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Nokia 9300 (AT&T) review: Nokia 9300 (AT&T)

The Nokia 9300 provides a strong arsenal of phone and data features that should please mobile professionals. For chatters, the 9300's phone book has room in each entry for multiple numbers, an e-mail address, a street address, and company information. You can add as many contacts as the phone's memory allows and store an additional 250 names on the SIM card. You can assign a contact one of 40 polyphonic ring tones or an image for caller-ID purposes, but since the 9300 doesn't have a built-in camera, you'll have to get photos onto your phone another way. You also get an integrated speakerphone, five-way conference calling, USB 2.0 connectivity, an infrared port, and Bluetooth support. Unfortunately, there's no integrated Wi-Fi and, curiously, no vibrate mode either.

Corporate users will love that the Nokia 9300, which runs on Symbian OS 7, supports POP3, IMAP4, SMTP, SyncML, and BlackBerry Connect e-mail accounts. We had no problems setting up our POP3 account, though users less accustomed to this process should consult the user's guide for help. You can access complete contact information from both the external and internal displays, though you'll have to use the QWERTY keyboard to send e-mail or text messages. The 9300 also supports multimedia and instant messages.

Use the Nokia 9300's full QWERTY keyboard to happily type away your messages.

The unit comes with 80MB of memory--a very generous allotment compared to the Sony Ericsson P910a's 64MB--and you can add an additional 2GB through the aforementioned MMC slot.

Nokia's PC Suite software lets you transfer files, synchronize with your address book, or use the phone as a modem to connect to the Internet. Note that you'll have to download this free software from Nokia's site and fork over $50 for a data cable. That said, the phone comes with plenty of onboard applications to get you going. You can open Microsoft Office files with the included document, spreadsheet, and presentation viewers and editors. The software supports Excel spreadsheets with multiple tabs, though switching between sheets requires pressing the Menu button and selecting Worksheets from the View menu. The Nokia 9300 also comes with Adobe Acrobat reader for Symbian. Some of our sample PDFs appeared with missing text or graphics, though others came through intact. Other organizational tools include a calculator, a file manager, an alarm clock, and a voice recorder.

For entertainment, the Nokia 9300 comes with an MP3 player and RealPlayer for playing video files. The headphone jack isn't the standard 2.5mm size, so you'll have to buy a Nokia-only headset. Although this is a business-centric device, the option of a megapixel camera would have been a nice addition, as you could easily send pictures via your POP3 or IMAP4 e-mail account. The 9300 supports GPRS and EDGE networks for Internet access. We found browsing slow going over GPRS, so if you plan to do a lot of Web surfing on the included Opera browser, it's worth investing in an EDGE subscription.

Though the Nokia 9300 is a smart phone with a heavy emphasis on messaging, thankfully the company didn't forget about phone performance. We tested the triband (GSM 850/1800/1900) 9300 in the Chicago area over Cingular's network, and phone calls sounded great. Callers said they couldn't tell we were using a cell phone, and the integrated speakerphone provided good volume without distorting. We like that you can continue calls in speaker mode even when using other features--for instance, when typing on the keyboard or sending a document via e-mail. We also had no problem pairing the 9300 with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset, though with slightly diminished call quality.

Though Nokia rates the 9300 for 7 hours of digital talk time, we got only 5.25 hours. Similarly, the five-days-plus of standby time we received fell short of Nokia's eight-day rating. According to FCC radiation tests, the Nokia 9300 has a digital SAR rating of 0.21 watts per kilogram.

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