Nokia’s latest phone is its first venture into the wonderful world of 3G, it might be lighter than anything else out there, but without the support of UK 3G operator 3, you won’t be able to get all of 3’s services. But does this make the 7600 a bad phone? We brush up our telephone manner and make some calls.

If you like diamonds then this jewel-shaped phone may be for you. In the middle of the diamond is a large colour screen and the number keys are set either side - six on one side, six on the other. Centred under the screen is the answer, cancel and menu access d-pad.

The website states this phone is “Compact. Unconventional. Cutting edge. The Nokia 7600 imaging phone is guaranteed to raise a few eyebrows” - and they would be true - it is unconventional. But that doesn’t stop it getting the wow factor when you take it out. Over the couple of days we were testing this phone, eyebrows were raised and the majority of people we showed it to liked the diamond shape and the overall styling.

In use, it’s a slightly different story. At first the location of the keys either side of the screen is annoying and even after some time it still takes a lot to get use to it, but once you get into the frame set of understanding that 1-5 is on the left and 6-0 is on the right things start to become a little easier. In fact so much so that you will start dialling two handed. Heavy text users may find the layout somewhat annoying at first as they try and work out what is where all over again, but for new users this shouldn’t cause too much of a problem.

Inside, the usual toys are all there. For the would-be photographer the 7600 sports a digital camera capable of capturing images at 640x480 or video recording options. The camera has a number of settings such as night and portrait as well as having a timer so you can get into the shots as well.

For the music fan, the phone can play MP3 or ACC files either via the headset supplied in the box or via the phones loudspeaker. Better still the phone can also accept music files as ring tones allowing you create your own or have your favourite tune play every time someone rings.

While this fun is obviously aimed at the teen and lifestyle markets there’s nothing to imply that business users can’t benefit from the handset. The 7600 supports both Infrared, Bluetooth and USB connectivity for connecting to a PC or Mac.

Verdict

If you are looking for something different to your average phone this design certainly gives the user a streak of individuality. As for the 3G functionality, it's not certain what this phone will actually support as 3 has shunned it so far. As with all Nokia phones, the operating system's very easy to use and the camera, music player as well as installing Java applications is idiot-proof. Hardcore business users may prefer to go for something a little more businesslike with a longer talk time but this will certain do the trick for a moderate user. Over time, this phone will grow on you. Our first impressions weren't very positive, but now will we be sad to see the little device go. Nokia has shown that being different can pay.

This product was kindly loaned to us by eXpansys - www.expansys.com 0161 868 0868