Part of Nokia's multimedia N series, the N73 is a candy bar-shaped phone with a vibrant, six-centimetre, 262K-colour display. Nokia ships the N73 in three colour variations: silver grey/deep plum, frost white/metallic red and frost white/mocha brown. It's quite a large phone, measuring 110mm by 49mm by 19mm, but Nokia keeps the weight of the handset down to a reasonable 116 grams. The keypad is relatively small and cramped, with eight shortcut keys squeezed above and around the numerical buttons. Navigating menus can be tricky as the joystick beneath the screen is small and sensitive.
In keeping with the N73's emphasis on photography, the rear of the N73 has a sliding lens cover that activates the camera. It switches the display into a landscape-oriented viewfinder, so that the shutter button is conveniently located under your right index finger when the phone is rotated. We found the lens cover on the back isn't prone to opening accidentally when put in your pocket, like the Sony Ericsson K750i, so you shouldn't end up with an album of close-up shots of your thigh. There is also an image gallery shortcut on the side of the phone, allowing you to quickly show snaps to friends.
Despite its bulk, the N73 is a reasonably attractive phone, with its king-sized display being the centre of attention. It does, however, tend to bulge in your pocket.
Nokia chose respected optical brand Carl Zeiss for the N73's f2.8/f5.6 Tessar lens. With a resolution of 3.2-megapixels, you can take shots suitable for prints up to 5.1 x 6.8 inches (13 x 17cm), however standard 4 x 6 inch photos (10 x 15cm) will turn out less grainy. The N73 supports four image quality settings, from MMS-suitable shots up to the aforementioned print quality photos. Scene modes include auto, macro, portrait, landscape, sports, night and night portrait; the N73 displays a helpful description of each when you're choosing the mode. Red-eye reduction flash mode is onboard, but we were disappointed with the N73's LED-based flash -- the xenon flash on the does a much better job. Colour tone, exposure, ISO speed and white balance can all be adjusted to pre-defined values for stills.
Videos can also be recorded up to a maximum resolution of 352 x 288 pixels. The N73 saves videos in MP4 or 3GPP video files. RealPlayer and Flash files can also be viewed.
Nokia's XpressShare feature lets you MMS, e-mail, print or send photos using Bluetooth after taking them. Best of all, though, you can upload photos directly to a Flickr account after entering a username and password in the Online Sharing settings. Blogger users will of course prefer the K800i's photo blogging tool. Another nice touch is that photo slideshows can be played back with a Ken Burns-like effect that smoothly zooms in and pans around on images while music plays in the background.
You can play MP3, WMA and AAC tracks through the N73's music player and Nokia supplies a stereo headset that also acts as an antenna when you're listening to FM radio.