Well no surprise, but I’ve changed my phone again! Nokia has finally introduced a tri-band model, and I definitely wanted one given that I travel every now and then to the US. (Aside: with the new non-stop Hong Kong-Las Vegas flights, my trips to the US may increase significantly! Ha.) So American users will be able to get and use this handset, though I have no idea when or even if it will be available in the US.
Anyway, the 7210 is the latest offering by Nokia and is their first ever tri-band model and their second color handset. Originally, I had no intention of buying the phone given that it seemed “the” phone to buy was the upcoming P800 from Sony Ericsson. But, the Sony Ericsson looks like it is still having some problems. There are persistent rumors that the JV could be in trouble as Ericsson is under a tight squeeze. Consequently, the P800 has now been delayed till November or at least that is what I have been told. So when my mobile provider phoned me to tell me the 7210 was available, I jumped at it.
As many of you know, I have now owned the 7650 for over 2 months now. At first it was just kind of cool, and then it got really FUN. I have to admit, I got addicted to playing around with its massive screen, the camera, MMS, etc. The one big drawback was the size – it’s huge! We’re so used to small mobile phones. In contrast, the 7650 barely fits in your pocket.
So the 7210 looked like the perfect solution. Color screen, MMS capable, tri-band, polyphonic sound, all the specs you want sans the camera. But at the end of the day, it’s the camera that I really miss. Still, this is a mobile phone, so let’s keep that in perspective.
The 7210 is supposed to be a new design for Nokia. Working off the traditional Nokia handset layout, Nokia worked on some creative elements, resulting in a funny button layout. It looks pretty cool on the website I thought. But having played and used the phone some time now, I can honestly say that it’s more annoying than anything else.
Ok, so maybe I’m not yet used to it, but getting used to a new layout for buttons, etc. can be very frustrating. I think Nokia was on to something with the joystick button on the 7650. I wished they had incorporated it here.
I realize that the 7-series is not considered the high-end model (the 8-series is) but Nokia could at least have made the 7210 with a little more quality in mind. The plastic casing, which will have other progressive “Xpress On” color covers soon, feels cheap and looks very plain. The silver trim buttons also have a very weak plastic feel. I like the gel buttons in the center and I wish they had used it for all the buttons instead of just the middle ones. Ok, I’m not expecting titanium like the used in the 8910 model, but I do wish there were some cool metallic elements rather than this super plastic feel.
The back cover looks pretty cool though with the gel pad area in the middle. But the front of the phone is pretty disappointing. I don’t know what it is but I just don’t like the casing. Even more annoying is that this shade of blue is much uglier than it looks like on the website. Although, having said that, it looks much better than the alternative orange colored model. I will more than likely be buying another case shell in another color when it becomes available.
Other than that, the layout of the 7210 and its overall feel, is very much like the 8310/8250/8210 models. Except this has color!
The best thing about the 7210 has to be that it has a color screen. Jumping from the 7650 though has probably biased my expectation about color screens. The 7210 feels very small in comparison, but against other previous handsets, this was very good – I love color. I did like the T68/T68i screen size better, but the resolution, brightness, and size (relative to other models which are usual B&W) are very impressive. I guess if I didn’t have the 7650, I would be raving about the screen.
Instead, it’s sort of more mediocre. The resolution/contrast is very similar to the T68/T68i screen. The problem there is that MMS pictures that I sent from the 7650 seem slightly washed out. They lack the crisp feel of the 7650 but instead has this grainy, blotchy feel to it. If this is the future of handsets, we’d better try again – we’ll need better screens for starters.
The one big function that I was extremely disappointed with is the lack of ability in transferring information from the 7650 to the 7210. The 7650 gives you a lot of functionality in its Symbian OS. You can enter multiple entries under one contact name, plus things like e-mail addresses, etc. which you need for MMS. But I could not get this all to be sent over from one phone to another. There is the ability to send it one at a time via infrared so that’s what I had to do. But that was extremely tedious and it took quite some time to get the information I wanted.
That was nothing though compared to all the pictures I took. There is no way to send images from one phone to another. I tried using the infrared but it kept failing. It was so frustrating. So I had to borrow some else’s SIM card, and send each picture as an MMS from my 7650 to the 7210. That’s both costly and a waste of time.
There is no Bluetooth in the 7210 so I have decided against getting a Bluetooth headset. Because of the polyphonic speaker, the 7210 actually has very good sound effects. More importantly, it does come with a speakerphone function which surprisingly was louder than the 7650. The phone comes with an earphone attachment for which, like the 8310, you can use the 7210 as a radio. I tried it and it works pretty well. This is a nice add-on function.
But with a color screen, loud sound, and radio function among other things, will the battery last? I wondered the same thing. I have heard that the 7650 has had a lot of problems with the battery though I must admit that I have never had any problem with the battery-life which has lasted several days for me. The 7210 will probably last longer than the 7650 because it has a much smaller screen. It’s rated for 2-5 hours of talk time which is more than adequate. The battery will lasts for days on standby.
I should also add here that the size of the battery is slightly thinner than the usual Nokia battery cells. The size isn’t as visible (side by side) but the specs are clearly very different. The 7210 uses a smaller 720 mAh 3.7v battery (model BLD-3) while the 7650 and many other Nokia phones use a more traditional 750 mAh 3.6v battery (model BLB-2). The size and power difference may be newer technology at work meaning that phones are capable of being thinner yet offering more “power”.
The remaining functions are very similar to traditional Nokia phones. There is a pretty cool game on the phone which has pretty good game play and sound. Speaking of sound, I should mention that the ringing sounds are very similar to the 7650 in sound. But these are unique tones and you can download a lot more from the Nokia GPRS download site.
All in all, this is a very good improvement of functions over previous Nokia models of the same league. This is a very different phone though than the 7650. If you had to get a tri-band phone, this would probably be your best choice today. Although one could certainly say that the T68i model is a very viable alternative especially as it can be bought cheaper now that there are other new models available with similar functions.
Still overall, I guess I have to say I was expecting a bit more. The screen size was much smaller than I expected. And while it is not the fault of the 7210 which according to the manual can now connect to the PC via optional hardware/software, I still think it is a bit crazy not to be able to just beam everything from one phone to another. Hello Nokia engineers!
The design is a bit goofy as I mentioned (don’t like the buttons), and I am not a big fan of this shade of blue (though it is my favorite color). Anyway, this phone is the best offering right now in terms of function (tri-band), screen (color), and size (small & extremely light), but I feel it’s really only a temporary solution. I do miss that silly but really fun camera. If you have MONEY TO BURN, then go out and get one, if not, I’d keep your money and wait for the P800.