Nokia C1 00

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Nokia C1-00: Dual SIM-phony

After years of watching their rivals introduce one dual SIM phone after another, a few months back Nokia finally decided to join them and unveiled its first mobile phones capable of accommodating two SIM cards at the same time. Eager to see what it held in store, we took one of them, the Nokia C1-00, for a spin around our testing grounds.

Instead of even bothering to catch up with the competition, the Finns chose to play the game by their own rules and made their first steps into the dual SIM mobile phone market by announcing a couple of entry level devices. No luster and certainly nothing groundbreaking, these devices (including the C1-00) pack only the most basic of features.

So, you get what you pay for. And what you need. Which is dual SIM telephony. The Nokia C1-00 works with two SIM cards and comes with a color display, a built-in FM radio and a handy flashlight.

Here’s the pros and cons of getting a Nokia C1-00.

As the short specs sheet reveals, there is no camera on the C1-00 back, and there is no need to look for a memory card slot either – you won’t find any. However, it would’ve been more surprising to actually see those on a 30-euro mobile phone. Long story short, the Nokia C1-00 feature pack is actually just fine.

What isn’t, though, is the phone’s dual SIM functionality. While this still is a dual SIM capable device, there is no dual standby on board. In other words, only one of the two inserted SIM cards is active at a time while the inactive one is unreachable.

Despite that, the Nokia C1-00 is still quite useful. You don’t need to turn off the phone each time you want to toggle the active SIM card, and let’s not forget that the C1-00 is among the most affordable phones out there.

Let’s see what else is under the Nokia C1-00 hood. Join us on the next page to take a look at the phone’s design and construction.

Nokia C1-00 unboxed

The Nokia C1-00 comes in a plain cardboard box. Other than the phone itself, you’ll get the typical basic accessories: a charger and the good old one-piece handsfree that ends in a 3.5mm audio jack. It comes in handy when making phone calls while driving or when using the FM radio (the phone lacks a built-in antenna). There’s, of course, a manual too.

Nokia C1-00 360-degree spin

The Nokia C1-00 isn’t exactly the most compact of basic feature phones at 107.1 x 45 x 15 mm but it would still fit in most pockets or purses.

The C1-00 tips the scales at 72.9 grams, which is perfectly acceptable. The thing is made of plastic that looks and feels cheap, but that’s to be expected from such an inexpensive device.

Nevertheless, the Nokia C1-00 feels robust enough and handles with ease.

Design and construction

The Nokia C1-00 comes in many flavors – Medium Blue, Light Gray, Sea Green, and Red (like the one paying us a short visit). We can hardly call the C1-00 design attractive but the phone is still nice looking (especially some of its color variants).

Both the front and the back of the phone are made of matt fingerprint-proof plastic which may not look expensive but it sure does the job.

Half of the C1-00 front is taken up by the 65K-color TFT display. It measures 1.8 inches and is of 128 x 160 pixel resolution. The image quality is surprisingly good for this price range and so is sunlight legibility. Right above the display we find the centrally located earpiece.

Underneath the screen is the navigation deck built around a D-pad with no center button in it (confirmation is now made using the left soft key).

While the four buttons surrounding the D-pad are very comfortable and feature a nice tactile feedback, the D-pad is kind of hard to press but in time you get used to it.

Except for navigation, the D-pad is also used to quickly turn on and off the inbuilt flashlight. Pressing twice up starts the flashlight and to switch it off, just press the D-pad once again in the same direction.

As for the numberpad underneath, all keys feature great tactile feedback and even if there is no space between them, they are still very user-friendly. Their only downside is the annoying click sound produced each time you press a button.

If you want to switch from one active SIM card to another, press and hold the asterisk key, while the phone is in standby mode.

The left side of the handset is bare while the right one only hosts the 2mm charger plug.

On the Nokia C1-00 top we find the flashlight we mentioned a second ago as well as the standard 3.5mm audio jack right next to it. The phone can’t be used as a portable music player but there is at least an FM radio on board.

Except for the Nokia logo and the speakerphone grill, there is nothing on the Nokia C1-00 back. Underneath there is the 1020mAh Li-Ion battery (BL-5C) which is quoted at up to the unbelievable 48 days of stand-by or up to 13 hours of talk-time.

Since we spent only a few days reviewing the phone we can’t give you exact real life battery life numbers. We had to charge the C1-00 battery only once – when starting our review.

Nice build quality is great to have in an entry level handset. The C1-00 delivers on ergonomics too – typing is excellent and navigation is a breeze. Two SIM card slots and a standard 3.5mm audio jack along with a built-in FM radio – not bad at all for the price you pay.

Series 30 user interface

The C1-00 runs Nokia’s Series 30 UI. The only thing to suggest that you’re actually holding a dual SIM capable phone is the tiny SIM1 (or SIM2) label in the center of the homescreen and the indicator in the upper left corner telling you which is the currently active SIM card.

The main menu has two different view modes: a grid of icons or a list of items. As usual, the color background of the entire menu, as well as the wallpaper on the display, can be easily modified by changing the active theme. The menu responds nicely (with occasional lags).

There are six predefined ringing profiles on the Nokia C1-00 and on top of them you get an additional user-customizable one. These should be enough to suit practically any situation you could possible face.

While browsing the menu we encountered quite a lot preloaded applications – Converter, Spreadsheet (turned out to be what we used to know as the Expense manager), countdown timer, stopwatch, and even a melody composer. Geez, we thought those were a thing of the past already. Actually, there’s no other way to add custom ringtones, so that’s something.

Key features:

  • Entry level dual SIM feature phone
  • Dual-band GSM support (GSM 900/1800 MHz), no dual standby
  • 1.8″ 65K-color display of 128-by-160-pixel resolution
  • FM radio
  • Flashlight
  • Low price
  • Promising 1020mAh battery

Main disadvantages:

  • Only one SIM card is active at a time
  • Keypad not comfy enough
  • No memory card slot
  • No support for GPRS, EDGE or Bluetooth


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