The number keys are peculiar in that to use them you tap along a thin narrow bar. There are four of these, sitting beneath the number indicators, one for 1, 2, and 3, one for 4, 5 and 6 and – well, you get the idea. The bar is barely more than one millimetre thick, and I found it very fiddly at first. As time went on it became less fiddly, but it was still pesky and put the kibosh on fast texting.
When the handset is locked the keypad area is blanked out. Its keys and number indicators are backlit bright white when you unlock the phone, again just like the N81.
Nokia has also decided to replicate the N81’s multimedia key (also found on the N82, by the way), and navi wheel features.
The latter means that you can use the navigation D-pad as a scroller by running a finger round it, moving through lists such as tunes, contacts, photos and so on. On the N81 the feature seemed to lack sensitivity to me, but that has now been improved and I found it fine. You can turn it off if you don’t like it.
Hit the multimedia key and you are into a separate menu system which you can move through using left and right on the D-pad. Maps, games (N-Gage naturally), videos, photos, music, contacts and Internet all feature. I found this button too close to the right softmenu key for comfort. The flat softmenu key consistently got missed and the multimedia key hit in error.
As for spec, this is a 3G handset to 3.6Mbps with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, so you can take advantage of a wireless network for Internet use, Nokia Maps downloading and such. It runs S60 3rd edition Feature Pack 2, which means it is positively brimming with applications, smart features and support.
One example of a neat feature is that when you choose to browse photos the screen does a little animation and turns itself into wide profile, so you can see shots using the full width of the screen. You can use screen rotation when browsing the Web too, and this makes for good wide screen viewing. Coupled with a reasonably powerful zooming feature and page thumbnails web browsing is quite comfortable.