What's hot: Head turning design. Cool Habitat mode.
What's not: Must twist open the phone to answer a call (unless you're using a headset).
Reviewed September 21, 2009 by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor
If you are looking for a phone that turns heads, the Nokia Twist 7705 will do just that. Shiny, unique and modern, the Nokia 7705 Twist makes the diminutive Motorola Karma and Verizon Blitz look like chunky monkeys. The Nokia has a swivel design and it feels natural to open the phone like fanning open a deck of cards. When the phone is closed, it looks like a makeup compact with a screen; but swivel open the QWERTY keyboard and the phone looks much more like a normal phone. A large LED-lit ring anchors the two panels and offers notifications in different colors.
The Nokia 7705 Twist is a digital CDMA phone with EV-DO Rev. 0 for data, and it’s exclusively available from Verizon. In addition to a roomy QWERTY keyboard, the Nokia Twist has a built-in 3 megapixel autofocus camera with video capture, aGPS that works with VZ Navigator, V CAST Music and Video and Bluetooth with A2DP. The phone runs Verizon’s UI and comes with the Polaris web browser that’s on many of Verizon’s feature phones.
Design and Ergonomics
The Nokia Twist 7705 is a perfect square when closed, measuring 2.71 x 2.71 x 0.59 inches. The phone feels small when it’s closed, but when the keyboard swivels out it actually feels very wide. It’s wider than the iPhone 3GS which is just about the widest phone currently on the market. The 2.4” landscape display dominates the front of the phone, but the large LED ring that anchors the two swiveling panels vies for attention. The LED ring can flash in different colors (6 colors) for different contacts (you can select ring colors in Contacts), and the ring can send notifications (missed calls, messages, etc.) by “breathing” the LED color of your choice. A normal d-pad lives in the center below the display, and two shoulder keys and the “CLR” key are touch sensitive keys with haptic feedback. The d-pad feels good to use even for gaming, but the touch keys are easy to press by accident. There are options that allow you to set the sensitivity and vibration feedback for the touch keys. There is also a proximity sensor above the screen.
The wide body affords the Nokia Twist a good size landscape display and a very roomy four-row keyboard with an additional launcher row above. The keyboard is extremely easy to use, and the keys have both a tactile click and audio feedback when pressed. The number keys are embedded in a block (phone dial pad arrangement), and those who favor large space bars on their mobile phones will appreciate Nokia’s keyboard. Dedicated launcher keys include messaging, music player, web browser, voice command (Nuance voice command onboard), speakerphone, camera/camcorder as well as call Send and End buttons. For mobile messaging addicts, the Nokia Twist offers one of the best keyboards in a mid-sized phone.
The Nokia Twist 7705 has minimal side buttons. Side ports include the charging port, the microSD card slot, the 2.5mm stereo headset jack and the volume rocker. There is also a holder for phone charms, and the speakerphone fires to the right through the speakerphone grille. The Nokia Twist comes with two back covers, one in black and one in purple. The back cover is easy to take off, just release the small latch to unlock the cover. The 3-megapixel camera with flash lives on the back of the phone, and when the phone is open, the back of the display panel does double-duty as a mirror.
Phone, Messaging and Web
The Nokia Twist 7705 has good reception, getting full 1X and 3 out of 4 bars of EV-DO in very strong coverage areas. The phone has not dropped a call but in spotty coverage areas it occasionally lost the EV-DO signal. Voice quality on both incoming and outgoing ends is good with clear audio and loud volume. The Nokia Twist supports common call management features such as call forwarding, 3-way calling and call waiting. It also works with Verizon’s Visual Voice Mail service (it’s not free), and the phone book can store 1,000 contacts. Habitat mode really stands out on this phone, and it comes with 2 themes and 400 avatars that you can assign to your contacts. The Habitat themes give you 3D visuals of your friends: when you select an avatar that represents a friend on screen, you’ll see a list of calls and messages between you and that friend. It’s a very cool social networking centric UI, but the phone slows down a bit when in Habitat mode.
The roomy keyboard on the Nokia Twist 7705 is perfect for messaging, and the phone serves up SMS, MMS, web-based email (Hotmail and AOL) and IM (MSN, Yahoo! and AOL). The Nokia supports threaded messaging which makes it easier to keep track of the conversations especially if you’ve got several of them going on at once.
Sorry Nokia web-kit based browser fans, the Nokia Twist 7705 doesn’t have Nokia’s browser. It comes with the Polaris 6.1 web browser found on most current Verizon feature phones. The web browser supports full HTML and can render web pages in a desktop style with images and tables intact. Web pages load reasonably fast and the browser offers options and setting for cookies, certificates, SSL and more. It’s not bad at all for a feature phone, but it’s not as awesome as web-kit browsers when viewing desktop formatted sites.
The phone comes with a second back cover that's purple.
