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- Small, slim and light, design has a "wow" factor, maintains the trademark Nokia ease of use, has most standard mobile features, display doubles as a mirror
- Messaging and number input slow and tedious, lack of video recording, SIM card storage requires tool, no games or Java support
The 7280 wins points for its unique and attractive design, but everyday users will become quickly frustrated by its tedious messaging and number input process.
Price$ 929.00 (AUD)
The Nokia 7280 is a rather unusual looking fashion phone which sacrifices the standard functionality and convenience of a keypad to be slim, small and light in form factor.
Clearly designed with women in mind, we must point out that the 7280 is not a mobile phone which is suitable for everyday use. While Nokia has tried to compensate for the lack of a standard keypad by making the phone as user-friendly as possible, entering data for both messaging and calling is rather tedious. The 7280 is designed as a handset to quickly throw in a handbag on a night out in case of an emergency, but we think the hefty price tag of the unit doesn't justify its use purely as a second phone.
Weighing just 84 grams and measuring a mere 115mm x 32mm x 19mm, the 7280 definitely stands out from the crowd. Finished in a gloss black plastic with white and red trim, the 7280 also features a double-use display - a screen when the phone is active and a mirror when the phone is in standby mode. The mirror is quite a useful feature that would be especially appreciated by women.
The 7280 slides open to reveal a small, bright red interior and a cleverly hidden VGA camera at its rear. Sliding open the handset will answer or end calls. Because the unit is a unique shape, the phones display screen is in a landscape orientation and naturally, is very small. While we found the display clear and bright, the 1.75 inch screen will certainly have you squinting to view its contents.
The Nokia 7280 is controlled by a 'Navi spinner', which is located on the front right of the handset. For most part this is extremely responsive and four keys (Answer Call, End Call and two Selection buttons) surround the spinner to round out the controls. The Navi spinner itself features a rubber front which creates a solid grip, finished with a small silver strip around the outside and a subsequent select key. The spinner is used to access everything from the phones menu to dialing telephone numbers.
The problem we have with the lack of a keypad is not the spinner in itself, but the way in which you are required to enter numbers into the phone. When you access the number entry (by holding down the select key, or selecting the Number Entry option from the menu) the numbers 0-9 are displayed in a row at the bottom of the screen and you use the Navi spinner to scroll through and select the required digit. It's slow, it's cumbersome and frustrating in the extreme. Thankfully voice dialing is provided, although this is highly sensitive to background noise and didn't always work perfectly during testing.
The 7280's VGA camera is of acceptable quality, although it doesn't break any new ground in terms of mobile phone imaging. The camera includes settings for night mode, portrait and standard photos and also contains a fairly useless zooming function which you control by using the Navi spinner. A 10-second self timer rounds out the camera application. Unfortunately there is no video camera recording mode, although the 7280 is capable of video playback.
The 7280 includes support for standard SMS, MMS and e-mail messaging but once again, slow data entry hinders these functions. However the intuitive letter selection process does provide some form of compensation. Similar to the T9 entry method on regular keypad, the 7280 detects what word you are spelling and subsequently brings letters forward in the list, which means you don't always have to scroll though the entire alphabet.
Nokia have fitted a standard set of features on the 7280, with the phone including a 1000 name phonebook, vibration alert, alarm clock, calendar and PIM features, speakerphone and voice recording. The 7280 is also well served in the connectivity stakes with support for Bluetooth as well as WAP 2.0. Disappointingly, the phone lacks any games and Java support is a surprising absence, although the phone's small display may have something to do with this. An FM radio is also included, which you can listen to using the supplied Nokia headphones, which act as the FM antenna. The radio includes 20 presets which can be stored in the phone's generous 50MB internal memory.
Another gripe we have with the 7280 is the manner in which the SIM card is stored in the phone. The card sits into a small silver slide-out tray on the bottom of the handset, but this is only accessible using the provided tool to open it. If you happen to lose this small screwdriver-like device, your SIM card may be stuck in the phone. Furthermore, if you aren't carrying the tool with you everywhere, you can't swap or change SIM cards, which is an inconvenience. Given that we see this as a second phone, a quick way to swap SIM cards is a must have.
Battery life on the 7280 is a below average 4 hours talk time and 11 hours standby time. The battery is built into the phone and is not removable, meaning that you have to take your phone to an authorized Nokia service centre to change the battery when it is no longer useable.
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