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The N85 has been hotly anticipated as many have been hoping that it can repair some of the damage that the rather lacklustre N96 inflicted on the N series brand. Has it succeeded? In the most part, the answer is thankfully yes.
Like a young Bruce Forsyth this phone aims to be an all round entertainer offering up serious music and video playback features plus 3D gaming and onboard GPS. But although it's bursting at the seams with features it forgoes the chunky dimensions of the N96 and instead has a much slimmer and sleeker frame.
One thing it does share with its larger sibling is the two-way, sliding keypad mechanism. When you push the front of the phone upwards a traditional numerical keypad is revealed, but push it downwards and you're presented with four multifunction buttons. In media mode these light up as playback controls, in game mode they act as extra control buttons and in the web browser they're used to zoom in and out of pages.
The slider is also used to change between landscape mode (when the normal keypad is showing) and portrait mode (when the media controls are on display) as the phone lacks an accelerometer. One minor irritation with the design is that it lacks the mini kick stand found on the N96, so resting it on a table to watch a video is not as straightforward.
The N85 is the first N series handset to use an Organic LED screen. The big advantage of OLED displays is that they consume less power than traditional TFT screens, mainly because they don't need a backlight. However, the OLED screens we've seen in the past on mobile devices haven't impressed us all that much. The screen on the N85 is thankfully a step-up from those older OLED displays, but it still takes a bit of getting used to as it has a very different look to a normal TFT.
For the most part colours look bright and vivid, but there are times when the screen can seem a bit overly murky and text and icons don't look quite as sharp and stable as they do on a TFT. It can also be very difficult to read outdoors in direct sunlight - a problem that pretty much affects all OLED screens. Don't get us wrong, the display is not all that bad and we could be accused of being overly critical, but we'd still recommend you to check out the phone's screen in a store to form your own judgement before making a purchase.
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