Review: Nokia C7 Astound
Nokia (still) knows how to craft fine hardware. The Astound is a classy, refined slab-style phone that blends the best of the older E71-type models with the newer design language seen on Nokia's other Symbian^3 phones. It is slim, shiny, and an attractive blend of plastic and metal materials. It is light weight, and the rounded back surface makes it comfortable to hold and use. It is pocket friendly.
The display takes up most of the front surface of the Astound, and it is surrounded by chrome accents. Below it, there are three physical buttons, Send, Menu, and End. The Send/End keys are flat and built into the surface of the Astound. There are no physical indicators to let you know where they are other than the raised Menu key separating them. All three keys have good travel and feedback.
Most of the controls are found on the right side of the Astound. Closest to the top, it has a three-button combo that appears to be lifted directly from the E71. They are the up volume button, voice command button, and down volume button. Why the volume buttons are separated like this is beyond me, but all three of these buttons work well.
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Below these controls the Astound has a sliding lock/unlock switch. It is spring loaded, and is the fastest way to unlock the Astound's display. Last is the camera key. It's a bit small and flat, but offers a lot of travel and feedback.
The microUSB charging/data port is on the top of the phone, and a 3.5mm headset jack and power button are placed next to it. All three of these controls are easy to use. There is also a micro pin charging port on the left side — and in fact, the Astound ships with a micro pin charger and not a microUSB charger. Given Nokia's commitment to standardizing all phones on microUSB for charging, it seems odd to use the micro pin out of the box, though it does support charging in both ports.
Under the battery cover, the SIM card slot is accessible without the need to remove the battery, but you have to pull out the battery to get at the microSD card slot. In what world does that make sense, Nokia?
In all, the Astound's hardware is pleasing to look at and use.
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