Nokia C7 T-Mobile Astound hands-on

Don’t panic you’re not going mad - we’ve already reviewed the Nokia C7 thanks to the fact that it came out in the UK in October 2010. So why are we doing a hands-on of the phone some 5 months later?

Well, it has just got its US release date (6 April) and while the phone’s hardware looks virtually identical to the global release, there are some differences worth sharing and pointing out.

Hardware wise nothing has changed with this Nokia smartphone. It’s now silver rather than charcoal black, and beneath the screen there is a big AT&T... we mean T-Mobile... logo shining out at you.

The T-Mobile Astound still has an 8-megapixel camera (and very good it is too), still has the same 3.5-inch AMOLED screen that is well-sized and performs particularly well in brightly lit conditions - partly thanks to the AMOLED technology and partly because of the ambient light detector that automatically adjusts the backlight. 

Where the main changes occur are in the software interface.

T-Mobile has added their Visual Voicemail service and you now get Slacker radio pre-installed. If you’re not familiar with Slacker it’s very much like a Pandora or Last.fm, bringing you music streamed to your phone without you having to actually own any music yourself. The service works well and certainly welcomed.

Also new to the Astound is Swype pre-installed to use in both landscape and portrait modes. We had a play with Swype in landscape (portrait currently isn’t installed but is promised) and it works well - it will certainly help solve the cramped portrait keyboard which on the global edition is just too tight for comfort.

Elsewhere Nokia has moved to improve the Symbian 3 OS with tweaks here and there. That means new “Android like” tile animations when you slide from one panel to the next, new “tabbed” browsing very much like the iPhone, and better maps functionality.

Nokia Maps now comes with better 3D mapping, Wi-Fi positioning and the ability to add country maps via Wi-Fi on the fly before you hit that country. The move means you’ll save yourself from having to download maps when abroad and getting hit with high roaming charges.

The new Nokia C7 Astound, as the reps at the launch party were calling it, will be available in the US from 6 April and will cost $79.99. Nokia has told us that there are no plans to bring the new software updates to current C7 users outside the US.