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Review: Nokia C7 Astound

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The Astound uses a slightly tweaked version of Symbian^3 (S^3), but most users won't see the differences compared to other S^3 handsets.

It has three home screens, each with its own set of widgets. The main home screen has the clock, date and time; profile setting; four application shortcuts; and three widgets. It is a bit of a mess. All of the home screen elements are different shapes and sizes, adding an unwanted element of chaos to the way it feels. There is also a dock that persists across the bottom edge of all three home screens, which provides access to options, the phone app, and screen switching. The secondary two screens are pre-populated with widgets, such as Slacker Radio, YouTube, T-Mobile-branded content and so on. They can be rearranged, deleted, or added to.

From the home screen, if you press the home button on the front of the Astound, it takes you to the main menu. If you press the home button while in any other application on the device, it takes you back to the central home screen. This takes a little getting used to. Press and hold it to access the task manager/app switcher function.

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The main menu is laid out grid-style, with 12 icons. Users can switch the main menu to list view, as well as rearrange where the menu items are located on the screen. Things start to get fuzzier once you dive deeper into applications. Individual app menus come in a jumble of tabs, drop-downs, pull-downs, and extended options.

Performance is inconsistent. Some times home screens, apps, and widgets worked great, and other times the phone crashed, froze, or needed to be reset. Other times you'd get the domino effect, and the Astound would freeze, then suddenly respond to a dozen key presses all at once.

Nokia has not cleared up many of the usability problems Phone Scoop saw in the N8's Symbian software. Android and Windows Phone 7 are much easier platforms to learn and use.


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