Nokia N70 Smartphone review
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  1. #1
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    Nokia N70 Smartphone review

    Nokia N70 Smartphone

    Hi all, I bought a Nokia N70 last week and here's a quick review on it.

    Front:


    Rear, with camera slider open:


    Main features
    • Weight: 126 g
    • Main color display: 176x208 pixels, up to 262,144 colors
    • 2 megapixel camera (1600 x 1200 pixels) with 20x digital zoom
    • Second VGA camera (640 x 480 pixels ) with 2x digital zoom
    • Played formats (decoding): MP3, AAC, Real Audio, WAV, Nokia Ring Tones, AMR, AMR-WB, AMR-NB, AU, MIDI, H.263, JPEG, JPEG2000, EXIF 2.2, GIF 87/89, PNG, BMP (W-BMP), MBM, MPEG-4 and eAAC+
    • Up to 22 MB of internal dynamic memory for images, contacts, text messages, multimedia messages, ringing tones, images, video clips, calendar notes, to-do list and applications
    • Expandable memory: Reduced Size Dual Voltage (1.8/3V) MultiMediaCard (MMC). Hot swappable.
    • FM Radio, MP3 player, Video player
    • Integrated Bluetooth wireless technology v.2.0
    • USB 2.0 full speed via Pop-Port™ interface
    • WAP 2.0 XHTML/HTML multimode browser
    • Talk Time: Up to 3.5 hrs
    • Stand-by Time: Up to 11 days


    The main thing to note is that this is a 3G Smart phone. It can browse the internet at broadband speeds, and can stream TV channels over the 3G network. It runs the Symbian Series 60 operating system which has a good range of third party applications available for it including TomTom Navigator.



    Physical build quality

    The phone feels solid. The construction is plastic, with a metal insert in the front which surrounds the buttons and the screen. Compared to the Nokia 6230 (pictured below), it is bigger and heavier - but it does house a larger screen and a lot more features. The N70 and 6230 are exactly the same thickness. The buttons have a tactile feel, but may be a little too small for comfort for some users.

    The camera slider on the back automatically puts the phone into camera mode. It has a 'springy' action, so is unlikely to fall open on its own. It doesn't feel as solid as the rest of the phone, but I can't see it breaking.

    Being a Nokia, it is unlikely that the silver paint would fade or be affected too badly by small scratches. However the case is not the 'quick-remove' style, so getting any damage repaired is likely to be quite costly.

    The screen is very bright (brightness can be changed) - certainly on par with the Nokia 6230:





    Camera

    There are two cameras - a 0.3mp one on the front for video calls (which also allows you to use the phone as a mirror), and a 2.0mp one on the back with a flash. A button on the lower right hand side of the phone makes taking portrait photos easier.

    The main camera is fairly good compared to other camera phones - the high resolution gives it an advantage over most. It has options to change the Scene (Auto/portrait/landscape/night/sports); Flash (on/off/auto); White balance; Timer; and Colour tone. One key feature it misses is an auto-focus (present on many of the new Sony Ericsson phones). Even so, photos tend to be acceptable, but still no-where near the quality of even a mediocre dedicated digital camera.

    The camera is also capable of taking videos. The flash is good for illuminating close up items, but is not greatly powerful - so taking pictures of objects a fair distance away in the dark would not work. Here are some sample pics:

    Close up (no flash):


    Close up (with flash):


    Distance - spot the squirrel! (no flash):




    Software

    My phone is provided by Orange UK. The O/S has been tweaked quite extensively, but most of the features are similar to a standard N70. Unlike Nokias of old, the O/S is much more customisable - you can move icons around, delete icons, etc. There is a file manager to delete apps that you don't need.

    There are a few games supplied - a 3D version of Snake, and a random card one, as well as a few others. They seem fairly entertaining - but the key to this phone is being able to add a huge number of applications. Third party support for the phone is great, and ports of PC games have long been present on the Symbian OS, such as Doom 1 and 2.

    Other software such as Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Acrobat readers are all installed as standard. These can all read the native formats without having to convert them on your PC first which is a great feature. Obviously though, not all documents will be displayed perfectly if they use complex features.