Music and Video
The Nokia 7705 Twist is a good music phone if you have a Bluetooth stereo headset or can find a wired stereo headset that’s compatible with the Twist’s 2.5mm jack. The built-in media player can play music in MP3, WMA and AAC/AAC+ formats. The Nokia works with Verizon’s V CAST Music with Rhapsody, which means you can buy songs and download them over the air or via PC. The tunes download reasonably fast thanks to EV-DO 3G speed. The phone can store music either in internal memory or on microSD cards, and it supports high capacity cards (up to 16GB tested). The built-in speaker on the Nokia 7705 isn’t that big, and it doesn’t sound very loud nor very full as a result. We have a lot of wired headsets in our toy box, but we couldn’t find one that worked with the Twist (Verizon does list 2 Motorola stereo wired headsets as compatible with the Nokia). We tested the phone with several Bluetooth wireless headsets including the Jabra HALO and the Samsung SBH-500, and the audio quality was excellent and volume super loud. If you plan to listen to music on the Nokia Twist, both these Bluetooth stereo headsets will provide excellent audio quality.
The Nokia Twist 7705 also works with Verizon’s V CAST on-demand video services. The phone has very good performance in video playback and the landscape screen is handy for full screen playing mode. V CAST on-demand videos look smooth with audio in sync to the video. There are occasional frame drops and refresh delays in full screen mode, but most videos are very watchable.
The Nokia 7705 has built-in aGPS that works smoothly with Verizon’s VZ Navigator. The landscape screen is good for viewing maps and is viewable outdoors as long as it’s not directly in sunlight. The phone gets fixes fairly quickly and navigation calculations are reasonably fast. The Nokia Twist had no problem following us driving and the turn-by-turn directions were accurate. The phone’s speaker wasn’t very loud and we did have some trouble hearing it on a busy highway, but it sounded fine for city streets. VZ Navigator isn’t free, but it offers 2D and 3D maps, trip planning and navigation, re-routing and traffic check in real time and allows sharing locations with family and friends.
The Nokia Twist 7705 has a 3-megapixel camera that offers auto focus mode and flash. It’s interesting that you can turn the auto focus feature on and off, and auto focus doesn’t make a huge difference in picture quality. The Nokia 7705 takes good but not exceptional photos by 3-megapixel camera phone standards. The images have saturated colors and look balanced, but some outdoor shots have inconsistent exposure. Indoor shots look good and the flash is really bright and effective for taking good photos in low-light environments. In general, pictures taken with the Nokia look sharp and pleasing. The camera software offers white balance, color effects, capture mode, shutter sound and other settings.
The Nokia 7705 Twist can also take video with audio. MMS videos are 176 x 144 pixel resolution and max length videos are QVGA. The video looks smooth and the audio is in sync with video.
The Nokia Twist 7705 has a rechargeable Li-Ion battery (model BL-4C) that’s user replaceable. Battery life isn’t stellar with 860 mAh in capacity especially if you use EV-DO for music download or watching V CAST Video frequently. The claimed talk time is 4.5 hours and claimed standby is 13 days. Our battery tests showed the claimed numbers were overly optimistic, and we only reached about 4 hours of talk time and a week of standby. Using GPS navigation and watching V CAST video will drain the battery at an accelerated speed. If your daily usage includes these tasks, get yourself an extra battery if you are on the road a lot.
Nokia doesn’t make many CDMA phones, and the Nokia Twist is a winner. The phone has a unique design that should please those who want something unusual and fashionable. It’s also great for texters thanks to the excellent keyboard. The LED ring is fun and the Habitat mode makes it easy to keep track of your communications with friends and family. With GPS and real time navigation, V CAST music and video, a full HTML browser and messaging onboard, the Nokia Twist 7705 is a good all around phone with a form that looks unlike anything else on the market.
Price: $99.99 with 2-year contract after discount.
Display: 2.4” QVGA 262K color TFT screen. Resolution: 320 x 240 pixels.
Battery: Lithium Ion rechargeable battery, 860 mAh, user replaceable. Claimed talk time: up to 4.5 hours. Claimed standby time: up to 13 days.
Performance: 128MB internal memory. Phone book can store 1000 entries.
Size: 2.71 x 2.71 x 0.59 inches. Weight: 3.44 oz.
Phone: Digital CDMA phone 1X-EV-DO Rev. 0.
Camera: 3 megapixel with flash. Still image resolutions: 2048x1536, 1280x960, 800x600, 640x480, and 320x240. 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.
Networking: Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR. Bluetooth Profiles: Headset, Hands–free, Dial–up Networking, Stereo, Phone Book Access, Basic Printing, Object Push (for vCard & vCal), File Transfer, Basic Imaging. USB 2.0.
Software: Verizon UI with Habitat mode. Polaris 6.1 HTML browser, Web-based email and IM on board. PIM tools include Contacts, Calculator (Basic & Tip), Converter, Calendar, Calendar Preview, Alarm Clock, World Clock, Stopwatch, Notepad, and USB Mass Storage.