To begin this review I decided to look back at my initial impressions of the device when it was announced. As it turns out this is what I had said. “As expected the N82 being an N8x device doesn’t do anything ground breaking which we’ve not seen earlier.”
Now while the above may be technically true, but this still doesn’t accurately describe the N82. After spending some time with the device I am compelled to change my stance. The N82 is a ground breaking device, make no mistake it is. While it might not have been the first 5 megapixel camera or the first with a GPS or to debut VGA video recording or support TV out, it is something much more; a complete package. This device is NOT a jack of all trades but master of none. It excels in all departments and in fact betters the way there things performs on the N82 v/s the devices on which they debuted as the main attraction with may be very few exceptions.
The N82 when it came out was dubbed by many as the N95 in a monoblock form factor plus a xenon flash. This against doesn’t do justice to it. I am long time N95 user and I am seriously considering buying the device and not only because of the flash. Half of the time most of N95’s killer features are left unused because of poor battery life and I am glad to say the N82 for a change doesn’t suffer from this problem.
This post will focus on three key areas of the N82 – Build, Feel and the Camera.
The N82 is a rock solid monoblock with very good build quality. It features a 2.4″ 240 x 320 pixel screen with 16.7 million colours and a 3.5mm audio jack which doubles as the connector for TV functionality. Surprisingly coming from the N95 I felt that the 0.2″ smaller screen would be a minus, yet I did not feel the difference at all. The two phones share the same resolution there the same amount of text is displayed while web browsing and so on, hence it in the end didn’t even seem a factor.
The inlet for the charger is on the left side, which is a pain. I fail to understand what was the need to shift from its usual bottom position. The end result is that in case you need to use the phone while its charging left handed becomes completely rules out. If the charger plug is a little further away from your right, you’ve had it. Irritating. The audio jack however is on the top, which is great, specially when the phone is kept in the pockets.
The power button, the volume rocker (which doubles us as zoom control), the camera button, the Gallery key all are very comfortable to use and I quite like them. The memory card slot for hot swap is on the left side of the phone, is useable and doesn’t feel very delicate. The left features the micro USB port also. Now here is where I have a little displeasure. Its great to see Nokia adopt newer technologies like micro USB but I think it was done a little too early. Most of my gadgets work with a mini USB cable and I carry a common one for all of them, now I need to carry two different ones just because of the port. If it helped pump up data transfer speeds or enable USB charging, I’d be all for it but don’t really see the point as of now.
A lot of people buy phones without looking at spec sheets and features, they buy it because it just ‘feels good’. Be it just putting it in your palm and rolling it a little, turning it upside down a little and then deciding whether they want it or not. This is is changing as the consumer goes more tech savvy and conscious, yet feel does and will continue to play a major role. So for a phone to do well it must ‘feel good’. I am afraid this is a grey area for the N82. I showed the device to a lot of people, blurted out the basic specs and handed the phone over and put the question if you had the money will you buy it?
On a rough calculation only about 20% wanted to pick it up. Some didn’t like the silver, some that it was somewhat of a fingerprint magnet but most settled on the keypad as the phone’s killer. Everybody loved the back and sides though, all I heard was ‘I wish the front was a little different, specially the keypad’. I personally have no problems as such and when looked and felt it as a complete package, I am all for it. I’ll talk about the keypad and general usability in an upcoming post.
N82: THE CAMERA
I have had the N82 for a while now and the first thing that comes to my mind when I sit down to write this is that here is a phone that makes you take pictures – document your life. Moments which you otherwise would let pass now are captured by a beautiful 5 megapixel Carl Zeiss Lens backed up with an ever useful xenon flash. This is especially true for shots at night and indoors which even when I had the N95 did not even try to capture as I knew there was no point due to bad light and thus the moment was lost. Somehow, it may sound very trivial but the brilliantly made camera cover which is a pleasure to engage also plays an important role in the entire thing. It slides on and off so smoothly that the fingers twitch to keep playing with it – the result, even more pictures! In the past two weeks I have taken more pictures than I would take using the N95’s 5 Megapixel Camera in a month and this is not just because of the flash, yes it plays an important role but there is an entirely different feel to the phone that drives photography.
The one part I can assure you is that this picture taking thing will not even have to be at the back of your mind, the N82 will compel you. While the above logic might seem silly, talk me to after six months later when you yourself have experienced it! The next part of this series of reviews will tentatively focus on Usability, Multimedia and Performance.