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Nokia 7260

Nokia 7260
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Triband phone
Camera: VGA (640 x 480pixels)
Display: 65,000 colours, 128 x 128pixels
Messaging: MMS and SMS
Connectivity: Infrared, GPRS, EDGE
Phone memory: 1MB
Expansion slot: None.
Battery type: Lithium ion 760mAh
Standby/talk time: 350/ three hours
Other features: Integrated image editor
Weight: 92g
Dimensions (w x d x h): 105 x 45 x18mm
Review unit courtesy of Nokia (M) Sdn Bhd, 1-300-88-1600

NOKIA cellphones have become fashion accessories, so much so that functionality is often sacrificed to (supposedly) improve aesthetics.

Last year’s 7600 is a prime example of a funky phone that was quite a chore to use. (For those who do not know the model, it’s the one with the keypad spread around both sides of the screen).

Fast forward to 2005: Nokia still makes fancy phones, so I was curious to see if the 7260 would actually be user-friendly.

The 7260 is the most basic and plain-looking of Nokia’s recently-launched “fashion phone” line, which includes the clamshell 7270 and the lipstick container-like 7280 (see In.Tech, Jan 4).

The 7260 has two rounded corners and two sharp corners – a form factor we’ve seen in the 7610 – but its most distinguishing feature has to be the metal pieces covering the keypad.

As you can see from the accompanying picture (top right), the keys are all part of some fancy shape – you’ll know the 7260 is a fashion phone just by looking at it.

This Nokia may be fancy, but as far as the positioning of the screen and keypad is concerned, the Finnish company’s designers decided to let the 7260 look and feel like any candybar phone. That means all the keys and accessories are where you expect them to be.

It may look strange, but I like the brick-like dimensions of the phone – yes, I’m one of those who like their phones amply-proportioned so I can type my messages with ease.

The VGA camera is positioned behind the phone, while the power button is right above the screen.

As far as the overall physical appearance is concerned, I’d give the 7260 a B+, since it looks funky and the dimensions are nice and comfortable.

Moving on to actual use of the 7260, I have to say that the keys are less responsive than some of the other phones I’ve tried. While their size is sufficiently large for my man-sized fingers, I had to get used to pressing a little harder than usual. (It’s a “Manly-Man” test for your man-sized fingers, my man. – ED).

The toggle takes a little getting used to as well. I found that it helps if you’re forceful when using it, since it’s not as responsive as other phones’ toggles. For comparison’s sake, Sony Ericsson phones have flawless toggles – gentle movements are sufficient.

Still, I got used to the 7260’s keypad and toggle after several days of use.

The interface is identical to that in older Nokia phones. The main menu options include Messages, Call Register (this is where you check for missed calls and calls made), Contacts, Settings, Gallery, Media, Organiser and Applications.

All its features are pretty similar to those in older and current Nokias, so I’ll just comment on the more distinguishing features (and the occasional shortcoming).

Being a fashion phone, the 7260 is not exactly chockfull of high-end features. The connectivity is limited to infrared (no Bluetooth), while the camera is a VGA one (that means the camera resolution is 640 by 480pixels), which puts the Nokia in the midrange.

Its basic features should please most intermediate users, as the phonebook stores up to 1,000 contacts, and you can assign an image to each contact (limited to 100 images) – standard stuff that.

You can also shoot pictures, although the images are only so-so, IMHO. I like the bundled ringtones on the 7260 though – at least, there are more “normal” sounding ones, and fewer of the cheesy tunes that South Korean phonemakers love (and that we In.Tech-ers love to make fun of).

Games bundled with the 7260 are Backgammon and Glamour Pinball – the latter is cool but a bit annoying to play since the screen zooms in to a smaller section of the pinball, and my head was spinning halfway through the game.

The 65,000-colour screen is quite nice, IMHO, and enhancing the user experience are the fancy wallpaper schemes available. There’s one for everybody, so even the most conservative of you will definitely be pleased with the selection.

The build of the 7260 impressed me, as it was hardly scuffed by the time I returned the phone to Nokia. Plenty of phones today tend to “chip off” after several weeks of use.

Yes, I’m a serial phone abuser (by virtue of constantly having too many keys and coins in my pockets), but the 7260 survived all that.

And as for the battery life, the 7260 did moderately okay – a full charge lasted 48 to 72 hours, with fewer than 10 calls and 15 to 20 messages sent out daily. It’s quite far off Nokia’s 350-hour standby claim, but this is a review unit (which would have been used for quite awhile by the time we got our hands on it).

The price, at RM1,299, is a bit steep for the average bundle of features, but I’d wager that fashion fanatics will be willing to go the extra mile (and cough up a little more cash) to own a cool phone.

The Nokia 7260 is not too bad. It may be a bit pricey for some and lacks the full breadth of features seen in a number of today’s phones, but it’s quite functional and surprisingly sturdy.

If you’re just looking for a more unique-looking phone and can live without geek necessities such as Bluetooth, then this phone may be for you.

As far as fashion phones go, the 7260 is a decent buy. It doesn’t have any major flaws, and will be eyecatching enough for you – hey, flash this in a pub and you might have strangers giving you the interested look and all – not that I tried it, of course ....

Pros: Funky design yet functional screen really comes to life thanks to the brilliant wallpapers nice and solid build.

Cons: Price will be a deterrent for many.

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