Nokia N80 review: Jack of all trades

GSMArena team, 17 May 2006.

The unreachable

The keypad of N80 is divided in two parts: the buttons on the top part of the slider are all silvery as part of the color scheme. They are easy to use and distinguish, except for the Menu and Multimedia buttons which are located on a mutual plate and can be mistaken. The four-way navigation button is comfortable to use and the confirmation key works seamlessly.

Nokia N80
Nokia N80 keypad

The numeric keypad, however, is another story. The main problem here is the top row of keys, containing the “1”, “2” and “3” buttons. It is hardly reachable as the user’s finger will find the sliding construction in their way when trying to press one of them. May be women will have less difficulties to reach them with their nails but since the phone is more of the masculine type, that still remains an issue. Otherwise, the keypad works fine and the buttons are easy to distinguish when writing. The backlighting is also a good one as it glows in deep blue and illuminates all the buttons evenly.

Nokia N80
Keypad backlighting

Hi-res brilliance

Nokia N80 is equipped with a brilliant TFT display capable of displaying 256K colors. The resolution of this remarkable unit is 352 x 426 pixels. Its quite big dimensions of 35 x 41 mm make the use of the phone a very pleasant experience. The picture is very vivid and sharp. Visibility under direct sunlight is not a problem also. It remains visible even under direct sunlight. The backlighting of the display is great, too. Nokia has even better displays to show, though, like for example the display of Nokia E60 which has the same resolution but boasts the impressive 16 million colors. The thing though is that there are less than minimal visual differences between the two displays even when compared side by side.

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Nokia N80 backlighting • display backlighting

The active display contains information about the network coverage, the battery status, date, time, operator name. If you change the graphic theme you may find different clocks to appear on the active display. There is also the stand-by display row which shows 6 applications you can set and the calendar’s today’s tasks and events. The next lines can be filled with information about missed calls, received messages or e-mails or the song you’re currently playing.

Nokia N80
Active stand-by display

Driving in the fast lane

Nokia N80 runs on Series 60 user interface of third generation. The Symbian operating system works very well on the phone and is quite fast. The only exception is the starting of the camera application, which takes a couple of seconds to load. Generally, there is a nice performance increase in comparison to the previous 2nd generation S60 user interface. We are quite pleased with the response of the operating system and would recommend it heartily if it wasn’t the incompatibility with the applications written for the previous versions.

Currently, there aren’t many applications written for this version of Symbian and that seems to be a problem for the owners of any phone with that OS. We expect that this shortage of 3rd party software would be remedied by the end of the summer.

The phone has an Offline mode which works as an Airplane mode, switching off the phone features of Nokia N80 but allowing the user to use the other possibilities of the device. The Offline mode can be used if you don’t insert a SIM card in the phone.

The phone’s main menu can be viewed either in matrix grid of 4 x 3 icons or in list view. If you choose the list view you will be able to see 5 items at a time. Most of the submenus also allow changing the desired view.

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My Own submenu • Tools submenu

The Multimedia button brings up on the display a picture of the four ways of the navigation button and the appropriate applications assigned to the four directions plus the confirmation center button. The assigned applications are customizable, of course.

Nokia N80
Multimedia menu

Nokia N80 has 40 MB internal memory and a miniSD memory card slot. The phone will come with 128 MB card enclosed in the package. Nokia’s choice of the miniSD card type is very good for the users as those cards are cheap and reach up to 2 GB capacity. It seems that the manufacturer has decided to use miniSD in its high-end models.

Another great feature of N80 is the voice recognition system which can be used both for dialing contacts and starting applications. It doesn’t need to have your commands pre-recorded, in fact it handles most of the voice commands you give it. The shortcut for starting the voice application is long press of the right soft key.

There are several preinstalled themes on the phone but they don’t seem to make significant changes in the user interface. They change the wallpaper and the color scheme only. Nokia N80 has six default ringing profiles (including the Offline mode). The user can create custom profiles as easily as can modify the existing ones.

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Profiles menu • profiles customization

There is an interesting option in the settings menu called Reject Call with SMS. It means that after you reject a call, the phone automatically sends a SMS to the caller, explaining why you have rejected his call. This option can be very useful, indeed.

Endless phonebook

The phonebook of Nokia N80 looks like just like a normal Nokia Symbian phonebook. It has no limit of the contacts as it uses the free memory and thus can hold an enormous amount of entries. They can be ordered by first or last name and can be searched by letter-by-letter typing of the desired name.

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Phonebook • SIM contacts

New contacts can be assigned more than 30 different fields and numbers. You can have a look at the screenshots we’ve provided just below this paragraph. Naturally, you can assign ringtones to contacts of your choice, but we couldn't find an option to assign a personal video clip, however. Synchronization with PC works seamlessly, too.

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Adding various fields

Loud and clear

Nokia N80 signal reception is perfect and it has network coverage even in underground spaces. The phone has brilliant speaker quality and the sound during conversations is very clear and without any interferences. The loudspeaker of the phone works very well and provides loud sound.

Ringtone volume is sufficient enough and is audible even in crowded places. The vibration of the phone is not very strong but is quite enough for the user to feel that someone is calling or messaging him.

Nothing goes unnoticed

The Calls log of Nokia N80 contains three tabs for Dialed, Received and Missed calls. Every tab can hold up to 10 call records with their date and time. However, if you enter the Log application from the menu, you will find yourself in a list of all call records and data transfers and sessions which have taken place in the last 30 days. This includes even the WLAN connections.

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Calls log

Reader comments

  • Anonymous

nokia n80 is the best phone simple in looking but tough operaton.its good phone so it hasnt given me any problem for three years now

  • jack

problem is everyone seems very happy with little !!! point is, the phone is powered by 220mhz arm 9 cpu with 64mb ram ( originaly 42) and runs real slow, trust me guys. at first with shipment softwares that come with n80 runs okie but whn u installed...

  • Anonymous

Good memories...