Nokia N review: Nokia N

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The Good The Nokia N82 features a 5-megapixel camera that produces high-quality photos and videos. The Symbian smartphone also has integrated Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, and good call quality.

The Bad The N82's hardware feels a bit cheap, and the dialpad and navigation controls are cramped and difficult to use. It also doesn't support U.S. 3G bands and it's pricey.

The Bottom Line The Nokia N82 has some annoying design flaws and lacks 3G support, but our lasting impression of the N82 is of a powerful multimedia smartphone with an excellent imaging capabilities and solid performance.

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7.3 Overall
  • Design 6
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8

The Nokia N82 is just the latest Nokia N series model to come across our desk, and like the rest of the bunch, it's quite impressive. It has a feature set similar to the Nokia N95, with a couple of additions and omissions. Like the N95, the N82 has a 5-megapixel camera but it also includes a Xenon flash that makes a world of difference, as it produced amazing photos and videos. The Symbian smartphone continues to offer Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS, and it's a solid performer to boot. With all that going for it, it's really a bummer that the N82 has such a horrible design. The hardware feels a bit cheap, and the navigation buttons leave much to be desired. We're also disappointed by the lack of U.S. 3G support. All that said, you can work around the design flaws, and if your main focus is getting a high-end multimedia smartphone, the Nokia N82 fits the bill. An unlocked version of the Nokia N82 is available through Nokia's Web site for $564, though you can probably find it for a bit cheaper with a little online shopping research.

We're just going to come right and say it: we're not huge fans of the Nokia N82's design. At first glance, the candybar style phone looks attractive enough with its silver face, and it's fairly compact at 4.4 inches tall by 1.9 inches wide by 0.6 inch deep and 4 ounces. However, the hardware just feels a bit cheap and plasticky.

The Nokia N82 looks nice from afar, but we actually found the hardware a bit cheap.

The worst offender, though, may be the navigation controls and alphanumeric dialpad. The number keys are tiny little slivers that are even difficult for my small hands. Plus, they're not very comfortable, so text messaging wasn't very pleasant. You also get the standard navigation array of two soft keys, Talk and End buttons, shortcuts to the main and multimedia menus, a clear button, and a navigation toggle. However, the multimedia key is like the number buttons, and it was hard to press just the center OK button without moving the rest of the toggle.

The N82's dialpad and navigation controls are cramped and difficult to use.

The N82 features a 2.4-inch nontouch display that shows 16.7 million colors at a 320x240 pixel resolution, making for quite a pleasant viewing experience. There's also an ambient light detector to automatically adjust the brightness of the screen based on your current environment, so screen visibility was quite good. For personalization, you can add various background images and themes and adjust the font size.

On the right spine, you'll find two speakers (at the top and bottom), a volume rocker, a shortcut to your photo gallery, and a camera activation/capture button. Meanwhile, there's a micro USB port, a microSD expansion slot, and a power connector port on the left side. We would have preferred a mini USB port since that's more of a standard right now. There is a power button and a 3.5mm headphone jack on top of the unit. Finally, the camera lens and flash are located on the back, and the lens is protected by a sliding cover.

The Nokia N82 comes packaged with an AC adapter, a USB cable, video-out cables, a 2GB microSD card, a wired headset, a software CD, and reference material. For more add-ons, please check our cell phone accessories, ringtones, and help page.

As with all N series smartphones, the Nokia N82 is a multimedia powerhouse, though there's a bit more focus on the imaging aspect. Like the Nokia N95, it's equipped with a 5-megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics, a Xenon flash, and up to 10x digital zoom (4x for VGA). The amount of editing options and settings on the N series phones surpass those of any smartphone we've tested recently. For still images, there are five image qualities, eight scene modes, and five color tone options. There are also controls for white balance, exposure, sharpness, contrast, and light sensitivity.

The N82 features a 5-megapixel camera with a Xenon flash.

The N82 can capture video at a maximum VGA resolution (640x480) at 30 frames per second, and there's a video stabilization functionality to reduce any camera shakes. As usual, you get less options in video mode, but you still have five video qualities, two scene modes, and white balance and color tone settings. Once done with photos and videos, you can upload them directly to your blog or the Web or send them via multimedia message or e-mail. There's about 100MB of internal memory and a microSD expansion slot for storing all your photos and videos, and other multimedia files.