Nokia C7 Review Part-4: Software
In our final part of our C7 review we will be looking at the main aspect of the phone that is the Software. C7 is the second device featuring Symbian^3 Operating System. Let’s take a deeper look.
The UI of Symbian^3 is pretty much the same as seen on Syimbian^1/S60v5 devices. So owners of legacy devices like N97, 5800, X6 etc will feel at home.
There is not much of change to the UI but many little noticeable changes have taken place. Softkeys in landscape mode were found on right side of the screen in earlier devices are now minimalistically placed at bottom of the screen. Icons have also received a small makeover. The Homescreen has received a major makeover; it now has 3 customizable homescreens along with the ability to add a whole new range of widgets and different wallpapers for each homescreen.
In order to manage your homescreen layout just tap and hold on the homescreen or simply tap on the options button on the left, by this you can change the wallpaper, add, remove or re-arrange homescreen widgets as per your preference. Menu in portrait is similar to the one found in earlier devices but in landscape the icons are displayed in just two rows with the softkeys placed below.
Symbian^3 is pretty fast thanks to the 680Mhz processor and 256MB of RAM power. Yes the C7 has the same amount of RAM and processor power as that of the N8. During my trial I used to get around 155MB off free RAM on Boot. And with the 680Mhz processor there were no chances of lags. Although I experienced occasional lags because of some heavy multitasking and the “Phone will Reboot” message twice during my 22days long trial. Multitasking is what I liked the most on C7, with the 256MB RAM multitasking was a breeze, so handling heavy applications all at once as not at all a problem.
Contacts on the C7 is implemented pretty well. A thumbnail preview of a contact is placed on the left to the contacts name. One feature which i really wished was Contact Merge, and is now finally here. Merge is a very useful feature which can be used to merge multiple contacts to one single contact. If you use the scroll bar on the right to scroll thru your contact list the first alphabet is displayed in the center of the screen shown below.
You can also find contacts right from the Call function, just start typing with the person’s name or telephone number and the results will be displayed on top with the matches highlighted.
Selecting a contact shows information like thumbnail on the top followed by his name, Telephone number, SMS (Messaging) number, email id and all other options available on Symbian devices. One thing I did not like about Contacts is its social integration (as mentioned in my Social Part).
Calendar again is similar to Symbian^1 devices, but with more spaced month view for easier tapping and navigating between dates. It also supports multiple as i had synced me calendar data with my Nokia E72 so whenever i added a calendar entry it selected to E72 by default and also while viewing a calendar entry it showed E72 on top so that i can make out that this entry is taken from E72’s calendar.
Nokia has also improved on its most used service Messaging. “Conversations” has also received a revamp. It looks very neat now with its IM like look and now its straight in comparison with the one on the iPhone (sorry fanboys but I love the bubble styled view on the C7) added reply box below and smiley support it’s become more awesome now. Conversation app now feels more of an IM kinda application with instant tap to reply feature. You can also choose “Conversations” as your default SMS view just go to Options-> Message view. Along with the above many core functionalities remain the same.
Email on Symbian^3 is now called Mail instead of Nokia Messaging. Mail supports various services such as Gmail, Yahoo, Ovi, Hotmail etc. along with Mail for Exchange. Setting up email is very easy just select your service provider fill in your email ID and password or fill in your exchange server details in case of Mail for Exchange and you will soon start receiving mails on your phone. Unlike traditional Symbian devices Mail is no longer present in the Messaging application, it can be accessed from the menu or from the Homescreen widgets.
A long hold on a message gives you various options such as Delete, Mark as Read/Unread, Follow Up, and Move to a specific folder.
There are three icons on top first icon lets you Compose an Email, second lets you browse thru different folders as Draft, Sent, Outbox, Deleted etc., third lets you sort emails by Date, Subject, Sender, Priority, Unread etc.
Full HTML support, Yes Mail has full HTML support out of the box. Reading an email has never been such a breeze thanks to the pinch-and-zoom, scrolling thru long emails is also pretty good with kinetic scrolling. There are two arrow keys just above the softkeys which let you navigate between previous and next email enabling easier navigation. Between the two softkeys there is a Delete button so you can instantly delete unwanted emails. Options key lets you perform various tasks such as Reply, Forward, Delete, Mark as Unread, Active Follow-up etc.
Delay of emails has been a long standing problem. Though Email is push oriented it works as pull. Emails don’t get downloaded as soon as they arrive sometimes emails received in morning get downloaded in the evening. Attachments had never been a problem for me on the C7, a long tap on the attachment lets you either open or save the file, once selected it gets downloaded the download status is shown at the bottom of the screen just above the softkeys, and once its downloaded there is a small notification pop-up to show you that the Attachment is saved.
Photos application is pretty neat and fast. Navigating between photos is very smooth and fast. Upon start there are Thumbnails of your photos a long hold on a thumbnail enables you to Send, Delete, View as Slideshow, Edit, Add to Album, Tags etc. Photos also comes with pinch-to-zoom feature for better viewing of large sized photos. Just above the softkeys you will find three functional keys, Fist to play a slideshow, second for Marking various photos (for performing tasks on multiple photos at once such as sending, deleting adding to an album etc.) and the third for Sharing your photos online. Videos can also be played with in the photos application but there’s a separate video app under Videos & TV folder. The Videos app has same options like Last Played, Captured, and Other Clips and additionally Store Clips option which lets you download videos from the Ovi Store. C7 also supports direct DivX support, a much awaited feature. Now with DivX support out of the box you can view your favorite movies and clips without having to convert them.
