The Nokia 7230 mobile phone lacks higher-end features like Wi-Fi and HSDPA connectivity, but hopes to win over less affluent buyers with its stylish, curvaceous design, slide-out keypad and good battery life.
Contract prices haven't been announced yet, but you can pick the 7230 up for around £110 SIM-free, and it will be available on a pay-as-you-go deal for around £100.
Curves in all the right places
From the brick-like N900 to the overly cheap-looking X3, recent Nokia handsets have been more miss than hit when it comes to design. But the rather stylish 7230 redresses the balance somewhat. The phone has a sexy, curvaceous shape, with a luxurious-looking chrome band running around its edge. Although the battery cover may be rather plasticky, its ribbed finish at least makes the phone easy to grip.
The keypad slides out with a satisfyingly smooth action, revealing relatively large keys that are well spaced out. As a result, it's easy to get up to a decent speed when texting.
The 7230's 61mm (2.4-inch) screen is very bright and sharp. Its 240x320-pixel resolution means icons, text and videos look pleasingly crisp. The screen's viewing angle is slightly lacking, however. When you turn the phone slightly to the left or right, colours turn murky very quickly.
Back to basics
The phone is based around Nokia's Series 40 operating system, which is very straightforward to use. The default home screen is simple, but you can turn on a handy shortcut bar at the bottom that gives you a quick way of accessing features like the music player and camera. You can also launch these from within the main menu, which presents the various options in a traditional grid layout.
The phone's music player has a pretty basic interface, but it's not too cumbersome to navigate, as it automatically sorts tracks by playlist, artist or album name. The bundled headphones are very poor, but, as the handset has a standard headphone jack on the top, it's easy to swap them for your own cans. You'll find, however, that the sound quality remains only so-so -- the audio output isn't all that clean and you can hear hiss creeping in at lower volume levels.
The 3.2-megapixel camera is also below par. Colour accuracy isn't great, with the camera tending to add a yellowish hue to snaps. Even outdoor photos look noisy. There's pretty minimal shutter lag but, because the camera lacks autofocus, blur tends to creep in quite often, so you have to make sure you hold the phone as steady as possible when taking a photo. Nevertheless, the phone makes it easy to upload photos to Flickr or Nokia's Ovi Share service.
The 7230 comes with a wall charger that connects to the mini charging port on the top of the handset, but, unlike older Nokia phones, the handset can also be charged via its micro-USB port, which may come in handy if you need an emergency top-up when you've left your wall charger at home.
Long battery life, clear calls
The phone's battery life is pretty good -- you can expect it to last for around four days on a single charge. Thankfully, the 7230 didn't suffer from the call problems we experienced with the X3. Calls sounded very clean and clear.
The 7230's connectivity is less impressive, though. It doesn't support Wi-Fi or HSDPA, which means data downloads are limited to slower 3G speeds, maxing out at 284Kbps.
Apart from its sexy styling, the Nokia 7230 offers little to get really excited about. It gets most of the basics right -- it's easy to use, offers good call quality and a spacious keypad -- but it doesn't offer anything that you can't get elsewhere for a similar price or even slightly less.
Edited by Charles Kloet