Nokia N73 review:

Nokia N73

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4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars 25 user reviews

The Good Large colour screen; 3.2-megapixel camera; direct uploading of pictures to Flickr; 3G, Bluetooth and infrared connectivity; expandable miniSD slot.

The Bad Small keypad; lack of xenon flash; lack of stereo Bluetooth.

The Bottom Line The Nokia N73 works well as a smart phone and a camera phone. It has a range of connectivity options, a large colour screen and runs on the Symbian OS. This means it supports a multitude of third-party applications that you can easily upload on to the phone. Our only niggles with it are the small keypad and lack of xenon flash on the camera

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8.3 Overall

The Nokia N73 has a similar feature set to the Sony Ericsson K800i Cyber-shot phone, featuring a 3.2-megapixel camera among other things. However, this is a slightly different phone that isn't totally aimed at the photography market. If you're a feature fiend or businessman who wants a camera phone with smart phone extras then the N73 is worth checking out, but we were disappointed that there's no xenon flash.

The N73 is currently available for free on a monthly contract for £20 to £70 a month at O2, 3 and Vodafone.

The N73 is a candybar phone that's more compact than the rest of the N-series range, measuring 49mm wide, 110mm tall and 19mm deep, and it weighs 119g. The front section of the N73 is matte silver and houses a large and bright screen that displays 262k colours, which is not only great for viewing pictures and videos on, but makes viewing Web pages easy too. It measures 38mm wide and 50mm tall, and relative to the size of the handset is one of the largest screens we've seen.

Underneath the screen there are two soft keys that can be programmed to open a selection of applications and underneath those are the send and end call keys. This section also houses the navigation joystick. One of the problems with the joystick is that it doesn't protrude enough -- you have to press it from the sides rather than diagonally from the top.

Further down the front section of the N73 is an alphanumeric keypad flanked by a series of reflective silver dedicated keys. To the left are the menu and text settings keys and to the right are the multimedia and cancel keys. The keypad itself is quite small in relation to the rest of the phone, measuring 31mm wide by 21mm tall, and we're not sure why the space between the screen and the soft keys at the top of the keypad section wasn't used to make the keypad slightly larger.

The effect of having a small keypad is that dialling or texting can be awkward and the keys do feel more squashed together than on other Nokia handsets. On the top right side of the front section above the screen is a VGA (0.3-megapixel) camera for 3G video calls. Next to the camera is a light sensor that activates the backlight on the keypad depending on ambient light. It also flashes blue to let you know that the phone is on. Next to the light sensor, in the middle of the top section of the front of the phone, is the ear speaker.

The rest of the handset is dark purple. On the left side of the N73 is an infrared port and the right side houses a series of dedicated buttons. The top right contains the volume and zoom rocker, further down is the dedicated gallery key, and right at the bottom is the dedicated shutter button, which accesses the 3.2-megapixel camera on the back. The gallery key is useful if you want to check out your pictures quickly without having to navigate through the menu's subsections.

The camera is protected by a large cover, which when slid down automatically activates the camera application. It might not be to everyone's tastes -- it's rather clunky to open -- but the cover does protect the camera well and it doesn't open too easily, so it won't activate the camera every time you take it out of your pocket. The camera itself uses a 3.2-megapixel sensor and features a Carl Zeiss lens, autofocus and an LED photo light.

At the bottom of the phone is a charging port, a USB port that doubles up as a headphone port and an expandable miniSD slot. There's also a loud speaker at the bottom and another one at the top next to the power button that can be used for listening to music and speakerphone mode.

The Nokia N73 is a compact multimedia phone and comes with almost every feature available on the market. The 3.2-megapixel camera lets you take still photos, with the option to take macro shots and adjust the ISO levels, white balance, colour tone, scene mode, brightness and image quality. It has a 20x digital zoom, which lets you zoom in on distant objects but it won't give you the same clarity as an optical zoom. You can also take video at 15 frames per second.

Once you have taken a picture you can print it out using Nokia XpressPrint, which lets you print a picture on a Bluetooth printer. You can send it to another person via Bluetooth, infrared, MMS and email. You can transfer it to your computer using Nokia XpressTransfer, or upload it directly to Flickr. We tried the Flickr uploading service and it works really well, letting you set up an account or access a current one straight from the N73.

If you want to make any changes to your images before you upload them, there's a built-in photo editor that lets you change the image's colour, crop it, rotate it, reduce the red-eye, resize, add text, insert clip art and cartoonise. While it's no Photoshop, this application is useful if you want to edit something quickly before you send it to somebody in an MMS or upload it to Flickr.

Making sure it keeps the music fans as happy as the photographers, Nokia has also added an MP3 player that supports MP3, AAC, eAAC, eAAC+ and WMA and lets you adjust the equaliser and shuffle songs. There's also an FM radio (although you need to use the proprietary headphones in order to make it work) and visual radio, which is still a limited service in the UK, providing live visual information while you listen to a radio station. Aside from using the proprietary headphones to listen to music you can also use an adaptor to plug in your own 3.5mm headphones or use the stereo loudspeaker system.

Don't worry if you're wondering where you're going to store all your SMS and MMS messages, photos and MP3s, because the N73 comes with 42MB internal memory and an expandable miniSD slot that will support up to 1GB.

Other features include a Web browser, which comes with a useful page-overview tool that lets you view the whole page while scrolling across a small section. The Lifeblog application, which is Nokia's own blogging service that lets you blog pictures and text messages to your PC in a journal format. The RealPlayer and Flash Player applications that let you view video and other similar content including flash content on Web sites, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, AAC, RealAudio, RealVideo, H.263 and MPEG-4.

The N73 also comes pre-installed with an Office suite that lets you view PDF documents, create and read Word, PowerPoint and Excel documents. You can also make notes, take voice memos, calculate sums and covert measurements, weights and currencies among other things. If you get bored with the camera, MP3 player and office suite, you can always play java games or download wallpaper and ring tones.

An interesting feature is the 3-D tones application that uses the stereo speakers and lets you add a 3D effect to your favourite ring tones. The advantage of running on Symbian is that you can download applications like this quite easily and install them in a matter of minutes using the bundled PC suite. The PC suite also lets you back up your entire phone, including messages and calendar data, synchronise information with Outlook and Outlook Express, connect to the Internet with your phone, send SMS messages, store images and transfer music.

Audio quality during calls is clear and there was no distortion or unexpected lulls in sound during calls. The speakerphone mode works well and, due to the stereo speaker setup, sounds audible even over some noise. The MP3 player also sounded clear using the proprietary headphones. We're disappointed, however, that there's no support for A2DP (stereo Bluetooth).

The picture quality from the 3.2-megapixel camera was clear and significantly better than the camera on the N80, featuring less blurring. The interface is straightforward and taking still shots or videos wasn't a difficult task due to the dedicated shutter button and easy to understand interface. Our main niggle with the N73's camera compared to the Sony Ericsson K800i's is the lack of a xenon flash. Pictures taken in very low light don't come out properly lit using the LED photo light.

It's also a shame that neither the N73 or K800i feature optical zoom -- it would undoubtedly increase the phone's bulk -- but this will probably appear in future models.

Video and voice calls worked as expected without any noteworthy problems and the battery life was acceptable, only having to recharge it once over a three-day period. However, this was reduced to charging it daily when making 3G video calls regularly. It's quoted at 246 minutes talk time and 350 hours standby time.

Edited by Mary Lojkine
Additional editing by Nick Hide

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