Nokia World E7, C7 and C6 review roundup

Nokia World – it sounds a bit like a theme park for mobile phone enthusiasts. Which is what it is – just remove the roller-coasters and people selling candy floss, and add in the fun of playing with unreleased mobiles and Nokia representatives touting their wares.

At this year’s event, the company unveiled three new mobiles – the E7, C7 and C6. If you’d like to know if these phones can reverse Nokia’s downward spiral, help them gain a foothold in the smartphone market and stop them being Apple and Google’s whipping-boy, read below for the internet’s opinion on the new handsets.

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The E7: Smart for Businesses
Nokia’s current flagship mobile, the E7, is primarily aimed at business users. That’s why it has got Microsoft Exchange support for e-mail and a full QWERTY keyboard. Khidr Suleman at V3 considers the QWERTY offering, “easily … one of the best physical Qwerty keypads on the market. Letters are large and well spaced but not to a point where fingers or thumbs have to be stretched.”

However, Clare Hopping at IT Pro finds

“The kick slide [on the keyboard] a little hit and miss. It’s hard to get your fingers in the precise position to push it up in one sweep, although this could be a fault of the prototype E7 we examined, rather than the eventual, finished design. We sure hope so.”

Still, the new operating system seems to run brilliantly on the premium handset. Rob Coppinger of The Inquirer sings its praises, stating that “the new Symbian^3 OS … has the three homepages and an editor allowing you to change what is on each. Swiping from homepage to homepage is fluid as was accessing music files and other content.”

Which is perfect, because there are so many types of media supported that good file-browsing is essential. Ionut Arghire at Softopedia sums up the features nicely:

“Its multimedia capabilities expand with support for H.264, MPEG-4, VC-1, H.263, Real Video 10, ON2 VP6, Flash video and MP3, AAC, eAAC, eAAC+, WMA, AMR-WB- AMB-NB, DRM support WM DRM, OMA DRM 2.0. The connectivity options of this handset include WLAN IEEE802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0, HSDPA, Micro-USB 2.0, TV out, 3.5 mm headphone jack, as well as GPS, A-GPS, WLAN and Cell-ID positioning features.”

Luckily, Nokia have developed a new screen technology to show-off these media options. When Know Your Mobile compared it to the HD Desire, they proudly announced “the Nokia E7’s screen is much larger – 4-inches in total and with Nokia’s ClearBlack Display technology, it’s crystal clear with much richer colours. Winner? Nokia E7 because the screen is MASSIVE!”

C7 – Personal Media Consumption
“Running under the new Symbian^3 operating system, the Nokia C7 comes with high end features, packed inside a device that measures only 10.5mm thick”Ionut Arghire. What features, you ask? “The new mobile phone includes an 8-megapixel photo snapper with HD video recording capabilities, as well as a 3.5-inch high-resolution touchscreen display”.

The 8-megapixel camera and HD video recording are also found on the business-orientated E7 – and just like the E7, they’re disappointingly fixed-focused. The 3.5″ display means there is plenty of screen to play with, however. And it features the same ClearBlack technology as the E7. “Resolution-wise, the Nokia C7 isn’t the best of the bunch at 360×640 pixels, [but] it’s seamless and you really can’t see any pixels unless you look so close it’s uncomfortable and gives you eye ball ache,” says Clare Hopping.

C6 – People who can’t afford a C7
The C6 is Nokia’s entry level smartphone – and unfortunately, it seems like you can tell. Unlike the praise garnished on the new operating system when used on the other handsets, PC World viewed it less favourably, saying that they had “no solid verdict on Symbian^3”.

Despite being a lower resolution than the other phones (640×360), the beautiful ClearBlack screen is still pulling in the applause: “That screen’s pretty dazzling thanks to AMOLED and ClearBlack tech” explain Stuff.TV. “ClearBlack’s a Nokia-ism, but the brag of decent contrast isn’t an empty boast here. As you can see.”

It’s also got “an 8MP one on the back and a secondary camera on the front, for video calling. One of the most important features of the new smartphone,” Ionut Arghire attests.

