Review of the Nokia 1100

The Nokia 1100 is a small low-end phone presently offered in Canada on 7-11 mobile (a virtual network that uses Rogers). While it isn't perfect, it's a great little phone for the occasional user.

Last Updated: 18-Jan-2006

Before reading this review, please read Some Thoughts on Phone Reviewing.

RF Performance

RF Sensitivity: Like many Nokia models, the 1100 has excellent RF sensitivity. Throughout all of the tests I performed on the phone I was never disappointed by its ability to pull in a solid signal. This seemed to apply in areas that were 1900 MHz only, and in those areas with 850 MHz. While the phone was not markedly better than anything else I had ever tested, it was certainly among the best.

Over-the-road Performance: Unlike the above however, this particular aspect of the phone was a little disappointing. The 1100 had only average-to-below-average ability to cope with handoffs, which always sounded a little bit belabored. I've often said this of Nokia phones, but some (such as the 6310i) seemed to do better than many of the others. The 1100 is a bit of a disappointment in this regard, but certainly not the worst Iíve ever heard.

Click on this link for a full description of RF Performance, and how to interpret it.

Audio Performance

Tonal Balance: I wasn't too pleased with the overall tonal balance of this phone. While many of the better Nokia models have excellent tonal balance, the 1100 sounded markedly tinny. However, it wasn't really that bad and I would have no problem recommending the phone those who are not as picky as I am. I've listened to many phones that sounded much worse, including an iDEN model I was testing at the same time.

Sound Reproduction: This aspect of the phone was actually not too bad. Unlike some of the Nokia phones that I have complained about, such as the 7210, the reproduction of the nuances of speech was very good. There seemed to be very little distortion and except for the tinny nature of the sound (as noted above) there was no trouble whatsoever understanding every word spoken.

The same could be said of outgoing audio as well. The sound quality of the outgoing sound was at least as good as any other Nokia phone that I have ever tested, though like those phones it had a tendency to pick up much more background noise than is the average for candy-bar style GSM phones.

Click on this link for a full description of Audio Performance, and how to interpret it.

Support Features

Ringer Volume: Because the 1100 is a low-end model, Nokia did not bother putting in a polyphonic ringer. Instead, it used the standard ringer found on many of the older Nokia models, which translates to exceptionally clear and loud rings. However, this is not a phone for anyone who likes customized ringtones.

Keypad Design: At first glance I was not so sure I would end up liking the keypad. The keys were simply bubbles in an amorphous background. However, after using the keys for a while I discovered that they had a nice feel and I rarely made any mistakes with them. The bubbles were distinct enough to be felt as separate keys, and so the phone can be used without looking at it. I would have preferred individual keys, but I'm guessing that the design lends itself to less careful users who might allow their phones to get wet.

Display: The display is practically unique by today's standards, in that it is not color. Instead it is identical to the smaller monochrome displays that appeared on many Nokia phones prior to a couple of years ago. For the low-end user I truly believe that it is a much better type of display. Itís easy to see in bright sunlight and itís much easier to focus on for those with less-than-perfect eyesight. If a phone is just a phone to the low-end user, it doesnít make sense to have a battery-sucking color display.


The Nokia 1100 is a basic model intended for low-end users. It doesn't do very many fancy things, it does not have a color display, nor does it have polyphonic ringtones. The phone is presently for sale by 7-11, who have decided to get into the virtual network provider game and offer service through Rogers. They offer prepaid cards that are valid for 365 days, which is perfect for the ultra low-end user.

While I would personally have trouble using a phone such as the 1100, due to its slightly tinny sound and less than stellar handoff performance, I would have absolutely no problem recommending this phone to low-end users such as my own parents. People who use phones only rarely do not require absolute perfection, but rather something that is solid, has terrific battery life, and is small and light. In that regard the 1100 fits the bill perfectly. If you know someone who is in the market for phone to use only occasionally, they can hardly go wrong with this model.