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Nokia N79 - Nokia N79

By Sandra Vogel



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Nokia allows you to customise the shell of your N97 and to that end you get three Xpress-on backplates; there's a brown one, a lime green one and a blue one.

However you choose to transform the back, the front of the phone remains white. But thanks to a series of contacts on the backplate the N79 knows which cover you have attached and changes the handset's theme to match the backplate colour. It is a simple idea, but quite beguiling. If you don't like the idea or have a custom theme you prefer, it is easy to disable the feature.

The N79 is a 3G handset with HSDPA download speeds to 3.6Mbps. It supports quad-band GSM, GPRS and EDGE. There is Wi-Fi built in and the familiar sniffer sits on the main screen ready to seek out connections and hop onto them.

There is also a front camera for two-way video calling and a 5-megapixel main camera. This has a physical lens cover which means the Carl Zeiss lens is well protected. When you slide the lens cover away the camera software starts running.

A dual LED flash helps with indoor shots and there is autofocus and a macro mode. The photos are one area in which you can take advantage of this phone's TV-out capability though you will need to buy the necessary cable. I actually think it's a bit mean of Nokia not to provide the cable in the box. After all, this is not exactly a pocket money-priced phone.

Image quality is pretty good with a couple of caveats. There is a high degree of shutter lag which means capturing moving images is tricky. Even photographing flowers in a slight wind proved testing. And indoors, even with the dual LED flash, photos can be dark.

Still, photos on the whole were good. The coloured dish, shot indoors under normal household lights is crisp, though the background is far darker than it really should be. Outside, the chair is very well reproduced. Its details are clear and its whiteness uniform. Not bad for a dull winter's day. The Sempervivum plant shows off the macro mode but you can't get as close as you can with some cameraphones.

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January 23, 2009, 5:37 pm

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


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.


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.


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...


January 25, 2009, 10:25 pm


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!


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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