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by Martin Fortus

A Refresh On The Phone For Fashion Craze

Almost a year ago, we wrote a review of Nokia 7500 Prism, one of Nokia's entries into "phone as fashion statement". Now, "phone as fashion gear" is as at least as old as the Motorola ROKR and RAZR models, but the field has gotten more complex and higher end with phones from Prada, Ferrari and Armani that cost upwards of a thousand sterling for the right to carry around a phone with gems embedded in it, or a particular brand name.

Fortunately for your pocketbook, the 7900 Prism isn't as expensive as an Armani, but at a couple hundred, it's still a noticeable dent on the budget. What are you getting for it? You're mostly paying a premium for triangular buttons that are awkward and hard to use, with glossy covers that make them eye catching.

The phone has a nice, rich OLED display - it's big enough, though we found the resolution high enough to make the text hard to read. It's got the usual array of buttons, and while in theory, triangles wouldn't be an issue, in practice, they're cramped and squished together. It's difficult to hit just one key at a time. On the other hand, it's 11 millimeters thin, which means it slips nicely into a pocket.

In terms of features, it has the obligatory music player function and the 2 megapixel camera that every phone seems to come with these days. The menu system to get at the features is Nokia's standard menu set up. It conspicuously lacks a microSD slot, so you're stuck with storing your photos and music on the onboard 1 GB memory; we expect this to change, as it's barely an upgrade from the 7500 model.

One notable change from the 7500 is the removal of the feature my daughter loved the most - the ability to change the colour of the decorative face plate by swapping out a small plastic ring. Now that she's older, she's less concerned about how a phone looks than how it works, but it was the feature of the 7500 she raved about the most.

That being said, the backlights on the phone's keypad can be changed; you can assign different flash and color patterns for different incoming phone numbers. To me it seemed like a gimmick, to my daughter, it seemed cool, but in a dorky way. She could see some of her schoolmates - guys mostly - having fun setting that up.

The 2 megapixel camera isn't the greatest camera in the world, but it's serviceable. To be fair, I remember when we'd all be raving about 2 megapixels in a phone to begin with. It doesn't have much in the way of optics, and only has an LED flash, but it's more than suitable for quick snaps.

The headphone jack is a proprietary one, which is also disappointing. Sound quality on the phone as a phone is good, with no distortion. Reception quality is also good, but we've come to expect that from Nokia, which consistently scores well in this regard.

Overall, I confess I'm not in the demographic for this mobile, and thankfully, my daughter seems to be getting out of that demographic as well. I'd spend a fair bit less and get a phone with the same features and less fashion.

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