Nokia N85 review: Nseries revved up

GSMArena team, 07 November 2008.

N85 is the latest Nseries signing and a bulletproof spec sheet sets it right in the thick of all-in-one action. Full-house connectivity and multimedia prowess topped with a massive OLED screen to die for, Nokia N85 gives the lineup a great edge and comes out as the definitive brand-loyal upgrade. No, it will never rule the Nseries but sure has what it takes to make them tick. With the echo of the not so glorious N96 entry still lingering, we are about to see what Nokia N85 can do for the Nseries morale.

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Nokia N85

Key features:

  • 2.6" 16M-color OLED display of QVGA resolution
  • 5 megapixel autofocus camera with dual-LED flash and AF assist light
  • Camera lens cover
  • Symbian OS 9.3 with S60 3.2 UI
  • ARM 11 369 MHz CPU
  • 3G with HSDPA support
  • Quad-band GSM support
  • Wi-Fi with UPnP technology
  • Built-in GPS with A-GPS functionality and 3 months of free voice-guided navigation
  • FM transmitter
  • Dual slide design with dedicated gaming/audio keys
  • microSD card slot with microSDHC support
  • 8GB memory card included in the retail package
  • Built-in accelerometer for UI auto-rotation
  • 3.5 mm audio jack
  • TV out
  • Stereo FM Radio with RDS
  • Navi wheel navigation
  • VGA video recording at 30fps
  • USB and Bluetooth v2.0
  • One free N-gage game
  • Keylock switch

Main disadvantages:

  • No office document editing out of the box
  • Not the best sunlight legibility
  • Unconvincing camera performance
  • Poor Navi wheel performance
  • Zooming in on a picture takes bloody ages

With N85 the free slots between N70 and N96 seem to be quickly running up. But that will be a minor issue for Nokia - the much bigger challenge after N85 will be finding some new tricks to upgrade the lineup with.

We've been over and over the Nokia N85 spec sheet and we can hardly find something the phone lacks. The stunning 2.6" OLED screen is of course the first thing to note and, what's more, it brings us directly to pretty much the closest competitor N85 will be dealing with. But more on competition a little later.

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Nokia N85

All-in-one Symbian devices with a high stake on imaging (5MP and above) are not so many. That, and the N-gage flavor, more or less set the N85 against its own. One thing we need to give Nokia N85 is that on paper it delivers nearly the same as the Nseries top dog, and beats it on looks. The pricing seems less extreme this time, so we may as well call it a nice start.

The best thing about the N85 though is its undoubted appeal as an upgrader's choice. It seems to be the direct successor of N81 - and does a great job at that - with definitely improved handling and looks, and boosted up specs. Nokia N78 owners might also cheer the N85 for topping pretty much everything there is to top, and keeping the FM transmitter.

Nokia N78 Nokia N81
Nokia N78 Nokia N81

The smaller brother - Nokia N79 - might snatch some customers with distinct styling and more affordable price. The 50 euro saving implies a smaller and inferior display. Other than that, the differences between are minor.

Nokia N79
Nokia N79

Undoubtedly the true rival will be Samsung i7110. Despite coming in a different form factor, the i7110 has basically the same spec sheet and uses the very same edition of the UI. While the price of the i7110 is yet unknown, we don't believe it will be much different from the N85. However the Finn has a head start on release. In addition, having already previewed Samsung i7110, we have to admit that the Nokia ergonomics are a whole lot better. And Nokia has worked hard on not only delivering a mere handset, but a whole suite of services, that you can enjoy given that you have one of theirs - Nokia Maps, Ovi or N-gage are some of the things that come to mind.

Samsung i7110
Samsung i7110

Well that is the market as it stands now. Luckily we have reviews of most of the mentioned models so if you have questions about them, feel free to pay them a visit. But first stay tuned for the actual test of Nokia N85. Join us on the next page to see what the retail box hold in store.

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