After years of watching their rivals introduce one dual SIM phone after another, a few months back Nokia finally decided to join them and unveiled its first mobile phones capable of accommodating two SIM cards at the same time. Eager to see what it held in store, we took one of them, the Nokia C1-00, for a spin around our testing grounds.
Instead of even bothering to catch up with the competition, the Finns chose to play the game by their own rules and made their first steps into the dual SIM mobile phone market by announcing a couple of entry level devices. No luster and certainly nothing groundbreaking, these devices (including the C1-00) pack only the most basic of features.
So, you get what you pay for. And what you need. Which is dual SIM telephony. The Nokia C1-00 works with two SIM cards and comes with a color display, a built-in FM radio and a handy flashlight.
Here’s the pros and cons of getting a Nokia C1-00.
- Entry level dual SIM feature phone
- Dual-band GSM support (GSM 900/1800 MHz), no dual standby
- 1.8″ 65K-color display of 128-by-160-pixel resolution
- FM radio
- Low price
- Promising 1020mAh battery
- Only one SIM card is active at a time
- Keypad not comfy enough
- No memory card slot
- No support for GPRS, EDGE or Bluetooth
As the short specs sheet reveals, there is no camera on the C1-00 back, and there is no need to look for a memory card slot either – you won’t find any. However, it would’ve been more surprising to actually see those on a 30-euro mobile phone. Long story short, the Nokia C1-00 feature pack is actually just fine.
What isn’t, though, is the phone’s dual SIM functionality. While this still is a dual SIM capable device, there is no dual standby on board. In other words, only one of the two inserted SIM cards is active at a time while the inactive one is unreachable.
Despite that, the Nokia C1-00 is still quite useful. You don’t need to turn off the phone each time you want to toggle the active SIM card, and let’s not forget that the C1-00 is among the most affordable phones out there.
Nokia C1-00 unboxed
The Nokia C1-00 comes in a plain cardboard box. Other than the phone itself, you’ll get the typical basic accessories: a charger and the good old one-piece handsfree that ends in a 3.5mm audio jack. It comes in handy when making phone calls while driving or when using the FM radio (the phone lacks a built-in antenna). There’s, of course, a manual too.
Nokia C1-00 360-degree spin
The Nokia C1-00 isn’t exactly the most compact of basic feature phones at 107.1 x 45 x 15 mm but it would still fit in most pockets or purses.
The C1-00 tips the scales at 72.9 grams, which is perfectly acceptable. The thing is made of plastic that looks and feels cheap, but that’s to be expected from such an inexpensive device.
Nevertheless, the Nokia C1-00 feels robust enough and handles with ease.
Design and construction
The Nokia C1-00 comes in many flavors – Medium Blue, Light Gray, Sea Green, and Red (like the one paying us a short visit). We can hardly call the C1-00 design attractive but the phone is still nice looking (especially some of its color variants).
Both the front and the back of the phone are made of matt fingerprint-proof plastic which may not look expensive but it sure does the job.
Half of the C1-00 front is taken up by the 65K-color TFT display. It measures 1.8 inches and is of 128 x 160 pixel resolution. The image quality is surprisingly good for this price range and so is sunlight legibility. Right above the display we find the centrally located earpiece.
Underneath the screen is the navigation deck built around a D-pad with no center button in it (confirmation is now made using the left soft key).
While the four buttons surrounding the D-pad are very comfortable and feature a nice tactile feedback, the D-pad is kind of hard to press but in time you get used to it.
Except for navigation, the D-pad is also used to quickly turn on and off the inbuilt flashlight. Pressing twice up starts the flashlight and to switch it off, just press the D-pad once again in the same direction.
As for the numberpad underneath, all keys feature great tactile feedback and even if there is no space between them, they are still very user-friendly. Their only downside is the annoying click sound produced each time you press a button.
If you want to switch from one active SIM card to another, press and hold the asterisk key, while the phone is in standby mode.
The left side of the handset is bare while the right one only hosts the 2mm charger plug.
On the Nokia C1-00 top we find the flashlight we mentioned a second ago as well as the standard 3.5mm audio jack right next to it. The phone can’t be used as a portable music player but there is at least an FM radio on board.
Except for the Nokia logo and the speakerphone grill, there is nothing on the Nokia C1-00 back. Underneath there is the 1020mAh Li-Ion battery (BL-5C) which is quoted at up to the unbelievable 48 days of stand-by or up to 13 hours of talk-time.
Since we spent only a few days reviewing the phone we can’t give you exact real life battery life numbers. We had to charge the C1-00 battery only once – when starting our review.
Nice build quality is great to have in an entry level handset. The C1-00 delivers on ergonomics too – typing is excellent and navigation is a breeze. Two SIM card slots and a standard 3.5mm audio jack along with a built-in FM radio – not bad at all for the price you pay.
