JUNE 1, 2007
 (STAR) By Kathy Moran - What are cellphones made of?

Well, cellphones are made of music players, cameras and Internet browsers. Yup, they gotta be able to send text messages, the longer the better, and on the occasional need, make phone calls, too.

I was asked recently on my thoughts about cellphones turning into all-in-one gadgets. I just smiled. I mean really, I still see so many people checking out all the new must-have gadgets out there. And, mind you, many of them have an MP3 player and a camera, too. Even all of that can be done on the phone.

But that doesn’t stop cellphone companies from developing even better and more sophisticated devices.

Take the Nokia 5700, which is the Finnish company’s latest offering in the mid-range music phone category.

The first twist music phone was the Nokia 3250. After that Nokia introduced the 5300 Express Music phone. And now, another Xpress Music phone plays its way into cellphone-cum-music lover’s ears — the Nokia 5700.

The Nokia 5700 has a strong focus on music, and even has a dedicated audio chip to help your tracks sound better. I must admit that I am not a big fan of plugging my ears with headsets and letting the music play on. But I had to make sure that the Nokia 5700 is everything that Nokia says it is. So, I tried. I spent an afternoon downloading tunes into the phone. I was able to load some of my fave tunes into the phone using the Bluetooth function.

And then I tried out the Nokia BH501 stereophonic Bluetooth headset. I would have used own regular headset but I wanted to hear what it would sound like to listen to tunes using a typical behind-the-head headset. That also allowed me not to stuff my ears with the tiny earphones.

It was fun. You see, with the 5700 I was able to access three modes of the phone in a clockwise twist motion of the lower part of the handset — music player, camera, and videophone.

Listening to sounds was my main goal. Although I would have been much happier if I had American Idol semifinalist Melinda Doolittle’s music to listen to. I was content with some of the oldies I had loaded. The music that blared through the Bluetooth headset was enough to keep my migraine at bay for a few hours. It was soothing. Although I would have preferred to rewind my fave tune without the headset on. Not an option on the BH501. As I listened I began to get a glimpse as to why people use their cellphones to listen to music. This way they can relax a bit and at the same time they don’t miss an important call from the boss or a text message.

It helps that the 5700 comes with a one GB MicroSd card. Users can store all their tunes on the card and listen to them through Bluetooth stereo headphones or regular headphones with the bundled 3.5mm headphone adapter. The 5700 is compatible with WMA, MP3, AAC, and eAAC+ audio, and users can even load it with DRM protected WMA files. There is also the crystal clear Hi-Fi sound quality with dedicated audio chip to share the groove with built-in stereo loudspeakers.

The other features of the phone are the now, almost standard two-megapixel camera with up to 4x digital zoom, built-in flash, landscape camcorder and video player, and Panorama Mode to allow users to take panoramic photos up to five images wide.

The 5700 has a great video playback feature. There is the 3G high-speed data connectivity, which makes browsing on the Internet fun. I tried it out and downloaded a few themes for the phone while I was connected. It took less than a minute to get the download. Not bad.

Texters who like the large font when they type up their messages will be happy with the 5700. Actually, I have noticed that most of the new Nokia phones have brought back the font size option to their phones — a feature which many users missed when it became scarce. I know that people like to make the most of their text message and prefer the small font so that means more words. But there are those like me who like to be able to read our text messages correctly when we are stuck in a traffic jam. And the large font helps.

The large and bright 2.2-inch QVGA (320 x 240 px) color display with an active area of 33.48 x 44.64 mm and supporting up to 16 million colors is great. I tried using the phone when I was under the sun and in the middle of a football field and was amazed that I did not have any difficulty reading the text or viewing the photos in spite of the sun’s reflection. Although I did run for cover really quick. Too hot.

The 5700 twists into four different usage modes: twist to Camera Mode to access capture key and zoom in/out; twist to Music Mode for play/pause, stop, rewind/fast forward; twist to Video Call Mode for it has a built-in stand for easy viewing; twist to Video View Mode to play/pause, stop, and rewind/fast forward.

I must mention the 3D tones feature, which allowed me to fashion out my ringtone so that it sounded like music coming from a cave. Perfect.

The 5700 is not a sleek, slim cellphone. But it pretty much does what it was made for — make the call, send the texts and play good music. The phone is sturdy and the main part of the phone, which is the center, is made of rubber, making it slip-proof as you twist and shout to whatever it is you love to plug into your ears.

Plug on.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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