Nokia's triband 7373 follows on from the very similar-looking 7370, which was part of the first wave of L'Amour fashion phones. These two phones have more in common than their looks -- a side-by-side inspection of the specs list reveals only a few changes have been made in the year since the 7370 appeared.
When the original L'Amour collection was announced, Nokia issued a typically overwrought press release describing the product range as "a beautiful mix of contrasts - infusing cultural and ethnic influences with luxurious touches of the unexpected". This aesthetic, complete with "nature-inspired graphics" and velvet-lined carry pouches, continues with the 7373.
The 88 by 43 by 23mm swivel phone is available in black chrome, bronze black, and a striking powder pink. The floral accents of the 7370 have been ditched in favour of a tribal-style pattern incorporating concentric circles and dots. Perhaps this change was in response to the 7370 being branded a "granny phone" by a few unimpressed punters. Regardless, the tribal look makes the phone a more gender-neutral device than its predecessor.
Swivelling open the 7373 uncovers a flat keypad incorporating a jewelled selection key at the top (to see how springy and satisfying the swivel motion is, watch the video on the right). The Send and End keys are labelled with very stylised symbols indicating their function and lack the conventional red and green colouring, so it may take a few days to get the hang of using them.
The reverse side of the phone houses a 2-megapixel camera (upgraded from the 7370's 1.3-megapixel version) and features a leather-coated battery cover that makes good on Nokia's "mix of contrasts" pledge. A fabric tag common to all L'Amour phones completes the fashion look.
As you might expect from a sartorially slanted product, Nokia has bundled a few coordinated accessories into the 7373's box, including a silver handstrap with teeny NOKIA-stamped dog tag and a velvet-lined pouch -- a sort of sleeping bag for your phone.
The 7373 has a pretty standard featureset for a mid-range triband phone. You've got your SMTP, POP3, IMAP and APOP e-mail support; a 2-megapixel camera with 8x zoom capable of capturing video; and a basic WAP browser for those willing to wait for their Web pages to display in a squished, distorted format.
An FM radio and music/video player allow you to get musical or watch amusing clips to stave off boredom. The visual radio feature is handy, providing the titles of songs as they play, along with the name of the artist.
There is also Push-To-Talk functionality. We're yet to encounter anyone with a PTT-enabled phone who uses the feature, but it's there just in case.
The 7373 has a teeny tiny 8MB of internal memory, but comes with a 128MB microSD card tucked among its innards. This can be swapped out for cards of up to 2GB capacity, giving you room to grow.
The base of the phone features the standard Nokia Pop-Port, used to connect to a USB port on your computer. Unfortunately there is no USB cable in the box, so you're looking at Bluetooth for data transfer unless you purchase one separately.
As with the 7370, we found the placement of the camera awkward -- the lens is tucked away on the side of the phone, which puts it on the bottom when you hold the phone horizontally. You'll need to make sure the fingers of your left hand don't creep across and cover the lens.
The swivel motion is just plain fun to use -- a sly flick of the thumb sends the top layer up with a satisfying click, and will make you feel a bit Quick Draw McGraw. Do watch out that you don't accidentally press any buttons though -- we unknowingly placed a call while revelling in how cool we looked post-swivel.
Our battery kicked on for four days between charges, which is longer than the 7370 lasted. We were also impressed by the 7373's ability to withstand being dropped and knocked about -- we don't make a habit of flinging phones around during testing, but the 7373 was somehow released onto the ground more than once and fared well thereafter.
The 7373 is one of those love-it-or-hate-it devices that tends to polarise potential buyers. While some will be turned off by its fussy aesthetics, others will fall for the strokable surfaces and satisfyingly solid swivel motion. All up, it's a phone for those who like to update their wardrobes -- and handsets -- every season, as the distinctive looks are likely to fall out of fashion before the phone breaks down.