Nokia 7280 Our Review
From whispers to full-blown harassment, the Nokia 7280 definitely turns heads. So much so that while using it on your commute you may wish that the long, slim phone would suddenly turn into the weapon it so resembles — a can of pepper spray — just to keep the gawkers in their seats and off your back.
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From a design point of view, everything about this phone is completely unconventional. There are no number buttons, only an iPod-like NaviSpinner and a couple of hotkeys. The screen is set up in landscape instead of portrait, and when the LCD is dormant or powered off, it actually turns into a little mirror. Because of the mirror, along with the phone’s unique shape and slider function, the 7280 is often affectionately referred to as the “lipstick phone.” You actually can use the mirror to put on lipstick. Really. We tried it. And like that perfect shade of crimson, this phone is meant to be unveiled during your nighttime activities.
The Nokia is positioned as a so-called second phone (to go with your second car and second home, no doubt). The idea is that you take your SIM card out of your daytime phone and pop it into the Nokia, so you can hit the clubs with a slimmer, lighter handset. But in the process, you sacrifice your day-phone’s keypad, so you’re limited to the numbers you already have on your SIM card. You can dial with the NaviSpinner, but that requires dexterity and concentration — which greatly diminishes after each cosmo you imbibe. And even switching the SIM card in and out of the 7280 is complicated, requiring a special tool (using a paper clip is less fashionable but just as efficient).
With such a radical design, there’s bound to be a little discomfort during the getting-to-know-you phase. Using the scrolling dial is a little like using a rotary phone, but with too many options and too many occasions to make a mistake — it takes some getting used to. But the biggest pain comes with texting — a hot pastime of the target audience of this hip phone. Scrolling through the entire alphabet is tedious, although the phone does have a decent predictive-text dictionary.
While the 7280 does not come with any games, support Java, or have the ability to record video, it does have an awesome pair of headphones that turns the sleek phone into your personal pocket radio. And the 0.3-megapixel camera is neatly hidden, revealed only when you pull the two ends of the phone away from each other — a method that you can also use to answer and end phone calls. The phone has fine, but not exceptional, call quality, and its talk time of three hours and 55 minutes is plenty to last you from happy hour to last call.
With a nod to art deco, the biggest draw to this phone seems to be the flashy facade. But to some it might be a tad over the top, a little too stylized. We tend to enjoy gadgets with a healthier balance of form and function. –Jennifer Scully
Best Feature: Slick slider design
Worst Feature: Lack of buttons will leave you spinning your wheels
Price: $560 without service
Weight: 3 ounces
Size: 4.5 x 1.3 x 0.8 inches
Specs: 900/1800/1900MHz GSM/GPRS; 208 x 104-pixel, 1.8-inch, color TFT; 0.3-megapixel camera; FM radio; Bluetooth