The C7 has been on the market in Europe and other countries since the fourth quarter of 2010 and was just recently released in the United States with T-Mobile as the Astound. Astound is an appropriate name given that for the past few years the Nokia devices that have been subsidized by US carriers have been primarily the low cost flip phones. T-Mobile had the E73 Mode, which I loved, and the Nuron but neither really could compete with the myriad of Android based phones and Black Berry devices offered by T-Mobile.

Recently I had the pleasure of testing a C7 and it was love at first sight when I opened the box. In my opinion this is a very sexy phone.  So sexy that it has replaced the venerable 8800 as my choice for the sexiest Nokia phone of all time. I really loved the form and feel of the device and being made primarily of aluminum and other metals the build of the hardware is very solid . The screen size is perfect for viewing messages, images, and surfing the web and the colors and tones are very rich and vibrant.

As you can see by selecting an image below the C7 is comparable in size to the E71 and is a little smaller than it’s older brother, the N8. It’s light, compact and felt no heavier than a set of car keys when carried in my pocket.

Sexy is nice, but if there are no brains behind the looks then it’s just a pretty shell right? Well the C7 has looks and brains as it is powered by Symbian^3, the same operating system found in the C6, N8, E7, E6 & X7. I won’t rehash what we’ve already read and heard about S^3 since there have been many articles written since it’s release. Though I will say I was surprised to find that the C7’s screens and applications were more responsive and smoother than on my N8.

The C7 is marketed globally as a phone for social networking, and as the Astound is focused at the subsidized market for the US I thought I would focus on a few features that the US consumer may consider in a device. Besides social networking features I focused on email, photos,  music, multitasking, applications, and syncing.

Social Networking

Nokia Social


I am a fan of Nokia Social and it comes resident on the C7. It’s a great tool to view and update status for Twitter and Facebook in one application. I use this on my N8 daily and was happy to see it on the C7. However, the experience was not the same. Unlike the N8 the C7 has no homescreen widget and each time you access the application you need to log in. Therefore I thought I would see if Gravity was any better so I downloaded it from Ovi Store. It  has more to offer than Nokia Social and is even a little sexier, but for what I need it just isn’t worth the $10 US.

Twitter and Facebook updates are important, but a true social networking device must be able to share photos and videos. The C7 does this very well by using the tried and true share feature built into the photo browser. After adding a caption and optional tagging right from the photo itself, my images and videos were loaded into my Facebook and Twitter profiles.  For sharing to other sights you can also install Pixelpipe which is available in the Ovi Store.

Foursquare is available and there is a homescreen widget that works well. However, since it’s on all the time the battery life was noticeably decreased.


Nokia Messaging sure has come a long way and it’s abilities are truly evident in the C7. With Nokia Messaging you can have many different email accounts on your C7 and can load multiple email widgets to your homescreen. On the C7 I tested I had three accounts loaded with my work email in Mail for Exchange, a personal GMail account and a personal Ovi Mail account. The flexibility of NM also allows for a separate syncing profile for each account and the ability to select what is synced and when. That allows me to sync my work calendar, notes and tasks yet bypass my work contacts as those are synced using my Ovi Mail account.

There are other email tools available in Ovi Store that take advantage of “the cloud” but I really don’t see a need to download a beta product when Nokia Messaging is included and works perfectly. T-Mobile’s Astound users will find that Nokia Messaging fits their needs  and won’t be disappointed given it’s ability to view images and attachments.


Personally this is one of the most important features in a device and why I keep my N8 with me at all times. We all know how the N8 takes pictures, but this review is about the C7.

The C7 has an 8mp, fixed focus camera with dual LED flash and it is comparable to most of the mid and upper-level smartphones available today. You can shoot good images and HD video with the C7 and take advantage of many features available for customizing your shots. You can use settings for scenes, face detection, color, contrast and on-screen zoom. For advanced photographers you can even customize white balance, exposure, and ISO settings. But i expect most will just point and shoot and the C& does this very well.



What the C7 has that the others don’t is the ability to edit your images and videos on the phone itself. With the C7 you can shoot a picture, frame it and add some captions, then upload it to your friends on Facebook and Twitter right on the phone.

Below are some comparisons of shots taken with the C7.

