Nokia 7500 Prism Review

Innovative, but controversial design

By Cosmin Vasile on October 23rd, 2007 13:10 GMT
A long time has passed since Nokia dared to introduce such an innovative design that users can admire when looking at the 7500 and 7900 Prism handsets. At a first glance, you might have the impression that there something wrong with the keypad, but the triangular form of the keys is quite comfortable, giving a stylish sensibility to the mobile phone. The unusual bar form of the Prism devices intends to twist people’s minds and conquer the market. A market where most buyers are trendsetters who change their mobile phones according to the fashion trend or simply by their look. Fewer and fewer people are trying to look beyond the design of a handset and choose what is good for them. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but you must be very careful these days, as the offer is tremendously large.

Nokia 7500 Prism has been announced in August 2007 and made available on the market in September 2007, for a nifty price of 320 USD.

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Design

In terms of design, Nokia 7500 Prism, as well as its 7900 brother, cannot be compared with another handset available on the market. The phone breathes style through the glossy material and candy bar form, which are backed by a strange triangular design of the keypad. The phone's form has been cut at 45 degrees on both downside corners, which gives an originality note to the device. The triangular keys may look difficult to use at a first glance, but they are actually very easy to push. The only problem I had was the actual use of the 5-way joystick which is very hard to press/use.

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The back of the phone has been designed based on the same triangular pattern which has been used for the keys. Moreover, even the 2 Megapixel camera has been made triangular together with its flash. The only external buttons are placed on the right side of the phone and are made almost invisible to the eye. Those are the dual volume key and the camera key, which is a little difficult to press when taking pictures. On the top of the phone you'll notice the power button, while on the bottom you can see the miniUSB port, a 2.5mm jack port and the charger port.

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The phone is surrounded by a blue stripe (as you can see from the screenshots), which is replaceable. The sales package contains other 2 colorful stripes that can be changed from time to time to simply freshen the phone's look. The phone is very light, weighing only 83 grams (including battery) and measures only 109 x 44 x 14 mm. It looks like a medium sized candybar, very stylish and soft. Unfortunately, the back cover has a very strange locking mechanism, which might eventually cause the cover to break. The plastic used is pretty elastic, but the back cover seems a little bit too thin and might be damaged if you're not careful. Overall, the phone has a controversial design, which already made lots of fans, as well as lots of enemies.

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Display and Camera

Nokia 7500 Prism features an excellent TFT display, which supports up to 16 Million colors and 240 x 320 pixels resolution. The display is barely visible in the sunlight and lacks any ability to improve its brightness. Even if it's not really a large display, it still is a very good choice for such a mid-level handset. Anyway, such a choice comes at a price, too big I'd say, because the small battery depletes even faster.

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It seems that Nokia chose the same display solution as the one embedded in the Nokia 6300 model, which had the same display, only a little bit larger, and it was draining the battery very fast. Too bad, because now the battery is even lower in capacity and it depletes to a rate that heavy mobile phone users will have to recharge it daily.

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I wasn't expecting too much from Nokia's 7500 camera, but it seems that picture quality is really above average. You can even use its flash to take snapshots at night, but you must be very close to the subject to be able to capture anything.

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The 2 Megapixel camera enables you to take pictures with a maximum resolution of 1600 x 1200 pixels or record low quality movies with maximum resolution of 176 x 144 pixels. The latter doesn't really work and the 3GP movies recorded with the phone are of a very low quality. Furthermore, Nokia says that 7500 Prism can play .MP4 movie files, but I couldn't play anything other than .3GP clips.

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Another drawback would be the camera button which is very hard to push. So, don't underestimate Nokia's 7500 camera, it's surely above average and will serve you well.

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The sample below has been executed under 360 watts of continuous tungsten light, especially created to test the quality of the camera module.

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Menu and Software

Nokia 7500 Prism runs on an S40 platform 5th Edition, thus it lacks an operating system. The new Series 40 5th Edition is a full hardware, software and Application Programming Interface architecture, incorporating Java Platform Micro Edition technology with support for the latest version of the mobile information device profile (MIDP 2.1), and providing an enhanced UI that enables developers to build richer multimedia applications and services for mass market Nokia mobile devices. Nokia's new Series 40 5th Edition enables users to experience streaming video, image rendering, mobile 3D graphics and scalable 2D Vector graphics. Series 40 5th Edition also supports the latest version of Adobe's Flash Lite 2.1, the interoperable platform that enables the accelerated development and delivery of rich graphical mobile content, and includes audio file playback and streaming capabilities that provide audio and music enhancements to both the mobile gaming and multimedia experience.

