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Nokia 7205 Intrigue review: Nokia 7205 Intrigue

Nokia 7205 Intrigue

Kent German
Kent German Former senior managing editor / features

Kent was a senior managing editor at CNET News. A veteran of CNET since 2003, he reviewed the first iPhone and worked in both the London and San Francisco offices. When not working, he's planning his next vacation, walking his dog or watching planes land at the airport (yes, really).

6 min read

While the Nokia 6500 Classic represents everything we've come to expect from a Nokia phone, the Nokia 7205 Intrigue for Verizon Wireless is everything that surprises us. The flip phone's design is so thin and shiny that the uninitiated might confuse it with a Samsung device. It's certainly eye-catching, but the trendy design entails a few usability compromises. Inside the story is more straightforward--you'll find a midrange feature set that includes a 2-megapixel camera, EV-DO support and GPS navigation. Yet, at the end of the day the average audio quality left us less than intrigued. The 7205 is $129 with service.


Nokia 7205 Intrigue

The Good

The Nokia 7205 Intrigue has an eye-catching design, a brilliant display, and an attractive feature set. Its photo quality is admirable, as well.

The Bad

The Nokia 7205 Intrigue's call quality and V Cast video quality are disappointing. Also, its style-centric design entails some compromises.

The Bottom Line

The Nokia 7205 Intrigue certainly looks nice, but it's not a practical multimedia phone.

It's obvious that design was a main focus of the 7205. The glossy black skin catches the light--it's even somewhat reflective--and the compact shape will endear it to slim phone enthusiasts. At 3.56 inches by 1.85 inches by 0.55 inch and 3.19 ounces, the 7205 travels well and it slips easily into a pocket or bag. The 7250's sleek lines also are worth mentioning--when the phone is open it takes the shape of a smooth arc. It doesn't exactly cradle the head, but it's certainly a unique touch, and we like the silver trim.

The 7205's external display is hidden behind the front face, which means it's invisible when the backlighting is off. Fortunately, you can control the backlighting time, but if it goes off, you can reactivate the display by flipping the volume rocker. In another uncommon touch, the display has a vertical orientation. Though that may not sit well with everyone, the arrangement allows the display to take almost full advantage of the 7205's front face. You'll find a clock and meters for the signal strength and battery life. The display also has touch controls for the music player. You can activate them by pressing the volume rocker.

Though the 7205 is eye-catching, the trendy design has its low points. The glossy skin attracts fingerprints and smudges to the point of being unsightly. Also, while the hinge is sturdy, the phone's plastic skin feels a tad cheap. This is not a phone for the danger-prone.

You'll find a few other exterior features. On the left spine are the aforementioned volume rocker, a 2.5mm headset jack, and a micro-USB port. The latter also accommodates the charger. The microSD slot is located on the right spine while the camera lens and flash sit on the top end of the phone's back side. Unfortunately, that makes vanity shots difficult.

The 2.2-inch interior display supports 262,000 colors and 320x240 pixels. It's bright and vibrant with sharp colors and graphics. You can change the backlighting time, the clock format and the dialing font size. The menus have leftover hallmarks of Verizon's standardized interface, but they're intuitive and easy to use.

The navigation array is mixed bag. On the upside, it's quite spacious and you're offered a fair number of keys. But on the downside, it might be a little too stylish for its own good. The toggle ditches the usual square or circular shapes in favor of a cross. It's certainly unique, but it takes a bit of getting used to. What's more, it's almost flush with the surface of the phone. The remaining controls consist of two soft keys, Talk and End/power buttons, a speakerphone key, a back/clear control, and a camera shortcut. All are flush with the surface of the phone.

The keypad comes in two designs: faded silver and faded pink. We reviewed the silver version, but the handsets are the same. Silver ridges separate the individual rows, but otherwise the keys are flat and a tad slippery. We didn't have any problems dialing or texting, however. The keys are lit by a bright backlighting, and the numbers and letters on the keys are standard size.