Flash & No Flash Comparison

Greater distance brings more in-focus images

To view a comparison of shots taken with the N8 & C7 without flash select here and to view a comparison with flash go here


Since the Xpress Music 5800 one of my favorite features on Nokia devices has been the music player. I’m happy to report that nothing changes my feelings with the C7. I was able to transfer all of my music from my N8 to the C7 without any problems using the Ovi Suite back-up feature. I can play music from CDs, Apple iTunes, Nokia Ovi Music UK (not available in the US yet), and Amazon and retain the song or album artwork.  The sound is clear, crisp and loud when using wired headphones,  my Nokia BH-505 bluetooth headset, or plugged into the mp3 port in my car’s sound system. Playing over the devices speakers is good and as clear as can be expected using the rear speakers.

Finding the music is simple and utilizes kinetic scrolling well. You can select by artists & songs, albums, genres and playlists and can view them all in either portrait or landscape modes. Landscape allows you to flip through choices using album artwork.



One of the greatest advantages Symbian^3 brings is true multitasking and that feature is perfect for the non-power user as most will open applications without giving a thought to memory usage. The C7 allowed me to have applications like Ovi Maps, the music player, Conversations, Nokia Social or Gravity, email, photos and ScreenSnap (a must have for blogging) all open at the same time without any real degradation in speed and application response. The only recommendation I can make in relation to multitasking is that you turn the phone off once a day to reset the memory. I did find that the C7 (and my N8) would become less responsive or would start to freeze after a couple of days of multitasking without shutting the device off or closing applications.


Ovi Store has been around for quite some time now and there are thousands upon thousands of apps available for the C7, both free and paid. App availability is based upon country and device and I am happy to see that even though Windows Phone 7 is part of Nokia’s future, new S^3 apps are being added to the store on a regular basis.

You can search and install right from your device, or from a computer. Paying is easily handled with a credit card or through your monthly phone bill depending upon your carrier. However, I see Ovi Store alone as unable to help the Astound’s chances in the long run in the United States. The content available in the US has gotten better, but it’s too late to compete with The Android Market and iTunes. This is not a device specific issue and has to do with Nokia’s marketing and presence in the US. Future Nokia devices like the rumored W7 and W8 will probably be better served in the US market by Microsoft’s Marketplace for WP7.

Syncing Music, Calendars, Tasks & Contacts

In my mind no one can compare to Nokia and Ovi Suite when it comes to syncing between a PC and your Nokia Device. Ovi Suite has saved me sssoooooo many times because of it’s ability to back up everything on a device and from all memory sources.  Android does okay on music, but I am still bewildered that there is nothing to really sync Outlook between your device and PC. There is an expensive app called CompanionLink that almost meets the needs but it failed terribly in identifying personal and business calendars and would constantly wipe out appointments, tasks and contacts when I used it.

Apple has an advantage over Nokia when it comes to Mac users as their product iTunes  works well on a PC and Mac. Ovi Suite is not  yet available for the Mac (though development is under way) and this may also hurt the Astound with the US consumer. Nokia does have Mac support, as shown here, yet most T-Mobile stores probably aren’t aware of what Nokia offers for Mac users. Nokia will need to get Ovi Suite compatible with the Mac platform sooner than later, and should get it done before the first Nokia WP7 devices are released. There are a lot of Mac users out there and they must be included in any growth plans Nokia has for the US.

GPS & Ovi Maps

There is a lot more to the C7 than the items I listed above, but again this review was written with the T-mobile US buyer in mind. This review would not be complete though if I failed to mention Ovi Maps and the GPS signal.

Connecting to the GPS signal is smoking fast. I even tried to time the difference between the N8 and C7 and just could not see any significant difference between the two. The signal strength is strong, constant and accurate and all-in-all the reliability exceeded my expectations using Ovi Maps and Sports-Tracker.

Ovi Maps has evolved into a pretty solid tool. The few times I used it for directions I saw little lag in the voice guidance and mapping to my current location, even at 70 mph. I could search for businesses based upon my current location and get walking or driving directions from that current location. And I could check in to a multitude of social network apps like Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter, Friendster, LiveJournal and many more.  I wonder how many check in applications Nokia is going to load onto devices? If I didn’t have a GPS and guidance system in my car Ovi Maps would be my preferred guidance tool.