    The menus aren't as fast at loading as they were on the 6230. This may however be due to the meddling of the OS by Orange. I tend to be quite fussy about the speed at which menus load, and I find it just about acceptable on the N70.

    Software is supplied to play MP3's, watch Videos (formats supported listed above), edit Videos, listen to the Radio, browse WAP and HTML pages (yup, HardwareCentral works on it!). Third party applications such as an MSN Messenger client can be installed too.

    Sound from MP3s, the radio and videos can be played out of the loudspeaker. The sound quality from this is fair, but sounds much better over the supplied headphones.

    Texting is very easy to get the hang of if you're used to T9, and the Series60 OS is not plagued by the 150 text limit of the older Noka phones. I can't quote an exact figure, but the capacity goes into the thousands I believe as texts can be stored on the memory card.

    Voice recognition is also an integrated part of the OS. It has a voice synthesiser which can read out Contact names. The aim is to mimick the synthesiser to get it to work correctly. This is a great system in theory as you don't have to go through your contact list programming each and every one as you did with older phones. It can also be used to activate shortcuts - I.e. you can say 'Bluetooth' to turn Bluetooth on and off. I've only tested it briefly - it seems to work very well in a quiet room, but not where there is a lot of background noise. It won't stand much of a chance in a busy office or bar.



    Battery life

    Seems fair - using all the features it will obviously drain the battery life quickly. But even with heavy use of the camera, MP3 player, net and phone calling, it will last a day between charges.

    Moderate use will like see 2-3 days between charges, as was true of the 6230 (both use the same BL-5C 900MAh lithium cell).

    The N70 has some crafty little power saving features. As you may notice in the pictures, the keys aren't illuminated. This is however not always true. In the top left of the fascia (next to the letter N70) there is a light sensor which constantly monitors the ambient light levels. If it is deemed bright, the screen brightness will lower gradually, if dark it will raise the brightness gradually. The keypad is illuminated with bright blue LEDs, which only turn on if the phone deems it dark enough to do so. The sensors decisions are quite liberal, so you'll always be able to read the buttons if it's getting dark.

    Low light:




    Bugs

    Surprisingly, for a new Nokia, I have not yet discovered any bugs. The N70 has not had the best of reputations for being stable and bug free, but everything seems fine to me so far. The random crashing and blipping of the 6230's MP3 player seems a thing of the past. I will post updates however, if anything does pop up.



    Comparisons to Nokias of past (N70 next to the Nokia 6230 and Nokia 8850)

    Fronts:


    Rears:



    Thanks for reading, will post updates as I discover more about it...

    Nick
    Main PC: A64 3200+ | 1024MB Kingston RAM (Dual Channel) | WD 160GB | Seagate SATA 160GB w/NCQ | Asus A8N-SLi Deluxe | Connect3D ATi X800XL Pci-E | Coolermaster ATC-710 case | Antec NeoPower 480w PSU | Toshiba 27wl46 27" TFT

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  2. #2
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    Bug 1

    26/11/2005

    The phone crashed on me after making a short phone call. The screen froze, and then the phone looked like it tried to reset itself, but again froze at the 'Nokia' loading screen. This could only be resolved by removing the battery and restarting the phone.
    Main PC: A64 3200+ | 1024MB Kingston RAM (Dual Channel) | WD 160GB | Seagate SATA 160GB w/NCQ | Asus A8N-SLi Deluxe | Connect3D ATi X800XL Pci-E | Coolermaster ATC-710 case | Antec NeoPower 480w PSU | Toshiba 27wl46 27" TFT

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  3. #3
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    Nice review. Did you 6230 ever crash? Mine still does occasionally.

    What's the vid quality like? The N90 takes pretty amazing vids for a phone.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuFu
    Nice review. Did you 6230 ever crash? Mine still does occasionally.

    What's the vid quality like? The N90 takes pretty amazing vids for a phone.
    I've not played around with the videos much yet, but they certainly seem to be a lot better than the 6230 ones. My 6230 was pretty stable - the only time it ever crashed was when using it as an MP3 player.

