It's been a busy month for T-Mobile. The carrier may not have the iPhone, but it has been releasing new handsets at rapid pace. The Nokia 2760 isn't as exciting as the Motorola Rokr E8, but it keeps it simple with functional features and respectable call and photo quality. We didn't love everything about its design, and the speakerphone is disappointing, but it's at least easy to use. It is fine for occasional callers, but heavier cell phone users should look elsewhere. The 2760 is free with service or $89.99 if you pay full price.
The Nokia 2760 won't jump out of T-Mobile's lineup, but it's not unattractive by any means. The rounded edges and compact shape (3.43 inches by 1.76 inches by 0.82 inch; 2.84 ounces) give it a certain appeal, even if the plastic skin feels a bit flimsy in the hand. The 2760 is available in three color combinations, but T-Mobile picked the silver/navy blue version. The external postage stamp display (96x68 pixels) shows the time, signal strength, battery life, and caller ID. It is monochrome, however, so it won't show photo color ID or act as a viewfinder for self-portraits. You can select a clock style, activate a sleep mode, and adjust the backlighting time. The display goes completely dark when the backlighting is off. Normally that wouldn't be an issue, but without any external controls (more on that later), you have to open the phone to activate the display again.
Above the display is the lens for the VGA camera. It's well-placed for taking photos, but without a self-portrait mirror or a flash, its usability is limited. As mentioned, there are no external controls on the 2760, which is a design flaw. That means you have to remove the phone from your ear to adjust the volume when on a call.
The 2760's internal display was also disappointing. Though it supports 65,536 colors (160x128 pixels) and is a decent size (1.8 inches), it is way too bright and washed out to be useful. The icons in the simple menus have little definition, and the screen doesn't do justice to graphics, games, and photos. What's more, few options are customizable; you can change just the font size and color, and set a sleep mode.
The navigation array is spacious and well designed. There's a four-way toggle with a central OK button, two soft keys, and the Talk and End/power controls. Only the toggle is raised, but all controls are easy to use and tactile. The soft keys and the toggle can be set as shortcuts to user-defined features. The keypad buttons are equally large with a bright backlighting and big numbers. The keys are mostly flush, but we didn't have any misdials. Our only complaint is that the plastic keys feel a tad cheap. On the top of the 2760 are the charger port and the 2.5mm headset jack. Both are covered by a rubber flap.
The 2760 has a large, 1,000-contact phone book with room in each entry for five phone numbers, an e-mail address, a URL, a company name and job title, a formal name and nickname, a street address, a birthday, and notes. You can pair contacts with an image--keep in mind it won't show up on the external display-- but the 15 polyphonic ringtones can be assigned to caller groups only.
Other essentials include a vibrate mode, text and multimedia messaging, a voice-memo recorder, a unit and currency converter, an alarm clock, a calendar, a to-do list, a notepad, a calculator, and a stopwatch. You'll also find Bluetooth, PC syncing, an FM radio, instant messaging, and POP4 e-mail support. The latter two features are accessible only through the Web browser, which limits their usability.
The 2760's VGA camera takes shots in three resolutions and three quality settings. Other features are pretty slim; you'll find just a 4x zoom, a night mode, a self-timer, and a multishot mode. The camcorder lacks any real editing features except for the clip lengths. Videos meant for multimedia message are capped at 9 seconds; otherwise, you can shoot for as long as the phone's memory will permit. The 2760 has up to 11MB of user accessible memory but that will vary depending on how many contacts and messages you saved. Despite the camera's minimal offerings, photo quality was pretty decent for a VGA shooter. Colors were bright and there was little image noise.
You can personalize the 2760 with a variety of wallpapers, screen savers, color themes, and alert sounds. You also can choose to activate a screen animation when you open and close the flip. The 2760 comes with demo versions of Frogger and Petz; you'll have to buy the full versions for extended play.
We tested the dual-band (GSM 850/1900) Nokia 2760 in San Francisco using T-Mobile service. Call quality was pretty good for such a basic phone. Voices sounded natural, and the audio was clear without any static or interference. Callers said they could hear us well, except when we were in very noisy environments. At times the audio sounded a tad hollow, but it wasn't a big deal. The signal remained strong most of the time, but like with many T-Mobile phones, the 2760 took a couple of minutes to regain a signal when we came out of tunnels or the subway. Also, as the phone supports just two GSM bands, your coverage outside of North America will be nonexistent.
Speakerphone calls were somewhat poor, unfortunately. The audio was soft, and the speaker crackled more than was tolerable. Callers had trouble hearing us unless we spoke close to the phone in a completely quiet room.
The 2760's menus are rather sluggish. Many features took a few seconds to open, even basic applications like your messaging in-box. The 2760 has a rated battery life of 3 hours talk time, which is rather short, and 11 days standby time. According to our tests, we had a talk time of 7 hours and 45 minutes, which is far more than what was promised. According to FCC radiation tests, the 2760 SAR of 0.74 watt per kilogram.