In short, the C7 is a true multitasking giant in a small, sexy shell. It is a fantastic device that I would recommend to anyone. Especially someone who isn’t a power user and is seeking a reliable, feature-rich and well-built phone.  It’s sturdy enough to take a beating from your teenagers, yet has all of the social networking features and access they crave.

Another minor update for iPads, iPhones & iPods was released by Apple today. The change log details are:

This update contains improvements and other bug fixes including:

– Fixes an issue that occasionally caused blank or frozen video during a FaceTime call
– Fixes an issue that prevented some international users from connecting to 3G networks on iPad Wi-Fi + 3G
– Contains the latest security updates

Products compatible with this software update:
• iPhone 4 (GSM model)
• iPhone 3GS
• iPad 2
• iPad
• iPod touch (4th generation)
• iPod touch (3rd generation)

A quick and I think unannounced operating system update for the iPad, iPad2, iPhone and iPod was released today. It’s a relatively minor update that appears to have been focused on fixong minor bugs. This update contains improvements and other bug fixes including:

• Fixes an occasional graphics glitch on iPod touch (4th generation)
• Resolves bugs related to activating and connecting to some cellular networks
• Fixes image flicker when using Apple Digital AV Adapter with some TVs
• Resolves an issue authenticating with some enterprise web services

Products compatible with this software update:
• iPhone 4 (GSM model)
• iPhone 3GS
• iPad 2
• iPad
• iPod touch (4th generation)
• iPod touch (3rd generation)

I have been using Nokia’s Ovi Music, formerly known as Nokia Music, since it’s release in 2008. Or was it 2007? Since I had a N97 when it was released it made sense to buy music directly from Nokia as I was looking forward to the Comes With Music option some phones had. However, to use Ovi Music I had to sign up with an account in the UK.

Earlier today I happened to go to the site to see if anything was new and I noticed that the United States is now listed amongst the countries. When I selected it I saw a screen stating they’re applying the “final touches”!

I’ve used Napster and Amazon to buy music but I have always wanted one source for my music.  Going to the UK works fine but I would rather get the music from my home country. The Ovi Suite currently available for Nokia devices makes using Ovi Music an even easier choice since I can do everything right from Ovi Suite, including searching and purchasing music. But in the US you have to trick Ovi Suite into thinking you’re not in the US by changing your base location (currently set to the UK for me). If you select the United States you get the “we’re not in your area yet” message. Let’s home today’s discover means I’ll be able to get the music here in the states!


In case you haven’t heard, the OS for the original iPad and for iPhones has been updated. This update contains new features and improvements, including the following:

• Personal Hotspot*
– Share iPhone 4 cellular data connection with up to 5 devices (combination of up to 3 Wi-Fi, 3 Bluetooth, and 1 USB)

• iTunes Home Sharing
– Play music, movies and TV shows from a shared iTunes library on a Mac or PC (requires iTunes 10.2)

• New AirPlay features**
– Play videos from the Photos app including the Camera Roll album, iTunes previews, enabled third-party apps and websites on Apple TV
– Play slideshows from Photos on Apple TV using transitions available on Apple TV

• Faster Safari performance with Apple Nitro JavaScript engine

• HD video out using the Apple Digital AV Adapter***
– View 720p HD videos from Videos app, iPod app, Photos, YouTube, Safari, Keynote, and enabled third-party apps on an HDMI display

• Ping features
– Push notifications for comments and follow requests
– Post and Like songs directly from the Now Playing screen
– Parental controls

• New Settings
– Messages setting for number of times to repeat an  alert
– iPad side switch setting to lock screen rotation or mute audio notifications and sound effects

• Single tap conference call dialing with a pause to send a passcode

• Bug fixes

Products compatible with this software update:
• iPhone 4 (GSM model)
• iPhone 3GS
• iPad
• iPod touch (4th generation)
• iPod touch (3rd generation)

*Requires iPhone 4 with tethering data plan
**Requires Apple TV (2nd generation) running software version 4.2 or later
***iPhone 4, iPad, iPod touch (4th generation)

A business associate from my past sent me this. He tried to call a couple of times Over the past month and of course I was too busy to take his call. He happened to call today while I was in a meeting and I only answered the phone because the sound interrupted the meeting and I did not recognize the number. I said I had to call back and was short and took a quick minute to read his email. While he was an associate and not a family member his story shown me below made me realize that not only did I do this to him, I very will could be the father in this story. I am traveling and can hardly wait to get home to my sons as sometimes unexpected messages like this can start a change….

