Nokia 2700 Classic

It’s about time for another blog post, and since I do seem to have a slight affection for mobile phones, I thought about blogging on my latest acquisition: a Nokia 2700 Classic mobile phone I managed to buy in mint condition as a used device from eBay for a very small amount.

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I’ve used quite a few phones lately and have gotten used to enhanced services like Dropbox, Evernote, ReadItLater, E-Mail, Browsing on the iPhone, and also thought that I wouldn’t want to buy another Nokia phone since my disappointment with the restrictions set by a Nokia N95 and E72 (= great hardware but not that much software support), but for this price and for my use (as a 2nd line just for calling & music), this Nokia 2700 Classic is a fantastic phone.

Sure, the plastic cover isn’t great, the keypad is a bit narrow, there’s no UMTS/3G, no WLAN, a very grainy 2Mpx cmos cam on board, no flashlight and flash for the cam (which is a real pity) and the internal RAM is also only limited to about 10 MB.

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This phone, however, is the first Nokia since maybe the 6230 or even the 6310i where everything important works out-of-the-box . It just works and does what it’s supposed to do. Also, anything that isn’t on board can’t break. I think I like (Nokia’s operating system) S40 much more than S60. For instance, one of the things I hated with my N95 and the E72 is when you terminate a call the display/operating system would still take about 1-2 seconds to respond. That’s pretty annoying, actually. There’s no such thing on my S40 devices (6230, 6230i and this 2700 Classic). I like!

Another interesting software detail is that users are directly forwarded to the Opera Mini browser which is just so much better than Nokia’s own crippled browser solutions.

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The best part about this phone is the 3.5mm headphone socket that works well with my Sony MDR-818 headphones (headset, actually). This, along with the removable 1GB microSD card, promises a really good music pleasure. I don’t know about you, but syncing my iPhone via iTunes just sucks big times (could this also be done via SSH, btw?), and here I just connect the phone via a data cable or directly load multimedia files onto the microSD card. Yes, I also already had this on the N95 and the E72, but to be honest: this is more fun to me with a relatively simple phone like the 2700. I prefer this phone to both the N95 and the E72, albeit their other capabilities.

Also, it has the right size (long enough, slim) and a good weight (~ 85gr), SAR-value is also ok with about 0.84 W/kg (iPhone 1.3; E72 1.4; N95 0,59 W/kg). I think the product engineers who created the pcb and the external phone design did a very good job on this phone. As mentioned, the keypad isn’t top notch, but it is ok and does what it’s supposed to do. I somehow also like that it is a closed keypad with no gaps in between the keys (even though I still like the keypad on the 6230/i best). You know, when you open up phones and look inside at how they are designed and what kind of materials are used and where water/moisture could enter (water damage!), there are worlds between Nokia + SonyEriccson phones and the likes of an iPhone or the HTC Desire. The latter are indeed much more fragile, with complicated thin & flexible pcbs, not designed for rough use and African Asian road side repairs.

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You’ll notice the old-fashioned BL-5C battery we’re already familiar with since the 6230 (from 2003?), the antenna positioned in the bottom, the thin but sufficient plastic back cover (I’ve added some layers of transparent adhesive tape to limit play) and the overall simple “a few components only” design by Nokia. This, ladies and gentleman, is what I consider a good design!

Verdict: the Nokia 2700 Classic may be an average phone with some flaws like the grainy camera or the limitations set by the operating system and its resources, but it does quite well what it was designed for and is the perfect device for anyone who just wants to use it for telephoning, sms and music. The internal speaker is very loud and the music player responds quicker than any player on S60. Going by the installed ringtones on this phone, the target market seems to be the youth / 13-30yr olds.

Despite all the mistakes Nokia did lately (too many phones on the market, no emphasis on software, sticking to the wrong OS, horrible app store etc.), this phone is a good buy – which is also evident by the good sales stats this 2700 Classic already had (this phone was recently offered at ALDI Germany, btw) and the adaption of the design for other popular phones like the Nokia 6700 range. Contrary to the otherwise much more interesting 6700 with it’s metal cover, 5mpx cam and UMTS/3G support, the 2700 has this 3.5mm headphone socket. The 6700 is like the 6500 in this regard – everything is done via a micro (or mini?) USB port, which may be ok for political reasons but isn’t my first choice.

I think the overall truth is that a) Nokia’s S40 phones are less frustrating than their S60 phones (with the given competition in form of high-end touch phones based on iOS and Android) and b) these modular phones with their sandwich design (front cover – keypad – pcb – middleframe – battery – back cover) are the way to go for the future when it comes to sustainable product design.


Oh, and one more thing:

I am tired of repeating myself, really tired, but! – Nokia – seriously, I mean, SERIOUSLY!!!! we’re in 2010 now and you still haven’t managed to provide a reliable service that updates all phone address books via one click. The many, many users of S40 devices in the dev world and elsewhere – the ones with webmail accounts provided by Yahoo!, MSN, Gmail – how are they supposed to sync their address books via their online accounts? Not everyone has an instance of Outlook installed on his computer, and – this may be news to you – but: Ovi.com xux so much in so many different ways, like deleting all contacts in one go, or that it doesn’t sync itself with an external service like Gmail, Yahoo! or MSN or the app itself installed on the phones (for downloading apps and Ovi contacts).