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In addition, Series 40 5th Edition also enables Bluetooth and IrDA (Infrared) connectivity and synchronization capabilities. The platform's broad support for SMS text messaging and multi-media messaging (MMS) includes true interoperability for a variety of MMS content formats and classes.
Users will be able to take advantage of the Active Standby, which is the main feature of the S40 platform, but can also install Java compatible third party applications. You can also find other useful applications such as: Yahoo! Go, Alarm clock, Calendar, To-do list, Notes, Calculator, Countdown timer and Stopwatch. The menu is fully customizable and you can designate any MP3, MIDI or AAC file as ringtone.

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Communication

Even if it looks so stylish, Nokia 7500 Prism is still a mid-level handset, in terms of performance, thus it lacks 3G connectivity. But you can successfully use its EDGE class 10 technology, that works pretty well for an S40 platform device (128 Kbit/s download and 55 Kbit/s upload).

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Moreover, the Bluetooth 2.0 technology is A2DP compatible and will greatly help you with data transfers. You can connect the phone to your PC through the USB 2.0 port with ease because the phone benefits from the UPnP technology (Universal Plug and Play). You can select any mode, as data transfers are quite fast through the USB cable. It's a pity, but you won't find such a cable in the sales package, so you'll have to improvise or simply buy one separately.

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Messaging became easier starting with this model as the email client is the same used in Nokia smartphones (Symbian compatible) and not the usual Java compatible client met in previous S40 terminals. As a consequence, email is fully compatible with POP3, SMTP, and IMAP4 protocols and is much faster and easy to use than any other S40 compatible handset. The phone accepts SMS, MMS, as well as sound messages.

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The triband (GSM 900 / GSM 1800 / GSM 1900) network compatible handset has a good GSM signal reception. The sound is pretty clear and loud enough for you to be able to talk on the phone in crowded areas with absolutely no problems. Furthermore, the vibration is somewhat low in intensity and cannot be changed.

Processor and Memory

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to determine what kind of processor powers Nokia's 7500 Prism, but my bet is on an ARM9 family CPU running at speeds up to 170 MHz. This is more than enough for such a phone that doesn't have an operating system. Users will notice that navigation through menus is made with ease and no lags whatsoever.

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The phone embeds 30 MB internal memory, but also comes with a 512 MB microSD card that expands the storage space. You can also buy a 2 GB microSD card if you feel you need more space for music or pictures. Also a major drawback is the fact that the memory is not hot-swappable and that the slot card is covered by the small battery.

Multimedia

Nokia 7500 Prism surprises through its good quality vibes and widens the possible target of the phone to those that are using their phones as MP3 players. Moreover, the music player that has been included with the phone looks to be the same as the one embedded in Xpress Music series phones. It can play any MP3, MIDI, AAC, AAC+, and WMA file formats and can be fully customized.

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You can use the equalizer for a more seemingly experience. I'm pretty sure that the Nokia HS-47 headset that comes with the phone won't please music freaks, but fortunately, the phone accepts any 2.5mm headphones that you'd like to attach to it. Users will also be pleased to find that the phone has a nice stereo FM radio that can store up to 20 stations. Overall, the handset offers a superior multimedia experience for its price.

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Battery

I was about to skip this one, simply because Nokia skipped this part too. You develop a good-looking phone, with a very nice display and very good sound and put in such a crappy battery… that's too bad, Nokia! The 700 mAh Li-Ion battery is even lower than that of Nokia's 6300 model, which had big problems with the fast depletion of the battery. I could barely make it home with some energy in the batter after 1 full workday. If you're not a heavy user, you'll be able to make it with about 3 full charges per week; otherwise, you'll have to charge you battery almost daily. This seriously lowers the phone's functionality and limits the target of the handset.

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Impressions

I believe that you must actually keep one of these devices in your hand and then tell people about it. Seeing so many cons comments about the Prism's look, I have to say that Nokia managed to turn people against each other (in terms of contradictory opinions, of course) with this phone model, more than any other mobile phone manufacturer did. Anyway, if we are to look beyond its design, we are left with a mid-level phone, with very good audio quality and above average camera. The only thing that will probably bother possible buyers is the price, which is a bit too high for what it has to offer, and the very low battery life.

The Good

I won't say anything about its design as people might not consider it good looking at all…on the contrary. What I have noticed using this phone is its high functionality and easy to use interface, things that are characteristic to the Nokia brand. Besides its good camera, the sound quality is more than I expected from a mid-level Nokia handset.

The Bad

The only thing that really bothers me is the low battery life which will seriously limit this phone's functionality and will utterly force you to buy a supplemental battery. Furthermore, the microSD slot card has been placed right under the battery, thus it isn't hot-swappable.

Sales Package

Nokia 7500 Prism handset
2 exchangeable color accents
Nokia Battery BL-4B
Nokia Standard Charger AC-3
Nokia Headset HS-47
Strap
Quick Guide
User Guide
Nokia 512 MB microSD Card

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Photo: Tudor Raiciu for Softpedia.com
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