The tired father came home from work late again, tired and irritated, to find his 5 year old son waiting for him at the door.

“Daddy, may I ask you a question?”

“Yeah, sure, what is it?” replied the man.

“Daddy, how much money do you make an hour?”

“That’s none of your business! What makes you ask such a thing?” the man said angrily.

“I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?” pleaded the little boy.

“If you must know, I make $20.00 an hour.”

“Oh,” the little boy replied, head bowed. Looking up, he said,”Daddy, may I borrow $10.00 please?”

The father was furious. “If the only reason you wanted to know how much money I make is just so you can borrow some to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you’re being so selfish. I work long, hard hours everyday and don’t have time for such childish games.”

The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door. The man sat down and started to get even madder about the l ittle boy’s questioning. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money!

After an hour or so, the man had calmed down, and started to think he may have been a little hard on his son. Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $10.00, and he really didn’t ask for money very often. The man went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door.

“Are you asleep son?” he asked.

“No daddy, I’m awake,” replied the boy.

“I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier,” said the man. “It’s been a long day and I took my aggravation out on you. Here’s that $10.00 you asked for.”

The little boy sat straight up, beaming. “Oh, thank you daddy!” he yelled. Then, reaching under his pillow, he pulled out some more crumpled up bills.

The man, seeing that the boy already had money, started to get angry again. The little boy slowly counted out his money, then looked up at the man.

“Why did you want more money if you already had some?” the father grumbled.

“Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do,” the little boy replied. “Daddy, I have $20.00 now. Can I buy an hour of your time?”

Fathers…how much is an hour of your time worth?

Being in the United States gives us time for all of the announcements and comments to come out and be discussed before some of us wake up. That’s a good thing, right? Not really. It adds to the confusion given so many people have their questions, thoughts and opinions. Yep, I have mine too…

My first and primary question that I can’t seem to find an answer to is what happens to Symbian? Nokia CEO Stephen Elop states, “Nokia will adopt Windows Phone as its primary smartphone strategy…” as part of his address and open letter (view here) announcing the Nokia and Microsoft partnership. I like Symbian^3 and truly like my N8, which leads me to the next question…

How will current and recently released devices be supported? Prior the the release of Windows Phone 7 Microsoft discontinued application and firmware support for their previous Windows Phone operating system. Is Nokia going to do that to Symbian? If you have spent +/- $550 US for a N8 or C7, being left out in the cold with no more f/w updates is a pretty hard to swallow. One could wonder if this is why I haven’t gotten the PR 1.1 update for my N8 yet… I doubt it.

What about the E7? With it just being shipped this week will this hurt sales? It has to! Who wants to buy a “flagship device” whose OS was replaced even before it arrived? I was thinking about it, but not now. Would you buy an E7 now?

What happens to all those applications in Ovi Store? The US may not be affected by it as much as other countries, but a lot of time, money and effort was invested by app developers globally. Will WP7 run those apps so the developers don’t need to redevelop them?

And why do so many Nokia “fans” want to abandon the company now that they are partnering with Microsoft? It’s not like Google or Apple are any better than Microsoft as companies. All three are greedy and narcissistic, are they not?  A true fan supports their team in both the good times and the bad. Los Angeles fans are terrible….they jump on the band wagon when their teams are winning and run for the hills as soon as the losing starts. New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packer fans….those are real fans. Support your team through thick and thin and you’ll have a blast as they rise to the top!

Change isn’t bad is it? Of course not, especially when it’s needed. Nokia did need to change, we all know that. Those  “fans” that want to abandon Nokia now were also screaming the loudest that Nokia needed to change. Symbian wasn’t working so spending more money on a losing OS doesn’t make sense.  Who knows, maybe they’re running because the change wasn’t the one they wanted. I bet they haven’t even used a WP7 device either.

What do I plan to do? Accept change. Embrace change. It’s only with change we become stronger. Nokia hasn’t changed in many years and they’re going through the pain from keeping an aging quarterback named Symbian. They just scored the sleeper draft pick called Windows Phone 7. No one thought Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees would be able to win “the big game” and look at what happened when their teams made change and the fans supported them…

Nokia+Microsoft. Where are we going? To the Smartphone Superbowl!