There’s only a few things you’ll have to do: build good phones (done), sell them (done), give ppl a way to sync their data with online accounts other than this Ovi failure (not yet done).

And there you go wondering, dear Nokia, why we felt free enough to give you a lecture on what it takes to succeed in Africa?

Hej Nokia engineers, just imagine the following scenario: you’re somewhere in Kenya, have an account with Yahoo! with about 100 e-mail addresses, two SIM cards from two different operators, a simple Nokia phone (ok, let’s say an S40 device to make things a bit better, so we’re not talking about the 1xxx range here) and would like to have all these contacts from your Yahoo! e-mail account inside your phone. How will you go about that? With a limited inet connection? Yes?

That’s the issue here. Make it simple. Make it work. Not just for geeks like me who can easily google for the solution via their broadband connection.

5 comments » Write a comment

  1. Looks almost exactly the same as my Nokia XpressMusic. That was a christmas present from Mercedesz, supposed to replace my good old 3510. Which it dind’t.
    Actually, it has nothing special about it whatsoever, but it works fine for what it’s supposed to do, and should I ever lose it, drop it or have it pickpocketed out of my jacket somewhere, it won’t matter much.

    When I got it, it had some crazy stuff pre-installed on it: About 20 tracks of Arab pop music (some if it actually not bad at all), as well as the Quran, and some software for sending out MMS-greeting cards with oriental designs on occasions like Eid or the prophet’s ascension. ;-)
    However, when I uploaded a different firmware to support the German language, the Arabic one was overwritten. So those extras don’t work anymore.

    –> Expect no Ramadan greetings from me, JKE! ;-)

  2. Ahhh – Dave, I now realize this 2700 is like the (your?) 5130 Xpress Music with a Nokia 6700 cover.

    Would be very interesting to compare the pcbs inside. My guess is that they are very similar.

    Thinking about it, I guess I would also prefer the 5130 Xpress Music because of its better keypad.

    Edit: Bingo! I just googled for images of both printed circuit boards (pcb) and realized they are almost identical.

    Ok, jetzt hätte ich wohl doch lieber noch ein 5130 wg der besseren? Tastatur.

  3. Hmm… ich kenne die Tastatur von Deinem 2700 nicht, aber die vom xpress music ist nicht ganz schlecht. Es gibt bessere (das gute alte 3510 ist in dieser Hinsicht unübertroffen), aber man kann sie benutzen. Zum emailen wäre sie allerdings nix.

    Tja, ich muss nun zwei Jahre warten (d.h. noch 19 Monate), bis ich mir wieder umsonst ein neues Handy holen kann.
    Wird definitiv wieder ein Nokia sein!

    Samsung my Ass! Vor Jahren hatte ich auch schon mal ein Ericsson, das ziemlich schlecht war (obwohl’s fast zwei Jahre lang funktionierte), und noch früher hatte ich mal ein Siemens C4. Ach ja, und ein Alcatel hatte ich auch schonmal.
    Aber keines dieser Dinger hat mich wirklich überzeugt. Das beste bisher war ein Nokia 6310 (für seine damalige Zeit echt super), und später besagtes 3510 (bereits sechs Jahre alt, aber ich benutze es noch immer gelegentlich).

  4. I am afraid I accidentally deleted a comment by Maina who said:

    “I will admit that am no tech guy but I have used Nokias enough to know that they suck major-ly. But out of all my pals who use this particular phone, it seems that they enjoy it. Only problem is that the phone maker does not provide enough ‘support’ especially with Ovi.”

    (pole, Maina!)

    And yes, this Nokia is better than most other current Nokias. Except of course for Ovi & software in general. The latest Ovi suite for the desktop (Windows) is ok though. Comes with Maps update included.

    Also, I’ve found another flaw in this phone: this phone may not have GPS, which is ok as it connects to an external GPS mouse via Bluetooth, but it also doesn’t have A-GPS, which means there’s no included triangulation via mobile cell towers = no positioning. The 3rd party app Google Maps has this. So for any mapping needs on this phone, the included Nokia Maps app is somehow useless (especially since there are only a few African maps available on Ovi).

    @Dave: “~waiting for another free phone”. Trust me, bro, waiting for a subsidized phone is the wrong approach. I’ve done that for way too long in the past and changed my politics on this in 2007. The initial costs may be higher, but you won’t be stalled by a lame contract & won’t have to wait for a better phone. Although I know that you’re actually saving a lot of money this way (as you’re never using the phone in .DE, eh?).

    The Nokia 6310…. imo, the 6210, 6310 & 6310i were the BEST Nokias ever produced. Battery stand-by ~14 days, monochrome display, BT, great cover, antenna in a good position, maximum batteries available, perfect keypad. They were quite prone to water damage though and many of the 6210 & 6310 had flexing issues with the pcb (~ reballing of the BGA chips required).

  5. > Although I know that you’re actually saving a lot of money this way (as you’re never using the phone in .DE, eh?)

    Yes. I want to keep my German mobile number anyway. I need it about three times a year for a couple of days, and have a quite acceptable contract with OH-TUH. So I just go and pick up a free phone every second year with it. :-)

    Btw. you’re right about the 63xx; it really couldn’t take moisture. Friend of mine dropped his into the toilet (not a joke), and that was it for the phone.
    Mine worked fine for a long time, until I lost it somewhere.