Nokia Astound Review
Say what you might think whenever you hear the word “Nokia” uttered stateside, but don’t think for a second that the Finnish company is incapable of producing a worthy handset for the US. Interestingly enough, it’s yet again T-Mobile taking the plunge in grasping another Nokia handset – which is still something that’s rarely absorbed by most US carriers. Undeniably something that’s not a high-end smartphone contender, the $79.99 on-contract Nokia Astound packs some new enhancements over its European variant, the Nokia C7, which just might position itself as an alternative mid-range solution.
- Nokia Astound
- microUSB cable
- Wall Charger
- Stereo Headset
- Start Guide
- Terms & Conditions
Although it shares an identical design to the Nokia C7, the only minor difference to it is the recognizable T-Mobile branding placed on its lower lip. The elongated looking handset employs a chrome trim bezel, tough plastic shell, and a stainless steel back cover which all combine harmoniously to produce one instantly eye catching handset. For something positioned to be a mid-range device, we find its solid construction to tastefully complement its shiny luster – which annoyingly attracts plenty of fingerprints. Nevertheless, it’s perfectly sized for the hand and is well balanced – albeit, there is a little bit of weight (4.59 oz) to it. Considering that the Nokia Nuron was the last touchscreen Nokia handset to grace T-Mobile, the Astound easily erases that handset from our memories with its favorably great looks.
You can compare the Nokia Astound with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.
Supplementing its shiny looking exterior is none other than its well-sized 3.5” AMOLED capacitive touchscreen which utilizes the all too familiar resolution of 360 x 640 pixels with 16.7 million color support. Obviously, it still exhibits some crisp looking details, but our eyes fix more on its juicier looking colors – which is the strength of most AMOLED panels. Sure it’s glossy and attracts debris, but a quick swipe with a cloth easily removes any of those nasty baddies. Viewing angles are acceptable, however, an occasional hand cover is required when using it outdoors under the sun.
Luckily, the Astound manages to retain the 0.3-megapixel VGA front-facing camera found with the C7 – and of course, it brings along all the joys of video chat and taking self-portraits. Meanwhile, the dedicated send, end, and menu buttons are all located beneath the display, and even though they might look flush, they still exhibit a moderate response when pressed.
On the right edge of the phone, we find the volume rocker, dedicated shutter key, lock/unlock switch, and a button that’s preset to activate the handset’s voice recognition service. Again, most of the buttons appear recessed, but thankfully our fingers are still able to distinguish them. The left side is completely clean, but the top side lays claim to the microUSB port, 3.5mm headset jack, and the undeniably flush dedicated power button – the latter of which is somewhat unrecognizable to the touch.
Staring at us with a gravitating pull, we find its sizable 8-megapixel camera with dual-LED flash in the rear, both of which are surrounded by the handset’s speaker grills. Finally, removing the stainless steel back cover presents us access to its SIM card slot, battery, and microSD card slot. Sadly, it seems that you need to completely remove the battery in order to gain access to its microSD card slot.
1. box (unregistered)
Strange that it doesn't have Swype in portrait mode; my Nuron has it, though I have to select the "Mini QWERTY" option to enable it. Whatever the case, I'm getting it as soon as it's out
2. YuriGagarinNL (Posts: 1; Member since: 29 Mar 2011)
I would say there is a chance Nokia will update it for swype in portrait mode, I can't imagine they won't.
3. bluechrism (unregistered)
propbably will update that to include swype on the quesrty, but bear in mind, the other Symbian 3 devices are only just now getting a protrait querty at all. Maybe it will be a part of summer's UI update.
11. Stoli89 (Posts: 333; Member since: 28 Jun 2010)
Yes, portrait qwerty is part of the planned update. But IMO, the 360x640 dimensions have always meant the portrait qwerty will remain cramped. This is why Swype portrait is a good choice for those that can work with this new means of input. [you can still use Swype keyboard while toggling off Swype input method, too]
The 360x640 dimension has tradeoffs. It feels more "phone-like" in the hand...but portrait is more cramped. HD videos in widescreen format look great.
4. gregory (unregistered)
beautiful peace of hardware. Its a pity that only nokia and apple are able to produce rally good made phones.The rest of the market is a peace of s.. with high tech components.
