- Native Wi-Fi, Display, 3 megapixel camera, Connectivity and PIM functions
- Sliding mechanism, No autofocus with camera, Poor battery life
If you are looking for a smart phone, but prefer its size to be in line with a regular mobile, then you can't go past the N80. It offers a number of excellent features packaged in a sleek design and is only let down by a poor battery life.
Price$ 1,199.00 (AUD)
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The N80 is the latest release in Nokia's N Series range of multimedia phones. A fully fledged smart phone running the Symbian S60 operating system, the N80 is packed with features including a 3-megapixel CMOS camera, native Wi-Fi and a brilliant display.
One of the most compelling features of the N80 is the high quality, 352 x 416-pixel colour display. The screen can be viewed cleanly from most angles and is clearly visible in a variety of lighting conditions, including direct sunlight. The display is ideal for capturing images with the phone's camera and also stands out for web browsing. It is capable of displaying all 12 menu items on one screen, so there's no need for scrolling in the main menu.
The N80 is a slide handset and measuring 95.4 mm x 50 mm x 26 mm is quite chunky. This isn't a bad thing, as the phone feels pretty solid and well built, but at 134 grams it's quite heavy as well. Despite this size and weight, the phone is still comfortable to hold. With its extensive features list, the N80 is actually on the smaller side when you consider it has full smart phone capabilities. Our only complaint with the design is the sliding mechanism. It isn't spring operated so sliding is not smooth and the top section of the slider is not well mounted, meaning it sways slightly from side to side.
Just below the screen are the controls: a 5-way navigational pad, two selection keys and answer and end call buttons as well as dedicated menu, edit, clear and multimedia keys. Sliding up the N80 reveals a comfortable and well positioned keypad. The keys aren't raised but they are large and responsive enough to ensure that typing long SMS or email messages is comfortable.
The N80 includes a 3-megapixel camera with flash and macro capabilities but the lack of autofocus is a real let down. Models like the Sony Ericsson K800i have an autofocus feature and this is ideal considering it is sometimes difficult to take a quick, steady photo with a mobile phone.
Nevertheless, the quality of photos the N80 produces are very good for a camera phone. Naturally, they still don't compare to a stand alone digital camera but colour reproduction in particular is excellent. Most of our test images were fairly crisp and clear with notable levels of detail and defined edges. But like most other camera phones, the N80 shots are let down by poor levels of image noise - which appears as random speckles and significantly degrades the overall image quality of photos.
The camera has a number of settings you can tweak and these include specific shooting modes such as automatic, sports and portrait, red eye flash reduction, white balance, exposure, colour tone, image sharpness and colour saturation. Other features include 20 x digital zoom and a second, integrated, VGA camera on front with 2 x digital zoom. This second camera can be used for both video calling over a 3G network, or for taking portrait photos. The main camera can conveniently be used without sliding open the handset, thanks to the dedicated camera button on the right hand side.
The N80 is also capable of recording video in MP4 and 3GP formats with up to 5 x digital zoom, but its quality is less than average. For editing photos and other images, Nokia includes a copy of Adobe Photoshop Starter Edition 3.0, along with their standard PC Suite software.
Features and Performance
The N80 is equipped with plenty of connectivity options, the most impressive of all being integrated wireless LAN. It supports the 802.11g protocol and scores points for its ease of use and setup. The N80 can search for wireless access points every 1, 5 or 10 minutes and you simply select the network with which you wish to make a connection. Nokia includes an excellent web browser that has the ability to scroll through each page with a feature called 'page overview'. This view shows a full web page fitted into the screen and a selection box is used to navigate to the part of the page you like. Bluetooth and infrared connectivity are also included.
The phone hasn't been designed specifically for music, but it includes an adapter to plug in a standard 3.5mm headphone jack and features a digital music player with stereo audio supporting MP3, AAC, m4a, eAAC+ and WMA files. Best of all, the N80 is a USB mass storage device so it's easy to drop and drag files onto the phone. There is also a stereo FM radio with 20 preset stations and this can be quickly accessed by the multimedia key. Similar to the Front Row menu on Apples iMac G5 (20-inch), (minus the remote control) the N80 multimedia menu cleverly appears and expands when you open and close it, allowing you to select either the radio, an image slideshow, the music player, web or alter any of the multimedia settings.
The N80 has a full array of smart phone applications, including Quickoffice Word, PowerPoint and Excel document viewers, a host of PIM features (calendar, contacts, to-do list, task list, alarm clock, notes, converter, calculator) and both voice recording and dialing. There is support for standard SMS, MMS and email messaging with T9 predictive text input. We were also pleased with the speed of the N80 interface. Where we lamented the previous N70 due to its frustratingly slow user interface, the N80 has improved in this area. It's still a little slow to startup and switching between applications results in a slight delay, but for most part it performs well.
Where the N80 falls down is battery life. According to Nokia battery life is rated at 3 hours talk-time and up to 8 days of standby time but we found ourselves having to charge the phone every night with only moderate usage. After one 20 minute phone call the N80 lost almost half its battery life, so this isn't ideal.
Overall, the N80 is an excellent smart phone that is only let down by a below average battery life. It combines a great list of features in an attractive package and comes as a highly recommended purchase.
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