Nokia C3 review

We review the Nokia C3 — a Symbian S40-powered device that brings BlackBerry-like styling to the masses

Brilliant Qwerty keyboard, looks like a high-end device, bright screen, lots of storage, good battery life and Opera Mini works a treat on it
Symbian S40 OS is pretty awful, no multi-tasking, rubbish camera, no 3G, Wi-Fi — like a lot on a lot of Nokia phones — is a little glitchy
The Nokia C3 is one of our favourite budget phones, it has a brilliant Qwerty keyboard and looks every bit the high-end smartphone — just don't go expecting BlackBerry Bold 9700 performance and you'll be well impressed

As we all know, mobile tech publications are usually swamped with news and reviews regarding zillion dollar smartphones and the new iPhone 4 – but what about the lower end of the market?

Well, it too is a pretty competitive place and Nokia intends to give it a royal shake-up with its new device, the Nokia C3. But is it any good, and more importantly, can it fight off the competition from LG, Samsung and INQ? 

When you first take the Nokia C3 out of its box you could be forgiven for thinking that you’ve been sent the wrong device – it looks expensive, has a beautiful metallic finish and a full BlackBerry-esque Qwerty keyboard.

And this is something of an aberration from Nokia, albeit a pleasant one, as its low-end devices usually look, well, just that: lowly, plastic and cheap.

The Nokia C3 is none of these things. The device is beautifully crafted featuring a metal back plate and high-shine plastic on the front, which looks, at first glance like its metal.

Unfortunately, it isn’t. But for £80, it’d almost be rude to ask for more – especially as it looks like a lower end BlackBerry and not really like a Nokia at all.

The device is also well proportioned and measures in at 115.5x58.1x13.6mm, which means it is marginally bigger than the BlackBerry Bold 9700 and will fit into your pocket snugly. Interestingly, though, the Nokia C3 at 114g is actually lighter than the Bold 9700, which measures in at 122g.

Unfortunately, this is where the BlackBerry comparisons end and, because the Nokia C3 is aimed at the “less fussy” mobile user, Nokia have scrimped on both the hardware and software in order to get the price down to a ridiculously low £80.

For instance, the camera, which is 2-megapixels, doesn’t have a flash and while it's okay in well-lit environments, it’s pretty useless after dark or in poorly lit rooms.

There’s also no 3G either, so you’ve only got Wi-Fi at your disposal, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, so long as you’re not bothered about being online 24/7. If you are, however, then you should probably think about upgrading to either an S60 device or a low-end Android handset.

Obviously in a bid to keep the price dramatically low, Nokia has opted with Symbian S40 OS in the C3 – so, it’s not the fastest thing in the world and there’s absolutely no multi-tasking.

This may put off a lot of users, but on the whole during testing, we found that for basic stuff such as navigating, playing games and loading web pages it performed admirably. If you want more than that, you’ll have to pay more. Simple.

On the downside, we had a lot of problems with the Nokia C3’s Wi-Fi, which refused out right to connect to three separate networks – we persisted for about an hour, decided to reset the phone, tried again and, eventually, we managed to get it connected to a network.


Typical Price £80
UK Launch June 2010
Network Vodafone
Phone Style Candybar w/ full Qwerty keyboard
Thickness 13.6 mm
Length 115.5
Width 58.1
Weight 114 g
Built-in Memory 2GB via microSD card
Additional Memory up to 16GB via microSD card
High-speed Data GPRA, EGDE and Wi-Fi
Connectivity Bluetooth, USB
Screen Size 320 x 240 pixels, 2.4 inches
Screen Colours TFT, 256K colors
Camera Yes
Camera Resolution 2 megapixels
Flash No
Video Resolution QCIF@15fps
Ringtones Yes
Music Player Yes
Music Formats MP3/WAV/WMA/eAAC+ player
Radio Stereo FM radio with RDS
Speaker Yes
Video Calling No
Internet Yes
Browser HTML
Games Yes
Battery Standby Up to 792 h
Talktime 7h

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