    To be honest, the MP3 functionality on the 6230 was poor - it blipped and crashed a lot more than it should have done, I'm assuming there were firmware updates that fixed this.

    Personally, I gave up using the MP3 player after a couple of weeks and the phone was rock solid for the rest of the year. It was a great phone, just a little set in the past. For Nokia, it was obviously a stand off between their normal OS and a Symbian one. The Symbian OS, I assume would have cost them a lot in licencing fees, so they just bolted on features to the Nokia standard OS. By this stage, the core features of the Nokia OS were rock solid, and fast (this is the best feature of the 6230), however the OS was never designed for Multimedia, and didn't cope too well with MP3s and the like as a result.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuFu
    Nice review. Did you 6230 ever crash? Mine still does occasionally. What's the vid quality like? The N90 takes pretty amazing vids for a phone.
    I've been looking at getting an N90 and trying to get some thoughts on the video quality from someone who already has one.

    I came across a short clip shot on the phone that claims it was made without any kind of 'enhancement', but since it's a promo from Nokia themselves I'm not sure whether it's true to life.

    http://www.zippyvideos.com/326619196...aterski/*edpin

    Is it the kind of quality I can expect from the phone if I bought one or not?

    Thanks in advance.

  6. #6
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    Yup, mine only crashed when using the MP3 player too. It's probably something to do with accessing the big MMC. I use it in the car as a player all the time still - quality isn't great but it's adequate and having a pseudo-"hands-free" setup is always useful too.

  7. #7
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    Hi mate,

    I reckon the N90 would definately be capable of that sort of at least that sort of quality. The video seems to have been compressed badly - I reckon it would look a lot better on TV. Would be good to see some vids from it - the N90 has a better lens and camera than the N70.

    Sample N90 picture.

    There is a full quality video and more pictures here on the Nokia site: Nokia N90 Media Samples - click the link in the top right.


    Nick
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  8. #8
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    Here are some independent review N90 vids: http://www.mobileburn.com/review.jsp?Page=4&Id=1689

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the links guys, those are just what I was looking for.
    I'll think I'll still need to get an actual demo instore though just to be sure.
    What did you think of the clip by the way? Pretty funny wasn't it?

  10. #10
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    Funny but predictable! I reckon that's suffered from recompression - the N90 demo clips and the one in that review looks a lot better.

  11. #11
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    I normally turn to mobile-review.com for reviews. They normally emphasize a lot on the camera/video aspect (more than other review sites). Their review of the K750 had a great influence on my decision to buy a SE K750 …. Anyways, here is a review which has several more sample clips. I think among the phones that are currently in market, the N70/N90 has the best video recording quality while the K750/W800 has the best still camera.

    1. AMD AXP 2600+ @ 2.34Ghz (167x14) Cooled with CoolerMaster Aero7+ / Asus A7V8X-X (KT400) / 1GB 333MHz RAM / Maxtor 120Gb DMAX Plus 9 / GeCube Radeon 9600Pro / PixelView PlayTV Pro / Acer 21” Monitor / SB Live! / NEC ND-2500A 8x DVD±RW / Sony CRX-320EE Combo Drive

    2. AMD AXP 1600+ (Stock cooler) / MSI K7T Turbo2 / 512Mb 133MHz RAM / Maxtor 80Gb DMAX Plus 9 / Gigabyte Radeon 9200 / Philips 17” Monitor / Sony CRX 160 CDRW / Asus E616 16x DVD

    3. IBM 300PL PIII

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hasitha
    I think among the phones that are currently in market, the N70/N90 has the best video recording quality while the K750/W800 has the best still camera.
    Certainly seems that way. The k750/W800 is a nice phone too.

    Nokia seem to have gone a step back in stills quality - I remember some of the older Series 60 phones being really good.
    Opteron 144@2.8GHz (stock HS/fan), Asus A8N-SLI SE (passive NB), 1.5GB RAM (2:3:2:5, 2T), WD Raptor 740GD 74GB, Maxtor DM10 300GB, Asus EN7600GT SILENT@???, M-Audio Revo 7.1, Nebula DigiTV, Dell 2005FPW, Enermax 431W Active.

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