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Nokia N73: Is this the best N-series phone so far?

The Nokia N73 is now available to buy in the UK, but is it all it's cracked up to be? Crave has been playing with it and we like what we see, especially on its large colour screen

Earlier this year Nokia launched a bunch of new N-series phones, or 'multimedia computers' as Nokia would like them to be called. One of those multimedia computers was the N73, which has recently been commercially launched in the UK. We're not altogether sure what Nokia is trying to do with the N series -- we miss the days when Nokia focused on easy-to-use, simple handsets.

However, it seems the N73 isn't as scary as we thought and combines cutting-edge features with a compact design. The handset measures a pocket-friendly 49mm wide, 110mm tall and 19mm thick and weighs 116g. It has a 3.2-megapixel camera with autofocus, a large and bright colour screen, 3G connectivity, a VGA camera on the front for video calls, Bluetooth, infrared, an FM radio, WAP browser and an expandable miniSD slot. It also has built-in stereo speakers so that you can listen to your MP3s in the park or annoy commuters on your journey home.

The first thing you'll notice about the N73 is the large colour screen that measures 37mm wide and 50mm tall. It's not only great for viewing SMS messages on and browsing the Web, but it doubles up as a perfect viewfinder when using the N73's 3.2-megapixel. The picture quality is not only better than the camera on the N70 and N80, because of its higher-resolution sensor, but the autofocus helps to prevent blurry images. We think that this is Nokia's best N-series phone so far, because of its compact size relative to the rest of the range, its good feature set and its fantastic screen.

Our only niggle is that the keypad could be a little larger, as the keys feel squashed together and can be awkward to press. We'll reserve our final judgment for a full review, but so far it looks very good. It's currently available from the Carphone Warehouse, O2 and Vodafone for free on a monthly contract, or for £399 SIM-free direct from Nokia. Expect a full review soon. -AL

Update: a full review of the Nokia N73 is now live.