Conclusion
The biggest winner here is Nokia’s new screen technology. It has been received with universal praise across all the product lines. The new Symbian operating system also seems to be doing well – at least on the E7 and C7 phones. Perhaps you can’t really judge it on the C6, which has an underpowered processor and not as much memory as the other two handsets. The neat features, such as the many homescreens and widgets, have also received plenty of praise.

The biggest problem however, is that Nokia still seem to be unclear on its product lines. Why include video chat on the low-end C6 and not the premium E7? Now whatever they choose, customers will have to sacrifice some functionality. Hopefully the success of the N8 – Nokia’s incoming super phone (which also doesn’t have a front-facing camera) will knock this debate out of the water. Hopefully.

UPDATE: We were pleased to be informed that all of the new handsets have a front-facing camera, as explained on Nokia’s product specification page. Perhaps it’s a testament to Nokia’s seamless design that a lot of reviewers (including ourselves) didn’t pick up on the glaringly obvious lenses mounted on the front of the phones.

3M MPro150 – The future of the present(ation)

When I think of projectors I’m reminded of the huge Over Head Projectors we used in French class, or the bulky noisy devices that we used to screen a film at the end of term. Admittedly I haven’t really kept up with projector technology since but from time to time I’ve been subjected to a slide show presentation and projectors remain theses sizable devices whirring away at the back of the room. So when the 3M MPRO150 arrived at my desk, half of my excitement was in holding the thing. A micro projector, it really is small – only slightly bigger than an old candy bar Nokia. It definitely has the feel of a robustly built hi-tech gizmo, although the MPRO150 is no toy.

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Being the n3rd that I am I threw away the instruction manual and attempted to simply use the device – with great success. Attaching a USB cable allows you to open the MPRO150 like a USB drive and simply drag and drop files onto the device. Anyone who has used a pen drive in the last 10 years should be comfortable with loading files onto the built in memory (which is 1Gb but there is also a micro SD card slot to you can expand the device’s capacity). After that you can simply unplug the device, point it at a wall and before you can even say “Boom” you will be able to give a slideshow presentation.

I found the MPRO150 a bit fussy with regards to file formats – *.pngs wouldn’t load and some *.jpegs wouldn’t display. Most worked perfectly however and I gave a 50” display of my holiday snaps. Despite just using a white wall the image quality was superb. Pdfs, MS Office files and most images were fine. It also plays back *.avi files, which I found pretty amazing – I projected an episode of Sealab 2021 onto my wall and it worked flawlessly. 3M also threw in a mp3 player just for fun – ostensibly so you can relax listening to some music on the way to a presentation but I have no idea why anyone would do this instead of using any of the multitude of other devices they have for this purpose. Still it works.

The MPRO150 comes with a little tripod and a built in stand as well as lots of connector. You can hook it up to pretty much anything – desktops, laptops or iPhones but for me the real magic of the device is to just use it as a standalone presentation tool. It’s so small that it can easily pop in a briefcase – or even a suit jacket. I loaded up the MPRO150 with my Cymande.ppt (Brothers on The Slide) presentation and was able to get 2 hours battery life out of it. The built in speakers won’t blow you away but it is easy enough to connect to a remote device.
“To mark its launch we are giving our customers the chance to win £500 of iwantoneofthose vouchers and one of 10 MPro150s,” said Nick Hughes, Marketing Manager for 3M’s Mobile Interactive Solutions Division. “To enter, go to our mobile u web site and simply tell us in 50 words or less the most memorable, funny or embarrassing presentation you’ve delivered or seen. One winner will also be made into a short viral video, which the winner can star in if they wish.”

Ideal for business folk “on the move” but also pretty cool for anyone who would like to project a 50” photo, movie or slideshow onto a wall, the 3M MPro150 is now available to pre-order from shop3M.com, amazon.co.uk and selected high street retailers including Dixons Travel and Micro Anvika at an RRP of £349.99 including VAT.