Nokia 3230 - Stereo or Not?
14th January 2005
in November we looked at the Nokia
3230 which we concluded was a pretty good handset
with a large screen, decent operating system and good
multimedia support. We liked the removable memory, large
screen, FM radio and the overall design of the phone.
We also liked the stereo MP3 playback, which we assumed
was in the 3230 as Nokia stated that it had a "Stereo
FM radio and MP3 player" in their press
release (see image on right).
For quite a while, Nokia had been rumoured
to be preparing an iPod style handset, and the Nokia
3230 was assumed to be the project name for this, but
in fact this may well have been the aborted Nokia
Neo project. Given expectation amongst industry
watchers that the 3230 might well be the "music"
phone people were expecting, the press details that
were announced with the phone were widely assumed to
be saying that the Nokia 3230 was capable of stereo
MP3 playback. Considering that the retail package will
include a Nokia HDS-3 stereo headset, then this seemed
to be supporting evidence.
However, it soon became clear that Nokia's
initial statement was confusing, and debate raged on
various forums such as Mobile
Burn and Howard
Forums to this effect. Like many, Mobile Gazette
was under the understanding that this was a unit capable
of stereo MP3 playback, however it appears we may have
been wrong. Sorry.
The indications are - from people who
are seriously familiar with the insides of Nokia handsets
- that the 3230 is little more than a warmed-over Nokia
6260 which isn't capable of stereo MP3 playback,
unlike the Nokia
6630 which is.
The killer revelation happened over
at the HardwareZone
forums in this
thread where forum member dreamz13 confirmed
that the 3230 plays back dual mono MP3s and has
stereo output of FM only.
Now, to many people the issue of stereo/mono
playback on the Nokia 3230 is no big deal, but this
particular handset is being promoted on the back of
its otherwise impressive media capabilities, and a key
function of a multimedia device like this is MP3 playback,
and frankly mono playback is just nowhere near good
enough. It's such a serious flaw that it undermines
the 3230's credibility in this market segment.
What's worse is this - did Nokia deliberately
try to mislead the press? Well, nowhere does Nokia explicitly
make a statement saying that the Nokia 3230 has stereo
MP3 playback, and indeed the whole mono/stereo issue
is carefully avoided in any publicity material. But
to us, the phrase "Stereo FM radio and MP3 player"
is ambiguous, and if you spend some time reading the
various forums you can see the confusion caused. Probably
this is just a case of sloppy writing rather than a
conspiracy, but we strongly believe that it's time that
Nokia officially clarified the 3230's technical specifications
in their publicity material so as not to unwittingly
confuse potential customers.
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