Flashback at the Nokia N80

nokia-n80This review was originally written the week of the 26th of May 2006, and has been pulled out of our archives. Enjoy.

1. 3G, Quad-band with support for EDGE
2. Symbian OS: v9.1 for S60 v3
3. 3 megapixel camera with comprehensive multimedia player
4. Slider form factor
5. Bluetooth, Infrared, USB, UPnP, & Wi-Fi connectivity
6. Nokia WAP/Web browser and Email client support
7. 40mb shared memory + 128mb card included

Introduction

I had this handset with me for just over 24 hours and I was very impressed with the features. The N80 is biased towards multimedia and connectivity, and really has no direct competitor now, only the specifications of the Sony Ericsson P990 come close. Time was not enough to try out and properly assess all the loaded features of this smartphone.

Form factor, Display, and Keypad

The Nokia N80 is a thick slider phone with a great 352 x 416 pixel TFT display. The display measuring 2.1” features 262k colours. Images on N80 display are crisper and sharper than the N90 I tested late last year. Under sunlight, the display is still brilliant.

Just below the screen are the control keys; the 5-way navigation pad, call keys, soft keys and menu keys. These keys are all on the upper part of the slider enabling access to most of the functions of the smartphone without the need to slide up to use the keypad.

The alpha-numeric keypad is located on the lower part of the slider and there is nothing special about it. Perhaps, this is the only plain thing on this phone.

Multimedia

The Nokia N80 multimedia features are awesome. Let’s start with the dual cameras. The front VGA camera is essentially for video calls and self portraits while the main 3 megapixel camera at the back is for capturing still shots and video clips. By default, objects are captured in landscape mode with the megapixel camera.

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With rich features and settings that include a 20x digital zoom and a flash, the 3 megapixel camera captures high quality pictures in various resolutions; the highest resolution being 2048 X 1536 pixels.

Also brilliant video clips can be captured and saved in mp4 and 3gp formats. Supported resolutions for video clips include 352×288 and 176×144. The length of the video clips is limited by available memory on phone.

As with previous smartphones, the Nokia N80 employs Real Player to playback video files in mp4, 3gp, and Realvideo formats. It may sound funny but the Real Player didn’t play some mp4 and 3gp files I transferred to the phone

The Audio Player handles mp3, AAC and WMA file formats. An equalizer is available to enhance your audio experience. The quality of sound from the speaker is impressive, although listening through the stereo headphones is better. There is a proper playlist layout as seen on most stand-alone mp3 players.

The N80 also comes with the Nokia FM Visual Radio player. Up to 20 stations can be selected and stored. The added features of the FM player are not supported by local FM stations and require internet connection.

One good feature is that music or from the audio player/radio can be played in the background while you use the phone for other tasks.

Internet/ Email client

The N80 unlike other series 60 smartphones uses the new Nokia Mobile Browser V.3.0. It has a nice interface and accesses WAP and web sites. The screen rendering is excellent. It employs a pointer to move around the web page and select links. Previous pages in the browser cache, displayed as thumbnails, can be accessed on pressing the back softkey. I couldn’t test it for speed because my device was connected to a very slow network (Vmobile). I actually tried posting from the phone but it was bad evening for Vmobile Internet.

Configuring the phone for browsing using Vmobile full Internet settings was quite easy using the connection wizard.

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POP3 and IMAP4 email clients are supported. Attachments to email can be fully downloaded. N80 also has an auto message retriever that searches for new mails at set intervals and announces new mails with a tone/note.

Operating System and Memory

The Nokia N80 is a series 60 version 3 phone and runs on Symbian v9.1 platform. Though I am not very familiar with Nokia OS, I was quite impressed with the new user interface and configurable short-cut icons on the Standby Screen. The fast response and friendly interface makes it very easy to browse through Menus, sub-menus, folders and files horizontally or vertically.

The OS supports Offline mode. This enables you to operate the device without the presence of a SIM card or without connection to a network.

So many applications, but the one that caught my fancy is the enhanced Log feature that monitors all communication events on the phone; calls, messages, data sessions, and more.

On board memory on the device I tested was approximately 43MB and this is shared by all applications for storage and running of programs. A 128MB miniSD card is included in the package, not a RS-MMC card or standard size MMC card as employed in prior phones. The card slot is at the side of the phone, making it possible for the device to support hot swapping.

Organizer and Office features

The phone has elaborate organizer applications for managing contacts, calendar, to-do tasks, dual clock and alarms. The Office applications include Notes, a comprehensive converter, calculator, voice recorder and Quick Office. The Quick office application opens files of Word and Excel for viewing only. Opened files cannot be edited.

The Nokia transfer application allows transfer and synchronization of contacts and organizer applications between compatible Nokia phones

Connectivity

Here N80 offers all connectivity:

Networks Connectivity:- 3G, Quad Band GSM, EDGE on GSM, Push-to Talk(where supported), and Wi-Fi(WLAN).

Devices Connectivity:- Bluetooth, Infrared, USB and Universal Plug n Play(UPnP).

I tested the Bluetooth and USB connections and they both connected well with my PC. The Wi-Fi discovered about four hotspots around my office at Ozumba Mbadiwe in V.I. The strengths of signals were weak so I couldn’t connect to the net or use it to retrieve emails.

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On connection to your PC by USB cable, the phone’s memory card can be accessed and employed as a mass storage device. When connected, the phone goes offline offering three options to choose: PC Suite, USB Mass Storage, or PictureBridge printing. I couldn’t try the UPnP for lack of compatible device.

Battery Life

If you are into multimedia and crazy about connectivity, you’ll have to charge your phone twice daily because all the loaded features of this phone including the great display take their toll on the 860mAh Li-on battery that comes in the package. The battery can last a whole day for average users and more days for those who plan to use the phone for calls only.

Other features:

– VoIP
– Voice Dialing/Commands
– Nokia’s LifeBlog
– Flash Player
– Games
– Video Steaming
– Image and video editors

Conclusion

The shortcomings of this phone are:

– Bulky size (in an era of slim sliders)
– A slider that doesn’t lock into position ( opening battery cover becomes difficult)
– Low capacity battery

Despite these shortcomings, this is a great smartphone and so I agree with Nokia that it deserves a great introductory price. The least price for this phone in Lagos last week was N130, 000. Infact, one reseller offered it for N156, 000. The price is down to N120, 000 this week.

3 thoughts on “Flashback at the Nokia N80

  • March 17, 2009 at 12:58 am
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    This is a well put-together review.

    Oga Brym, it will really be nice to have more reviews from you of the phones you’ve played with in recent times.

  • March 17, 2009 at 10:51 am
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    Yomi, where did you dig this from? Ah, our beloved DormainStandard.net? Compare the featues of this phone to recent N series phones, any significant improvement ?

    @Dayo: Writing is such an effort for me. Besides, an increasing number of those around me have gone BlackBerry. I’ll see what I can do!

  • March 17, 2009 at 12:15 pm
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    Brym, truth is that there is very little significant improvements in most high-end phones over the last few years! Usually, the key differences are in the areas of power, processor and maybe a few areas in multimedia.

    Just look at how very tall the 2 year old Nokia E90 stands among more recent devices. And honestly, I still remember the Sony Ericsson P1i with fond memories.

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