Nokia N82 in-depth review -

Look and feel

Aside from being long and wide, the phone is finished with a shiny silver plastic front and a matt plastic back, adorned with a faint herringbone like design. The sharp little keys are meanly proportioned and the function and menu markings are faint. We also had an issue with the joypad, in that the direction control area is too narrow, making it to easy to select an option when you really want to be moving up and down, or right and left through the menu icons.

Ease of use

Despite being crammed with features, the phone is very easy to get around, although we do have an issue with the meanly proportioned keys.

The camera control centre of the Nokia N82 is the joypad, which lets you access scene modes, flash, self timer, sequence, colour, exposure, light sensitivity and access to the video camera.

Other great features on the handset include macro mode for close-ups, auto focus, and on-device photo editing, so you can airbrush out those unwanted pimples and nose hairs.

Features

The Nokia N82 is packed with a roll call of top mobile features, including HSDPA data speeds, a great camera, super video capabilities, console quality games, Wi-fi, stereo Bluetooth and a good music player.

Performance

The camera isn't quite as capable as that on the Samsung G800 or Sony Ericsson K850i, but it's far better than most. However, it's with video, that this phone really shines, letting you record at 30fps and then edit your home movies on your device. Download speeds and web browsing are also an asset thanks to the N82's HSDPA data speeds.

Battery life

N-series phones have so much going on they need stronger batteries than they are given. The N82 is okay, but we'd like a bit more fuel in the tank.

 Nokia N82 Review -
3

Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/12/2011 3:51:07 PM

8

out of 10

Performance

4

out of 5

Look and feel

8

out of 5

Ease of use

10

out of 5

Features

6

out of 5

Battery life

Pros:

Even for an N-series, this phone has loads of features, including GPS, a great camera, HSDPA data speeds and N-Gage games.

Cons:

The phone is no looker, the keys are small and the plastic finish feels cheap.

Nokia's N82 is an N-series phone with a five megapixel camera and a chassis full of features that will compete with the big boys. But is it too ugly to love?

Although the five megapixel camera phone club is more crowded than it once was, we still get excited when a sharp shooting new handset joins the party.

The Nokia N82 is the latest member, however, in addition to its bumper resolution, it also comes with some bumper dimensions to boot.

While it's relatively lightweight, when measured against the five megapixel competition, the N82's footprint (length x width) is larger than either the Nokia N95, the Sony Ericsson K850i or Samsung G800.

Nokia N82 build and design

And, while none of the above handsets could ever be described as svelte, the N95 and G800 have a better finish and, we believe, a more appealing design.

Of course, with the N82's extra portions you do get a very tasty camera, complete with Carl Zeiss lens and Xenon flash, and it produces great results. But there's no doubt that the Nokia N82 will struggle to win any beauty competitions.

And we're not being size-ist. You only have to look at the Apple iPhone or, another five megapixel phone, the LG KU 990 Viewty, to see that a phone can be both big and beautiful.

However, alongside these shiny lookers, the N82 just looks a little tacky and toylike.

The phone is finished with a shiny silver plastic front and a matt plastic back, adorned with a faint herringbone like design. The sharp little keys are meanly proportioned and the function and menu markings are faint. We also had an issue with the joypad, in that the direction control area is too narrow, making it to easy to select an option when you really want to be moving up and down, or right and left through the menu icons.

The problem is that the Nokia N-series are premium phones which don't come cheap, and while the functionality of the N82 is at the premium end, the finish is distinctly mid to low tier.

Nokia N82 camera

Still, design is very subjective and there will probably be plenty of folk that find the N82 a work of inspired design genius. Indeed, if you're one of these, this phone is almost certainly for you. Because, as you'd expect from an N-series device, it has a heck of a lot going on beneath the bonnet.

The star attraction is the N82's five megapixel camera, which specialises in both still images and video. And while it can't boast an optical zoom like the Samsung G800, it does carry a Carl Zeiss lens and a Xenon flash.

The Samsung G800 broke the mould with its optical zoom, so it would be churlish to criticise the N82 for lacking this bonus feature. Besides, the Carl Zeiss Optics: Tessar lens is excellent and the Xenon flash is capable of blasting gloomy scenes with light.

It's also an easy camera to use.

