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Nokia N80 review

Nokia N80 review
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Retail Price: RM 1,520
AP Price: RM 1,080 - 1,110
The first ever handset to enable seamless home media networking between compatible TVs, audio systems and PCs.
Review On : Nokia N80
Written by: Jonathan Cheah
At A Glance:
Price: RM 2699
Local Distributor: Nokia Malaysia (M) Sdn Bhd.
Contact: 1-300-88-1600
Build quality: 9/10
Applications: 10/10
Interface: 9/10
Value-for-money: 8/10
Overall rating: 9/10
+ Built in WiFi
+ Mini-SD slot
+ 3MP Camera
+ Great music player
- WiFi hangs occasionally
- Shoot delay in camera


The slider form of the mobile has always been a viable alternative to candybars and clamshells. If you make the slider smooth and sturdy, then the phone really does feel good to hold.
Anyway, we had the chance to take a look at the new Nokia N80 for a couple of months, and here is what we found.

In the box
  • Handset Transceiver
  • Battery (standard battery)
  • Charger
  • Headset
  • Carry Case
  • User manual

    Exterior
    The Nokia N80 is a slider phone, and although it was a little thicker than I had expected, nevertheless, its size is only a fair price to pay for having a 3MP camera in the phone.
    The unit that was sent to us for review was in Black, and we took it for a long trip to take pictures in Europe. For the most part, the N80 did very well, up to the point where it became rarely necessary to use a proper digital camera.

    The memory card slots into the left side of the device, behind a flip-open cover. The back of the device is just simple black, and the flash is curiously below the lens of the camera. The secondary camera is at its usual place on the top right of the screen, and this one is mainly used for receiving 3G video calls.

    Buttons/Screen
    The keys on the N80 are black with white text, and the backlight for the keypad is also white. The central navigation button is a square of silver, and the softkeys and menu buttons are on the upper part of the phone just beneath the lower portion of the screen.

    The keys are a little small, and I wished that the slider could go up higher and thus provide more surface for building larger keys. However, this might have caused the phone to be a little less stable physically, so I guess that I can’t complain much here.

    The rest of the buttons are silver, and I found that the landscape toggle knob on the rear of the phone got caught on the clothes a lot. Other than that, this was a very impressive package even before we turned the device on.

    The 262K screen was able to display the pictures taken in quite good detail. Of course, at 416 x 352 pixels this is one of the better screens that you can have in a mobile device at this point of time.


    Software/Messaging
    This version of the Symbian OS is version 9.1, and the Nokia interface is known as the Series-60. It is frequently confused, so I must also point out that the Series-80 devices, which are mainly the Nokia Communicator also run on the Symbian OS, as does the Series-90 device called the Nokia 7710.
    The messaging is fast as one can expect to find in a Symbian device, but I frequently hit the wrong key due to the close spacing of the keys to the bottom edge and to the protruding top half of the phone.

    PIM
    The PIM here can be described as the contacts list, the notes application, the calculator application and the calendar. There is also a QuickOffice suite of programs which is sufficient for doing simple things when you are on the go.

    Camera/Video
    The camera is something else though. At three megapixels, this is currently the best one on the market as the 5MP ones have yet to be widely available. Anyway, I would prefer to have a good 3MP device from one of the top three brands than to have a 10MP device from an unknown brand that may not last beyond the end of the month.

    The 20x digital zoom is also quite impressive, but you have to hold still for a bit after you press the shoot button as there is a slight delay before the N80 records the picture of whatever you were aiming the device at.


    The video is also quite good, and can shoot up to 30 fps which is really very impressive considering the size of the device that is doing the recording. I’m sure that we will soon have more of those ‘fight’ videos of school bullies if mobile video gets this small and affordable.


    Multimedia/Voice
    This is one of the Nokia ExpressMusic range of devices, which means that there is a hotkey that activates an entertainment section that allows that use to play stored music or radio. You can also view images or go surfing the web from this section. The music from the loudspeakers was simply superb for a device this small, and plugging in the provided earphones turns this device into a mini-radio so good that it makes you wonder what all the fuss is with the iPod.



    Connectivity
    The Nokia N80 has infrared in addition to built-in Bluetooth connectivity. A Pop-Port connector is located at the bottom of the phone. The usual applications are there – WAP 2.0, Java MIDP 2.0 and an xHTML browser.

    However, what everyone is raving about is the built-in WiFi ability that allows users to hook into a local network. The detection was quite good as it managed to find WiFi networks in many places that I went to, such as at airports and in the city.
    However, it was quite difficult to configure the N80 to work with the network, and it did crash a couple of times in the process. I would say that WiFi phones are great, but it would take another couple of years of tweaking just like Bluetooth until it gets easy enough for just about anyone to use it.

    Games
    There is a card deck application with six mini-games that run from within this program. Solitaire is missing, but a few other games should make up for this.
    However, 3D snake is one amazing and addictive game. If you remember, Snake was a groundbreaking game for mobiles and it was first introduced by Nokia, after which it was repeatedly placed in succeeding generations of Nokia devices. The latest version takes some getting used to, but the graphics is quite something you need to see for yourself.

    Editor's Opinion

    The N80 is simply the current pick of the crop. Everyone is talking about it, and with good reason too. Except for a full keyboard, everything else you could possibly want from a handset is found right here inside the casing.

    Of course, the price is a little hefty but not when you consider that the Nokia Communicator models debut at a higher price. Anyway, there is little to complain about except perhaps the battery life. If only t was possible to swap batteries without having to reboot the phone. Oh, the reboot takes quite a while to achieve, so it would appear that it is either time for a more efficient program or a faster processor.

    I still think hat this one is a good buy. There is plenty of bang for your buck and the camera is so good that you will immediately graduate to this 3MP specification and wonder how you ever got by with something less.

    Related Article :
  • Nokia N80 reviewed by Devin Balentina


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