Nokia 7210: 12/05/2002
By Carlos E.
When I bought the7210 I already had an idea of what to expect. My last Phone, the 8390, had the record for the longest period of time that I have ever kept a phone, and for a reason. The 8390 had good RF reception, good PIM features, great size and looks, GPRS, IR, and a host of other features.
I briefly played with the 721O while at CTIA2002 earlier this year, and was very impressed, at least with their menu structure and size, which was all that it was doing at that beta stage. After the first few favorable reviews trickled in, reporting that its RF would not disappoint, I decided to lay down the heap of cash for the unlocked version.
First of all the RF, and size of this phone receive 10/10 a grade. Those two qualities do not need much explanation for they surpass all my expectations. RF is comparable or better to the MOT P280, and size to the NOK 3390 in height and NOK 8390 in thickness, actually the dimensions are almost equal to those of the 8260, but it looks skinnier.
So, onto the rest of the phone...
Being that this is Nokia's direct blow to Ericsson's T68, the first thing we should discuss is its color screen.
The screen, quite frankly is a letdown, although it's "nicer", resolution-wise, than that of the T68i, it suffers from noise and ghosting. Perhaps it's the quality of the screen used, I don't know.
At first l thought mine was defective, but after querying other 7210 owners, they all said it was something that theirs exhibited as well. I decided to confirm this and went to visit the people of UStronics where I bought it. They were kind enough to let me test some of the wallpapers that were causing the most amount of interference noise. Sure enough, another randomly selected handset exhibited the behavior and confirmed my fear, another Nokia LCD bug prevalent throughout all the handsets. It doesn’t make the phone unusable, but it’s an annoyance, especially considering what we had to pay for it. Not all wallpapers provoke this behavior, though, so it is something you can avoid.
If you want to get a pseudo-idea of what this looks like, take your GSM phone and place it near a CRT monitor, and then hit the send button to initiate the call. The wavy lines you see on the monitor are the same ones I see, to a lesser degree on the 7210’s screen. Like I said, it doesn’t happen with all wallpapers, just with some, and it can make an otherwise ‘cool’ wallpaper seem undesirable to use. The only cool idea I heard that would take a potential disadvantage and make it an advantage was if someone made wallpaper with the streaming characters from the movie “The Matrix”, then when the screen did the wavy lines, it would look kind of cool!
Moving on, a quick blurb about what it does not have, compared to the T68i, it doesn't have WAP 2.0, but as of now, there are no sites that are 2.0 anyway. It doesn't have bluetooth, and well that sucks, but I can live without it. Nokia could theoretically release a Pop-Port bluetooth add on ala T-28 HBH-10, but they have denied anything like that being in the works. It doesn't have a picture phonebook, but I could care less. However it does, to counter Ericsson, it has a great Speakerphone and Radio function.
The Pop port is not a new idea. Ericsson has had it for a while, and Nokias interface doesn't lock so well causing electrical disconnects if you jostle it just a little. Several people have been reporting that this is a problem with their stereo headsets, and that by jostling just a little bit, it will cause the stereo headset to go MONO. The radio function through the stereo headset is quite cool, and so is having someone’s voice coming through in dual-mono. However, I must admit, that compared to a normal headset, the one supplied, quite frankly sucks. Yes, it is cool for listening to the radio, but to make or receive a phone call, it takes too long to pop in, put on, and then once you’re on the call, the microphone hangs too far away, requiring you to have to pick it up, or tie it up really close to your mouth. Oh well. At least the speakerphone redeems it. The speakerphone is loud and clear.
Recently, I did pick up a new headset for it, the one that wraps around your ear and has a boom mic. So far I like it better than the stereo one for ease of putting it on and for ease of talking since you don’t have to pick it up to talk into it. The only complaint I have is that the button to take/terminate a call is on the bottom of the boom in the area most likely for you to grab by accident while adjusting the headset mid-call. This has caused me to drop calls on occasion.
Text Messaging on the 7210 is a dream. The full PIM feature of the phone book lets you email and text message very easily. With the small fonts you can type your whole message on the screen without having to scroll, and the T9 implementation is top-notch. It even has a quick-access to text messaging button when you press left on the 4-direction pad. MMS is pretty cool, and although I have only been able to send to email accounts, for none of my friends have MMS capable phones; it looks pretty cool in theory. Quite frankly what I like most about MMS is that there is no more ‘limit’ to the size of the text message like there is in a regular text message. In addition, when I get a camera, it will make it nice to upload to it pictures to send.
Now about the keypad, and design in general of the 7210. I like it aesthetically, but would only give it a 7/10 when it comes to ergonomics. The keypad is weird to type on but not horrible, and at night it isn’t evenly distributed, making the 4 & 6 keys hard to see.
The PIM on the 7210 basically makes it a PDA at this point. You can synch it with outlook for contacts, to-do’s, and calendar. It will include just about every detail in the information as well, such as street address and emails (plural).
About the ringtones, they are awesome! Although perhaps not as sophisticated as the S105 in polyphony, nevertheless very cool. There are several links in the forums (check cool links as well as the Nokia forum) regarding where to get them.
This phone is stable, but it does have bugs that have caused it to reboot several times or behave in a weird fashion. The first bug is that in some cell sites where there is erratic GPRS (Union Square NYC) the phone will show a signal and then none, but still be capable of making calls, so this is obviously a firmware bug, but not a hardware bug. I have already mentioned the Pop-port bug, which is really more of a design flaw. The rest of the bugs are too erratic to pin point, but all of them cause the phone to shut down and reboot. One of the things that have caused this has been adding bookmarks, but it isn’t consistent.
Overall, this is by far my favorite phone hands down. 10/10 for the year 2002.
Some people may disagree with me because it doesn’t have all the wiz-bang features of the T68i, but the RF and Speakerphone more than make up for the lack of picture phonebook and Bluetooth.
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