Firstly I apologise for the delay in getting this up. Now, starting from where I left off, this post deals with the core performance of the N82. What might be the issues you may experience while using the device and what can you expect to be delighted with. Right at the start I can confidently say that more times than one a user will come out happy with the N82.
The N82 is a well built monoblock which fits nicely into the hand. All keys are easily reachable and present no problem at all. The red key for right handed users might need a little getting used to. The multimedia key is a bit of a pain though, I have realised that this multimedia menu found on most newer Nseries devices is also not that great as a user cannot add applications into the multimedia menu and a long press does not bring up the music player as it did with the old N95 menu. The key is too thin and when it is pressed you will most likely end up with either the left softkey or the ‘c’ key pressed if you have big fingers. The ‘D’ pad to me is one of the best ever and will really be helpful while gaming; at times it does seem a little delicate though.
Moreover the N82 also does not have dedicated music keys and therefore for quick access a main menu/Standby Screen shortcut becomes a necessity. The N95 8GB which has the same menu features this ‘long press’ option therefore this will also be added to the N82 in a future firmware. The lack of music keys will be missed if you are coming off a phone that had them.
This is probably the most controversial aspect of what is otherwise a great phone. A lot of people when they look at it for the first time hate it. I did too. However it is not as bad as it looks, because the keys are small and well spaced you will never hit the wrong key even if you have large fingers. This results in great accuracy and speed while hammering out a text or a document. But since the keys are small and hard after a while the fingers get tired and the comfort level tends to drop fast. The bottom line is that the keypad is a compromise; while it may be used for short to medium bursts almost without an issue but long documents will be history. At most times when I am free, I take out the N95 and start hammering out text for future use, the N82 somehow creates a mental block that prohibits me from doing so.
The N82 features an A-GPS which works very well and most N82’s come with 3 months on free navigation. The lock times are way lesser than those on the N95’s AGPS and it also holds the signal better. I had the opportunity to test it while I was in New Delhi for a while and I was quite pleased. The latest Maps Beta coupled with the N82 make for a great combination, no wonder Stavros choose it too. On most occasions with a clear view to the sky I could get a fix within 10 seconds and rarely ever lost it. In a moving car also the N82 used to get a fix in under 20 seconds, no matter it was last used in the same vicinity or not.
Battery life is one of the most crucial aspects of modern day smartphone and this is one aspect the N82 does very well in. No matter what you do, if you leave the house in the morning with a fully charged phone you WILL come back with it alive. On a typical day, I would leave in the morning at about 9, battery fully charged, after about 20 minutes of calls, more than 2 hrs WiFi browsing, 20 minutes EDGE browsing, 10 photos with flash turned on, 10 texts, 15 minutes music via the loudspeakers and some other activity I might have forgotten I would still come back with only about 3 bars down. The bottomline being that this is one of the most frugal Nseries devices made when it comes to battery and the constant worry of a recharge would not bother you.
A lot of times these days when people go out to buy a new phone, they look at the camera specifications, music capabilities, expandable memory and so on. What we seem to have forgotten is that a cell phone is essentially a phone at the end of the day and it has to allow you to make calls, and do that well. This is another aspect where the N82 won me over. The N82, hands down has the best in call volume and voice clarity of all Nseries devices I have laid my hands on recently, in fact any phone I have come across recently and that’s a lot of phones. I usually heard calls on the N95 at full in call volume and well, in noisy environments, it became a strain at times. With this however my average volume has come down to half and even the noisy areas are no reason for stress.
The N82 is equipped with a FM Radio in addition to the standard Nseries music player application and because of WiFi and 3G support Internet Radio is also a go. It also packs a 3.5mm jack and stereo loudspeakers. Just from the look of things it seems an attractive package. The ability to hold microSD cards which are growing in size rapidly (currently 16GB) and great battery also help.
The only minus is the 2.4″ screen which is somewhat a spoiler. As long as you stick to web browsing and general phone operation it is not a problem, however if you are a serious, on the go video watcher, the experience won’t be great. Although, Core Player runs well and you can literally drop and play most files you just downloaded off the internet, but would the phone make you want to? In my case, it’s a negative.
The loudspeakers pack decent volume, however when compared are much lower than those found on the N95/N95 8G and the sound production isn’t exceptional. When looked at in isolation they are pretty passable. If you are holding the N82 in your hand the lower loudspeaker generally gets covered by the palm and the volume gets cut. The music through the headphones seemed slightly better than from what it is on the N95, the usual settings like Loudness and Stereo Widening are present along with the Equalisers.
For someone looking for a ‘purely’ music phone, the N82 is not it. But for someone who is looking for ‘essentially’ a music phone the answer might be the N82. The reason for the same is that in today’s time the N91 is no longer an option. The N81 is, but when it boils down to a comparison between the two the N82 wins easily owing to the Camera, even better battery, screen and build quality. Plus the price difference isn’t that big and as far as audio quality goes the N81 just has better volume and a little more power to it.
Right from the time you start the device it gives you a feeling that it will perform well. The much shorter start up time is a big hint in that direction and thankfully the device throughout remains pretty snappy. There are no lags anywhere and it rarely, if at all hangs. The first reboot I faced was after two days of continuous testing and that too when I was loading a heavy – heavy website with two java Gmail clients running in the background. The good thing here was that after it restarted and after I opened the same applications and tried, it held on and loaded the site without an issue.
The N82 features an accelerometer that enables auto rotation of the UI when you tilt the device. It is a great addition to the N82’s armoury and also means that a lot of accelerometer based application that are coming out these days can be used on the phone.
Now coming back to the automatic screen rotation, I have a mixed opinion about it. While it works really well in the Gallery and is greatly appreciated, it sometimes becomes a nuisance when using the phone while lying down and at odd angles, you end up shaking to phone to get the UI back in order. There is an option to turn it off completely but I personally didn’t want to do that as I loved its implementation in the gallery. If it were to be made possible that we could only have the option enabled in the Gallery, it would be great.
The N82 has ample RAM on bootup and I could run every single application on the phone without an issue; so much so that I gave it the moniker – ‘multitasKING‘.
The next post in this series will be a final roundup, a verdict and we’ll see how the N95 8GB fits into the scheme of things.