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Nokia N76 review: Nokia N76

With plenty of features, impressive dual screen and an excellent Web browser, the Nokia N76 is a useful handset. It looks great, with slim dimensions and two top-notch screens. Aimed at the music fan, it's easy to use and comes with a surprisingly good set of earphones

Frank Lewis

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3 min read

Rejoice. Not only has Nokia finally made a thin clamshell phone with the N76, but as a poke in the eye to Motorola's Razr range it's gone and stuffed it full of smartphone features.

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6.5

Nokia N76

The Good

Good screen; excellent Web browser; wide range of features.

The Bad

Overgrown dimensions; poor battery life.

The Bottom Line

The Nokia N76 may have great smartphone features, top-notch dual screens and good music performance, but it's marred by some bizarre design decisions and below-par battery life

The handset is available for free on contract or for around £300 SIM-free or on pay as you go -- but is it up to the high standards set by other N-series phones such as the N95 and N73?

Strengths
Available in either black or a rather eye-catching red, the N76 is certainly one of the better-looking handsets Nokia has produced recently. Its slim dimensions greatly help its looks and there are also some neat touches, such as the silver band that runs across the front and rear of the phone. The N76 also features a flat metal keypad that's very similar to those found on Motorola's Razr range.

As with most flip phones, this one has dual screens, both of which are very impressive. The main screen is not only very large, but also pin-sharp and works a treat with applications such as the excellent built-in Web browser.

The external screen is also top-class and can be used as the viewfinder for the above-average 2-megapixel camera when the flip is closed. It also has a mirrored effect coating on the front for moments of vanity when the screen is off, but on the downside this collects more fingerprints than the cast of CSI.

As you would expect from a smartphone, there are plenty of useful applications pre-loaded including Adobe Reader for viewing PDF files, RealPlayer for watching videos and Nokia's Lifeblog application, which lets you easily create a blog from the pictures, videos, text and MMS messages stored on your phone.

You also get two basic GPS applications, but because the N76 doesn't have a built-in GPS chip, you'll have to purchase an external Bluetooth GPS receiver to make use of them.

It's pretty obvious from the dedicated track-navigation buttons on the front that the N76 is aimed at music fans. It features the usual easy-to-use Nokia music player and is supplied with a 256MB microSD card for storing tunes, but you can use cards of up to 2GB in size if you want to add more space.

There's also an FM radio and a standard-sized 3.5mm headphone jack so you can swap the headphones for your own set. The supplied headphones are very good, however, so you may not need to resort to using your own cans.


Weaknesses
The biggest problems with the N76 revolve around its design. The handset just feels wrong when you hold it in your hand, mainly because it's far too wide. To be blunt, you'd have to have hands like King Kong for it to feel comfortable. It's also way too tall, especially with the flip open -- in fact, when you put it up to your ear it feels like you're talking into a 40-story building.

But the design faux pas don't end there. In one of the worst decisions we've seen on a product in a long time, Nokia has decided to put the headphone jack at the top of the main body of the phone. This would be fine, except for the fact that when the headphones are attached the connector impedes the hinge and stops it opening fully!

Like many of Nokia's smartphones, the N76 is also found wanting when it comes to battery life. Expect to get a rather curt 2 hours 45 minutes of talk time out of it and around 8 days and 12 hours on standby. A marathon runner it certainly is not.

Conclusion
The N76 has excellent dual screens, impressive smartphone features and very good music performance. Its wonky design and poor battery life make it hard to recommend, however. So while this handset may be in the same range as the excellent N95, it's definitely not in the same class.

Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Jon Squire