Gadgets, phones or anything techy can no longer just do the job they set out to do anymore. They have to be stylish fashion items too. Nokia’s taken this on board earlier than most. The mobile phone giant is rolling out a range of phones that have style at the forefront of their ethos.
The 7280, for most people, takes this approach a tad too far. For starters, there is no numbered dial pad, the screen doubles up as a mirror when not in use and there is even a fabric label to suggest it’s something more than just your average phone.
From the outset the 7280’s design couldn’t be further looking from the phone that it is. Long, thin and straight, the phone offers a display, a jog wheel and a few buttons on its front and that’s it. Similar to the Haier P6 we reviewed last year, the phone expects you to use it on the side rather than upright, however unlike the Haier P6, this Nokia is a beauty to behold.
The beauty element comes in its retro sixties styling with a highly polished case covered with geometric white lines over it (see images for a better idea). The 65k LCD display, resembling Philips’ mirror televisions, is hidden behind a mirrored screen. Vain types will be happy to know it’s big enough to get a good enough view to don make-up or check your hair. Pulling the phone apart, as if it were your favourite lipstick, reveals a digital camera.
Just sitting on the desk in an office we work at occasionally almost everyone who walked past had to stop and take a look. “What is it?” was the usual question, and when we replied - “It’s a phone” the usual response was one of puzzlement, and for all good reasons because as we’ve already mentioned the standard keypad is missing.
So how do you make a call then? Taking on an Apple iPod click wheel approach, although not half as good, numbers are selected by scrolling through a range from 0 to 9.
The same goes for texting and text heavy users won’t appreciate not being able to bash in their texts at lighting speed. The phone does try and anticipate the word you are trying to write. Aside from displaying the alphabet, the six most possible solutions are displayed at the front. When it works, it does speed up the text conundrum and for those new to texting, may actually be easier to understand than the usual predictive text gobbledygook that you get until the final character.
Missing keypad aside, the phone offers all the usual elements found in a modern day Nokia handset. It’s triband, it’s got data Bluetooth- it’s even got a radio.
This is Nokia trying to create a style-conscious, design-focused mobile phone and in our minds, succeeding. For some, it will be a little over the top and we wouldn't recommend it to anyone who has either lots of texts to send or numbers to punch in.
However for the moderate phone user, who for the most part calls the same numbers every day (ie has them in memory) this is a great little number that will get plenty of heads turning. If we were complaining for the sake of it, we would say that the click wheel does need some work and an invisible one a la the iPod would make it even harder to fault than it already is.
Unlike the Haier P6, which tried and failed in its execution of the slim line upright phone, the Nokia has taken the risk and we feel it's paid off. If you're a fashion conscious gadgeteer then this will be the phone to be seen with in 2005.