Nokia 701 Review

Introduction and Design

If we are asked which features we'd like improved on current smartphones, apart from the obvious contender battery life, one of our answers would be screen brightness. Average pixel density we can live with, but the brighter the display the less annoying its outdoor usage, especially if you have that old yellow star shining directly on your phone's screen when you are trying to look for a contact or check a website.

The Nokia 701 manages to cram in the brightest screen on a mobile phone to date with its 1000 nits - Nokia E6 was the previous champion here with its 900 nits. The phone is about 50% brighter outside than the LG Optimus Black, for example, with its 700 nits. The Nokia 701 is, however, running Symbian, which is clunkier than Android, and has less apps to choose from.

The platform is not on the backburner of Nokia, though – parallel with the work on its Nokia Windows Phones, the manufacturer managed to out the new Symbian Belle, which has a lot of UI elements in common with Android and other modern mobile operating systems, so is the brightest screen out there together with Belle an enticing enough combination to resurrect the excitement about Symbian handsets? Read on our review of the Nokia 701 to find out...

The package contains:

  • Nokia 701 handset
  • Wall charger
  • microUSB cable
  • Stereo headset with microphone


The handset is thin enough at 0.43” (11mm), but not as anorexic as the sub-10mm crowd out there, which are, however, mostly expensive high-end handsets. The Nokia 701 is the most loaded so far out of the new Symbian Belle batch, and the design does sport some premium material like the easily detachable metal battery cover. The rest is plastic, but of the sturdy variety, and the phone feels pretty solid in the hand. We are not digging the overly rounded corners too much, as they make it look a bit like a toy. The back houses Nokia’s run-of-the-mill 8MP fixed-focus shooter with dual LED flash.

You can compare the Nokia 701 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

Now let's cut to the chase and examine this sweet 3.5” LED-backlit IPS-LCD display with 360x640 pixels and the ClearBlack technology, which diminishes reflections outside. The screen manages to shine like a crazy diamond with 1000 nits of brightness , which is great outside. Compared to some other phones we put it next to in the sunshine outdoors, it was way more visible at full throttle.

See below the pictures from our comparison of the Nokia 701 screen with the iPhone 4, which sports the above-average 600 nits, and the Samsung Galaxy S II, which goes up to about 400 nits:

We enjoy pretty decent viewing angles on the Nokia 701. The image that the screen produces is with nice, punchy, but not overly saturated colors. One of the big downsides of Symbian is that it is mostly meant for 360x640 screens, but on the 3.5-incher of the 701, pixel density comes above average, so no complaints about that. Round elements in letters from smaller font sizes still appear jagged sometimes, however.

Of note is the dedicated voice control button, keeping a low profile on the right, between the volume control keys. It should come in handy when you are driving, for example and want to fire the Maps application, or go to the music player, but is with limited functionality as it only calls apps up, and is not a fully integrated solution.

Nokia 701 360-degrees View:

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