The C3 is not a bad handset, but just feels rather average. The lack of 3G is a big letdown and the interface could do with an overhaul. We know Nokia is capable of doing better and are expecting big things from the forthcoming N8.
Cheap; good battery life; solid chassis
No 3G; cluttered interface; only 55MB of internal memory
Dimensions 115.5mm x 58.1mm x 13.6 mm, 2.4in screen, Series 40 OS, physical Qwerty keyboard.
The Nokia C3 is a messaging device that looks the business but doesn't quite cut it in the functionality department.
Build quality is solid and the device sports a gloss finish, which is impressive considering the handset costs just £75 SIM-free.
With dimensions of 115.5 x 58.1 x 13.6mm and a familiar physical Qwerty keyboard, comparisons will inevitably be made to the BlackBerry range in terms of look and feel.
The home screen is busy, with the ability to get Facebook and Twitter updates, access favourite contacts, music, camera, internet and connectivity options.
The 2.4in QVGA TFT screen is surprisingly good, especially considering that it has a resolution of just 320 x 240 pixels. As well as the standard function keys, the C3 comes with two raised buttons for shortcuts. One is automatically synced to Nokia's Communities app and users can choose to assign any number of apps.
Unfortunately, Nokia has persisted with the Series 40 Symbian OS. This may be the most widely-used operating system in the world, but it's by no means the best. While the three-tiered home screen does freshen up the interface, it makes things a little bit cramped on the home screen.
The Qwerty keypad also feels restrictive and awkward. The main problem is that the buttons are too narrow and it is easy to catch the incorrect letter when inputting text quickly.
Using the internet is a mixed bag. The Opera browser has quick link options to set up feeds, access the Ovi store and news, but the speed and navigation of full websites on the C3 is disappointing. Users are forced to view sites in bite-sized chunks, which quickly becomes tedious.
The lack of 3G doesn't help and is surprising considering that Nokia is keen to highlight the ability of the phone to sync with social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
The C3 is capable of providing access to email accounts, including Yahoo Mail, Gmail, Windows Live, Hotmail and other POP/IMAP services. It is also possible to create a free Ovi Mail account from the phone.
Watching video clips on the small screen can only be described as poor. Loading times are long without Wi-Fi, and sound quality is a big letdown.
The 2-megapixel camera isn't the best either. Photos appear washed out and are pixellated when zoomed in on, which will disappoint anyone looking to ditch their camera.
A paltry 55MB of internal memory has been allocated, but Nokia does throw in a 2GB micro-SD card. Strangely, the device can only support memory cards up to 8GB.
Battery life is decent, and the device lasts a good 72 hours with moderate-to-heavy use. Nokia touts up to seven hours of talk time and 800 hours of standby.
Nokia must be commended for bringing the phone to market at such a low price, but only diehard fans are likely to invest, especially at a time when budget Android 2.1 handsets such as the ZTE Racer are on the market.
Ultimately, the C3 is a budget messaging device and should be judged on this basis. While it performs certain functions well, business users would be better off investing in a faster Android or BlackBerry device.