Nokia N76 Review: It’s good, but it lacks the punch
The Nokia N Series of phones is moving along at a fair clip with frequent new additions aimed at different target audiences. The N76, the newest of the lot, is clearly targeted at the fashion or image conscious young professional. It offers good looks and business capabilities in an attempt to woo customers away from the MotoRAZR and its brethren. But does it deliver?
Finished in a fine black outfit (there are also other colours available), the N76 impresses as soon you see it. It is slim, a flip phone and has a chrome finish panel on the front that allows you to access the phone’s music player without opening the flip. The sub-LCD screen acts as the main interface in this case. The sub-LCD is customisable and can show more than just the time and a wallpaper! In fact, you can also read full messages without open the flip but can’t reply. We noticed we couldn’t even do a ‘quick reply’ using the sub-LCD.
The overall finish of the phone is very good but we did notice some of the chrome coming off from the front facia in just 10 days of use. Among other things we were not too impressed with was the keypad that didn’t always register the keystrokes. If this is a competitor to the RAZR, it would do well to improve on the tactile ability of the keypad. There are some dedicated buttons as well that make use easy, but if multimedia is not one of the main reasons or features you look for in a phone, you wouldn’t bother too much with this.
The personalisation options are pretty impressive with just about every button on the top being configurable. There are some obvious keystrokes one would go for, but the defaults would take you elsewhere. If this is your first N-Series phone, it could be a little difficult to get used to the fact that the ‘Menu’ button is not in the centre of the four-way joystick and rather to the left. Not too difficult to get used to, but we just wonder why. The menu button is now found in different places on every N-Series phone (almost) and this can be a little irritating for users who change over.
The interface on the whole is reliable and typically Nokia: easy and fast. There is a notable improvement in the speed of the phone when compared to the early N-Series phones and even when compared to one like the 6300. The ease of use that a Nokia interface offers is quite addictive and moving back to another phone can be time consuming! The four-way joystick offers easy configuration of buttons and can be used to launch applications of your choice.
Battery life is very good and we were impressed when the phone lasted a full two days on a single charge during roaming. Signal strength was good too as was the audio quality on the whole. In noisy environments, however, the audio quality was found to be wanting. The design of the phone does leave something to be desired even inside. The SIM card holder is a flimsy film that has to be pulled out. Of course one assumes you would not be swapping too many SIM cards, but there is a little doubt if the film would last even two or three changes especially in Indian conditions and in the hands of not-so-gentle users (like us!).
One of the main things about the N76 is the audio quality and we have to say that we came away a little disappointed with the earphone quality. It has always been baffling to find manufacturers using poor quality earphones with most phones, especially the ones that are ‘music phones’. While we don’t expect the Sennheiser or Bose quality, at least ones with higher fidelity than the ones we normally get would be a good addition.
Overall, if you want the bling and the look of a phone and aren’t one to care too much about the audio quality, this phone may be the one for you. It definitely does have an eye-catching quality and is definitely more than useful and usable! But at approximately Rs 24,000, it does cost a bomb. Why not instead just go for the MotoRAZR V3i at about Rs 9,000?
Look and Design: Rating: (could have been more original)
Features and Functionality: Rating: (it’s a clamshell with same features as other N-Series phones)
Audio quality: Rating: (for an audio phone, not too hot!)
Battery life: Rating: (Very impressive indeed)
Overall Rating: (it’s good, but could have been much better)
Tags: Nokia, N-Series, N76, Review