Nokia’s History of clamshell smartphones has been quite predictable: they have all had large dimensions. Not only that, almost all of them had some funky twisting function that somehow reminds me of the Transformers. Just look at the 6260, N90, N93 and N93i all big phones with a display that somehow turns or does something that can only be described as Transformer-like and they looked the part too.
While the N71 couldn’t twist its screen it had gigantic dimensions. I’m sure they could have created thin smartphones a long time ago, but I think that for a long time their design philosophy for smartphones in general was aiming for austere looking phones with functionality above design, even if this meant not going for the thin route. It’s not only Nokia, but the general public has this image of smartphones being devices with a big screen, QWERTY keyboard and large dimension like the E61i and Blackberry phones. When skinny clamshell phones like the Motorola Razr and its many iterations were all the rage, Nokia released bulky (albeit feature-wise superior) clamshell smartphones. The sales of these smartphones were good, but just couldn’t match the numbers of the Razr. Most users just tended to go for the more stylish and thin phone, sacrificing feature for a svelte device. So it came as a big surprise when Nokia released the N76, its thinnest phone yet, and it’s a smartphone! Let’s have a first look at the Nokia N76. The Unboxing
So what’s in the box? The standard retail package comes with:
- Nokia N76
- Nokia Connectivity Cable (DKE-2)
- Nokia Battery (BL-4B) 700mAh
- Nokia Travel Charger (AC-4)
- Nokia Classic stereo headset with new Nokia A/V 3.5mm (HS-43)
The overall design is very Razr-like and without doubt Nokia has taken some designs elements like the flat keys and hump at the bottom from Motorola’s popular device. The keypad is better then what I expected, although the selection does feel a bit cramped. Overall it does work well with enough tactile feedback to keep me happy.
Looking at the N76 you wouldn’t expect it to be a fully featured smartphone. The N76 uses the S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 1 UI on the Symbian OS (v9.2). It feels very speedy and even beats the N95 in this area. Putting it next to a N95 shows that it can open apps a few milliseconds and sometimes seconds quicker, this is impressive considering the N95 was no slouch either. A quick check at the N76’s specs reveals a possible reason: It sports a single CPU running at an impressive 369MHz compared to the N95’s dual CPU running at 332MHz. Another impressive fact about the N76 is that it has a total of 96MB of SDRAM, with about 40+MB being available after boot. Even the flagship N95 sports a mere 64 MB with only 18MB being available at boot. I’m happy that Nokia finally learned this lesson and is now equipping even mid-end devices like the N76 with oodles of RAM. This makes the N76 perfect for multi-tasking allowing you to leave all your apps open and just switch between them at your hearts content.
Of course being a FP1 device the N76 is fully backwards compatibility with the 3rd edition apps. The menu seems to be more logically arranged and there are notable enhancement like showing what apps are open (small circles appear next to the open app) and the floating bar in the browser. Lastly I’m hoping that Firmware-over-the-air makes its way in the N76.
The N76 takes good 2 megapixels pictures, but something like the N70 clearly takes better shots, the video itself is just as good during the day as in low light conditions. It is only bested by higher-end models like the N93 and N95 which have VGA video. In both cases the outer screen can be used as a viewfinder.
Its 3.5 mm jack which to me is a must-have, music keys and microSDHC make the N76 a competent and slim music phone with an audio out-put that rivals dedicated MP3-players. Those looking for the best music phone output available should still look at the N91, but with the N76 convenience is the key. While its audio output is below that of the N91, it’s still one of the better ones out there being able to power some high-end earphones or audio devices with good quality and volume to match and its thin body will fit easily in a pocket: something that definitely can not be said about the N91. In audio quality it matches the N95 in sonic output. While the N95 could be mistaken for a digital camera or video player, the N76 looks are a throwback to its musical roots. With headphones attached and in closed position it looks a lot like a MP3-player. In the music department so far it has been holding up quite well and should be an excellent performer in this category.
So far so good: the N76 seems like a great all-round Smartphone. It has added much needed style and design to the Nseries and clearly shows that being a smartphone doesn’t have to mean being big and bulky. The N76 is an excellent music device and does well as a smartphone. From using it so far the only negative points I have encountered have something to do with it’s shiny exterior. This not only makes it a finger print magnet but also makes it highly reflective in sunlight. I do miss the WIFI but I can overlook it due to its slimmer size and lower price. More to come in the full the review! In the mean if you want me to include something into the final review leave me a comment.
Written by Devin