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Nokia N70 review

Nokia N70 review
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A compact and easy-to-use 3G smartphone with versatile mobile photography, personal productivity and entertainment features. Incorporating a complete smartphone feature set, as well as a 2 megapixel camera, flash and front camera for video calling, the Nokia N70 also comes equipped with stereo FM radio, a digital music player and new 3D games.
Review On : Nokia N70

By Jonathan Cheah

At A Glance:
Price: RM2499
Local Distributor: Nokia Malaysia (M) Sdn Bhd.
Contact: 1-300-88-1600
Build quality: 9/10
Applications: 9/10
Interface: 9/10
Value-for-money: 8/10
Overall rating: 9/10
+ Less bulky than N90
+ Memory expansion
+ Radio receiver
+ 3G phone
- Slow response
- Tacky plastic slide cover

The Nokia N70 is the candybar version of the N90, which launched first. After reviewing both units, I would say that the N70 wins in most categories, especially for ease of use. The N70 resembles the Nokia 6680 in many ways, especially with the small Camera at the top right of the screen.

 


In the box
  • Battery (standard battery)
  • Charger
  • Handset Transceiver
  • Stereo headset
  • USB Data cable
  • CD-Rom
  • Manuals
     

    Exterior
    The Nokia N70 has the classic silver exterior of the N-Series, and a grey back, with a silver slider to protect the camera lens. That appears to be a great idea, except that the slider is made out of plastic and feels rather cheap on the back of the phone.

     

    I would say that I would pick this over the N90 anytime, and perhaps even over the 6680 because the Nokia N70 is currently the smallest 3G candybar in the market. Of course, it won’t hold that distinction for ever, but it was a little slimmer than the 6680.

    The Nokia N70 measures 108.8 x 53 x 17.5 mm (95.9 cc), and thus it is the smallest ever 2 megapixel 3G smartphone based on the leading Series 60 Platform. I didn’t like the slider cover very much, as it had the tendency to slide around when the phone is placed in a bag or in a pocket. This activates the camera function, and is rather annoying at times.

     


    The charger is the new slim pin one, just like that of the N90. The Pop-Port is the row of teeth-like metal parts at the bottom of the phone. You can plug the earphones into that and tune in to your favourite radio station.

     


    Buttons/Screen
    The keypad is lit up in a very nice electric blue. The messaging is fast but the buttons are a little tiny and if you have large or fat fingers, you would do well to look carefully at what you type before you hit the send key. However, to be fair, there really isn’t any space for larger buttons if you want the small form factor of the phone.

    I like the phone, and I like the little camera button next to the card slot that shoots a photo when you slide down the cover of the rear camera. Pressing down this button when the cover is over the lens will make the screen dim a little.

     

    The screen looks good, and it is slightly lower than the frame around it which serves to protect the screen itself. However, the frame isn’t scratchproof either, and you will have to take really good care of the device. My frame was pretty scratched up after a little bit of use and the frame around the front camera lens also scratches rather easily.

    Software/Messaging
    As I mentioned earlier, the messaging response is very fast, as we have all come to expect from Nokia phones. However, adding so much to the Symbian OS has caused it to slow down to a crawl. Launching applications causes a significant lag which does not occur in earlier versions of the Symbian OS.

     

     

    The lag in this particular model is slightly more than that of similar Nokia Symbian 3G phones. I have no explanation as to why this is so, and it is only my judgement since the other 3G phones are already returned to the vendor so I could not run a head-to-head right now.

    The bottomline is therefore like this: typing the message is fast, but picking up a new message to read takes a rather long time to achieve.

     

    PIM
    A 64MB RS-MMC card is provided when you buy the N70, but you can upgrade this to larger storage sizes if you need to shoot a lot of photos and videos.

    As with all Symbian phones from Nokia, there is virtually no limit to the number of contacts and details that you can store. There is 35 MB of memory onboard, and when this runs out you can save to the RS-MMC card. Besides, now that SIM cards can store more, the address book is no longer the issue it used to be, and few users would run out of space to store their contacts on the modern phones of today.

     

    The usual complement of Calendar, To-Do and Notes is here, although you might want to invest in a good Bluetooth keyboard if you wish to use this phone as a PDA. Somehow, number pad input is a little bit restrictive on such a small keypad.

    Camera/Video
    The 2-Megapixel camera found within the N70 is located on the back of the phone. It is protected by the sliding plastic cover on the back of the phone and serves as the main camera for the device.

     

    Just like on the Nokia 6680, another camera is located at the top right of the screen, and this camera is used to show yourself to the other party when you are making a 3G video call. Ah yes, 3G is a wonderful thing, especially if it works.

    Anyway, it would appear that the memory card bug which affected the 6680 and N90 is gone. I used the N70 for around a month and the pictures within did not vanish unexpectedly. I must say that I like this phone for many things, and that the imaging capabilities do not detract one bit from that.

    Multimedia/Voice
    I like what Nokia has done with their Symbian Series. The phones are getting better all the time, although the latest editions are well short of what I have come to expect.

     

    However, the N70 still plays and supports the usual complement of file formats. The preferred file format is the RS-MMC slot found at the side of the phone. I just don’t like the reset caused whenever you peel out the cover of the RS-MMC card. It would have been better to leave this one alone.

    Connectivity
    Once again, it would appear that infrared is no longer the flavour of the month, much less of the year. More and more devices such as the N70 are now opting for Bluetooth connectivity, and the infrared port is now seen less and less in modern devices. There is no infrared port on the Nokia N70.

    3G is supported here, although the speeds I experienced were little better than that of GPRS. In short, after speaking to a few of my peers in the business, 3G in Malaysia is still a load of rubbish, and the telcos are dreaming if they aim to persuade the current batch of users to migrate to the new service.

     

    Games
    The Nokia N70 has two games, one of which is 3D Snowboard, with some rather annoying music. The other one is the CardDeck suite, which offers the user a choice of six different types of card games such as AcesUp, Golf, Klondike, Nestor, Shifting and TrustyTwelve.

     
    Editor's Opinion

    I would whole-heartedly recommend the Nokia N70 as the best among the recent 3G Nokia-branded devices. The form factor is a key factor is this recommendation, as I find the N90 to be simply too bulky, although many people appear to have this phone.
    The audio and visual capabilities of this device are excellent, and I would even overlook the flimsy camera cover to say that the Design of the phone is exceptionally pleasant to the eyes. Wonderful, absolutely no complaints, and this device is definitely one that should be considered if you are looking for a 3G device.

    Unfortunately, the current state of Malaysian 3G is quite forgettable. Let us see if things pick up a little and subsequently increase the value of 3G phones.


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