Nokia C1-02 Review

Like the very very similarly named Nokia C2-01, the Nokia C1-02 is a cheap ‘n cheerful budget phone with an emphasis on the basics. It’s aimed as a low-cost solution for a back-up emergency phone to use if your main phone is lost/stolen or out of battery. The Nokia C1-02 is so no frills that it doesn’t even have a camera. Shock horror! Read on to find out if this actually stops the C1-02 from fulfilling it’s function as a mobile phone…

What we like

Though seriously small compared to today’s comparatively huge touchscreens, the 1.8-inch display of the Nokia C1-02 does the job well enough. Text messages are easily readable and the bright, colourful menus are no trouble at all to navigate.

The big chunky keys of the Nokia C1-02 allow you to text away easily and the 5-way directional key is as responsive as you’d like it to be. The whole phone feels pretty darn solid all the way through, in typical Nokia fashion.

We called people on a variety of different networks and landlines on our C1-02 and found call quality to be pretty good. Not crystal clear, perfectly pitched HD audio, but not muffled, sounds-like-there’s-a-sock-over-the-receiver awful either.

Put it this way, calls sound as good as you’d hope them to on a phone that’s being sold on it’s no frills/back to basics-ness.

We liked that there was a microSD card slot tucked away in the C1-02. It can take cards of up to 32GB in size, meaning the C1-02 effectively doubles as an inexpensive MP3 player/iPod/Walkman. We also liked that the memory card slot was a side mounted one, meaning you don’t have to take the battery out to get at it.

Though there were no supplied headphones in the box, the 3.5mm jack means you’re free to use your own headphones.

There are a handful of simple games pre-loaded (Sudoku, Pinball and the Tetris-esque Block’d) provide ample distraction. Not as fun as the ubiquitous Angry Birds mind, but fun enough to kill time on a boring train journey.

What we don’t like

The most obvious drawback of the Nokia C1-02 is its lack of camera. What more can you really say about this? If you’re a fan of snapping pictures on the fly from your phone then we’d advise you to steer clear of the C1-02.

Another drawback of the C1-02 is the lack of 3G. This means that browsing the web and checking emails is painfully slow (not to mention potentially expensive). This coupled with the tiny 1.8-inch screen pretty much writes off the C1-02 as a mobile browsing/email device.

Said screen is also protected by a shiny reflective layer, which is a big of a fingerprint magnet and reduces legibility in direct sunlight.

Like the similarly-named Nokia C2-01, there’s no external volume rocker on the C1-02 which limits its use as a music player a little bit.

Speaking of the C2-01… there’s not a huge price difference between the two which kind of undermines the C1-02’s raison d’etre. If there are two phones that are pretty much the same price and one of them has infinitely better spec, well you’re going to go for the better one aren’t you?


It’s really hard to nitpick and find fault with the Nokia C1-02, a phone that’s so obviously pitched as a bargain basement device. But when you consider that you can pick up the Nokia C2-01 (which has a camera and 3G) for more or less the same money, we’d pick that if you wanted a phone that you were going to be using on a regular basis.

All in all though, the Nokia C1-02 does what it’s supposed to do well – make calls and send/receive texts with the minimum of fuss. If you just want a cheap back up phone for use in emergencies, then the C1-02 fits the bill nicely.

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