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Nokia N79 review

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Nokia N79
  • Nokia N79
  • Nokia N79
  • Nokia N79
  • Nokia N79
  • Nokia N79
  • Nokia N79
  • Nokia N79
  • Nokia N79

Summary

Our Score:

8

User Score:

After the recent onslaught of phones that offer full frontal touchscreens and 8-megapixel cameras it is a bit of a relief to spend a week with an ordinary looking, candybar handset that has a standard numberpad where you expect to find it.

Of course, this being a Nokia N-series handset there is a lot going on here. And you are going to need fairly deep pockets if you want the N79 SIM-free because it'll set you back more than £300 in that guise. It ought to be available free on monthly contracts before long, but I couldn't see any evidence of that online as I wrote this review. Maybe you will by the time you read it.

With N-series handsets coming through thick and fast at the moment, Nokia has to work hard to differentiate between them. But in N-series terms, the N79 is a phone with mid-range specs.

However, before I get to the internals, a quick word about the look and feel of this phone. I've already said it's a candybar type. It weighs a very acceptable 97g and measures 110mm tall, 49mm wide and 15mm thick. It's also very comfortable to hold.

The flat number pad is small, a sacrifice in order to give enough space for a 2.4in screen whose 320 x 240 pixels are clear and bright. You really do need the largest screen possible to appreciate the kinds of multimedia features Nokia offers on this handset and so the screen versus number pad compromise is one I'm prepared to live with. Still, if you find smaller keys difficult to use, you should try this handset out first before buying.

I like the accelerometer, which is one of the better implementations I've seen. It responded to turning the phone in my hand immediately and consistently.

Between the screen and number pad is a relatively large area given over to shortcut buttons. Very thin Call, End and softmenu buttons are accompanied by a pair of flat keys that take you to the Nokia menu and offer the clear function. To the far left is the Nokia Multimedia Key so familiar on N-series handsets these days. This takes you to a revolving menu of multimedia features such as the Internet, music, photos, and gaming.

The navi wheel has an iPod-like scrolling capability which you can enable or disable as you see fit. It's not as responsive or intuitive as Apple's version but it does work and some people will prefer it. One thing I really do like is the slider on the top edge of the handset which locks and unlocks the phone.

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timple

January 23, 2009, 5:37 pm

Looks like an update of the 6120 classic but with GPS and wifi.

Jmac

January 23, 2009, 5:53 pm

Has Nokia managed to improve the GPS performance over the woeful N95 8GB - even with the latest firmware and aGPS enabled, mine takes a good couple of minutes to lock on, and won't lock at all if moving (even at walking pace) or if the sky is even slightly obscured. I actually thought it was faulty so have had the unit replaced, but with the same problem.

lifethroughalens

January 23, 2009, 6:58 pm

Not a bad phone, if a tad retro in design. I have given up with in built GPS devices in mobile devices, they are all pretty much useless. Even with a clear sky with aGPS enabled they can take an age to be discovered and then they are not exactly accurate. When you get into a built up area, well, forget it!





I opted for installing tomtom on my E51 and bought a QSTARZ bluetooth GPS unit. That was 8 months ago and since then my dedicated TomTom Go has stayed in the cupboard, it's that good! You can connect on the move and throw the GPS unit to the bottom of a rucksack and walk in and out of shops in London, and it still stayed connected :)





I just hope the GPS unit on the Palm Pre will be worth it, and I hope TomTom releases their software for the Pre. I also hope that they introduce a micro SD card on the Pre otherwise you could write off 3GB of storage immediately with the maps!





there's a lot of hoping there... :)

Andy Vandervell

January 23, 2009, 7:36 pm

Reminds me a little of my old N73.

Yan

January 25, 2009, 10:18 pm

Is it just me or is this a rebadged N82 with a bigger screen, worse camera, and zero actually new features? Bar the iPod-esque scroll pad, which is really to be left to personal preferences anyway...

Yan

January 25, 2009, 10:25 pm

@lifethroughalens





I've done something similar, and have to say I much prefer the E51 after having tried out the rest of the N-Series; a decent external/bluetooth GPS module will be far superior to the built-in modules in these phones. On top of that you can put the receiver in a far more convenient location - and it really reduces the bulk of the phone itself. Bluetooth range has never been an issue for me either, my receiver managed to stay connected from the opposite end of a 3-car train once!

Rocci

March 6, 2009, 8:43 pm

I like this phone, especially the blue one that's gonna be available soon at http://www.puremobile.com/Noki... I get the feeling that it offers the best features of the N series, with a sleek and uncomplicated design

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