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Another 10 months passed time for another phone! Having perused the market place and what was available on Orange my network provider I decided on the Nokia N80. The Sony Ericsson K600i was retired to the top draw of the bedside table and a shiny new N80 was unboxed and charged.
The Retail Packaging --------------------------------------------------------------------------
For a phone these days the box is quite large, but there is a reason for this as there is a fair bit tucked away inside. Inside the box you get the following bits and bobs:-
The phone (of course) Battery A charger Manual Memory card 128MB (I think this size varies with the service provider) Head phones/ Handsfree Data cable Charger cable converter (more on this later) A pop port converter for sending out audio to a 3.5mm jack plug And a very nice strap!
The Phone Look and Feel --------------------------------------------------------------------------
The N80 isn't a small phone it comes as a package 95.4 x 50 x 26 mm package and weighs 134g but this is not bad when you consider what it is capable of, more on that later. The phone is a slide type which I have never had before I have had candy bar types and flips, which I hate, and I have to say that I find the slide quite good. The physical build quality of the phone is very good and seems well engineered the slide is not too lose and the keys have a positive action.
The phone comes in two colours black or stainless steel, Orange currently only offer the stainless steel option, and I suspect this will be the most common variant of the phone. The lines of the phone are quite good with no harsh edges so when in use it feels very comfortable on the ear.
The phone has two cameras a forward facing one for video calling which is a standard VGA but has a 2x digital zoom, on the back there is a 3MP camera with a LED flash, the odd thing about this camera is that they have chosen not to have a lens cover, time will tell if this was a good design decision or not. On the rear camera there is a Macro slider to change the focusing method that the camera uses and should allow close up shots to be taken, I must admit that this feels a little flimsy and I suspect will be the subject of many repairs. Nokia have incorporated a camera shutter control on the side of the phone so it can be held like a normal camera when taking a photo.
The keyboard is lit with blue LED lighting as you would expect so it can be used at night. The screen on the phone is exceptional although it is not particularly they have managed to pack a very high resolution in, 352x416,
with up to 262,144 colours! One feature of the screen that I do find a little annoying is the adaptive brightness of the screen, this is where the screen changes its brightness based on the ambient light level, I get annoyed as sometimes it gets it wrong and it is hard to read the screen, but it is only a minor annoyance.
The N80 is a very functional phone with a large number of features built in and as it runs Symbian it can have applications added. Some of the standard provided features are listed below, oh and it makes phone calls as well:
Office document viewers (Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel) Nokia PC Suite connectivity with USB 2.0, Bluetooth wireless technology, and IrDa (infrared) Advanced S60 PIM (calendar, contacts, task list, PIM printing, etc.) Voice recording, dialing and voice commands Nokia Push to talk (PoC) application Video sharing and two-way video call Integrated digital music player with stereo audio. Supported file formats: MP3, AAC, m4a, eAAC+ and wma USB mass storage that enables easy drag and drop of files from your compatible PC to your device and back Stereo FM radio with support for Visual Radio Multimedia player (RealPlayer) with Realvideo,3GPP & MPEG4 AVC video streaming support Internet browser E-mail with document viewers to view attachments Integrated Wireless LAN (802.11g) and UPnP (Universal Plug and Play)
I will cover a few of the main features that I use but there are so many more that I could go on for pages and pages talking about them all.
I will start with it's main function which is making phone calls after all that is why we buy mobile phones isn't it? Making a call is quite easy you can simply type the number and press the green call button, simple, ending the call is just a case of pressing the red button. Now the phone book, this can be accessed from a small menu on screen so you don't have to open the slide, although if you do access it in this way you will have to scroll through all your contacts until you get the one you want as you cant shorten the search using the keypad. Once you have found the person you wish to call you select the number you want, you can simply press the green button to call or push the joystick button to see other options such as video calling or sending a text.
If you are lucky to have a friend who also has a 3G phone you can video call them so you can see them picking their nose as they talk to you. As yet I have not used the video calling software as yet as the only other person I know that has a video capable phone is away at the moment, it kind of seems a useless feature as nobody seems to use it.