5. troy (unregistered)
I want this so bad but because I have the t-zones 2.99 plan they wont let me upgrade to another smartphone unless I sign up for a new data plan.
6. luis_lopez_351 (Posts: 951; Member since: 18 Nov 2010)
Finally a real phone in the U.S. market. Im tired of using Android and IOS, hopefully Symbian is as good or even better than my personal fave Blackberry. (I own a G2 currently...i dont care for the Android apps or customization, its too much crap. Symbian ^3 looks nice and descent)
7. Deaconclgi (unregistered)
8 out of 10! Fantastic!
Only thing that I don't recall reading in this review is that the Astound has the same Broadcom GPU as the other Symbian^3 devices such as the N8 and E7, enabling it to play the latest and greatest 3D and HD games. That is a big sell to people who love gaming but don't want to pay the high price for an Android device with a strong enough GPU for gaming. The GPU in this phone is more powerful than most and definately more powerful than other devices in this price range.
Great review. I am glad that phone arena did a fair review. I hope that TMo customers go and try the phone out with an open mind.
One last thing, Nokia should have included Need For Speed Shift HD in the firmware as it is free (for my N8) and is a great showpiece for the GPU.
Enjoy the phone and all that it brings.
8. Redsea (unregistered)
The one thing you didn't mention that, NONE of the other phones CANT do is.......
*Ovi Maps with free car and pedestrian navigation ANYWHERE in the WORLD!!! And you can also add your own voice.....if you like listening to yourself! ;)
12. Stoli89 (Posts: 333; Member since: 28 Jun 2010)
Yes...a great point. I travel internationally, so OVI maps is my primary navigation tool. With the new OS on Astound, you can download via Wifi, PC...or 3G (be careful, maps are data heavy). The slick customizable voice app also makes turn by turn more enjoyable. The maps are available globally and can be downloaded for FREE. This also means you do not need a network in order to get basic turn by turn navigation from the phone. However, the network will enhance your GPS speed (A-GPS) and with OVI maps, will allow you to get up to date traffic and other location based information (hotels in area with vacancies, restaurant bookings, theater showtimes, trains, etc.).
You can also use Google maps (free). But if you are out of network, OVI maps will not let you down.
9. Stoli89 (Posts: 333; Member since: 28 Jun 2010)
The Astound/C7 has an EDoF (Extended Depth of Field) camera, which is NOT fixed focus. More accurately, it's called FULL Focus. It basically uses the latest generation of variable symmetry lenses which are used to create multiple images in a compact camera housing. The images are fused in an initial process to produce a single shot, which is further processed. The advantages of FULL focus are best shown in good lighting conditions and with subjects beyond 2 feet from the lens. All elements in the picture will appear IN FOCUS beyond this distance. For HD video in a good lighting situation, the EDoF is hard to beat, especially when subjects are in motion. AF cameras have to maintain focus during video, which leads to intermittent out of focus shots. Not so with EDoF. The downsides. FULL Focus will not do macro. It will also produce over processed/poorer images in low light.
EDoF is a good all around camera for mid range phones. But it will not do macro, so business card/document scanning is off the table.
10. Stoli89 (Posts: 333; Member since: 28 Jun 2010)
Although S^3 is planned to get a major UI update which will also bring a more competitive native browser, customizable widget geometry, and new e-mail client...IMO you need to download some third party apps to improve the User Experience at this juncture. 1) Opera Mobile 11 (fantastic browser, free), 2) Gravity (3rd party social client aggregator & RSS reader).
Plenty of other 3rd party apps to choose from on OVI...my favorites...Tunewiki, Skype, Bloomberg, Pixelpipe, Qik, Vlingo Plus.
14. Nouman (unregistered)
most of things you did not mention here ... likehttp://www.mobile-phone.pk/nokia_astound-3202/ here i can see lots of other features of this mobile..
15. Amey (unregistered)
You forgot to mention NFC in the handset. This ones going to be the next thing in the US market....google has Nexus S with NFC and thats about it for NFC for now....
And yes the Broadcom GPU is really good.
16. Nina20021 (unregistered)
my phone has swype in both landscape and portrait...and BTW I AM IN LOVE with swype texting is so much easier because this phone isn't easy to txt on otherwise. I so have a issue tho...my phone dims in low light and brightens in bright light...and for the life of me I can't figure out how to fix this.