Nokia 701 Review – What The N8 Should Have Been?

Nokia 701 package

Looking at the older Nokia C7 and the Nokia 701, there is no difference on the outside. They share the same sleek, well-built hardware that gets your attention from the word go.

In this review, I won’t be doing a full, detailed review. Rather, i will be focusing on what stands the 701 out in the market today.

Of all the recent Symbian devices that Nokia has released, the 701 is the sleekest, well-built bloke on the block. It has a very solid feel to it too – like it was made of some premium materials. It is not N9-sleek, but it sure looks and feels good.

LG OptimusPro, Nokia 701, Nokia E7

The ClearBlack display rocks – and at 3.5-inch, the device is compact.

The Belle User Interface

Nokia 701 Review - What The N8 Should Have Been? 1

The Nokia Belle user interface on the 701 is a breath of fresh air and a departure from the traditional Symbian user experience.

You can add up to six (6) home screens. Scrolling between them is smooth and instantanous too. A different wallpaper can be applied to each of the home screens and widgets of different sizes are now available.

Nokia Belle drop-down Notification menu
Nokia Belle drop-down Notification menu

There is a system-wide notification menu that can be pulled down to reveal controls to turn on/off Mobile Data, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Silent mode.

New messages notifications, quick access to Music player controls (when playing music) and access to mobile data usage details are also available from the pull-down menu.

In any menu, at the bottom of the display is a persistent back key, a search button and menu button. The main menu is flat, but the option to create folders or re-arrange icons can be accessed via the menu button. Icons can also be moved about by holding down and dragging. Nice to give users multiple options of customizing the interface to their taste.

Audio Quality

Nokia 701 Review - What The N8 Should Have Been? 2

I love my music. Scratch that. I mean, I have an ear for audio, so when I listen to music, i want to hear every beat, jingle and reed in the best quality possible. This means that I love the Nokia 701, because its audio reproduction quality is one of the best I have seen yet. It beats the E7, the N9, and the Samsung Galaxy S II hands down.

The speakers on this baby are really good. I wish I had an N8 around to compare with.

Speaking of the N8, the Nokia 701 is the phone to get if you want a Nokia smartphone but can’t be bothered about a 12 megapixel camera. You see, its got everything the N8 has – and more:

– a better processor (1GHz, as against the N8’s 680 MHz)
– same 3.5″ display size, but ClearBlack added
– Nokia Belle
– 512 MB RAM (against the N8’s 256MB)
– FM transmitter (same as on the N8)
– bigger, removable battery (yaaaay!)
– microSD card slot (same as on the N8)
– NFC
– its got TV-out and USB On-the-go support too

However, its got only 8GB mass storage, compared to the N8’s 16GB. Then there’s that 8 megapixel full-focus camera.

Camera

Left: 701. Right: N9
Left: 701. Right: N9

The full-focus camera means that you can forget about close-up shots, but it really is good for regular shots. Colour rendering is good, but details are terrible for close-ups.

Dual-LED flash means that you can manage some dark and night scenes. Certainly not all.

However, the 701 is superb for video recording.

Conclusions

The Nokia 701 is what the N8 should have been, minus the camera. It is sleek, functional and modern in every way. If this had hit the market a year ago, things would have been different today.

But all that is history. Still, if you love the functionality of the old Symbian and want it with a nice user interface, you cannot go wrong with the Nokia 701. And costing only N53,000, it is a steal.

The app ecosystem is not as robust as what obtains on Android or iOS, but most of the apps that you need are available anyway. At the end of the day, its your decision.

Ladies and gentlemen, the phone that the N8 could have been?

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18 comments

  1. Totally love the build of this phone and cant ait to get my hands on one. Sometimes I imagine what it wud be like if this machine was powered by Android. Sigh.

  2. I’ve always admired the device, but never knew it had such advantages over N8. It’s one that could last me ages, knowing my kind of person.

  3. There is a system-wide notification menu that can be pulled down to reveal controls to turn on/off Mobile Data, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Silent modes, quick access to Music player controls

    Every pre-Belle touchscreen user should get SettingBar (http://goo.gl/k9FZb)

    It performs (almost all)these same functions.

    because its audio reproduction quality is one of the best I have seen yet

    Now- coming from Mr. Mobility, THAT is SOMETHING!

    If you looove your music- i do, TTpod (http://is.gd/4xqRLC) is a Symbian music player in a class by itself

    And costing only N53,000, it is a steal.

    Now- i would not steal to get this STEAL..lol..

    When a phone of this category drops in price to about $200, i could bite. After all, i bought my Nokia 5800 for N49k.

    But then, for me, screen size is the number 1 factor . Thus a phone like this-BUT with 4′ @ 35k will finally get me to tread heavily on my Nokia 5800 and go break a bank -my bank!

