Nokia 7200 Review| By Allen Tsai
Nokia has always been at the forefront of cell phones, except when it comes to clamshells. But no more. The 7200 is Nokia's first GSM clamshell.
Motorola and Samsung has dominated the flip phone market up until now, however things could change. Although typically the European and Asian markets prefer a block design, the North American market fuels clamshell product releases.
The eye-catching phone strays far from the familiar Nokia phones in many areas. To begin with, its unorthodox look. It doesn't look anything like a phone, and could be easily mistaken for a small booklet or address book. Nokia claims the 7200 is its next fashion phone. And it definitely is fashionable. The exterior of the phone is covered in a new innovative fabric with intricate designs. Each 7200 comes with a Style Pack that includes coordinated covers, soft pouch and wrist strap with matching wallpapers and screensavers. All so you can match every aspect of your phone.
Being rather rectangular, its dimensions are 86 x 50 x 26 mm. Compared to most phones on the market, it's very small and compact. The keypad offers three soft keys and four-way scrolling. User configurable right and left soft keys are on the phone as well.
On the front of the lid is a camera lens. The built-in camera has a maximum resolution of 640 x 480 px. When taking pictures, the internal screen is used as the viewfinder. Three compression options (high, normal, and basic) are available for picture quality and file size. Additionally the camera has extra features such as Portrait Mode, Night Mode, and a 10 second self timer. Also, the handset can record video in SubQCIF - H.263 format, along with integrated video playback and download: .3gp file format (H.263 baseline, MPEG-4 simple profile).
To begin with, the 7200 will be dual-band 900 / 1800 GSM only. Unfortunately these frequency bands are only for European and Asian markets. Hopefully they will release a US version soon.
Additionally, the 7200 comes with a 760 mAh Li-Ion battery that has maximum talk and standby times of 5 and 300 hours respectively under optimal conditions.
An external monochrome 96 x 36 px display is included on the front lid, offering information such as time, missed calls, messages, and caller ID. Additionally, there are animated black-and-white screensavers for the mini display to add to the 7200's look.
The internal screen is a 65,000 color 128 x 128 px TFT display. Up to 5 lines for text can be shown in basic mode with 16-pixel font. TFT, as opposed to STN, has the circuit transistors placed on the glass at the pixel location instead of the need to scan the pixel location. This results in greatly increasing the response time and allows for very fast refresh rates. Up until now, Nokia's new releases have primarily been 4096 colors, and have lagged behind other manufacturers. But the 7200's display is wonderfully bright, crisp, and colorful.
The audio capabilities of the 7200 are impressive as well. The phone can play up to 16 simultaneous chords. Voice clips can also be used as ring tones. A built-in stereo FM radio with handsfree headset functionality is also included. With the added benefit of using it as an alarm to wake up to music instead of a beeping phone. Furthermore, the integrated handsfree can be used as a speaker phone.
MMS, SMS, EMS, chat, and email are all supported. Multimedia messaging (MMS) allows users to send and receive messages with text, a sound clip, and an image or a video clip to other compatible devices. The maximum message size is up to 100 KB per MMS. Standard text messages (SMS) are also supported. The 7200 has to ability to concatenate several text messages to send and receive up to 6 messages (885 characters) as a single message.
Unfortunately email is only supported over SMS, and through Java MIDlet. Most likely email functionality will be through the service provider. The lack of POP3, IMAP4, and SMTP will make checking 3rd party email accounts impossible.
The predictive text input supports all major languages for Europe, Africa, and Asia-Pacific. Simply enter the first few characters of a word, and the T9 predictive text will guess what you are trying to type.
Nokia's goal was to make the 7200 as unique as the personality carrying it. That's why there is the option of customizing each Nokia 7200 phone with a Style Pack that includes coordinated covers, soft pouch and wrist strap with matching wallpapers and screensavers. If get tired of the look it can be changed with additional Style Pack.
Since the 7200 is a Series 40 phone, much of the UI software is customizable as well. Change the look of the screen by adding backgrounds and screensavers. Assign different ring tones, or different colors to the menus.
