Nokia 7600: A first look

Nokia's second 3G phone has an unusual design, and lacks support for video calls.

The curiously shaped Nokia 7600 has several factors that make it noteworthy. Based on the Symbian Series 45 platform and operating on WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) and GSM 900/1800 networks, it is Nokia’s second 3G phone, following the dated-looking Nokia 6650. Data transfer speeds up to 384Kbps down and 64Kbps up are theoretically possible in WCDMA networks. Currently, 3 is the only network running 3G services in the UK, but as the 7600 does not support video calling -- which is one of 3's key services -- the operator will not be supplying Nokia 7600 handsets. Instead, in an ‘exclusive’ and somewhat confusing arrangement, Carphone Warehouse is supplying the 7600 on various deals on the 3 network, when the handsets arrive later in February. The cheapest package is Video Talk 500, which gets you a free Nokia 7600 handset on a £25 monthly tariff, with 500 minutes and ‘free content for the first month’. Other network operators such as O2 and Vodafone are rumoured to be launching their own 3G services later this year.

The leaf-shaped handset is, according to Nokia, ‘a synchronous blend of torqued curves’. Two vertical columns of six keys either side of the screen is something that Siemens has tried on the SX1 and requires both hands to use. The central five-way navigation key has a slightly unpredictable action. The 7600, which is 87mm wide and weighs 123g, is a somewhat slippery customer to hold, and comes with a leather wrist strap to keep it from getting away. The 16-bit colour screen measures 128 by 160 pixels. A one-touch key on the top controls the slightly protruding camera on the back, and there is a sound recorder key on the left-hand side above a pair of volume controls. The camera has a maximum resolution of 640 by 480 pixels, three settings, and a self timer. In Video mode, recording is limited to 15 seconds at 15 frames per second with audio. The 7600 can download video streaming clips up to 1.4MB in size. Bluetooth is fully supported, with ten profiles to satisfy most wireless connections. Underneath, a USB with Pop-Port doubles as the stereo headset and PC connection. Once connected by USB to the PC-based Nokia Phone Browser, there are shortcuts to the management tools in Nokia's PC Suite. There is 29MB of internal memory for contacts, videos, music, applications and other media. A Digital Music Player supports MP3 and AAC files and can be played through the stereo headset or internal speaker. Lack of removable memory means a maximum of only 50 minutes of music in AAC format. Battery life, notoriously short on WCDMA networks, is claimed to be between 1.8 and 2.9 hours talk time on the 7600 or 3 - 4 hours with GSM, while standby is between 7 and 12.5 days.