First impressions of the Nokia N86 8MP; the best Nokia dual slider yet
One of the benefits of writing about all of these phones is getting the opportunity to try out all of the latest and greatest devices for a few weeks before deciding if they are worth purchasing or not. Nokia sent me an eval unit of the Nokia N86 8 megapixel in a European configuration. This means it works with the EDGE data networks on T-Mobile and AT&T, but not on the faster 3.5G networks of either carrier. I haven’t had a lot of time with the device because I have been busy with the Nokia N97, E71x, and other smartphones, but wanted to offer you a few thoughts after spending several hours with it while also seeing what you are most interested in hearing about in a full review.
The Nokia N86 8MP is the latest Nseries dual slider that follows the highly successful Nokia N95 (in various configurations), N85, N81 8GB, and N96. I thoroughly enjoyed the N95, but there were a few issues with the device and after playing with the N86 8MP for a few hours I think Nokia has created just about the most perfect dual slider design. The N86 8MP is extremely well constructed and feels awesome in your hand with its matte finish black exterior.
The Nokia N86 8MP has all of the expected specifications from a high end device and a bit more as you can see below.
- ARM 11 434 MHz processor
- Internal 8GB Flash memory with microSD card slot
- S60 3rd Edition, Feature Pack 2
- 2.6 inch QVGA (320×240 pixels) Active Matrix OLED display with support for up to 16.7 million colors
- BL-5K 1200 mAh Li-Ion battery
- Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR
- Integrated GPS receiver with compass
- Quad-band GSM
- 802.ll b/g WiFi
- 3.5mm headset jack
- MicroUSB port for syncing and charging
- 8 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics and dual LED flash
- FM radio with RDS support
As you can see this device is packed with features and a couple rather unique features are the OLED display and the 8 megapixel camera.
The Nokia N86 8MP feels so much better in my hand than the N95 ever did with construction that makes it feel like a tank. Unlike many of the other latest Nokia Nseries devices, the keypad has well defined and distinctive keys that make text entry and dialing a real pleasure on the N86. Nokia also used these same distinct keys for the four multimedia buttons found at the top when you slide the display down. On devices like the N96 and N81 8GB the keypad and multimedia buttons were flush panels with keys that were often tough to quickly find and press. As you can see in my photos below, the N86 keys are easily the best of any Nseries ever built so far.
The slider on the N86 8MP is also very solid and sort of “thunks” firmly into each of the lower and upper positions. Given the feel of the N86 so far I can’t see this slider ever loosening or being a problem in the future. It feels so good, I just can’t stop myself from sliding it up and down all the time when in my hand.
The 8 megapixel camera is on the upper part of the back and is protected by a lens cover that slides open to reveal the lens and launch the camera application. Around the camera lens and dual LED flash lights you will find a kickstand similar to what was found on the Nokia N96. This lets you watch video content with the device propping itself up on a table for you.
I was pleased to see Nokia using the keypad lock switch on the N86 8MP like I first tried on the Nokia 5800 and then Nokia N97. I find this to be very useful for locking and unlocking the keypad.
The 3.5mm headset jack and microUSB port are found along the top of the N86 along with the power button. Stereo speakers are present, along with a camera button and volume rocker. The directional pad on the front works well with useful buttons around the pad to help you get the job done.
A FM transmitter is also present that I plan to test out in my car to listen to podcasts on the go.
All the expected features of S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 2 are integrated on the N86 8MP, including Podcasting, Internet Radio, N-Gage, Share Online, and YouTube. I have to spend a lot more time with the device to comment on the software.
One slick thing I found was the standby clock that appears when the device goes into standby. It has an almost Matrix-like look to it with digital white numbers on a black background.
I also discovered that the N86 8MP actually has the same excellent Nokia Email client found on the E75 loaded by default! How in the world can the N86 8MP device targeted towards the media creator have this high end messaging client while the N97 with a full QWERTY not have it preloaded? Nokia makes some very weird decisions and they really need to get this email client into the N97 with the upcoming July firmware update.
Final first impressions
So far I am REALLY liking the Nokia N86 and cannot wait to try out the 8 megapixel camera and see how well it performs. The N86 feels awesome in your hand and is the high quality Nseries dual slide I have always wanted to see. The addition of the excellent email client really makes this device something that appeals to me even more than I thought it would and may actually be the device people find more attractive than the N97.