Nokia 701 review: Belles and whistles
Social networking integration
The Nokia 701 comes with social networking integration, part of which we saw in the phone book. The Social app however is the nexus for all things social - it supports the two most popular networks, Facebook and Twitter. You can have multiple accounts on each network but only one of each can be active at a time.
The Facebook section offers extensive options with an easy to use, touch-optimized user interface. Posting a status update is simple as is attaching a photo or video (or shooting new ones on the spot) as well as adding geotagging data.
Twitter is accessed through a similarly easy interface. There's a handy button to shorten links and you can attach photos and videos to your tweets as well.
The text input field for status updates for both Facebook and Twitter covers only the top half of the screen and the portrait QWERTY fits snugly on the bottom half of the screen, which is pretty clever positioning.
A cool feature is the All Activity section that becomes available when you add both Facebook and Twitter accounts. It pulls status updates from both networks into a single list. You can also post a status update on both networks simultaneously from here. Unfortunately, there's no option to post only to one of the networks - you have to go to the network's specific section to do that.
Friend search also becomes available on both networks - it searches both accounts for a given name.
Same old Ovi Store
Symbian is still one of the most popular smartphone OSes in the world but its application store is pretty barren compared to the iOS App Store and Android's Market.
The company has refreshed their Ovi store interface to make it more user-friendly for Symbian^3 and it's what you get on Belle too. And while the UI is indeed very handy to use, the number of apps is somewhat of a problem.
The default screen shows a list of featured apps or you can browse the apps available in the Ovi Store by categories – Applications, Games, Audio and Video content, Personalization; or by collections.
Your account profile keeps track of all the apps you have installed under My stuff. You can now also select where games and apps should be installed and where audio and video should go. That’s nice – we wish Android had that right from the start.
Ovi Maps comes with free lifetime navigation
The Nokia 701 comes with a built-in GPS receiver, which acquired satellite lock upon a cold start (A-GPS turned off) in just over a minute. Keeping the lock from then on was not an issue for the 701 even in a dense urban environment.
One of the best perks of buying a Symbian from Nokia is that you get free voice-guided navigation for life. The voice guidance is currently available in over 70 countries and over 40 different languages, with even traffic information for more than 10 of those.
In addition, Nokia did a pretty decent job of the Ovi Maps application itself, giving it a cool, touch-friendly interface, as well as nice features such as location info from Lonely Planet or Qype (you get a different source for the different locations).
With Ovi Maps 3.06 you get three different view modes including satellite and terrain maps. Those however do need an internet connection. The more regular 2D and 3D view modes are also at hand and can be used with preloaded maps. Starting with v3.06 can download maps directly on the phone, no computer needed anymore.
The route planning algorithm is also rather easy to customize to best suit your preferences. Toll roads and motorways can be avoided and so can tunnels and ferries. Routes can be set to either fastest or shortest.
Ovi Maps is also usable for pedestrian navigation or you can switch the GPS receiver off and use the phone as a hand-held map. Ovi Maps 3.06 also joins in on the location check-in craze and supports a long list of networks (but not Foursquare, understandably).
What's missing is the "More" option we've seen on other installations of Ovi Maps 3.06 - it allowed you to enable extra features like a 5-day weather forecast and Map Reported, which can be used to report map inaccuracies.