Nokia N78

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The N73 was one of the more popular Nseries models because of its technical specifications and was priced affordably. Although it isn't such a clear-cut replacement, the upcoming N78 brings a host of upgrades including a higher-res 3.2-megapixel autofocus camera, Wi-Fi and Assisted-GPS with geotagging support.


Besides the features mentioned above, the quad-band N78 comes with HSDPA connectivity and a high-capacity 1,200mAh Lithium-ion battery. According to Nokia, the N78 is rated for up to 13 days on standby and slightly over 4 hours of talktime. There's a hot-swappable microSD expansion card slot on the left edge of the phone, a 3.5mm audio jack at the top, onboard FM radio and an integrated FM transmitter. To sum it up, the N78 is a very well-specced handset at a retail price of approximately US$551.

lthough it is hard to ignore the similarities in design, the N78 was never meant to compete with the N82, as the latter is an imaging-focused device. That said, the biggest appeal of the N78 isn't its design, but the software. The N78 runs on the S60 3rd Edition platform with Feature Pack 2 which brings a number of updates to the interface of the phone. We'll touch more on this in a full review, but suffice to say, we like the user-interface enhancements we've seen so far. When the N78 was first announced, Nokia Maps 2.0 was still in beta stage. Now Maps 2.0 is a full-fledged mapping application and will likely be preloaded on the handset when it becomes available. This will complement the phone's geotagging features, as well as online services such as the music store, Flickr uploads, video on YouTube and the upcoming Share on Ovi. If these services are well-integrated, it could result in a much better multimedia user experience.


While the N78 has an impressive list of features, we can't say the same for the hardware.
The layout of the number keys felt very cramped and our thumbs kept hitting each other when we were using both hands to type. Even though the buttons provided good tactile feedback, we were hesitant about the usability of the keypad. The NaviWheel is an interesting feature and works very well in applications where you don't need precise control, such as browsing photos. But there were times when we accidentally activated the sensor while pressing on the directional pad.
The good thing is, you can turn the NaviWheel off in the settings so you won't encounter such problems.

On paper, there's a lot to like about the Nokia N78. When it was announced, Nokia estimated the retail price to be approximately US$551, which means the handset should hover around the S$500 price range with a two-year contract. With the kind of features it brings and a strong Nseries branding, the N78 seems well-positioned to replicate the success of the earlier N73. A full review will be coming soon once we get hold of a commercial test unit.

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