Wi-Fi is built into this handset as well as Bluetooth, and Nokia’s relatively new Wi-Fi scanning system is here. This can be shown on the main screen and from there only a couple of key presses are needed to scan for and hop onto a network.
For all its 8GB of memory I’d have actually liked a flash memory card slot too. Call me greedy if you like, but flash memory is a great way of getting data on and off a phone when you don’t want to make a PC connection. True, you can use the mini USB connector for drag and drop file transfer if you aren’t a fan of Nokia’s PC Suite, but that still means making a physical connection between PC and handset.
Finally I come to the camera. As is standard these days the screen shifts into wide format when you want to take photos or shoot video, and a side button does the deed. The 2-megapixel camera with its lack of autofocus and macro modes sounds low-end on paper, and in practice proved a real let down.
The coloured dish, shot indoors under normal household lighting, is grainy and dull. Outdoors, the yellow flowers were shot quite close up and colour reproduction is OK, but you can see that the camera doesn’t cope well at close quarters.
The other photo, a massive home-grown beetroot waiting to be plucked from the ground, is also grainy, and there is something terribly wrong with the exposure, which was set on auto for all the photos. It is almost as though I shot the photos with the protective plastic cover still on the lens. I didn’t.
Nokia’s N81 8GB ought to be a superb phone. On paper, the specs are enticing apart from the camera, which really did disappoint. It’s also a rather chunky mobile phone and the navigation pad can be annoying to use. If you have an eye on this handset, hold out till you’ve read my review of the N95 8GB, coming up very soon.