    The app ecosystem is not as robust as what obtains on Android or iOS, but most of the apps that you need are available anyway.

    ‘App ecosystem’ is something i failed to find in my DICTIONARIES! I know i have ALL the apps i need (and those i do not) on Symbian!

  4. Nice phone and some solid performance too. What about the rumour then that the processors on those new Symbian devices are not up to scratch with present day technology? I remember reading it on this site also.

    @Eye.Bee.Kay

    App ecosystem’ is something i failed to find in my DICTIONARIES! I know i have ALL the apps i need ( and those i do not ) on Symbian!

    Exactly! You are not likely to find App Ecosystem in your dictionary because all you know is Symbian dictionary and Symbian has got no App Ecosystem.

    Yes you do have all you need but you weren’t missing those apps you are using now while you were still using feature phones. When you eventually step out of that Symbian world, you will probably wonder how you have managed to tolerate Symbian for so long.

    And different people have some other needs different from yours. With all your resourcefulness with locating apps that serve your needs, there so many more even for Symbian that you do not know about.

  5. @harry Echemco – you often sound categorical in your statements. Ain’t anything wrong with that but you should only do that on subjects on which you have knowledge/ incontrovertible facts
    Otherwise, you come across as presumptuous.

    Hear yourself,

    ….because all you know is Symbian dictionary and Symbian has got no App Ecosystem….’

    Two incorrect statements.
    Symbian has NO app ecosystem? None? Hmm..

    I also know quite a bit about other mobile OS

    When you eventually step out of that Symbian world, you will probably wonder how you have managed to tolerate Symbian for s olong.

    Really?

    See http://is.gd/NTO1La
    You would be truly hard pressed to point out an Android app that has no equivalent in Symbian

    .

  6. A great phone. But came quite late. I would be only too glad to upgrade my Symbian Anna phone to Belle. I pass on the 701!

  7. @Eye.Bee.Kay

    Sorry for sounding presumptious but we are almost saying the same thing.

    Two incorrect statements Symbian has NO app ecosystem? None?
    Hmm . .

    Two incorrect statements? Then that makes the two of us. I only agreed with your statement and you now think I’m incorrect. Here yourself:

    ‘ App ecosystem’ is something i failed to find in my DICTIONARIES! I know i have ALL the apps i need ( and those i do not ) on Symbian!

    You failed to find it in your dictionary and now you want to acknowledge its existence so that you can prove me wrong. OK.

    So what exactly are you saying, that Symbian has ecosystem after all and that its ecosystem is as robust as Android ecosystem?

  8. @Harry, Mr Mobility said,

    ‘The app ecosystem is not as robust as what obtains on Android or iOS’

    That is a MODERATE statement.. it is also an INDISPUTABLE one.

    You said,

    ‘Symbian has got no App Ecosystem…’
    That statement is Outstanding in its falsehood. This, we all know.

    I said,

    ‘ App ecosystem’is something i failed to find in my DICTIONARIES’

    Let us examine our ‘disambiguation concept’

    ,I never said Symbian has no ecosystem’. I merely said it does not exist in MY dictionary.

    To elucidate, i am merely saying That I DI NOT NEED AN APPSTORE TO LOCATE THE APPS I WANT. After all, the AppStire concept is something that Apple popularised. Before maize was discovered, chickens were rating SOMETHING, right/

    I hope i have eliminated all ambivalence?

  9. Not happy that Nokia made the camera Full Focus, this phone would have been so averagely perfect with auto Focus.

    Nonetheless, its great value for your cash.

  10. great phone. this is why I like Nokia. Making good phones that are reasonably priced.

    But Yomi, can you clarify exactly what quality it produces in terms of music sound production? I have known that to be one of Monica’s weaknesses. Part of which I don’t buy Nokia as listening to good music is one of my top three reasons for choosing a smartphone. Is its bass production in the realm of HTC’s beats by Dr Dre bass sound? Is the sound as filtered as does of Sony Ericsson’s? I know Nokia’s sound production can be very loud, but when it comes to quality…….

  11. Your comparison makes it look like the n8 doesn’t have a fm transmitter or microsd slot,which it does.The wins I see for the 701 are CPU,ram,nfc and clearblack layer because Belle is coming to d n8 (or u can get it now if you are so inclined) and I don’t see any mention of hdmi.Does it come with the USB otg cable like the n8 or u have to source for it?What colours are available?Is pink one?

  12. 701 is powerful than n8 in some aspect,
    Av you forgotten the GPU capabilities of both of them! 128mb gpu ram for 701 vs 32mb gpu ram on n8….

    Av u forgotten that 701 even 603 would be upgradable to carla which will only be a dream for n8 users…

  13. Should wait till n8 gets belle b4 doing the comparison, all those functions re under nokia belle , u can only compare n8 belle with any fone .Nokia n8 king of all fones.Old , bt still the fones new ones try to beat.

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