Sony Ericsson was the first out of the gate with a compact yet affordable color-screen phone, the T68i, for GSM service. But Nokia has responded with a strong color model of its own, the 7210, that has all the style of the earlier 8390 and enough high-end features, including world roaming, IR, GPRS connectivity, a built-in speakerphone, and FM radio, to satisfy most heavy cell phone users.
|Deliciously stylish: The compact 7210 is a real head turner.|
|This hip keypad will take some getting used to.|
Following the lead of the 8390- and 8200-series mobiles, the 7210 is a decidedly stylish phone. But it's not the phone's slim profile (4.2 by 1.8 by 0.7 inches and 2.9 ounces) that will turn heads; it's the 4,096-color, nine-line display that is really the main attraction. While the screen isn't as rich as that of the Samsung SPH-A500, it's on a par with that of Motorola's T720.
If you're into customizing your phone's looks, you'll dig that you can replace the 7210's front and back covers (turquoise and gray-green faceplates are included in the box). And that's not all. You can take advantage of the color screen by choosing one of eight color schemes and downloading images to save as wallpaper to add even more personalization.
While not identical to the keypad found on the 8390, the backlit silver number keys on the 7210 are placed in a similar fashion. We rarely had misdials because of the new layout, but it took a while before we could dial without looking at the keys. That said, we had one gripe: Turning the phone on and off is tougher than it should be. You have to press the power button on the top pretty hard to get the phone to do anything. As noted, this is the first stateside, candy bar-style phone from Nokia with a color screen. But that's not all the 7210 has going for it; it's loaded with many of the high-end features found in the company's 6300 business line, plus a couple of fun extras. All the standards are here, including a speakerphone, mute, call conferencing, e-mail support, text and picture messaging, a 300-name phone book, a to-do list, a calendar, a calculator, a currency converter, a stopwatch, and an alarm clock. And with Nokia's PC Suite software for the 7210, you can wirelessly sync your phone book, calendar, and to-do list via IR or an optional USB connectivity kit.
On the entertainment side, the 7210 ships with two somewhat addictive games installed: Triple Pop and Bounce. You can add as many downloadable ring tones and images as you can store in the phone's 725KB of memory in addition to the 32 tones (plus vibrate) and 10 picture messages already onboard. Since the phone is J2ME compatible, you can also download games and applications via the high-speed data (GPRS) wireless Web access. Like some of the earlier Motorola models, the 7210 has a built-in FM radio that you can use with the included earboom headset. If you find the headset uncomfortable, you can always buy the two-bud-style stereo version, which we prefer.
Ready to travel: This compact charger won't take up a lot of room in a bag.
We tested the trimode (GSM 900/1800/1900) 7210 in San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area using AT&T Wireless service and found call quality to be good. Callers said they couldn't tell we were calling from a cell phone, and when we switched to the speakerphone, we were informed that audio quality didn't change at all on the other end.
In true Nokia fashion, the phone excelled in its standby battery life testing. We managed to meet the company's rating of 10 days. Unfortunately, it didn't fare as well in the talk time tests. We managed to get only 2.5 hours of talk time compared to the phone's rating of up to 5 hours.