Nokia C3 mobile phone

Nokia C3 review: The C3 is well designed and has an excellent physical keyboard

Nokia C3
  • Nokia C3
  • Nokia C3
  • Nokia C3
  • Expert Rating

    2.75 / 5


  • Excellent design and build quality, great keyboard, battery life


  • No 3G connectivity, no GPS

Bottom Line

The Nokia C3 feature phone targets young people with a penchant for excessive texting and chatting, and offers an excellent keyboard. However, the lack of 3G connectivity is a hard pill to swallow, despite the very low price.

Would you buy this?

Available through Boost Mobile and dubbed "The Socialite," the Nokia C3 is targeted at entry-level users, particularly those with a penchant for excessive texting and chatting. The C3 is well designed, has an excellent physical keyboard, and is straightforward to use, but its lack of 3G connectivity is disappointing.

Check out our guide to top Nokia phones.

The Nokia C3 feels superbly constructed; the metal battery cover has an attractive finish that doesn't pick up fingerprints, the front is wrapped in glossy plastic that feels sturdy, and the keyboard is raised and has a metallic-style finish. The overall design of the C3 is similar to a BlackBerry.

The Nokia C3's keyboard is excellent. The keys have great tactility, are slightly raised and emit a reassuring click when pressed. The spacebar can feel a bit awkward when pressed directly in the centre. The Nokia C3 doesn't have a touchscreen, so non-text input is achieved by an annoyingly thin five-way navigational pad, two selection keys, contacts and mail shortcuts and answer and end call keys.

The Nokia C3's 2.4in display is bright and clear; it doesn't have the best resolution, but text and graphics are displayed crisply and the screen can be seen in sunlight.

The Nokia C3 runs the S40 operating system, the same used on most of Nokia's entry-level and mid-range mobile phones. If you are familiar and comfortable with using Nokia phones, you shouldn't have any issues. Performance is a little slow at times, there is no multitasking, and some basic tasks, like connecting to a Wi-Fi network, take far too many clicks.

The C3 lacks 3G connectivity; although 2G coverage will suffice for basic chat and messaging applications, the absence of 3G a little hard to take when considering the competitors, headed by the Huawei IDEOS U8150 Android smartphone, which retails at just $159. The Nokia C3 also lacks GPS, so that Nokia's Maps application — normally providing full turn-by-turn navigation for free — can't be run.

We did like the Nokia C3's home screen, even if it is not anywhere near as flexible as Android-powered alternatives. Three customisable widgets can place commonly access applications, like Facebook, Twitter and e-mail, on the home screen for single click access. Nokia also provides a small range of third-party applications through the Ovi Store.

A real positive is the Nokia C3's battery life; the phone can easily go three or four days without needing a recharge, depending on your usage patterns.

The Nokia C3 is available through Boost Mobile prepaid. Keep in mind that even despite the lack of 3G connectivity, the C3 is a data-centric handset. Boost's plans don't seem to be that generous with data allowances, with a $30 recharge on the 1 cent text plan providing just 100MB and a $40 recharge giving you 300MB. You will get a bonus of 400MB and 1.2GB respectively on these plans until 28 February 2011.

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