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Nokia 3250 review
By Jørgen Sundgot, Wednesday 12 April 2006  E-mail story  Print story 
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Music phones
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Jørgen Sundgot gets up close and personal with the all-singing, all-dancing Nokia 3250 - a multi-talented entertainer which is being pitched unfairly as a music phone.
Nokia 3250
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All manners aside; who the hell decided it would be a good idea to send us a review sample of the Nokia 3250 clad in black and granny pink? As if the angular, 104 x 50 x 20 mm design didn't struggle enough in the department of aesthetics already, its flamboyant colour scheme didn't even go down well with the ladies - but fortunately, there are more appealing aspects to this slightly schizophrenic entertainer than its looks.


Nokia 3250
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The most unique feature of the 130 g Rocky Horror Show that is the 3250 is its innovative swiveling keypad, which rotates hundred-and-eighty degrees to pop the handset into music mode, simultaneously revealing four large hard buttons for track management. Sadly, skipping tracks as well as forwarding and rewarding through songs proved to be molasses-like experiences, even though the 3250 relies on an otherwise snappy 512 MB microSD card for storage. Said card, coincidentally, is so ridiculously small one should never ever make any sort of attempt at exchanging it whilst on the move or showing it to children at the risk of losing it forever.

Nokia 3250
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Nokia 3250
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Although the 'Now playing' view of the music player is confusing and poorly utilized, the bulk of its interface presents itself as quite intuitive and offers a broad set of functionality. MP3 and WMA are duly supported, yet as a Windows Media device we're a bit surprised and disappointed that WMA DRM isn't on the slate. Still, the 3250 synchronizes flawlessly and effortlessly with Windows Media Player 10 or higher on a desktop courtesy of USB support, and can even be configured to function as a removable drive for added convenience.

Nokia 3250
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Sadly, the most bothersome aspect of the 3250 is its sub-par out-of-box audio quality. In addition, the handset even fails to impress when adding the obligatory quality headphones - and what's more, the bundled 3.5 mm dongle is unnecessarily prone to accidental damage as it connects to the side of the handset. As for wireless listening, that's not an option as the 3250 doesn't support stereo Bluetooth audio; the ordinary kind will net you in excess of 9 hours with no other use of the handset.

Playing second guitar

Nokia 3250
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Nokia 3250
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Rotate the swiveling keypad of the 3250 ninety degrees in the opposite direction of that used to access to the music player, and voilá: up comes the interface of a 2 Megapixel camera which produces entirely average stills and video. Naturally, this feature also relies heavily on the otherwise excellent screen, which with its medium resolution unfortunately also exemplifies why the 3rd version of Nokia's Series 60 platform - which sees its debut in the 3250 - is better suited for devices with QVGA resolution screens or above.

Nokia 3250
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Another unfortunate side effect of the switch to 3rd edition is a sudden and absolute incompatibility with applications written for previous Nokia smartphones; not terribly important given the 3250's lacking business appeal, but annoying nonetheless. On a more positive note, a brand new microbrowser offers improved support for viewing full web pages downloaded over the handset's snappy EDGE connection, even though it's a bit of a fiddly process requiring heavy duty panning courtesy of a mouse pointer controlled by the sub-par joystick of the 3250.

Other aspects which deserve a quick mention include the excellent numerical keypad and sub-par navigation controls; Bluetooth and stereo FM radios; in-phone photo blogging; the ability to play Flash Lite content; and the entertaining ability to have the phone speak the name of any person listed in the Contacts directory out loud when receiving incoming calls.

Price and availability

The Nokia 3250 is now available throughout Europe, selling for €350 EUR without subscription.

Price and availability

The Nokia 3250 will be available throughout Europe in April 2006, selling in the €450 range.


The embodiment of mediocrity, Nokia’s 3250 isn’t a particularly bad music phone - it’s just not a very good one, either. Mediocre audio quality and music management evoke a feeling of music functionality having been an afterthought, yet the handset surprisingly shines with regard to synchronization. 512 MB of memory is a decent amount at the time of writing, and the stereo FM radio is a nice touch - but nothing to write home about. In fact, the most attractive aspect of the 3250 is its ability to run powerful 3rd party applications and games, as well as its innovative yet bulky design. €350 EUR, available throughout Europe.

What's positive:
Innovative design; 2 Megapixel camera; EDGE; stereo FM radio

What's negative:
Mediocre audio quality and music management; bulky
Music phones Score:

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