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Of all the cell phone manufacturers on the planet, Nokia arguably has the most varied product line around. From fancy models like the Nokia N97 Mini to basic handsets like the Nokia 1661, the company has them. The Nokia 2320 for AT&T's Go prepaid service is definitely of the latter camp. Built for communication, the 2320 offers a simple design and good call quality, though we would have liked Bluetooth and a dedicated volume rocker. It will cost you $29 with no contract.
With its smooth lines, simple controls, and plastic skin, the Nokia 2320 is just what you'd expect from a basic candy bar phone. It won't win any design contests, and it doesn't feel particularly sturdy, but this is a handset that rightfully puts usability first. At 4.21 inches by 1.81 inches by 0.54 inch, the 2320 travels well. And at just 2.81 ounces, you might even forget it's in your pocket.
The 1.75-inch display supports 65,000 colors and 160x128 pixels. As you might expect, it's not very vibrant, and graphics are far from sharp, but colors are bright and you can see the display in direct light. The menu interface is intuitive in either the list or icon style, and you can change a few display options like the standby font color and font size.
The navigation array consists of a toggle with a central OK button, two soft keys, and the Talk and End/power buttons. The toggle ring is raised above the surface, and its silver color stands out from the phone's black face. The remaining keys are flush, but their spacious arrangement makes them easy to use. On the downside, there's no dedicated Back button.
They alphanumeric keypad buttons also are flat, and they have a cheap plastic feel, but they're easy to use. When texting quickly we made occasional mistakes, though those instances were few. People with visual impairments should take note that the backlit text on the keys is quite small.
Unfortunately, there's no side volume rocker, which means you'll have to use the toggle to adjust the sound during calls. The only exterior features are the charger port and headset jack on the left spine. We'll let the 2.5mm pass on such a basic phone (normally, we prefer a 3.5mm jack), but we have to complain about the proprietary Nokia charger connection.
Appropriately, the Nokia 2320's feature set sticks to the basics. The phone book holds 500 contacts with room in each entry for five phone number types, an e-mail address, a formal name, a company name and job title, a nickname, a street address, a birthday, and notes. You can save callers to groups and you can pair them with a photo--just remember that without a camera you'll have to be creative about which photos you use. The 2320 comes with eight polyphonic ringtones, but you can assign them only to groups and not to individuals.
Other features include text and multimedia messaging, an alarm clock, a calendar, a full duplex speakerphone, a to-do list, a notepad, a calculator, a timer, and a stopwatch. Bluetooth, sadly, is absent, but you do get instant messaging, PC syncing, packet data support, and a few applications, including Wikimobile, the Weather Channel, Mobile E-mail, and Mobile Banking. Keep in mind that most apps will require data use.
You can personalize the 2320 with a variety of wallpaper, color themes, and alert tones. More options and additional ringtones are available with the WAP 2.0 wireless Web browser. Just be sure to watch your data use on a prepaid phone, as Web browsing can add up on your bill quickly. The 2320 comes with demo versions of three Java games: Collapse, Scrabble, and Midnight Bowl. You'll have to buy the full versions for extended play.
We tested the dual-band (GSM 850/1900) Nokia 2320 in San Francisco using AT&T service. The 2320 offers acceptable call quality for such a basic, affordable phone. Voices sounded natural, the signal was clear, and the volume was strong. As we mentioned, we'd prefer to have a volume rocker, but we suppose you'd get used to its loss eventually. Our only complaint was that voices could sound a bit tinny at times, though it wasn't really bothersome. As a dual-band phone, the 2320 will not work outside North America.
On the other end callers reported good call quality as well. They could tell that we were using a cell phone and though some reported a lot of background noise, the complaints were few. In contrast, speakerphone calls were garbled, and voices were distorted. Also, the placement of the tiny speaker on the rear face doesn't help with the low volume.
The Nokia 2320 has a rated battery life of 3.5 hours talk time and 15 days standby time. We got an amazing 11 hours and 55 minutes of talk time in our tests. According to FCC radiation tests, the 2320 has a digital SAR of 1.47 watts per kilogram.