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Nokia 3230 smart phone

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While Nokia's menu system is well known for its ease of use, it actually took me a while to get used to it, as I'm very used to Sony Ericsson phones. Indeed, I've never actually owned a Nokia mobile phone myself, though I did get one for my better half once. The joystick is used to navigate around the icons but once inside some options you then need to move the joystick to the right to get to tabs containing other options. It makes sense once you realise this but if you don't know this you could find yourself hunting round for options in frustration.

Nokia 3230

However, what really ruined navigation for me straight away are the keys. The central joystick isn't large, but the seven keys round it are simply far too small to be used comfortably. Not only that but there's a plastic feel to the keys that totally destroys the sense that this could be a classy choice of phone. It's not badly made, but small plastic keys aren't what you want from a professional tool.

Additionally, the labels on the keys aren't directly positioned above the soft keys they apply to. This is worse than counter-intuitive - it's actually misleading. This meant that I was at first constantly pressing the wrong buttons. Below the soft keys are two dedicated keys for starting and ending calls - a doubling up that Sony Ericsson seems to manage without - with the soft keys used for the same function. The problem is that Nokia has defaulted the left soft key for the camera.

The reason for this is probably that the button at the side is dedicated to activating the Push-to-Talk function. Why this is a potentially great technology it's not yet available in the UK so as it stands it's a wasted key. Being able to programme this key would solve this issue, but it's not possible; a real shame. The right soft key, however, accesses a list of programmable shortcuts to frequently used applications. Old Symbian hands will be able to change the soft keys, of course.

One thing that I found quite difficult to get used to is the fact that if you hit the centre joystick, you're not taken to the menu but instead go into Contacts. Instead, the 3230 has a dedicated menu key on the left-hand side. That said, after a while I got used to this arrangement. Pulling down on the joystick also brings up the contacts menu, while pushing up activates the camera. To the right, displays the calendar, while to the left launches a blank text. One odd key on the far right of the joystick is the labelled with a pen - the edit key. This is used to turn Predictive text on and off and to insert a symbol. This is fine but the key only has a function when in text mode, and it seems something of a waste to dedicate a key to it.

The menus on the phone consist of fairly dull icons - I would have expected something a bit more jazzy for a new phone. The phone also seemed to be a tad more sluggish than I would have liked.

Nokia 3230

As I implied earlier the list of applications included seems more geared towards entertainment and fun though you can get many useful business applications for the Series 60 OS separately. Three games are included, two of which are good fun. Agent V in particular is noteworthy as it overlays Tron-like 3D images over the camera making your targets appear as if there really in there - it's really very cool. Muvee is another fun application that automatically mixes images and videos on the phone to create mini movies complete with effects and music. It's great fun at first but you'll get bored after a while. I've also never seen a image and video editor actually on a phone itself - enabling you to perform limited cropping, rotating and cutting your content without a PC.

Next page: Verdict

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