Three preinstalled games come with the phone: Backgammon, Bowling, and Disco. However, since the 7200 is based on the Java 2 Platform, Micro Edition (J2ME), it has the ability to install and remove downloadable games from the internet. Currently, J2ME is the most popular platform for cellular phone, so many games are available for download. Some for free, some for a fee. But developers can also create applications for the Nokia 7200 phone with Java technology, specifically the Mobile Information Device Protocol (MIDP) 1.0.
Many useful applications are also included. Although some are familiar from previous Nokia phones, many improvements were have been made. The 7200 comes with a built-in calendar with an improved function to allow users to view the busy and free time slots for the week, view successive days, and snooze an expired calendar note.
For keeping track of tasks, the notepad application lets users jot down and write longer notes such as shopping list and meeting notes. While the Mobile Wallet allows online transactions and storing your confidential information such as credit card numbers, user names and passwords.
And lastly for people who are in to sporting and fitness activities, a Countdown Timer with interval timer and Stopwatch for timing, recording splits or lap times are included for exercise cycles.
The 7200 has a variety of ways to browse the internet including high-speed data access using EDGE. EDGE, or Enhanced Data rate for GSM Evolution, allows for high speed rates of up to 177.6 kbps on existing GSM networks. Often times called 2.7G, EDGE has been referred to as a bridge between current GSM technology and WCDMA and cdma2000.
The migration of GSM to EDGE results in less strain on current voice traffic bandwidth and allows for higher transfer rates. Building on existing technology, EDGE allows for more than double existing GPRS rates. While theoretically the 7200 could transfer at speeds of up to 384 kbps, Nokia has decided to limit it to 177.6 kbps. Actual rates will be less than that.
However if EDGE is unavailable, the 7200 also has GPRS capabilities with transfer rates of up to 57.5 kbps. Also an option is HSCSD (High-Speed Circuit-Switched Data), which offers maximum transfer rates of up to 43.2 kbps.
With all this speed, the internet becomes much faster. And the 7200 has WAP 2.0 with xHTML functionality over a HTTP / TCP / IP stack for a better browsing experience. Almost all web pages will now be able to be viewed on the phone, whereas previous phones were limited by certain web restrictions and could not be viewed.
The phonebook capacity can store up to 500 contacts, while SMS, MMS, email, and notes have a maximum file size limits.
The amount of shared memory available to applications is up to 4 MB, but will depend on the number of images and applications loaded on a given device.
The following features in this phone may share memory: Phonebook, text and multimedia messages, images, video clips and ringing tones, WAP bookmarks, calendar, to-do-notes, and Java games and applications.
Connecting the 7200 shouldn't be a problem. Multimedia can be downloaded to the device by USB, infrared link, or over the air (OTA), but they must fit within device memory constraints. While backgrounds and ring tones shouldn't hit the restrictions, MIDlet suites are limited to up to 64 KB in size.
The Pop-port is Nokia's own innovation. It can automatically identify accessories attached to the 7200. And also offers stereo sound with the use of headphone with the FM radio. Lastly, its also where you can charge your accessories with a single USB cable without the use of separate power sources. Pop-port transmits up to 230 kbps.
Perhaps the only thing the phone lacks in terms of connectivity is Bluetooth capabilities. For most this shouldn't be a problem since there are so many other ways connecting devices. But if you've grown accustomed to using a Bluetooth headset, the the 7200 will be a bit of a disappointment.
For synchronizing between the 7200 and a PC, the phone is also SyncML compatible. SyncML is the common language for synchronizing all devices and applications over any network. With SyncML any personal information, such as email, calendars, to-do lists, contact information and other relevant data, will be consistent, accessible and up to date, no matter where the information is stored.
The Nokia 7200 stands to be one of the most popular phones when released. Partly due to Nokia's attention to aesthetics, making the 7200 look like a work of art rather than a phone. But without losing the functionality and usefulness of a portable device. It is a phone with many unique and state-of-the-art features. And upgrading old components that were already popular on older models. The appeal of the 7200 is sure to be wide, as it has beauty as well as brains. Hopefully Nokia will release a North American model soon. Nokia has announced that the 7200 should be available for purchase sometime in first quarter of 2004. ♦
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