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It's tough to beat $20 for a camera phone, and as far as looks go, the Nokia 2720 Fold isn't half bad. You arguably get more than you pay for with this glossy, though smudge-prone, flip handset. A music player, video recording, and Bluetooth take you beyond the basics, the controls are large, and the performance is decent. All that and a killer price make the Fold a contender for a simple phone. Nokia's Fold comes in black and deep red on T-Mobile's service ($19.99 with two-year contract) and dark blue on AT&T ($9.99 with two-year contract.)
Glossy and mirrored, the shiny Nokia 2720 Fold cuts a handsome figure coming out of the box. But hold this handset up to the light and you'll notice you've already besmirched its plastic coat with an endless number of smudges. Though sharply angled at its top, the Fold gentles into rounded corners at its bottom edge. At 3.66 inches tall, 1.81 inches wide, and 0.78 inch deep and 3.18 ounces, the Fold is light yet sturdy in our hands, with a thick hinge. The Fold flips up easily enough, and those with larger thumbs shouldn't have complaints.
The 1.36-inch black-and-white external display shows the time and caller ID (but not a photo--boo), and tells you when the keypad is locked. You can't adjust the backlight time, which is too bad, but squeezing the volume rocker will flash the clock. On the Fold's right spine are the volume rocker and a proprietary Nokia charger port. On the left spine, you'll find a 2.5mm headphone jack. Since the Fold has a music player, it's shame that this isn't a standard 3.5mm jack.
On the back, the Fold's 1.3-megapixel camera angles slightly upward. Fortunately, you can rest your finger below the lip to apply extra stabilizing control. The phone lacks a camera flash and a mirror for self portraits, but its shiny surface is enough for vanity shots.
The Fold opens to a 1.8-inch screen with 128x160-pixel resolution and 65,000 colors. You can adjust font size, but not the brightness or backlighting time. Below is a four-way navigation toggle and central OK button. Nokia uses a similar toggle square on other phones, including the Nokia 2320 GoPhone, but we found it occasionally clumsy. The laggy response on the screen's interface didn't earn any points in our books, either. The backlit keys on the dial pad are large and flush, but texting and dialing worked fine. The Fold's two keypad shortcuts trigger the music player and the phone's silent mode, and you can map more keys to more shortcuts in the Settings menu. Activating the camera isn't hard from the menu, but we'd much prefer a dedicated key on the dial pad or spine.
Set it down and you'll see that the top-heavy Fold rocks back on its head instead of remaining on its base. The imbalance makes the Fold hard to operate from a tabletop.
You can squeeze 500 contacts into the address book, with room in each entry for five phone numbers and an e-mail address. Groups are supported, and you can pair a contact with a photo. Just keep in mind that photo ID won't appear on the external display. Unfortunately, the Fold's 16 preinstalled polyphonic tones and eight alerts don't pair with a contact, but they will with a group. When silence is golden, vibrate or silent mode can sub in for ringtones.
Inside, you'll find text and multimedia messaging, instant messaging, and WAP browsing, with Opera Mini available for some regions. The organizer contains the usual alarm clock, calendar, to-do list, and a memo pad, and throws in a stopwatch and timer. Six Java games, including Tetris, Pacman, and The Oregon Trail, await you in the Games folder.
A handful of more-advanced features belie the Fold's small screen and low-end resolution. On top of Bluetooth support and hands-free speakerphone, there's support for IMAP, POP, and STMP e-mail messages, including Gmail, and support for attachments. We could never get them to open, however. Two other tidbits you'll find on the Fold include a voice recorder and the capability to sync and back up data with another phone or computer.
You'll never get stellar photos out of a 1.3-megapixel camera, particularly one without a flash. However, the Fold's camera will capture the moment as a still, a sequence of images, or as a video. There's a self-timer and an easy-to-use 4x digital zoom that helps produce grainy-but-serviceable JPEGs (up to 1,024x1,280-pixel resolution) that you can then send as an MMS or save to the phone's memory. You also can save images as caller ID photos, wallpaper, or icons.
The press of a button shifts you from photo to video mode, where the camera records 3GP clips up to 2 minutes long--and can play back 3GP and MP4 files. The Fold churns out videos at a rate of up to 15 frames per second. As with the camera, there's a 4x digital zoom. With 10MB internal memory, however, space can fill up fast.
The built-in music player for MP3 and AAC songs doubles as an FM radio if you've purchased a wireless headset with a built-in antenna, but you won't crank out any FM tunes out of the box. You can repeat songs on the player or shuffle them, and mute the audio. Without a dedicated store for easily buying music but as with the camera, music is an incidental selling point; the Fold just isn't positioned or provisioned to be a strong music device.
We tested the dual-band GSM (850/1900) Nokia Fold in San Francisco using T-Mobile's service. Call quality was acceptable overall, and better than average for a phone in its price range. Although voices mostly sounded clear, strong, and natural, in some calls, voices sounded a bit tinny and distant. As a dual-band phone, the 2720 will not work outside North America.
Callers on the other end of the line could tell we were on a cell phone, but they reported solid call quality with strong volume overall. In fact, volume was too loud for some callers, who described it as speaking too close to a microphone, and a tad tinny for others. Speakerphone sounded intelligible on our end, but was muted when we put down the open phone because of the placement of the main speaker. Friends on the other end had trouble hearing us on speakerphone.