Nokia's new 7610 smartphone set the wireless world abuzz with word of its megapixel camera, its Bluetooth support, and its slick Symbian operating system. But once we got our hands on the eye-catching handset, the 7610 felt big and heavy. And while the megapixel camera took sharp shots compared to those of other camera phones, the weak camera options were a letdown. We were also disappointed by the lack of an infrared port, the awkward keypad layout, and the so-so customisation options.
The candy bar-style Nokia 7610 is certainly a looker. The shiny black handset boasts alternating smooth and sharp corners set off by a slick silver outline that encompasses the outer, mirrored keys. Flip the phone around and you'll find a funky thatched design surrounding the 3.7mm camera lens, along with a 51mm (2-inch) mirrored surface shaped like a glass shard. It's a stylish design, but we bemoaned the lack of a self-portrait mirror.
The 7610 fit easily in our hand, with our thumb resting comfortably on the curved upper-right corner of the device (lefties' thumbs will be stuck with the sharper upper-left corner). While the 7610 doesn't seem as big, it's only slightly smaller than the bloated-looking Nokia 6600. Measuring 53 by 109 by 19mm and weighing 118g, the phone is heavy and felt pretty big in our jeans pocket.
We were very impressed with the Nokia's big 57mm (2.25-inch) 65,000-colour screen. The display was sharp and detailed, and its colours were rich and vivid. We had little trouble browsing the 7610's attractive Symbian OS menus. With Nokia's new Series 60 platform, the 7610's various screens were a snap to navigate, though occasionally sluggish.
While the 7610's keypad sure looks cool, it takes a little getting used to. The keys themselves are laid out in a curved, arcing design, which means that the row for the 1, 2, and 3 keys is considerably smaller than the row for 7, 8, and 9. We liked the feel of the small, five-way navigational keypad, and the dedicated Edit key (which provides one-touch access to the Symbols menu and the Predictive Text modes) is a nice touch. The 7610's on/off button sits on the top of the phone, per Nokia tradition, but the sides of the phone are bare, offering no dedicated volume or camera controls. Whoops.
Included in the 7610's box are a relatively small AC adapter, an earbud-style headset (mono only), a USB data cable and sync software, a felt carrying case, and an adapter for the phone's 64MB reduced-size MMC card, which lives behind the phone's lithium-ion battery -- another irksome Nokia tradition. Why Nokia continues to hide memory cards behind the battery rather than in an accessible slot on the side of the phone is a mystery to us.