Nokia fans in the United States don't get many breaks. Few of the company's phones make it to U.S. carriers and the models that land here tend to be basic handsets for making calls. The Nokia 3711 for T-Mobile is one such phone. Simple in form and function, the 3711 is built mainly for communication with a couple of extra features thrown in. Call quality is good, and it takes admirable photos, but the flip phone design feels a bit flimsy and the external display isn't very useful. The 3711 is $69 with an Even More service contract and $159 with a no-contract Even More Plus plan.
With the 3711, Nokia continues a signature design trend that began with the Nokia 2605 and continued with the 7205 and the 2705. When you open the phone it forms the same smooth curve that gently cradles your head. We like the thin profile and clean lines, but we'd understand if others wanted something that cast a bigger shadow. Also, it's worth noting that the phone doesn't rest flat on a table when open. You can spin it like a top, but it wobbles if you try to text.
At 3.5 by 1.85 by 0.59 inches and 3.31 ounces, the 3711 is relatively compact and lightweight. The hinge is sturdy enough, but we couldn't help but notice a wispy feeling in the hand. It's sturdier then both the 2605 and the 2705, but it's still not a model that we'd want to bang around. We like the ribbed battery cover, but could take or leave the sable (aka brown) color scheme. According to Nokia, the 3711 is made from 8 percent recycled material.
Most of the front cover is black plastic. Behind the central panel is a hidden external display that disappears when the backlighting is off. While that's not an issue, the display only shows the time in large block numbers. Yes, knowing the time is useful, but we'd also like to see the battery life, signal strength, and even the date. Similarly, though it shows numeric caller ID, the monochrome won't display picture caller ID.
Completing the exterior of the phone are a volume rocker and 2.5mm headset jack on the left spine and a Micro-USB port on the right spine. The latter accommodates a USB cable and the charger. The camera lens sits at the top of the phone's back side. Make sure you finger is out of the way before you snap a photo.
The internal display measures 2.2 inches. It supports 16.7 million colors and has a 320x240-pixel resolution; it's quite bright and vibrant with bold colors and sharp graphics. The Nokia Series 40 menu interface is easy enough to use, but we'd like to have a couple of other design options beyond the icons. On the other hand, you can alter the wallpaper, display theme, and font size. And, of course, you can add shortcut options to the home screen.
The navigation array and keypad buttons are flat with the surface of the phone, but they make up for it with a spacious design. You'll find a square toggle with a central OK button, two soft keys, Talk and End/power control, and dedicated keys for the Web browser and camera. You also can program the toggle and left soft key with shortcuts. The keypad buttons are a tad slick, but we didn't have any problems dialing or testing. It is difficult to dial by feel, but the numbers on the keys are large.
The 3711 has a 2,000-contact phone book with room in each entry for five phone numbers, a URL, an e-mail address, a street address, a formal name and nickname, a company name and job title, and a birthday. You can assign callers to groups and you can pair them with a photo or a video and one of 21 polyphonic ringtones. Just keep in mind that photos and videos won't show up on the external display.
Essential features include text and multimedia messaging, a to-do list, a calculator, a currency and unit converter, a countdown timer, a calendar, an alarm lock, a stopwatch, a world clock, and a note pad. You'll also find voice dialing, a voice recorder, stereo Bluetooth, USB mass storage, and PC syncing. Thanks to the 3711's Assisted-GPS, you also get access to Nokia Maps and Telenav GPS Navigator.
With the 3711's 2-megapixel camera you can take pictures in six resolutions, from 1,600x1,200 down to 160x120, and three quality settings. Other options include a self-timer, three white-balance modes, a 4x zoom, and five color effects. Photo quality is quite good with bright colors and little image noise. There was a slight yellow tint to some of our shots, and there's no flash for dim environments, but on the whole it was one of the best shooters we've seen in its class.
The camcorder offers a similar set of editing options. Videos meant for multimedia messages are capped at 42 seconds, but you can shoot for longer in standard mode. When finished with your shots and clips, you can transfer them off the 3711, view them in a gallery application, or store them on the 70MB of user-accessible memory.
For music fans, the 3711 has a standard Nokia media player. The simple interface has user-friendly controls and supports album art. Features include an equalizer, shuffle and repeats modes, and an airplane mode for listening to tunes while you fly. The 3711 also offers an FM radio. The sound quality for both features was about fine, but a headset will offer the best results.
The 3711 has a standard WAP 2.0 browser. You can use it to download additional ringtones, alert tones, and customization options from T-Mobile's t-zones service. The 3711 offers demo versions of six games: Collapse Chaos, Deal or no Deal, Frogger Evolution, Monopoly Here & Now, The Oregon Trail, and Where's Waldo? You'll have to buy the full versions for extended play.
We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900) Nokia 3711 world phone in San Francisco using T-Mobile service. The handset also supports dual 3G bands (1700/211) for T-Mobile's wireless broadband network. In both cases the T-Mobile signal remained strong in our testing area. Note, the carrier's 3G network doesn't have the reach of AT&T's, but most pages on the WAP browser loaded in less than 10 seconds.
Call quality was quite decent. We didn't hear any static or interference, and our callers sounded natural. We would've liked the volume on our end to have been slightly louder, but that's a minor point. We had difficulty hearing only when we were in a noisy environment. Speakerphone calls were about the same and we enjoyed good call quality with a Bluetooth headset.
On their end callers said we sounded pretty good. They could tell that we were using a cell phone, but that's a typical experience. Like us, they had trouble hearing when we were in a loud place, but that was the limit of their complaints. On the whole, they reported a good experience. Similarly, automated calling systems could understand us most of the time.
The 3711 has a rated battery life of 4 hours talk time and 12 days standby time. The tested talk time comes close at 3 hours and 31 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the 3711 has a digital SAR of 1.28 watts per kilogram.