In addition to the above Nokia has also added enhanced Video editing application on Symbian^3. By this application you can create beautiful and amazing Slideshows or Videos of your photos. Different predefined themes are present in the application all you have to do is select photos (Max. 32 photos), choose your theme. Other options include Adding your favorite Audio Track and Text (Note) to the slideshow or Video.
C7 also comes with Web TV support and a bunch of pre-installed channels like YouTube, Paramount Movie Teasers, ET, CNN, Nat Geo etc. Web TV is a nice function enabling users to stream live TV on their phones over 3G or WiFi connections.
The one and only thing which comes in my mind when talking about the music player on Symbian^3 is its “coverflow” implementation. Let me tell you seriously this time Nokia has implemented this feature very well, it’s actually even better than that on the iPhone. Flipping thru albums was never as amazing and smooth on the iPhone (according to my experience). Major drawbacks of the Music player are Lack of Album editing feature, Song editing feature found on older devices which enabled you to change a few song details such as song no. title, album name etc. are missing on Symbian^3. And in addition to that lack of ability to set a personalized Equalizer. There are predefined ones Default, Bass Booster, Classical, Jazz, Pop and Rock, sadly these are also uneditable.
There is nothing much to say about the FM Radio. It’s the same one found on legacy devices but with a slight lift. C7 also comes with a built-in FM transmitter. During my trial I did not have any problems with the FM transmitter the signal quality is pretty good. And as the FM transmitter can also be enabled from the music player itself is pretty good move. With this you can enable the FM transmitter right from the player enabling instant connection with your car or your desired player.
Keyboard has also received a makeover. Though the keyboard layout is changed I did not find any issues with typing. On the C7 you get two types of Keyboards the 12key alphanumeric in Portrait mode for one hand typing and a Full QWERTY in landscape. Unfortunately there is no Portrait QWERTY keyboard as of now but its expected in future firmware upgrades.
As you can see above the left and right arrows, the tick or OK key and the delete key are now placed at the bottom of the screen.
On top is the revamped Landscape QWERTY. This is far better than the Symbian^1 version. Offering higher typing speeds . Text Correction with “Show Suggestion” and “Show Entered” and Word Completion. Auto Correction corrects a misspelled word automatically where as auto completion completes the word as we type it, pressing the right arrow accepts the suggestion in auto completion mode. I would recommend you try these features yourself in order to get use to it.
Ovi integration is pretty well implemented now I don’t have to log-in my Ovi account everytime I use a different Ovi Service, its now just a onetime log-in and I can use all the Ovi Services.
C7 comes with an improved version of Ovi Store. Nokia has completely redefined the Ovi Store for Symbian^3 devices. Its much more smoother and faster than the previous versions found on earlier Symbian^1 devices. Its much more stable now, download and installations are carried out pretty well.
Upon start you will be taken to the Recommended section where you can see a list if all recommended apps, games etc based on various categories. On the top we have separate tabs as Ovi Store, Categories, Search and Account. Tapping on Categories will take you to various Categories as Apps, Games, Audio & Video, Personalization. Below Categories you will find Collections which includes Travel, Go Green etc. Search is for seaching for various apps, games, etc. My Account is your account information as current downloads and their status, my stuff which includes all your previous downloads.” Installation preferences” is divided into two i.e Application & Games and Images, Audio and Video. You can set your desired destination Phone or Memory Card based on the above.
On the left bottom corner there is a Store Menu button which is basically a pop-up of the above mentioned tabs along with an option to Exit from the Ovi Store.
Along with the above the C7 also comes with Adobe Reader and Quick Office View Mode.
We All know about Quick Office. Quick Office lets you view your word, excel and powerpoint presentations on your device. It’s the best office solution available on the Symbian Platform (infact this article is being written using Quick Office on my E72). As C7 is focused on a different set of users its ok to have a View Only Office Suite, but then you can purchase the full version if you need one.
Adobe Reader is also pretty good for viewing PDF files one thing I did not like about it is the lack of pinch-to-zoom ability, it becomes difficult to navigate inside a page without this feature, guess Nokia can fix this in its upcoming firmware updates.
I would like to give 8/10 to the C7 in terms of Software. Symbian^3 is pretty stable and solid in terms of heavy use thanks to its processor and RAM power. It’s the Email and Social Integration in contacts which I feel Nokia needs to improve on. My main concern is the Email, despite setting “Send and Receive Soonest” mails sent in the morning get downloaded by evening or else I have to manually sync my mail accounts in order to get.
Overall the C7 is a pretty good phone. I would recommend it to a person who wants stylish and solid phone with features like calling, SMS etc., Social Integration (Twitter and Facebook), Multimedia (Music and Video Playback) and a decent camera for taking occasional snaps.