Though Nokia always has pushed the limits of cell phone design, its L'Amour fashion phone line has gone about as far as you can go. For example, consider the Nokia 7380. Besides the fact that it hardly looks like a cell phone, it has no keyboard and offers only a tiny eye-straining display. No one ever said fashion and comfort go hand in hand, but even Nokia admits the 7380 is better suited as a secondary handset. So perhaps that's why Nokia broadened its L'Amour line with the Nokia 7370. This time the device actually looks like a cell phone, and its swivel design (the first we've seen from Nokia) better complements its multimedia options. Buttons and controls aren't perfect, and call volume is rather low, but the Nokia 7370 is an attractive handset with a solid combination of features and performance.
Though we're getting used to seeing something other than candy bar models from the Finnish folks, we were still a bit surprised to see a swivel design. The handset is available in brown and amber; we reviewed the brown version, but both models are a nice change from the commonplace silver and black. Like its sibling, the 7370 has designs etched into the surface for added appeal. The brown version has a series of lines around the display face and the back of the swivel, while the amber model uses a flowers and leaves design. And like the 7380, the 7370 has a faux-leather covering on its rear face.
At 3.5 by 1.7 by 0.9 inches, the 7370 has average dimensions for a swivel phone and is more or less on a par with the Sony Ericsson W600i. At 3.7 ounces, it's a bit heavy for its size but the trade-off is a solid feel in the hand. The swivel mechanism also feels sturdy, and we like that when you open the front flap, it tilts slightly outward for an ergonomic fit against your head. Yet like the W600i, you can't rotate the swivel a full 360 degrees, and since all controls are behind the front flap, you can't answer the phone, make calls, or browse menus with the swivel closed. What's more, we found it a bit odd that the display's orientation flips when you swing it open. That means that when the swivel is closed, the display is upside down if you're holding the handset so that the Nokia logo appears right side up.
Speaking of which, the 7370's display is quite attractive and is another welcome improvement over previous Nokia screens. With support for 262,144 colors, the 2-inch-diagonal (240x320 pixels) display is great for viewing photos and playing games, and it has user-friendly menus. You can change the backlighting time and the font size but not the brightness.
Like the 7380, the 7370 has some design compromises in its buttons. The controls behind the front flap are completely flush with the surface of the phone to allow the swivel mechanism to close. That makes things a little tricky with the backlit keypad buttons and the navigation array because it's hard to dial by feel and the keys are too slippery. We had a few misdials, but on the upside, the controls are large enough. The five-way toggle has programmable shortcuts, while the two soft keys give one-touch access to the contacts list and a secondary shortcuts menu. A dedicated back or clear button was a noticeable omission, but it's not a big deal. However, we didn't like that the talk and end buttons are not marked clearly and lack even the traditional red and green colors. Also, the volume rocker on the left spine and the power button and dedicated camera shutter on the right spine are small and not very tactile. On the right spine is a fabric tag, which is a trademark of the L'Amour line.
With a few exceptions, the Nokia 7370's feature set is comparable to the offerings on Nokia's other L'Amour handset, the 7380. The 500-contact phone book is adequate and has room in each entry for five phone numbers; e-mail, street, and Web addresses; and notes (the SIM card holds an additional 250 names). You can organize callers into groups, pair them with one of the 9, 64-chord, polyphonic ring tones, and assign them a photo for caller ID. Other offerings include a vibrate mode, text and multimedia messaging, a calculator, a world clock, a five-minute voice recorder, a currency and unit converter, a calendar, a to-do list, a notepad, a countdown timer, a stopwatch, an alarm clock, and instant messaging. One additional offbeat application is a converter for determining clothing and shoe sizes for different countries.
Higher-end features include full Bluetooth for connecting to a headset or for sending files, PC syncing, USB cable support, voice dialing and commands, and a speakerphone. Strangely you won't find POP3 and IMAP4 e-mail support, but you can send audio messages directly to the voicemail of another cell phone and use a flash messaging feature.