If you grew up during the early 90s you'll remember that certain Nokia handsets boasted removable covers. Some years later Nokia decided that swapping covers was rather passé, but now they're back -- and Nokia's latest handset to feature a fully removable case is the 7310 Supernova. It's available now SIM-free for around £120.
The Nokia 7310 Supernova is a slim candybar phone that fits comfortably in a pocket. As with very old Nokia models you can completely remove the cover on the 7310 and swap it with other compatible covers. Unfortunately you're limited to a handful of designs compared to the plethora you used to be able to get when the removable covers craze was at its height -- ultimately making it a more boring product.
To give it a little more spice, the 7310's provided cover packs an extremely reflective screen and keypad, the result of which is that until the screen is activated, it looks like a mirror. Handy for a little emergency lippy, but it also means that in bright light, you might find it difficult to see clearly.
Adding to the sense that this is a blast from the past, the 7310 is pretty thin on features. What you do get, though, is an easy-to-understand menu system that keeps things simple, while offering added functionality such as being able to display shortcuts on the start page.
There's an MP3 player that supports various formats including MP3 and AAC, and the option to store all your music on an external microSD card (up to 4GB). But be warned, the 7310 only has a 2.5mm headphone jack, so you have to use the headphones in the box or buy ones that fit -- standard 3.5mm headphones won't.
There's also an FM radio, Bluetooth and a 2-megapixel camera that's very basic -- no LED photo light or flash. If you're looking for a decent camera phone, steer clear; but if you just want to take the odd picture in well-lit locations for MMS messages, it'll suffice.
To add some extra functionality to the 7310 you can download and use a variety of third-party Java apps, such as Opera Mini, which makes browsing the Web much more enjoyable. Another app worth downloading is Fring; it lets you connect to a variety of IM clients, including MSN and Yahoo.
Battery life is quoted at 4 hours talk time and 300 hours on standby. Because there aren't that many features on the phone, we found we didn't use it that heavily and got around two days of moderate use out of it. It's worth pointing out that the loudspeaker worked surprisingly well and pumped out a fair amount of sound.
While we'd genuinely like to say that the Nokia 7310 Supernova has brought back exchangeable covers with a bang, that would be a lie. With a basic set of features and a limited number of covers, the 7310 is another straightforward Nokia phone that does the basics well, but doesn't inspire the cover-changing madness we miss so much.
Edited by Marian Smith