may actually be an advantage, since you thus reduce the likelihood of taking a picture by accident (the camera only works when the keypad is open). And most importantly: You can answer incoming phone calls without opening up the keypad. Another section that may be somewhat difficult initially is the back lid, which you need to take off when installing the SIM-card. Again, however, once you know just where to press, it works OK.
Although the manual was easy to follow, please note that you need several additional services from your local operator in order to send MMS and e-mail and this can both take some time and be cumbersome. (Our advise: unless the phone is pre-configured when you buy it, insist on talking to your operator's "7650 expert" right away, so you don't have to experiment that much on your own).
Design/style: 5/6 stars
Despite looking a bit burly for a mobile phone, the big screen immediately draws your attention. And, once the keyboard section is pulled out, the 7650 definitely looks like a device straight out of the latest Hollywood science-fiction movie. The color screen obviously further enhances the look.
Vital statistics: 5/6 stars
Network: Dual Band GSM 900/GSM 1800 and EGSM 900/GSM 1800, GPRS and HSCSD
Weight: 154 g (5.4 ounces)
Dimensions: 114 x 56 x 26 mm (4.5 x 2.2 x 1.0 inches)
Talk time: Up to 4 hours
Standby time: Up to 150 hours
Integrated Digital Camera (Image capture at 640x480 resolution)
3,6 MB dynamic memory for images, phonebook, calendar, messages and add-on applications
Illuminated high-contrast, full-graphics color display
Joystick with 5-way navigation
MIDP Java support
Voice dialing, memory for 25 names and numbers
Integrated handsfree speaker
Games (Snake Ex, Mix Pix, Card Deck (on Cd-rom and web), Bounce (on Cd-rom and web) and Triple Pop (on Cd-rom and web)
Alarm, calendar, calculator, notes, currency converter
31 language options available (English + two other languages per phone)
Mobile Internet browsing: 5/6 stars
While more known for its camera functions, the 7650 is a phone that is also ideal for wireless web use. The screen is large, allowing around nine lines of text per page. To top it off, the screen comes in color, making the experience a little more fun than your typical WAP screen. The joystick is relatively easy to use (although not the best we´ve seen), giving you the chance to quickly read through pages. On the downside: As some other Nokia phones, including the popular 3410, the web surfing menu keeps asking you to confirm a page, so you end up having to press twice as many times as should be necessary.
Mobile Internet-related features: 5/6 stars
From teenagers to adults, the 7650 should create quite a stir. After all, how cool won´t it be to send an MMS with sound and a picture from your mates at the local bar, asking where you are? Or a greeting from, and picture of, a 6-year old to her relatives? And you can send both as an e-mail as well. The latter is particularly important for sending the photos to a wide circle of people.
However, please note that the picture quality is not as sharp as a regular digital camera. But it does work if the purpose is a quick greeting (or "postcard"). The expected standard price for MMS will likely be the same as a postcard and stamps. Also be aware that sending the photo takes a little longer than sending an SMS or e-mail from a PC.
Overall: 5/6 stars
Nokia has produced one of the first killer-devices of the New Mobile Age and certainly the first available in Europe. The built-in camera and ability to immediately send photos to friends and relatives is a communications breakthrough and the first application in a long while that should spur consumers to buy advanced mobile devices. This should be at the top of anyone´s Christmas list this year.