Nokia C3

Nokia's C3 looks like the funky sibling of the serious yet popular E71. Its full QWERTY keypad is matched with a bevy of messaging functionality, but with no 3G its web life is compromised.


7.6
CNET Rating
8.2
User Rating

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Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies. Twitter: @Joseph_Hanlon


Design

When you take yourself shopping for a new prepaid mobile phone, you probably set your expectations fairly low. A majority of these devices are designed to look rather cheap, exposing their budget backgrounds to help their more expensive counterparts seem all the more desirable. Not so with the Nokia C3. While it is made from the same stiff plastic that most phones in this price range are made from, the C3 is a very nice-looking handset with a deceptively premium feel. Our review unit is in a shade of midnight blue with matte black trim and its high gloss finish gives it the appearance of one of Nokia's E-series range.

Nokia C3

Pretty in pink
(Credit: Nokia)

Also, like Nokia's business range, the C3 features a four-row QWERTY keyboard below its TFT display, and though we haven't seen an E71 for a long time we'd hazard a guess and say that this keyboard looks to be just as large and is equally usable. The keys are raised into soft humps, making it a little easier to navigate the small keypad with two thumbs. The navigation pad between the screen and the keyboard isn't as well designed, with Nokia opting to squeeze eight controls into the small space surrounding the five-way nav pad.

The budget for this handset doesn't extend much beyond its slick design, and as with most prepaid models, the 2.8-inch colour display suffers some. This screen is bright and colourful enough for basic everyday use; you'll have no trouble dialling numbers or reading messages, but the screen's poor viewing angle makes it a poor choice for long sessions. We played several simple video games on the handset and found that the optimal viewing angle of our review unit was actually 15 or 20 degrees off-centre, something we can't remember encountering before.

Features

Just looking at the C3 reveals quite a bit about the features you can expect to take advantage of when using this phone. With its QWERTY keyboard, the C3 has a decent range of communication tools baked in; there's standard SMS with threaded conversation mode, email with support for POP3 and IMAP accounts, and Facebook and Twitter clients with a pre-installed home-screen widget. If you prefer your messaging to be more instantaneous, Nokia includes Ovi Chat on the C3, allowing you to connect to multiple IM clients like Windows Live and Yahoo.

You also get access to Nokia's Ovi Store for downloading new apps to the phone. What you don't get is 3G internet connectivity, so web browsing on the train or bus is a tedious prospect. Nokia compensates for this with the inclusion of Wi-Fi, which is essential for downloading new apps, but you will have to make sure you plan ahead and download what you want before you leave any Wi-Fi network you have access to.

If you have an opportunity to access the Ovi Store make sure you search for games sponsored by Nokia and to download. We've come across over half a dozen free titles, most of which have been developed by Electronic Arts, including Bejewelled and The Sims.

On the back of the C3 you'll find a 2-megapixel camera, but no flash. This is a standard configuration for phones in this price range, as is the absence of an auto-focus feature in the camera's software. The upside to not having auto-focus is that the camera snaps off images quite quickly — typically less than half a second. The end result is nothing to write home about, but it will take passable photos on the days you leave your digital camera at home.

Performance

Our time with the Nokia C3 has been mostly worry-free; the everyday experience of using this phone is adequate with the quality of reception and the earpiece speaker delivering a good, basic mobile phone service. Composing messages is also fast, so long as your fingers can move comfortably over the small keyboard. We found we had to practice a little before we got the hang of it, especially using two-button combinations to form capital letters or to use secondary key functions, like numbers.

Without 3G, many C3 owners will probably overlook internet connectivity altogether, and this would be a good thing. Even after we connect the C3 to a Wi-Fi network, we still struggled to use many of the connected apps. When we first logged into Facebook, for example, we found the app caught in a refreshing cycle that it never appeared to recover from; however, when we pressed the "cancel" button, it took us to the Facebook front page and was fully loaded. The C3 also reminded us of another pet peeve pertaining to Nokia's Symbian software: every time you open a web app, like the browser, it asks if you want to connect to the internet, you say "yes" and it then asks you which internet connection you'd like to use — every single time. We understand that Nokia wants to protect its customers from unwanted data use, but if we're connected to a Wi-Fi network, Nokia, please take that as an indication of our intention to go online.

Overall

While we won't forget the C3's sub-AU$100 price tag in our final evaluation, there is still a few areas where we'd like to have seen a little more. At the time of writing you can buy a 3G touchscreen smartphone for AU$129 in several of the major phone stores, and in an age ruled by social networks it would seem wise to spend this extra money to have the internet wherever you go. The C3 does a fine job of its core duties as phone and messenger, just don't expect too much from the features beyond these basics.

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KaleobV Facebook
6
Rating
 

"Alright for the basics."

KaleobV posted a review   

The Good:Price,Unbreakable,QWERTY Keyboard, Social networking

The Bad:Camera,2G,Screen,Sound Quality

I have had this phone for a year now (Since January 2011) and this phone is UNBREAKABLE I have dropped it,soaked it and thrown it. And I have thrown it because the lack of 3G makes it so slow! but for $99 I really didnt expect much more than the basics with a QWERTY keyboard.
If you want a cheap reliable phone this is perfect for you.

hellokitty101
9
Rating
 

"A great phone with funky colours and easy to navigtate and use."

hellokitty101 posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Colours choices, navigation, qwerty keypad, social networking, camera.