Series 30 user interface
The C1-00 runs Nokia’s Series 30 UI. The only thing to suggest that you’re actually holding a dual SIM capable phone is the tiny SIM1 (or SIM2) label in the center of the homescreen and the indicator in the upper left corner telling you which is the currently active SIM card.
The main menu has two different view modes: a grid of icons or a list of items. As usual, the color background of the entire menu, as well as the wallpaper on the display, can be easily modified by changing the active theme.The menu responds nicely (with occasional lags).
There are six predefined ringing profiles on the Nokia C1-00 and on top of them you get an additional user-customizable one. These should be enough to suit practically any situation you could possible face.
While browsing the menu we encountered quite a lot preloaded applications – Converter, Spreadsheet (turned out to be what we used to know as the Expense manager), countdown timer, stopwatch, and even a melody composer. Geez, we thought those were a thing of the past already. Actually, there’s no other way to add custom ringtones, so that’s something.
Also on board there are three games – Bounce, Sudoku, and Forbidden Treasures. And as we mentioned before, the C1-00 also comes with an FM radio (the enclosed headset serves as an antenna since the phone lacks a built-in one).
Interestingly, the Nokia C1-00 has no web browser.
The S30 UI turned out to be user-friendly and responsive enough. If this isn’t your first Nokia device, you shouldn’t have any difficulties getting used to the user interface. There are no goodies such as multi-tasking or active standby but those aren’t to expect on a device priced at 30 euro.
Dual SIM phonebook and telephony
The phonebook of the Nokia C1-00 stores up to 500 contacts – as far as most people are concerned, this is as good as unlimited storage. The phonebook is typical S30 and holds no surprises.
As far as the dual SIM functionality is concerned, contacts on both SIM cards are displayed at the same time, however, you can only add, edit or delete contacts from the currently active SIM card. On the other hand, you can send a message or call any of the contacts no matter if its card is currently active or not.
Each contact can be assigned only one number. There are no extra fields. The way contacts are displayed is user-configurable – a list of names, numbers or names and numbers. Setting up quick dial shortcuts gives you quick access to the most used contacts.
Another interesting C1-00 feature is the Multi-phonebook. The Nokia C1-00 packs support for up to 5 separate phonebooks allowing multiple users to store there own contacts on a single device. Shared contacts are accessible from all phonebooks, while the others are kept private.
As for the telephony, the in-call sound is strong and clear. Vibration strength is not very impressive though.
As we’ve already pointed out, even if the phone is dual SIM capable, only one of the cards can be active at a time. This means the other card will unreachable so in order to receive calls and messages on the inactive number you’ll need to activate it. There’s a quick shortcut for that – just press-and-hold on the asterisk (or star) key.
If you don’t want to miss a call even if the card is currently inactive, you can always divert incoming calls to another phone number (including the active one), however, make sure to contact your service provider for more information on the costs. The handset has an easy Dual SIM menu, which makes forwarding calls between both SIM cards not only easy, but also automatic – should you choose to.
Since there was no way to transfer our tones used for the traditional loudspeaker test, we weren’t able to run it. However, the Nokia C1-00 sounds quite loud and missed calls are only likely in noisier environments.
The last dual SIM phone we reviewed came with features like a touchscreen, Wi-Fi support and a 5-megapixel camera on board and this little fella, the Nokia C1-00, doesn’t even have a web browser. Or a memory card slot. But it’s cheap. And that seems to be its only advantage over the competition.
The C1-00 is a dual SIM phone, but it’s not a Dual standby phone. And that’s an important difference. The C1-00 doesn’t make use of both SIM cards simultaneously. Instead, only one SIM card is active at a time.
We had a really hard time coming up with possible real-life scenarios where the limited Dual SIM functionality would actually be useful. In the end we gave up – perhaps Nokia never meant to use it as a key selling feature. The flashlight and FM radio sound way more practical.
Plus some carriers have been offering dual-number SIM cards for quite some time and since they work the same as Dual SIM telephony on the C1-00, you might as well get one of those and keep your current phone.
We guess the Nokia C1-00 won’t be a big hit on the Dual SIM phone market, but despite that, the price of around 30 euro is low enough to make it a bestseller with or without it.
|General||2G Network||GSM 900 / 1800 – SIM 1|
|GSM 900 / 1800 – SIM 2|
|Status||Available. Released 2010, September|
|Size||Dimensions||107.1 x 45 x 15 mm, 63 cc|
|Display||Type||TFT, 65K colors|
|Size||128 x 160 pixels, 1.8 inches|
|Sound||Alert types||Vibration; MP3 ringtones|
|– 3.5 mm audio jack|
|Call records||20 dialed, 20 received, 20 missed calls|
|Colors||Medium Blue, Red, Light Gray, Sea Green|
|– Dual SIM (no dual standby)
|Battery||Standard battery, Li-Ion 1020 (BL-5C)|
|Stand-by||Up to 1152 h|
|Talk time||Up to 13 h|
|Misc||SAR EU||1.13 W/kg (head)|
|Price group||Rs. 1750