Not a phone to slip under the radar, the 7200 is both eye-catching and novel in its design. Its smooth-edged, square-shaped casing reminds us of Sony Ericsson's widely popular T610. While some of the 7200's case is made of plastic, interchangeable textile covers with retro motifs shield most of the handset's back and half of its front.
A monochrome external display (96 x 36 pixels) on the front of handset shows the time, caller ID, missed calls and message alerts. Screensavers that animate the different designs of the textile covers can be set to appear when the folder is closed but we find having the time display more practical.
Beneath the external display is a VGA camera, capable of capturing shots up to 640 x 480 pixels in resolution. Photos taken in bright conditions turned out clear, vibrant and better than the average camera phone. Night-shot mode is also available but without a flash this has minimal effect.
The 7200's screen is disappointingly small relative to the size of the phone (128 x 128 pixels). Whereas some clamshell mobile phone screens take up most of the top half (like 3's NEC e616) the display on the 7200 measures about 2.8cm (less than half of the area available). A zoom function is available to more closely inspect the clarity of photos. One saving grace is that the display is a 65, 536 colour TFT and we have no problem reading its text in bright or dark conditions.
Thankfully the compromise of having a screen this small means minimal strain of the 7200's battery life. We averaged four to five days of usage, which is exemplary for phones boasting similar features.
Video captures (with sound) up to 50 seconds in length are easily recorded and saved. Three minute of voice clips can also be recorded and can be perceptibly played back through the 7200's loudspeaker.
You need to plug in the supplied headset to the port at the base of the handset to listen to FM radio. Stations can then be changed via an inline control. The loudspeaker can also play the radio provided that - strangely - you still have the headset plugged in.
An abundance of polyphonic sounds can be set as ring tones, message alerts and alarms. Alternatively, you can use your own recorded sounds.
Open the 7200's flip and the hinge rests softly at an angle of about 150 degrees. It doesn't click into place like most clamshell handsets and with minimal force opens to 180 degrees. Perhaps Nokia's rationale was to give users some leeway to prevent it from snapping.
Former Nokia users will find a familiar menu structure on the 7200 to that of its predecessors. Similar to the Nokia 6230, the main menu can be set to a 3 x 3 icon-based grid taking advantage of the four-way navigational key, which surrounds the selection key. Additional navigation and shortcuts are through two soft keys in the top corners. Pressing any direction on the navigational key launches a function; up initialises the camera, right shows the calendar, pressing down opens the contact list, and left creates a new text message.
The flat keypad is rather large so it's easy to navigate while entering numbers and typing text. The weight of the 7200 is evenly distributed when open, which makes it comfortable to use one-handed
Messaging comes in a couple of flavours; SMS, MMS and e-mail. Images taken with the camera can be sent using GPRS or beamed over infrared (no Bluetooth). As with most Nokia phones, inputting text is flawless; we had no problem adding words to T9 dictionary or using punctuation marks.
The 7200 measures a moderate-to-bulky size of 86 x 50 x 26mm. At this size and weighing 115 grams, the 7200 shouldn't weigh you down too much but it might create an awkward bulge in close-fitting pants. If you're interested in a miniature phone, you might want to take a look at the elegant little Samsung E700 clamshell or the miniscule Panasonic G50.
Kudos goes to Nokia for finally creating a formidable clamshell mobile phone. Aside from a small screen and the dubious durability of the textile covers, the phone fared very well during our tests. Whether you love or hate the design, it is unique.
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