The 7205 has a 500-contact phone book with room in each entry for five phone numbers and two e-mail address. You can save callers to groups and you can pair them with one of 25 (72-chord) polyphonic ringtones. You can assign your contacts a photo as well, but keep in mind that it won't show up on the external display.

Basic features include a vibrate mode, text and multimedia messaging, a calculator, an alarm clock, a stopwatch, a world clock, a notepad, and a speakerphone. But the 7205 doesn't stop there. You'll also find voice commands, a voice memory recorder, Web-based POP3 e-mail, support for VZ Navigator and Verizon Chaperone and stereo Bluetooth. Verizon's visual voice mail is available as well, though it requires a $2.99 monthly fee.

As an EV-DO phone, the Intrigue supports the full range of Verizon's 3G services, including V Cast streaming video content, and the V Cast Music with Rhapsody. Both the V Cast menu and music store interface are pretty much unchanged from other Verizon phones. Player options include the usual limited shuffle and repeat modes, but V Cast Music also will recommend other songs based on your playlist. Music player features are limited to an airplane mode, shuffle and repeat modes, and playlists.

The 7205 offers a flash, but not a self-portrait mirror.

The 7205 Intrigue's 2-megapixel camera takes pictures in five resolutions, from 1,600x1,200 down to 160x120. The shooter also offers a flash, a self-timer, a 4x digital zoom, brightness and white balance controls, three color effects, and four shutter sounds (there's no silent option). The camcorder shoots clips in one resolution (176x144). Its editing options are limited to a light (aka the flash), the digital zoom, and the brightness and white balance controls. Clip length is limited to 40 seconds.

The 7205 has respectable photo quality.

Photo quality is quite decent. Despite a bit of image noise, the colors looked natural and the flash wasn't too bright. Videos, on the other hand, were just average. The 7205 offers 150MB of internal storage, and the microSD slot will accommodate cards up to 8GB. It's relatively easy to get photos off of the phone with a multimedia message or Bluetooth. You also can upload them directly to a blog or an online Verizon album.

You can personalize the 7205 with a variety of wallpaper, display themes, banners, and alert tones. You can get more options and additional ringtones with the WAP 2.0 wireless Web browser. The Intrigue doesn't come with any games, but you can download BREW-enabled titles from Verizon.

We tested the dual-band (CDMA 850/1900) Nokia 7205 Intrigue in San Francisco using Verizon Wireless service. Call quality was just average, unfortunately, and not up to what we'd expect from a Verizon handset. Though the volume level was loud, the signal had a hint of static and voices sounded rather harsh. And at other times, our friends' voices had a metallic effect. We were able to understand people in most situations, but it wasn't an enjoyable experience. Also, the phone picked up some background noise.

On their end, callers weren't impressed, either. All could tell that we were using a cell phone and they reported the same hint of static. They didn't mention distorted audio, but they had trouble hearing us when were speaking in a noisy place. Speakerphone calls were below par, as well. The volume was fine, but the metallic effect was magnified.

V Cast video wasn't much better. Though the brilliant display made us hopeful, the video were pixelated and blotchy. Also, when watching movie clips in a letterbox format, the clips barely took up a third of the display's full size. Yet, it wasn't all bad. The audio was loud and in sync with the video and our clips downloaded quickly and without interruption.

The connection to the V Cast Music store was also zippy, thanks to the 7250's EV-DO Rev. A connection. The only caveat is that EV-DO coverage can be variable inside buildings. We downloaded a 1.58MB song in about a minute. Music quality through the external speaker was tinny and lacking in warmth, so we suggest using headphones for the best experience.

The 7205 has a rated battery life of 4.5 hours talk time and 11 days standby time. The tested talk time is a tad longer at 5 hours and 33 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the 7205 Intrigue has a digital SAR of 1.08 watts per kilogram.


Nokia 7205 Intrigue

Score Breakdown

Design 5Features 7Performance 6
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