The lens cover can be opened and closed using a little plastic switch to the right of the lens. It's not as satisfying as the full sliding lens cover on the Samsung G800, but it does the job.

Holding the phone in camera mode, from right to left, you'll find a shutter key, a video playback key and the digital zoom/volume keys.

Photo quality is excellent, and we actually fancy that photos enhanced with the Xenon flash produced more satisfying results than those produced by the Samsung G800, which provided a 'rabbit in the headlights' effect.

The camera control centre of the Nokia N82 is the joypad, which lets you access scene modes, flash, self timer, sequence, colour, exposure, light sensitivity and access to the video camera.

Other great features on the handset include macro mode for close-ups, auto focus, and on-device photo editing, so you can airbrush out those unwanted pimples and nose hairs.

Making movies with the Nokia N82

The great thing about the Nokia N82 is that the video is as strong as the camera, which is just as well because many experts believe that video sharing both on device and over the web will see a huge boom in 2008. The Nokia N82 lets you shoot video at 30fps and offers up to 10x digital zoom (4x in VGA mode). The N82 shoots supports the mp4 and 3gp video file formats and boasts features such as digital video stabilisation and settings for white balance, scene and colour tone setting.

The other great video feature on the N82 is the on-device video editing, which lets you polish up your clips like a Coppola mini movie. You can also upload your new photos and videos online with one-click.

Obviously if mobile users are to get as involved with sites like You Tube and My Space as the PC generation, the uploading process has to be quick and easy, as is the case with the Nokia N82.

If you want to look at your photos or watch your videos on your home TV, the Nokia N82 offers TV-out functionality, and you can also print photos via USB (Pictbridge), Bluetooth, Wi-fi, or online printing.

GPS and other features

In addition to the main five megapixel camera, there's a secondary VGA camera on the front N82's fascia for video calling. When you dial a number or access a contact, the phone lets you choose whether you wish to make a voice call or a video call. Video calls have never really taken off, but they are getting more popular amongst home laptop and PC users with webcams at home, so this may trigger a belated boom amongst mobile users.

Needless to say, aside from video calls, the phone's HSDPA data speeds are also a boon for uploading and downloading music and videos and, of course, for browsing the internet. Overall, the internet browsing experience is pretty good on the N82, but the larger screen of the Nokia N95 8GB offers a better one.

One premium feature that the N95 and N82 share in common is built-in GPS for sat nav.

GPS-enabled mobiles will be far more visible next year and it's a real bonus feature for two reasons. As well as being able to use the device for sat-nav, users can also take advantage of location based services.

In addition to GPS, the N82 features the nifty Nokia Maps application, which lets you plan routes using sat nav and enables rapid access to the phone's location-based services.

Once you have picked up a satellite fix on your handset's GPS, you'll see your current location in map form. From here, you can navigate locally or anywhere in the UK, zoom in on the map to get your bearings, and search nearby for points of interest. These are categorised under simple headings like automotive, transport, eat drink, shopping, leisure, sights, and services.

As with other GPS enabled Nokias, like the 6110 Navigator and N95, you can also buy city guides and download them to the device. It's like having Time Out on your phone, but not quite so easy to read.

N-Gage gaming

The other major talking point about the N82 and other N-series phones is the recent inclusion of the N-Gage gaming platform. The debate has raged for years as to whether gaming will ever really take off on a mobile device and there is one school of though that believes that simple, one thumb control games are the way forward.

However, one look at the N-Gage games and your view may be swayed. The graphics are almost as rich and impressive as a Pixar movie and it's hard not to get sucked into the action.

At the moment, all games are still in demo stage, but it's a real watch-this-space area, and because you'll be able to connect and play with other connected N-Gage gamers all over the world, it could really help drive social networking on mobiles. Our device featured demos of FIFA 07 and Asphalt Street Rules 3. Both are impressive but deserve to be played by more competent gamers than Yours Truly.

N82 verdict

As with the N81 before it, there's a lot going for the N82 because Nokia masterfully crams its N-series phones with top end features. However, the major flaw in this handset is its finish. The keypad is uncomfortable, the markings are faint, and the materials used feel a little creaky. You can argue that it's still relatively light for such a capable phone, because it's 15g lighter than the N95 8GB and 20g lighter than the Samsung G800. However, we'd happily put up with a bit more lead in our pocket if the phone had a brushed metal rather than a plastic finish.