Making voice calls is a breeze. If the person you want to call is not on your favourites list you can tap the aforementioned front fascia shortcut to get to your full contacts listing.
Alternatively, simply start tapping out a number on the keyboard. The handset assumes you want to enter letters and not numbers, and off you go.
There is a sneaky extra here too. If you want a countdown timer, you can just type in the countdown time you want in the format hhmmss and then choose this from the Options menu on the left softkey. If you want a three minute timer, for example, just enter 0300 for 03 minutes, 00 seconds. Leave a note if you want, then start the timer running.
You can send SMS messages to hand-entered numbers too, of course, though it's more likely that you'll want to do that for people in your contact book via the messaging app or direct from their contact data.
Entering contacts by hand is a multi-step process. First you enter a number, first name and last name on consecutive screens. Then you can add a photo and what the handset calls 'detail'.
One level of detail is additional phone numbers – mobile, home, work and in a rather old fashioned way, fax (we can't remember when we last sent a fax), as well as a 'general' number category.
Another level of detail is internet contact info which amounts to URL and email address. No Twitter handle, Facebook name or any other online moniker is catered for.
Next you can assign calling tones images and videos to a contact, and finally you can add what the Nokia C3 calls personal info (like the rest of the info isn't personal!).
That amounts to postal address, birthday, any note you may want to make, formal name, nickname, company, and job title.
It takes ages to enter a new contact using this multi-layered system, and it's a real pain. Nokia really should have just given one long screen on which we could choose to enter the data we want.
SMS creation is straightforward and if you sign up for them Ovi Mail and Ovi Chat are included in the package of what's available under messaging.
With Ovi Chat you can access Google Talk, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo Messenger and Nokia's own Ovi Chat.
The best news of all with regard to messaging is that that the keyboard is superb. Nokia really does know how to make mini QWERTY keyboards. The keys are well designed, individually domed, and have a good return so they feel great under the fingers.
It is easily as good as the keyboard we remember from the Nokia E72, and with separate @ and . keys entering email and web addresses is a breeze.