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Nokia 7600

29th September 2003

Nokia 7600The new Nokia 7600 doesn't look much like a traditional handset on the outside, and doesn't really act like a traditional handset on the inside either.

The first thing to notice on the Nokia 7600 is the unusual format. Nokia have tried to break away from the traditional rectangular look to come up with something very different, making the 7600 roughly square in shape, measuring 87x78x19mm, somewhat smaller in footprint than a 3.5 inch floppy disk. This makes the Nokia 7600 an interesting "shirt pocket" format, although at 123 grams it's about 25% heavier than, say, the Nokia 7250i and about the same as the Nokia 6800.

Nokia 7600The keys on the Nokia 7600 are arranged on either side of a 128x160 pixel 65,000 colour display, making it easy to use the buttons while grasping the phone. The display is interesting in itself, as it is 25% larger than that on most standard current Nokia models. This format is new to Nokia, but the rival Siemens SX1 offers a similar keypad arrangement on a more conventional looking handset. Both handsets are available at roughly the same time.

From a technical perspective, the Nokia 7600 is pretty interesting too. It can be used on both standard GSM networks and also 3G networks. Unlike many 3G phones, the Nokia 7600 isn't crippled while on a GSM network, it's basically just slower, although GPRS support on GSM means that the data rate is up to a fairly speedy 57.6kbps.

Take a look at the back of the Nokia 7600 and you'll see the now common digital camera lens poking out at you. This is a 640x480 pixel resolution camera (i.e. VGA resolution), making it fairly good for small snapshots. It can also capture video sequences. Although Nokia are pushing the 7600 for its picture capabilities, it's not as good as the camera on the Sharp GX20 (which is also 640x480 but has a macro lens and a flash). 29Mb of memory leaves plenty of space for pictures.

Nokia 7600 backThe Nokia 7600 plays MP3s too, but the 29Mb of memory presents a problem here. A general rule of thumb is that an entire CD fits onto about 64Mb if encoded as a high-quality MP3, so the 29Mb will fit less than half a CD, or else the quality has to be dropped down to cope. The Nokia 7700 makes a much more attractive device for audio playback.

Other features include polyphonic ring tones, voice dialling, infra-red, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, voice recorder, email, MMS and Java application support.

A potential weak area with the Nokia 7600 is battery life. With the standard battery, the talktime on a 3G network is between 1.8 to 2.9 hours, on GSM 3 to 4 hours, so this phone is mainly aimed at the occasional user rather than someone who is using their mobile all day. Standby time is a more respectable 7 to 12 days.

All-in-all, the Nokia 7600 is an innovative package including many features not commonly seen before. The unusual physical format and attractive looks will appeal to many, the good technical specification to others. Maybe the Nokia 7600 isn't the groundbreaking phone that Nokia would like to suggest, but it will certainly influence the next generation of mobiles.

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