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Verizon’s Nokia Twist 7705 with its square design is a very different-looking cell phone. From its twist-to-open functionality to the circular light that changes color for different types of calls and messages, it also has distinctive features. In fact, it is so unique that we were impelled to take a closer look.
The Twist comes in a small white box, as shown in Figure 1. The box is quite small. Nokia says that moving to smaller packages since 2006 and removing some in-box collateral has enabled Nokia to save over 100,000 tons of paper and take 12,000 trucks off the road.
Inside the box (shown in Figure 2) is the Twist with a black cover, an AC charging cable, a small Tips, Hints and Shortcuts booklet, a Safety brochure, and a purple cover.
Figure 3 shows the Twist itself. The first thing that you notice is the unusual square form factor design. The second thing you will see is that the circle in the lower right corner of the device is actually a hole, as shown in Figure 4. The circle, which is called the “contact ring,” is trimmed in silver. It is actually the hinge or twist mechanism of the phone. It allows you to twist the top and the bottom away from each other to open the phone. The twist mechanism works quite smoothly and clicks into place quite nicely.
The hinge hole can also be used to hang the device from a belt, keychain, pocket book or even from your neck. The design is so unusual that several people stopped us when they saw us carrying the phone to ask what it was. Wearing the phone around the neck prompted even more questions, especially with the purple cover, which can be seen in Figure 5.
The covers slip on and off easily and we found ourselves immediately longing for additional covers.
[nextpage title=”The Design and Hardware”]
The Twist has a unique and modern look. At 3.44 ounces or 98 grams, it is perfectly square (2.71 inches by 2.71 inches by 0.59 inch or 6.9 cm x 6.9 cm x 1.5 cm). The Twist is a digital CDMA device with EV-DO Rev. 0 for data that is available from Verizon. As such, it won’t work in Europe. However, if this form-factor took off, it could appear in as a 3G phone in other parts of the world.
When closed, it is one of the smallest cell phone around. When it is open, however, it is a little wider than most cell phones. This, however, didn’t bother us in everyday use. In fact, we expected the Twist to be a little uncomfortable for talking, but found we got used to it quite quickly. Although the screen and the keyboard had some flex in them, the entire phone felt sturdy when talking. The Verizon network performed admirably, as it has in the past. Sound quality was good. The speakerphone is also good, however, there were a few times when we wished it were a little louder.
True to its name, the Twist easily twists open to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard, as shown in Figure 6.
The top row contains shortcut keys, which include (from left to right), Send, TXT Composer, Music, Web, Speakerphone, Camera/Video and End.
While the keys are a bit smaller than some other phones, they are slightly raised and quite useable. The added width of the phone offers good stability for texting. You can easily hold the phone with both hands and type with both thumbs.
The number keys are clearly marked in white numbers above the alpha keys. They have, however, an unusual placement. While most phone keypads have 4 rows with 1-2-3, 4-5-6,7-8-9, and 0, the Twist’s numeric keypad has 3 rows of 4 keys each. That puts the asterisk next to the 3 key, the pound sign next to the 6 key. Especially problematic is the fact that the 0 key on the right side of the 9 key instead of under the 8 key. As hard as we tried, we really had trouble getting used to this unusual arrangement. Although, I am sure that given the time and constant use, we would be able to get accustomed to it.
A large space bar is located in the center of the bottom row. There is also a shift key, a back button, a function key for typing numbers in a text message, and a return control.
One side of the Nokia Twist 7705 holds the microSD card slot, and a 2.5mm stereo headset jack, as shown in Figure 7. We would strongly prefer the more standard 3.5mm jack as we hate having to use an adapter for the headset and it is not easy to find a headset with a 2.5mm jack.
The other side of the phone, shown in Figure 8, has the volume rocker and USB charging port. We were happy to see Nokia using the mini-USB port that is on its way to becoming the standard for cell phones.
The third side of the Twist has a holder for a wrist strap or charms and the speakerphone grille, as shown in Figure 9.
[nextpage title=”The Screen”]
The Twist has a clear and crisp 2.4” QVGA 262K color TFT screen. The resolution is 320 x 240 pixels. It is adequate for most functions, but feels small when trying to view a Web page. The screen also has a landscape mode, but because of the square form fact
or, the landscape mode doesn’t look much different from the portrait mode.
Although the screen on the Twist is not touch sensitive, below the Twist’s screen, there are two touch-sensitive areas. As shown in Figure 10, there is a square toggle with a central OK button. The areas on both side of this square toggle are both touch sensitive. These areas include two soft keys and a Clear area. There is plenty of space in these areas, so they are easy to press.
These touch-sensitive areas in combination with the center control make the phone fairly easy to use. Yet, there are many nested menus that could be simplified.
The contact light ring is one of the coolest features of the phone, as it can show up to 6 different colors when someone calls or sends a message.
The Twist excels at messaging. The keyboard is excellent for sending a quick message. It can handle SMS, MMS, web-based email (Hotmail and AOL) and IM (MSN, Yahoo! and AOL). It also supports threaded messaging so it’s easy to keep track of conversations.
It also has an interesting interactive mode called Habitat Mode. This is a social networking interface that shows your callers as avatars on the home screen, as shown in Figure 11. You can choose between the Superworld or Urban jungle. There are about 400 avatar combinations. When in this mode, your home screen becomes interactive with the avatars of the people you recently communicated with in chronological order. Not only is it a fun home page, but it allows you to view recent calls and messages and access missed calls and messages quickly.
The display offers a number of customization options. You can change the backlight time, the home screen font color, the menu font size, and the dialing font size.
