Nokia gives its flagship mobiles in an exclusive group known as the N series. This special place is where Nokia shows off its talents and tries to break new ground. We’ve already taken in the delights of the double-slider and navigation capable N95, the svelte, yet well specified N73, and the multimedia top-heavy N93.
All these handsets are about showing off what Nokia can achieve with a mobile, and with that in mind the quad-band 3G N76 comes as a bit of a surprise. It is not a disaster as a mobile phone, just an unexpected handset to see in the N range because, unless I am missing something fundamental, it is closer to average than groundbreaking.
The N76 is available in red and black. My review sample was the red variety, and I have to say that while I don’t usually go for red in a handset the all metal casing and use of silver as the other colour does have a certain appeal. It won’t be for everyone, though, and the black alternative is a rather more subtle take on things.
This is a clamshell phone and a huge one. The flip format enables mobiles to be pretty small, but Nokia seems to have ignored that design possibility here. Measuring 106.5mm tall, 52mm wide and 13.7mm thick, it grows to a massive 185mm tall when the flip is opened. At 115g, at least it is not too heavy.
The size means this phone is a bit of a challenge for smaller pockets and also a challenge for smaller hands and you’ll need to both to open it, when a simple recess on the lid would have allowed for one handed opening.
While I find it unwieldy, the overall size of the N76 does have two important advantages: the inside screen and number pad are both large. All in all, the numberpad is comfortable to use. It might be flat, but there is some give in the keys and you get a reassuring beep when one is pressed.
The inner screen is large, measuring 2.4 inches corner to corner offering a 240 x 320 pixel resolution and 16 million colours which is good. It is clear and sharp when being used indoors but isn’t all that easy to see in bright sunshine.
The outer screen is large in comparison to other phones’ outer screens at 1.36in diagonally. It manages 160 x 128 pixels and 262,000 thousand colours. It actually looks smaller than it really is as Nokia has surrounded it with a huge silver glass frame. It can double as a decent mirror when you’re in self-preening mode, but it gathers fingerprints like nobody’s business and I found myself forever needing to clean it to regain its sleek sheen.