When Nokia announce a new addition to
their 7000-series range of fashion phones, it's a little
like seeing a proud parent showing off a new baby to
friends and relatives. So, predictably Nokia are very
pleased with their clever new 7610 camera phone with
some of the most advanced features in any Nokia to date.
Unfortunately they've not noticed that (to most people)
the Nokia 7610 is pug ugly.
Clearly influenced by the Nokia
7600 3G/GSM phone, the 7610 features similar curves,
but where the 7600 could carry the curves off due to
it's almost square format, the 7610 looks unwieldy and
unbalanced, with a hideously compromised keyboard layout
that many will hate. The key layout is a mix of different
sizes and shapes arranged in a confusing pattern. Nokia
has a good reputation for well laid out handsets, but
the Nokia 7610's keyboard is an ergonomic disaster.
If you can look beyond the 7610's looks though, it's
clear that this is a highly capable phone. Firstly,
there's a large 176x208 pixel display in 65,000 colours,
making it one of the best screens available in any Nokia.
Then there's a 1.0 megapixel camera with 4X digital
zoom and low-light-level capability. The 7610 can take
video clips of up to 10 minutes in addition to still
photos, plus it comes with a rich set of media features
such as RealPlayer audio and video playback and MP3
support. There's 8Mb of internal memory plus a 64Mb
MMC card supplied as standard, and the 7610 can be upgraded
even further. Connectivity to a PC is through USB cable
The 7610 is a tri-band phone in either a GSM 900/1800/1900
configuration in Europe or 850/1800/1900 for the US.
It supports GPRS data of up to 40Kbps but sadly not
EDGE data. When released (probably in late Q2) it will
be around £330/€500/$600 SIM Free, less with a contract.
It supports Java, MMS, POP3 and IMAP Email, has an
XHTML web browser, instant messaging, voice dialling
and several other useful features that mark the 7610
out as a very capable phone.
On the positive side, the Nokia 7610 is a better
multimedia phone than the Nokia
6600, and it has a much better camera than the newly
Ericsson K700. However, megapixel phones will be
pretty common soon and the 7610 is easily trounced in
specification terms by the Sharp
However, in our view the technical cleverness
and neat features are utterly spoiled by the terrible
design. We believe that many people will be put off
by the looks and poor keypad arrangement and will miss
out on what is actually a pretty good phone.
If Nokia had done their usual stylish,
ergonomic packaging then this would be top of the class.
As it is, it shows a triumph of styling over function
- a perfectly good way to ruin a perfectly good phone.