With Nokia slow on the multimedia take up, it seems that the Finnish company is finally starting to bring out handsets that not only provide function, but also have a stylish edge to them. The 7610, the latest to be released in the UK is unassuming in shape, but still stylishly dressed. Taking a note from the Teardrop 7600 the eccentricities of the design have been refined, the curved edges are still there, but by no means as striking. This isn't necessarily a bad thing and aside from the design the phone is a comprehensive multimedia handset featuring speakerphone, camera, sound and video capture.
It's a flat unit (108.6mm x 53mm x 18.7mm) with changeable covers to spawn a whole new market, two corners are rounded off with a swirling pattern across the keypad. Looks good, but buttons are laid out in an irregular pattern. A bit fiddly for the larger fingered we had trouble reaching the inner most characters forcing our thumb to contort (RSI here we come).
The 65k TFT colour screen (176x208) pixelates when running clips and despite clear, bright menus, it and doesn't do the power of the camera justice and we are surprised Nokia hasn't opted for a 256K screen to get the most out of the 1 mega pixel camera.
Inside and the multimedia force comes apparent, not only has Nokia enlisted the help of Rankin to push its abilities but lurking under the battery is a 64MB memory card, with optional MMC expansion as well as 8MB internal memory available for more images, applications and the what knot.
The phone features Kodak click and print software meaning you can print directly to a Bluetooth enabled printer and the print quality from the 1 Megapixel camera came across a lot better than expected. It's obviously not as good as something from a 3 mega pixel camera, but if this is just the start of things to come be prepared to ditch that camera soon.
As well as stills, there's the MPEG4 movie mode. We found this very easy to use and the results are extractable via USB, MMS, memory card or Bluetooth- very impressive.
The device doesn't isolate its data and although not Mac friendly, you can't fault Nokia here on compatibility. Downloaded clips run on a scaled down version of Real Player (nothing particularly new here) and there's full WAP/GRPS capability.
There is a wealth of downloadable media of course, from ringtones to Java games and plenty of room for personalisation. Video capture can record clips up to 10 mins, with video MMS sending possible for smaller clips. The on board Movie Director software is tied into the browser too, with the option to download new style filters and clips for playback via Real Player.
It's reassuring to know that the 64MB memory card (with 8MB always lost to personal space much like a PDA) can be replaced by 128MB instead. Remember the lion's share of the internal 8MB will be consumed by the contacts, calendar and incoming messages.
The sound capture function uses the WAVE format, but the recording operation's slightly haphazard. To be fair, any sound capture is tough without an external mic, not just on this kind of unit but all the way up to top spec camcorders. Indoor sound can be adequately captured and the handy speakerphone doubles as an MP3 MPEG4 speaker.
The only problems we found were the lack of volume buttons on the side and the wild keypad. Other than that, it's all here and far better looking than the Nokia 6600 , but with all the power and functionality. With Rankin tied in to the advertising campaign, the 7610 is already being talked up by Nokia and we feel rightly so. It's sure to be hot among the trendy heads out there and with a vanity mirror on the back, to check you look your best darling it even helps with self-portraits too and checking your look your best to live up to the style of the phone.