MSI has long pushed the boundaries of invention with its ever-evolving range of laptops but it has now pulled off a world first with the new MSI Creative 17.
- 2.0 MegaPixel Camera, Excellent Build Quality, FM Radio, Expandable MMC Card Slot with 64MB MMC Card included, Good Voice Quality, Good Features List
- Slow Interface, Delay when Saving Images, Cramped Keypad, Abstract Location of keys, Uncomfortable to use, Quite large in size, Slow Start-up Times
The N70 is a fairly capable 3G handset, but the slight improvement over its predecessor deems it unworthy of an upgrade.
Price$ 979.00 (AUD)
The smallest handset in the new 'N' range of 3G mobile phones from Nokia, the N70 improves slightly on its 6680 predecessor but users will still be frustrated by its cramped keypad and frustratingly slow user interface.
The improvements over the 6680 aren't revolutionary in any sense, but in the N70, Nokia has added an FM Radio, a 2 megapixel camera with video recording and a slightly thinner design. Where the Finnish phone giant have again made a mistake is with the phones keypad layout, which is cramped and extremely uncomfortable. As with the 6680, the N70 houses four buttons to the left and right of the keypad, including the Menu and Clear keys. These buttons are hard to reach and the inconvenient key placement will frustrate users, particularly those with large hands. As well as this, the entire keypad is squashed and cramped towards the bottom of the phone, making messaging and dialing telephone numbers an annoying experience. We also found using the 4-way navigational pad to be a hit and miss affair - we had difficulty registering each press of the central key due to its extremely small size.
Despite the disadvantages with the keypad, we were very impressed with the N70's build quality. The phone feels extremely sturdy and solid, without being too heavy. Its matt silver/grey finish spells professionalism and although at 108.8mm x 53mm x 21.8mm it is fairly bulky, we didn't feel the size whilst the phone was stored away in our pocket.
The N70 is a winner in terms of its display - a very large, clear and crisp 2.1-inch screen with 262K colour support. Images were a joy to look at and video calling was also fairly clear compared to most other 3G models. Video playback using the supplied RealPlayer software was also displayed quite well. The N70 retains the 'active standby screen', which was first seen in its predecessor. This function allows users to easily select their most frequently used functions without having to navigate through the phones menu. The default items on the N70 include Contacts, Log, Profiles, Gallery and Image Print. Below the row of menu items on the standby screen is a convenient space which displays any calendar entries for the current day. Date and time, currently active profile, unread messages and missed calls are also displayed on the active standby screen.
Just like the 6680, the N70 includes two cameras - a 2.0 Megapixel on the back for imaging and video recording and a VGA on the front for video calls. A useful feature is the ability to switch between cameras that is handy if you want to take self-portraits. The camera contains plenty of options normally reserved for stand alone digital cameras including adjusting the scene, white balance and colour tone. A self timer which can be adjusted to 10, 20 or 30 seconds and sequence mode (which takes six photos in about five seconds) is also included, rounding out and impressive list of imaging features. The photos we uploaded to our PC were largely bright and clear and fairly notable for a camera phone, although if you're looking for a high quality camera on your mobile phone, you should consider the N90. Our only major complaint with the N70 camera was the amount of time it took to write the images to the phones memory. A three to four second delay was common while we were happy-snappy and this is simply unacceptable.
The N70 only contains 22MB of internal memory, but thankfully Nokia have included an expandable MMC Card slot and a 64MB MMC Card is included in the sales package. You'll probably have to purchase a larger card if you like your 3G content and take a lot of photos, but for most users, this should be enough. The MMC Card slots into the right hand side of the phone, which is guarded by a flimsy feeling plastic cover.
The N70 also includes an FM radio, which wasn't present on its predecessor. Reception quality was a mixed bag, especially as the supplied headphones (which are uncomfortable for long periods of use) doubly act as the antenna. We found the radio volume levels weren't loud enough and this was especially obvious when outdoors. We also had issues with the headphones, which are of a fairly poor quality, but this is something we've come to expect from mobile phones. Unfortunately, Nokia has failed to include a standard headphone jack on the N70, so you'll have to make do with the supplied set.
Like most handsets on the market, the N70 double acts as an MP3 player. The MP3 program isn't anything to write home about though, with a lack of volume at higher levels and the problems with the supplied headphones still evident. Nokia will have to improve in this area if they wish to offer a complete alternative to a standalone music player.
The N70 supports SMS, MMS ,e-mail messaging (with T9 predictive text input), Java, Voice Recording and Dialling, Bluetooth and comes with PIM Features (Calendar, To Do List) .We were extremely impressed with the quality of voice calls as well as a notable battery life rated at 3.5 hours talk time and up to 11 days standby time, depending on how you use the handset. Unfortunately, these features were let down by an extremely slow start-up time.
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