The phone comes with the Nokia PC Suite which allows you to connect the phone to your PC, using either the supplied USB cable, Bluetooth or IRDA. The software allows you to synchronise the content from your phone, contacts, mp3s pictures etc with your phone. Also you can use the phone as a modem for your PC so you can get on the Internet wherever you are as long as you have a mobile connection of course.
Nokia also provide another piece of software called the Nokia Lifeblog www.nokia.com/lifeblog this is an interesting piece of software, what it does is keep a record of things you do with your phone, i.e take a picture, receive or send an SMS and more. There is lifeblog running on the phone so you can directly upload this to the web from the phone, or alternatively you can install the lifeblog software on your PC and download the blog to your PC. I have not managed to get the PC software installed as yet as it keeps throwing up an error when ever I go to install it not great but it's not something that I am interested in at the moment so I will come back to that later.
Being the phone is a 3G model it has a media player and web browser built in to allow you to use the rich content that the internet can give you, there is also Flash lite so any websites that use flash should also work. Built in there is also an MP3 player so you can use it as a music player. As the phone has a mini sd expansion slot and Nokia offer a 1GB mini SD card so you can expand the capacity for your MP3 collection if you wish. I have not used the MP3 player as I have an IPOD mini and am not really bothered. The phone also has a built in radio, but this has a bit of extra functionality in that it offers a feature called visual radio, which basically means that if the radio station support it that you can get information over the internet about the tracks that is playing etc.
One of the main functions I use my phone for is to receive and send my 'e' mail, the 'e' mail client on this phone is excellent. One of the things I never managed to work out on my K600i was how to put a carriage return in the email message to get the formatting to look nice, thankfully this is very easy with the N80 you click the 0 button three times and hey presto the message drops down a line. Also the phone comes with a set of document viewers that no how to manage Microsoft office documents, it is interesting watching a power point presentation on your phone.
The N80 runs an operating system called S60 www.s60.com/life which is a variant of Symbian, the version of S60 running is version 3, as this is so new there are very few applications written for it as yet but they will follow. The one I am waiting for is Agile Messenger as this is a very good Instant Messaging client, but unfortunately they haven't managed to write it for the OS yet. With the introduction of S60 version 3 Nokia introduced a new web browser called the OSS browser, this is a framework for a full web browser, unfortunately you have to buy a third party interface to it and the only one available at present is from Opera http://www.opera.com/products/mobile/products/s60/. I have been using the free trial of the browser and I have to say I am very impressed, although when my bill comes in for the data charges I suspect that the novelty will wear off.
The camera on the phone as mentioned previously is a 3MP which is fantastic and has a LED flash. The camera supports 2048 x 1536 as it's highest still resolution and 352 x 288 for it's highest video capture resolution. There is a 20x digital zoom function on the phone as well, but I am not a fan of digital zooms as they just reduce the picture quality. I have noticed that when using the camera with the flash there is a significant delay between pushing the button and the photo actually being taken, I suppose ultimately it is not a proper camera so I should expect too much from it.
Battery Life --------------------------------------------------------------------------
The battery life of the phone is quoted as being 8 days on standby and 3 hours of talk time, interestingly enough they only quote the figures for a GSM network and not 3G. So far I have had no more than 2 days out of the phone but then I have currently go new phone syndrome whereby I am constantly fiddling with the thing and the back light for the screen is one of the largest users of battery capacity. I would say that the recharge time for the phone is quick with it being back to full charge within a couple of hours. One thing that Nokia have been doing in their latest phones is using a reduced size of connector for the charging socket, so you might think that your car charger and USB charger are all redundant, fear not Nokia have included an adapter that will convert between the two sizes.
I would say this phone is one of the best that I have ever had and has virtually all the functionality that I want from a device, WIFI, a good resolution screen, expandable memory, a proper internet browser although you have to get this from a third party, and the list goes on. I would recommend the phone to anybody who needs internet connectivity anywhere as this has to be one of the most connected devices I have seen around at the moment.
I acquired my phone on an upgrade from Orange for £180 a lot of money but to buy this phone off contract from Expansys www.expansys.co.uk will cost you £474.95, and on contract with a £50 a month tariff would cost £100 for the phone on O2.