Device Advice: Nokia N86 8MP – Nokia’s latest powerhouse

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The N86 8MP has been in the wings for some time. Nokia may have been deliberately waiting for the build-up to Christmas to start promoting the handset, which it has done with a tie-in with photographer David Bailey.

The images he took showed how good the phone is at taking pictures in a range of different situations, especially in low-light, and you could be excused for realising that behind the camera lies a powerful smartphone.

The N86 8MP runs on the latest Series 60 3rd Edition user interface and feature pack. It comes with 8GB of internal storage, with a further 32GB added via memory card.

The N86 also comes with an OLED display, offering a high contrast ratio and bright colours, but with the downside of compromising readability in bright sunlight. It’s a sacrifice worth paying for a vastly better screen, especially if a high contrast theme is going to be used to help things to be seen easier outdoors.

Besides the camera, the big change is the improved keypad, with more defined numeric buttons. There are also more media buttons, which are hidden until the screen is slid downwards. This change makes the phone even better for making calls, typing texts or writing emails.

On the upper-slide, the soft keys and call buttons are neatly spaced, with the navigation button being the only disappointment. It feels a little too spongy and is very easy to move around a menu when trying to press it in to select something, but it’s definitely not as bad as other Nokia offerings.

Camera functionality
With the camera, Nokia highlighted lowlight photography as one of its strongest features, so the twin-LED flash instead of a Xenon flash is a surprise. A Xenon flash is essential for lighting up subjects in low light, so people will need to stand closer to the camera if it’s to capture them clearly. It still draws in a lot more light though and detail in dark conditions. One of the real benefits is the reduction of camera noise, enabling users to take more photos in the dark without the flash at all.

Full review in Mobile News issue 451 (November 2, 2009).

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