Web browsing is only adequate. While the square screen doesn’t interfere with other phone functions, it does limit web viewing, making you scroll more than you might have to on other phones. The Twist comes with the Polaris 6.1 web browser. Although the web browser supports HTML and renders most web pages fairly accurately; it isn’t as good as Opera Mobile or the mobile Safari browsers. It is also a bit difficult to navigate Web pages. Also it doesn’t support Wi-Fi which could make surfing speedier.
Other features available on the Twist include visual voicemail which lets you view your voicemails on the screen and listen to them without dialing into your mailbox. You can also tether the Twist to use it as a modem to connect your laptop. These features, however, may incur additional Verizon charges.
Although you will have to have a stereo 2.5mm headset or an adapter that will work in stereo, the Twist, does support stereo Bluetooth with good sound quality.
The built-in media player can play music in MP3, WMA and AAC/AAC+ formats. One very nice feature is that you can listen to music while messaging or performing other tasks.
You can use the Verizon’s V CAST Music with Rhapsody on the Twist to buy songs and download them directly to your phone or via PC. However, you should be aware that V CAST and Rhapsody both carry an addition Verizon charge.
The Twist has a microSD card slot that supports SDHC cards. We used a 16GB card with excellent results.
The 3MP camera and flash are on the back, as shown in Figure 12.
When the phone is open, the back also serves as a small mirror, as shown in Figure 13.
You must open the phone to use the camera. It has an auto-focus mode and a flash and can also take videos.
You can edit the pictures on the phone and create slideshows. The pictures look good for a 3 megapixel camera phone. The camera software includes adjustments for white balance, color effects, shutter sound and other settings. Although the exposure is a bit inconsistent, the pictures are generally pleasing.
You can also take videos on the Nokia Twist 7705. Some of the videos that we took were slightly blurred. There were also occasional frame drops and refresh delays. Although the videos were quite watchable, we wouldn’t suggest this phone if you want to take a lot of videos.
The Twist also works with Verizon’s V CAST on-demand video services.
The Nokia 7705 also has built-in GPS that works with Verizon’s VZ Navigator. This is an additional cost, but works quite well. The Twist is able to give accurate turn-by-turn instructions.
The Twist uses Verizon’s User Interface. It is not a full-fledged smart phone, but it performs many smart phone tasks. You can get additional apps from Verizon, but the number and scope of the apps is limited.
This phone supports a 1,000-contact phone book with plenty of areas for things like multiple email addresses and notes for each contact. You can also save callers to groups and add a photo and ringtone for each. You can even assign friends a color for the contact ring.
The Twist also has a calculator, a calendar, an alarm clock, a stopwatch, a world clock, a notepad, a tip calculator, a unit and a currency converter. There is an additional service available to access and sync push email from corporate accounts, but we didn’t try this feature, and like some other extras, there is an additional cost involved.
Nokia rates the battery life of the Twist 7705 at 4 1/2 hours of talk time and 13 days standby time.
Nokia Twist 7705 Cell Phone main specifications are:
- Size: 2.71 x 2.71 x 0.59 inches (6.9 x 6.9 x 1.5 cm)
- Weight: 3.44 oz. (98 grams)
- Display: 2.4-inch QVGA screen
- Battery: Lithium Ion rechargeable battery, 860 mAh, user replaceable.
- Battery life: up to 4 1/2 hours talk time, up to 13 days standby time.
- Storage: 128 MB internal memory. Phone book can store 1,000 entries.
- Network: CDMA 1X-EV-DO Rev. 0.
- Camera: 3 megapixels with flash. Still image resolutions: 2048×1536, 1280×960, 800×600, 640×480, and 320×240. Can take video with audio. Video resolutions: 320 x 240 and 176 x 144 pixels.
- Audio: 72 chord Polyphonic/MIDI/MP3 sound support. MP3 player onboard to play music in MP3, AAC, AAC+ and WMA formats. Mono speaker and 2.5mm stereo headset jack. Supports A2DP Bluetooth stereo.
- Connectivity: Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR, USB 2.0.
- Bluetooth Profiles: Headset, Hands–free, Dial–up Networking, Stereo, Phone Book Access, Basic Printing, Object Push (for vCard & vCal), File Transfer, Basic Imaging.
- Software: Verizon UI with Habitat mode. Polaris 6.1 HTML browser, webmail and IM on board. PIM tools include Contacts, Cal
culator (Basic & Tip), Converter, Calendar, Calendar Preview, Alarm Clock, World Clock, Stopwatch, Notepad, and USB Mass Storage.
- Expansion: 1 microSD card slot. Supports SDHC cards.
- Carrier: Verizon
- More information: https://www.nokiausa.com
- Price: Starting at USD 100 (with 2-year contract), plus the cost of a plan.
The Nokia Twist 7705 has a unique design that is very workable. It is truly unusual and fashionable and will make you stand out in a crowd. The excellent keyboard and threaded messages make it a great phone for texting.
The Contact Ring may be a bit gimmicky, but it is really fun, as is the Habitat mode. The camera is not the best out there, but it is adequate for a quick picture or video.
Although the Twist has a lot of capacities like visual voice mail and GPS, many of these functions come with an additional monthly cost. If you will be using all of that functionality, you will have to add up the costs and compare them to a dedicated smart phone with a comprehensive data plan.
If, however, you just want a phone to text, make calls, and listen to music, the Twist is a fun phone that may be just what you need.
- Good call quality
- Excellent messaging
- Unique design
- Removable covers
- Fun Habitat mode
- Fun Contact Ring
- Media card slot
- CDMA only
- Average photo and video quality
- Many extras require additional monthly costs
- Poor web browsing