On the right edge is a volume rocker which doubles as camera zoom with a maximum of up to 20x digital zoom on the lower image resolutions. This edge also houses a button for viewing the last saved image or video clip, and, of course, the shutter button.
The back facing camera is a key feature of this handset. I’m quite a sceptic about phone cameras, but found this particular one difficult to find fault with – at least outdoors, and even Indoor shots seemed to me to be a little better than I’ve seen of late from cameraphones.
Its 3.2 megapixels capability is at the high end in terms of what we currently expect of a phone. The Carl Zeiss lens with its autofocus and mechanical shutter is touted by Nokia as giving you sharp images with good detail, and I did find that to be the case. Certainly it produced quality I’d class as acceptable from a mobile. The macro mode deserves a special mention. I used it to capture the image of the apple at close quarters.
The lens itself, along with its flash, is protected by a large sliding cover which takes up most of the back of the handset casing. Slide this away from the lens and the camera activates. It is that simple.
When you start the camera running the screen pops into landscape format and acts as a viewfinder. Hold the N73 lengthways in your hand and depress the shutter button half way to autofocus then fully to shoot.
It is easy to get to the camera settings. When you are viewing a potential shot the mini joystick on the front of the casing can be used to scroll through a series of icons both before and after shooting. As you pass over them a small information bar reminds you what they are for. It is very user friendly, and access to other options, such as using the front facing camera instead, telling the camera whether to use internal memory or memory cards for storage, and configuring image quality, is available via softmenu buttons.
The N73 runs Symbian S60 3rd edition. PC Suite is supplied and you get a data cable for Outlook synchronisation. Anyone keen on using this handset for work purposes might find the PDF reader and QuickOffice viewers for Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents useful.
Battery life was pretty impressive. Looping MP3 music through the speakers got me ten and three quarter hours of continuous playback. During everyday testing I got through several sets of three continuous days between charges. As ever though, heavy data/3G/audio users are likely to deplete the battery more quickly than those who simply like to make voice calls.
Overall, it’s a competent handset but the camera really is the main draw of the N73, and it is very impressive. If I was planning in advance to take photos I wouldn’t necessarily leave my main digital camera at home, but I did feel that off-the-cuff shots taken outdoors on the N73 would be worth keeping in my own digital album.