Nokia Oro hands-on

The Nokia Oro is the Russian mafiosos take on the C7, featuring 18 carat gold plating, Scottish leather back and even a sapphire crystal home key.

The phone is definitely more bling than anything else, with operating system and processing power taking a back seat to all that shinyness. Making use of the latest Symbian update, nicknamed Anna, the Oro chugs along at a decent enough rate but definitely doesn't do anything particularly exciting in the operating system department. We did like the addition of a social hub to bring in Twitter and Facebook feeds. The idea of a single unified email inbox for different accounts may also please some business users.

Size-wise it looks like all that gold surprisingly hasn't added much in the weight department. The Oro tips the scales at 132g, less than most smartphones and features pocket sized 4.62 x 2.26 x 0.48 dimensions. Build quality was good, although we have to say all that gold and sapphire didn't particularly add much excitement once you actually had the mobile in your hands.

It looks like Nokia has kept up its high quality imaging tradition with the Oro. The 8 megapixel camera slapped on the back can shoot smooth and saturated 30fps 720p video. Stills were sharp and the camera responded to button presses more like a compact than a mobile phone. The dual LED flash and 8GB of onboard memory also allows for a decent amount of snapping to be done. 

The Oro screen is one of the handsets high points. With a proper 3.5-inch AMOLED display and 360 x 640 nHD resolution, videos and websites looked particularly good on the handset. Black levels were deep and viewing angles particularly worth noting. Even on top of Nokia's London offices on a sunny English day we could view just about everything on the Oro's display.

On the side of the Oro is a dedicated set of buttons for music playback and camera snapping. There is also a record button which is particularly useful for grabbing voice notes onto the handset. Unfortunately the handset we tried out didn't have any music loaded onto it so we couldn't give the player a go to check for sound quality.

The Oro also comes with a brushed steel and gold plated bluetooth headset. The design itself is decent enough and audio quality good, but personally we thought the idea of a gold slab sticking out our ear a little too much. 

All this gold means the Oro isn't exactly cheap. For a few pennies more you could pick up an iPhone 4, with the handset costing upwards of 500 euros. For us the decision between smartphone and gold plated Symbian power is a no brainer. Some less restrained types might enjoy the Vertu style bling element and the added exclusivity that a gold handset brings. We do however urge you to take a peek at the Oro yourself if you are considering picking one up, that 18 carat plate is no where near as impressive when you see it in person.

Bling approach to mobile? Or smartphones your thing? Let us know in the comments section below..



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