Once upon a time touchscreen phones were once a curio and phones with numeric pads were the norm. That’s all changed now of course and it’s the other way round. With the C3 Touch and Type, Nokia is reaching out to those who prefer the feel of texting and typing on an old-school keypad but want the web-browsing advantages that a touchscreen offers. The second from the Touch and Type range brings a slimmed down, metallic design that reminds us of the good old Nokia 6300. Read on to see if the Nokia C3 Touch and Type ticks all the right boxes.
What we like
The Nokia C3 Touch and Type is perfectly sized for this type of phone, like its sibling the X3 Touch and Type. It is just about the right size so that you can comfortably hold it in the hand and operate both the touchscreen and tap away at the keypad with your thumb.
The keys of the numeric pad depress nicely with a satisfying click and each row is neatly separated by a solid metal bar. This helps to cut down on typos and makes it easy for you to hunt for the right key. Having gotten used to newfangled things such as Swype and SwiftKey on our touchscreen smartphones texting the old-fashioned way on the C3 Touch and Type felt like a nice trip down memory lane. Old habits kicked in and we soon started tapping and texting away as we used to in ye olden days.
The build quality is also commendable. The front and back of the Nokia C3 Touch and Type has a quality brushed metal finish, and a reflective strip runs around the edge. It’s actual metal too, not just plastic sprayed silver. The C3 Touch and Type somehow manages to be slim and lightweight, but also feel solid and durable at the same time.
It’s easy to customise the homescreen of the C3 Touch and Type. You can add your own shortcuts to the four at the bottom of the screen by performing a long press and then choosing from the list which pops up. You can change things like the background and the clock/calendar settings in the same way.
A 5-megapixel camera with a single LED flash sits on the back of the C3 Touch and Type. There’s a dedicated shutter button mounted on the side which is pretty responsive and there’s a virtual shutter key on the touchscreen as well if you’d prefer. The on screen controls make it easy to zoom in and out of subject and you get a good range of camera effects like sepia, greyscale and white balance settings. You can also apply some fun effects like screen warp and oil paints to pictures after you’ve taken them which is a nice touch.
Call quality is good on the Nokia C3 Touch and Type. With the volume all the way up we found that it performed well against a backdrop of noisy traffic. The volume rocker on the side of the phone is a little on the small side though, but otherwise useable as normal.
The microSD card slot on the C3 Touch and Type can take cards of up to 32GB in size. The music player app is the same as the ones we’ve seen on other Nokia S40 phones – easy to use and create playlists on. There’s a 3.5mm headphone jack on the top of the phone and exterior volume controls, meaning that the C3 Touch and Type can double as a back up music player as well.
What we don’t like
The small touchscreen, though perfectly sized for this type of phone, isn’t as responsive as we’d like. It’s often slow to respond to simple gestures like scrolling up and down or panning left and right across the screen.
Inputting menu commands occasionally takes a couple of taps of the thumb or a single judicious press. As you can imagine, this makes navigating web pages and social networks a bit of a drag. You sometimes end up clicking on the wrong links as a result of double-tapping.
As the screen doesn’t support multitouch, you’re relegated to using on-screen controls to zoom in and out. Pages occasionally take a while to scale between zooms, even over solid Wi-Fi and 3G/HSDPA connections.
A limitation of the screen’s resolution (240 x 320 pixels) is that you don’t always get a clear idea of how good (or bad) the pictures you take actually are. At least not until you upload them to your computer.
We look a load of shots on our C3 Touch and Type and it turned out that not all of them were as good as we’d thought until we uploaded them. Some that looked fine on the phone’s screen turned out to be incredibly blurry and out of focus. By the same token, some looked amazingly clear and detailed. This isn’t a criticism of the camera (which is very good) more a limitation of the display – it doesn’t give you an accurate idea of the quality of your pictures.
The Nokia C3 Touch and Type boasts great build quality, a decent camera and is available on some very reasonable contracts. Obviously it’ll appeal to those who prefer texting on an numeric pad instead of a touchscreen, and in that sense it’s a great old-school phone. But the unresponsive touchscreen lets things down a bit; it’s not really ideal for surfing the web and and social networking. But it does the essentials admirably, looks great and will satisfy those who want a basic phone for calling and texting but want a new phone.