The Bad:No 3G, small buttons on keypad, doesn't vibrate etc. when turned to silent and the rest is quite efficient

This is a great phone and i definetly reccomend it for a starter phone etc. It will last a long time and its battery life it very efficient! I reccomend this product to any person! The pink looks great for a teen wanting a cool phone and the gold the same sort of thing just a bit more elegant looking and the black is quite nice, looks like a buisness phone and similiar to the blackberry just better pricing!

surajithit2004
1
Rating
 

"For me also same thing is happening, it is getting turned off suddenly, i took the phone to Nokia care in bangalore but they told they can not repair it. I purchased the phone 2 months back from UNIVERCELL (near Big Bazaar, Kathriguppe, BSK 3rd Stage) but"

surajithit2004 posted a review   
India

The Good:For me also same thing is happening, it is getting turned off suddenly, i took the phone to Nokia care in bangalore but they told they can not repair it. I purchased the phone 2 months back from UNIVERCELL (near Big Bazaar, Kathriguppe, BSK 3rd Stage) but when i first opened the phone for changing the SIM card, the cheap cover fallen down, and from then it is getting switched odd frequently. NOKIA, please give us good material or else no end customer will purchase your product. NOKIA phones are having manufacturing problems.

The Bad:For me also same thing is happening, it is getting turned off suddenly, i took the phone to Nokia care in bangalore but they told they can not repair it. I purchased the phone 2 months back from UNIVERCELL (near Big Bazaar, Kathriguppe, BSK 3rd Stage) but when i first opened the phone for changing the SIM card, the cheap cover fallen down, and from then it is getting switched odd frequently. NOKIA, please give us good material or else no end customer will purchase your product. NOKIA phones are having manufacturing problems.

For me also same thing is happening, it is getting turned off suddenly, i took the phone to Nokia care in bangalore but they told they can not repair it. I purchased the phone 2 months back from UNIVERCELL (near Big Bazaar, Kathriguppe, BSK 3rd Stage) but when i first opened the phone for changing the SIM card, the cheap cover fallen down, and from then it is getting switched odd frequently. NOKIA, please give us good material or else no end customer will purchase your product. NOKIA phones are having manufacturing problems.

MJM
6
Rating
 

"The keyboard is difficult to read"

MJM posted a review   
Australia

The Good:battery life

The Bad:reading the keyboard especially at night

I bought mine 10 days ago. I really wanted a phone only for calls and texting but with a QWERTY keyboard and this seemed to be the best of the basics for my purposes. I don't mind the poor camera quality nor the lack of G3 connectivity as I have a good digital camera and don't spend my life on the phone.

With such minimal use I am finding the battery life excellent. My previous very basic Nokia had a flat battery in 40 hours with the same use but this one I can get 6-7 days out of.

The manual is as useless as most manuals of its kind - just try using it find out how to switch off the predictive text input and you'll see what I mean.

The keyboard is easy to use and the phone feels comfortable in my hand. I have had no issues finding my way round as my use is fairly limited and there have been no problems with calls dropping out or sound breaking up.

But I must say that I am disappointed with the keyboard legibility, especially at night. The model I bought is bronze and the keys light up in almost invisible pink. The letters are printed on the lower part of each key so it is easier to read if held flat - parallel to the floor. But when I hold it flat so I can read the keys more easily then it is difficult to read the screen. I really wanted it for the keyboard so I can not say I am thrilled with what I have.

So if you are buying the C3 then be careful in your choice of colour - test it out first to be sure you can easily read it, especially in artificial light.

 

"it is a good phone from what i have heard anyway"

bront123 posted a comment   
Australia

The Good:i dunno

The Bad:i dunno

my mum said that i can get one but i don't know when i am getting it but i am getting a pink one for sure because it looks way better then the black and the silver one

dont know
8
Rating
 

dont know posted a review   

The Good:fb,battery,design,looks good,wifi,twitter

The Bad:no 3g,internet accsess

The nokia c3 is a very good phone for what it is worth and is a great phone for teens because it has got a application straight to facebook and twitter.

 

Arash posted a comment   

Please some one tell me about this phone OS . Tnx !

 

random posted a comment   

well i havn't got one yet but im goin to get one for my B'day i need to know if it will last for along time like is it realiable???


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User Reviews / Comments  Nokia C3

  • KaleobV

    KaleobV

    Rating6

    "I have had this phone for a year now (Since January 2011) and this phone is UNBREAKABLE I have dropped it,soaked it and thrown it. And I have thrown it because the lack of 3G makes it so slow! but ..."

  • hellokitty101

    hellokitty101

    Rating9

    "This is a great phone and i definetly reccomend it for a starter phone etc. It will last a long time and its battery life it very efficient! I reccomend this product to any person! The pink looks g..."

  • surajithit2004

    surajithit2004

    Rating1

    "For me also same thing is happening, it is getting turned off suddenly, i took the phone to Nokia care in bangalore but they told they can not repair it. I purchased the phone 2 months back from UN..."

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