What is made of plastic and metal, has a color screen and a camera, and can survive a quick dip into a pint of beer? A Nokia 3720 Classic, that's what. I can understand why Nokia build this phone... sort of. I mean, most of Nokia's cheap S40-based handsets can and usually have no option but to endure a rough life, so the fact that Nokia decided that they needed to release a product with even more durability seems a bit like overdoing it. But that's exactly what the 3720 does, and does it with a bit of style compared to the rugged offerings by other companies.
To start things off, it is important to know that the Nokia 3720c (the little "C" means Classic in Nokia shorthand) is IP-54 rated, meaning the handset has a rating of 5 on a scale from 0-6 for dust protection and a rating of 4 on a 0-8 scale for water protection (literally stated as "Protection against water sprayed from all directions - limited ingress permitted"). This rating is definitely no easy feat to accomplish, but neither does it imply that the 3720c is absolutely bulletproof. I would say that the 3720c is more life-proof... a quick google for videos is enough to prove my point, as the phone is dropped into beer stines, put into jello prior to it being made solid, and dropped from the top of multi-story buildings all without much consequence.
Part of the 3720c's durability comes from the general design shape it takes: a candybar handset (my favorite type). No hinges to break, slides to derail, only buttons that *could* be broken, I suppose. The front of the device appears much like it came from Nokia's cookie-cutter for S40 phones, as nothing much is new. An adequately-sized display, fairly large buttons, and a little cut made for the earpiece. Nothing new here, really... what we have in terms of external hardware is a phone, there's no mistaking it. If this phone was available five or six years ago, it might be startling in terms of the amount of hardware crammed inside of it, but externally it would've blended in more or less perfectly with the candybars available at the time.
Turning the phone over, however, reveals a bit more about the true nature of this phone. Gone is the traditional button-locked battery covers that Nokia always manages to keep fresh and interesting. Instead is to be found a screw-style lock, which can be opened with the use of a coin. (I found a 10 Euro-Cent coin to be excellent.) The camera lens is easily one of my favorite parts of the phone... I find it odd that so many non N-Series devices have overly accentuated image lenses, yet have subpar image quality (in comparison to, say, the new N8). In fact, the N8 has one of the most understated lens adornments (ignoring the bulge in the body), which is why I like it so much. Compared to the N96, which had a lot of showboating around its lens, one has to scratch their heads and ask why, since the N96 was in most cases worse than the previous N-Series models.
Back to the 3720 though. The phone reveals a bit of its true nature by the rubber seal lining the battery cover. Also, the volume keys are a one-piece connected rubber assembly, and require a bit of force to use without resulting in a lot of tactile feedback. Still, better than them being operated by accident when downhill skiing I suppose. And let's be honest... I maybe change the volume of my phone for two different people, whom happen to have a very loud and animated manner of conversation.
Other rubber parts include a small lip around the front of the phone, which keeps the metal frame from sitting directly on whatever surface the phone is laid face-down onto. There also seems to be a rubber membrane that makes up the keyboard, because the space between the keys is definitely rubber. The keys themselves seem to be hard plastic, but underneath the plastic is undoubtedly rubber which is connected to everything else on the face of the phone.
Weight-wise, the phone isn't very heavy... which is nice, because a lot of rugged phones are pretty much just heavy rubber bricks. Not so here- the 3720 is definitely a rugged adventurer that doesn't overindulge in the occasional sweets.
I'm going to get some things, the same things I would normally review, out of the way real fast because I doubt anyone reading this really came here to figure out how well the calendar functions or something else of those lines. The 3720 comes loaded with a nice version of S40, fully polished. The display itself caught me by surprise... I'd never beforehand used an S40 device with such a high-resolution display. Although 240x320 pixels is old-hat in today's cell phone world, S40 looks easily at home with lots of room to spread out on it. Quite nice. The display panel itself seems better than the last phone I used (Nokia C5) by a long shot. Navigation the UI was quick and snappy... I mean, there are faster out there, but the 3720 is no slouch even compared to many "smarter" phones out there.
Calls came through nice and clear, with Nokia's signature great call quality. Nothing more to speak of. The 3270 makes phone calls... end of story.
The camera is much below the quality that I personally have become accustomed to... but it's not bad in bright, outdoor conditions.
Messaging is a simple affair... made better because of the high-resolution display.
Battery life is excellent... I haven't done as much texting as I normally do with the 3720, but I think even if I did I'd still happily be seeing multiple days out of it.
Internet is unknown... I don't use mobile internet unless it's through WiFi or an emergency. I can tell you that the 3720 doesn't support 3G, so it'd sure have to be an emergency to be worth waiting for the load times.
And finally, durability. When I got the 3720, my first thought was to drop it in a pint of beer. But then I had the must-baby-the-new-gadget emotion kick in, and I decided to hold off till later. Or at least until I had a good audience. However, when I got a phone call from a friend while washing dishes, I couldn't help but answer with soapy hands. And when all the dishes were finished, I rinsed off the phone under the tap while still on the phone. It's weird, but that action was so simple, so easy, that it almost seemed like the 3720 had cheated me. I'm not sure what I was expecting, maybe for the water to bend around the phone or for a lot of bubbles to appear out of thin air but the 3720 simply took a quick dip in the stream to shrug off the soap suds, endured a quick flick to rid it of most of the water, a rub on my jeans for the rest of the water, then continued the phone call. No fuss whatsoever.
In the case of the 3720... using it wasn't anything unusual. It functioned exactly as it should, but gave an extra sense of reliability. I made phone calls out in the rain, occasionally chucked it in the air, and proudly planted the phone on tables. Sure, the screen protector is still on it, but it's not like I have a reason to take it off just yet.
What the 3720 is, I think, is the ultimate phone. Yes, I just said that. The 3720 is no multimedia computer with a phone built into it- the 3720 is a phone. And there's nothing that gets in the way of that... be it software, hardware interface or the natural elements... the 3720 remains a phone throughout. It's not a device that can go anywhere and do anything you ask of it. It's not that at all. It's a phone that can go anywhere and always function to do exactly what it was purposed to do in any of those situations. I don't mean scuba-diving when I say anywhere, but it's not like you'd get a signal underwater anyways. The 3720 can go anywhere that a phone could go. The hypothetical situation is made reality. And for that I'd have to say that I personally find the 3720 to be the best phone out there.