The N70 is the baby of Nokia's "Next Generation" N series phones that also includes the N90 camera phone, N91 music phone and N92 video phone. It's in the very familiar candybar design shape, although the screen is somewhat larger than most candybar phones. It measures in at 108.8x53x24mm with a total weight of 126g, making it a relatively light 3G camera phone.
The front display of the N70 is dominated by the large and clear 176x208 pixel display, underneath which sit the dialling and soft keys. From a buttons and switches perspective, there's really not much to see on the N70's front facing, but the rear of the phone hides more enticing functionality.
The rear of the N70 consists of a large sliding panel that moves downwards to reveal the camera lens and integrated flash. Moving the slider down automatically launches the camera application from wherever you are in the phone's operating system, making it a (groan) snap to take simple digital pictures.
The N70 unit we tested with was supplied to us by Vodafone, and naturally enough, it works on Vodafone's 3G network under the Vodafone Live! banner. Outside 3G coverage areas, that'll drop down to standard GSM coverage and a limited subset of the Vodafone Live! offerings. From a technical perspective, it's a GSM 900/1800/1900 phone. The N70 also comes with integrated Bluetooth and supports Pictbridge printing for ease of photo printing.
On the software side, the N70 supports visual radio applications, comes with RealPlayer installed as well as a small suite of business-type applications. Of all the N series mobiles, this is the one that you're most likely to convince your boss to buy you for the office, if only because the leisure applications are better hidden than with the clearly musical or photo aspirations of the other N series mobiles. Connectivity is once again provided by Nokia's PC Suite Software.
Like the N90, the N70 features a 2.0 Megapixel camera with a suprising amount of clarity for a mobile phone camera. If you're very keen on mobile phone photography, we'd still recommend the N90 over the N70, but if you want happy snaps that you might actually want to keep for later, the N70's a good choice.
The N70 offers up to 22MB of internal memory for storage. With the quantity of downloadable 3G data out there, not to mention the phone's inbuilt music and photo offerings, that's likely to be gobbled up rather quickly. For additional storage the N70 uses RS-MMC (reduced size MultiMedia Card). The slot for these is on the right hand side of the phone, and our test sample came with a 128MB RS-MMC card.
As either a 3G or GSM phone, the N70 performs quite well. We tested just outside Vodafone's 3G coverage area -- in fact, we continually dropped in and out of coverage within the one household, which made for some interesting download experiences. The N70's dialling pad is quite small, and those who like larger buttons to jab at while calling might find it a touch irksome.
As with the N90, the N70's 2 megapixel camera provides good visuals for many shots, although as previously stated the N90's definitely the model to go for if you want a small pocket camera phone. One big plus in the N70's design is the drop-down shutter, as it's quite quick to react and launch the camera application.
The N70's display is good and clear in both bright and dark conditions. The inclusion of Realplayer, combined with 3G downloads allowed us to test video quality on the display as well. While it's not quite up there with the Sony PSP or Apple iPod Video (and that's partly to do with the Realplayer codec as much as anything else) video trailers and music clips were clear to view, albeit a little noisy at full volume.
Nokia rates the N70's 970mAh Lithium Ion battery as being good for up to 3.5 hours talk time and up to 11 days standby. In our testing we averaged around 7 days inbetween recharges with a moderate level of usage, although that's a figure that could vary quite widely depending on how much use you made of battery sapping features such as Bluetooth.
Those on a very tight budget could consider other 3G capable mobiles -- Vodafone themselves have the Motorola V1050 at a cheaper price at the time of writing -- but for the features it offers and the overall quality of the phone and camera, it's hard to fault the Nokia N70.