Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
- Excellent display, Camera, Solid Features list, Included 3.5mm headphone jack
- Cramped keypad, No Wi-Fi, Some speed issues
The lack of native Wi-Fi may dampen the appeal of this unit for some, but even so it remains a solid choice due to its multimedia offerings especially the 3.2 megapixel Carl Zeiss camera at the forefront.
Price$ 949.00 (AUD)
Nokia's latest N Series multimedia phone features 3G support, a large and clear display and a 3.2 megapixel camera with a Carl Zeiss Lens. Despite its respectable features list, the N73 suffers from a cramped keypad and doesn't offer native Wi-Fi, but it remains a solid choice due to its multimedia capabilities.
One of the most compelling features of the N73 is the high quality, 2.4-inch colour display. The screen is capable of 240 x 320 pixels (QVGA) and can display up to 262,144 colours. It has a great viewing angle and is clearly visible in a variety of lighting conditions, including direct sunlight. The display is ideal for use as a viewfinder with the phone's camera and also stands out for Web browsing. It is capable of displaying all 12 menu items on one screen, so there's no need for scrolling in the main menu.
The N73 display also features an ambient light detector which is used to optimise display brightness and power consumption. This feature automatically adjusts the screen and keypad backlight depending on the conditions. For example, the screen will brighten at night time and dim when the sun is out. Overall, we found this feature worked quite well during testing and only adds to the already striking display.
Measuring 110mm x 49mm x 19mm the N73 isn't the smallest phone on the market; in fact it is quite thick for a new handset. However despite this, it weighs just 116g so it won't add much weight to your pocket or bag. The N73 is finished in gloss white plastic on its front and metallic brown on the rear.
The metallic plastic surrounding the keypad and controls gives the unit a touch of class, but the major setback of the N73 is its keypad - it is very small and is squashed into the bottom half of the phone; quite unnecessary considering the amount of space above it. The keys themselves are flat, so messaging is quite difficult and not very responsive; those with large fingers should probably look elsewhere. Above the keypad is a more pleasing five-way joystick, two selection buttons and answer and end call keys. There are also buttons for menu, clear, edit and multimedia that surround the keypad and these are finished in a rather attractive chrome colour scheme.
The N73's 3.2 megapixel camera features a Carl Zeiss lens, 20x digital zoom, a flash with red-eye reduction and autofocus, so it's one of the best camera phones on the market in terms of features. While the photos the N73 captures still don't compare to a good compact digital camera, they are very good for a camera phone.
Able to capture images at up to 2048 x 1536 pixels, the N73's colour reproduction is excellent, but image sharpness is a slight problem. That said, shots are fairly crisp with defined edges and excellent levels of detail for a 3.2 megapixel sensor, and overall the image quality was more than satisfying. The N73 camera also has a solid list of settings including close-up and portrait scene modes, the ability to adjust white balance, colour tone settings, and light sensitivity (ISO). For editing photos and other images, Nokia includes a copy of Adobe Photoshop Starter Edition 3.0 in the N73 sales package.
A dedicated camera shutter button and zoom keys are easily accessible when the phone is flipped horizontally, so the N73 camera experience is much like that of a stand alone digital camera. The camera also doubles as a video camera, recording up to 1.5 hours of video in the .MP4 and .3GP formats. Videos are captured in 352 x 288 resolution at up to 15fps and feature automatic white balance control and up to 8x digital zoom. There is a second, integrated VGA camera on the front with 2x digital zoom. This second camera can be used for both video calling over a 3G network or for taking portrait photos. Overall, the N73 is equipped with one of the best cameras in a phone that we've reviewed, comparable to Sony Ericsson's K800i.
Features and Performance
The N73 is equipped with plenty of connectivity options, but doesn't include native Wi-Fi, which is a disappointment. Although this is more of a multimedia handset than a business one, this feature is becoming more and more popular on new release phones, so its omission is somewhat of a sour point on a handset commanding this asking price.
Despite this the N73 still includes Bluetooth, infrared, and USB 2.0, with Nokia including a USB cable in the sales package. There is also an excellent Web browser that has the ability to scroll through each page with a feature called 'page overview'. This view shows a full Web page fitted into the screen and a selection box is used to navigate to the part of the page you want to view in more detail.
Email is also included with SMTP, IMAP4 and POP3 clients supported. You can download and save your email attachments to the N73's miniSD card (although this is not included in the sales package) or to the phone's 42MB of internal memory. The miniSD card slot is cleverly located at the bottom of the handset, above the pop-port connector. Of course, there is also regular MMS and SMS messaging with T9 predictive text input, but the poorly designed keyboard will effect your messaging speeds so do take this into account if you are a heavy SMS user.
The N73 excels in its multimedia offerings and conveniently includes an adapter to plug in a standard 3.5mm headphone jack. There is a digital music player with stereo audio supporting MP3, AAC, M4A, eAAC+ and WMA files. Nokia include a pair of headphones in the sales package, but as expected they are of an average quality and you'll want to use a better pair should you wish to get the best sound quality out of this unit. The device also includes RealPlayer, so you are able to playback videos in full screen mode in MPEG-4 format. Best of all, the N73 is a USB mass storage device so you can simply drag and drop media onto the phone, rather than having to use Nokia PC Suite. There is also a stereo FM radio with 20 preset stations and this can be quickly accessed by the multimedia key. All of this is controlled through the rather stylish media menu, which can be accessed via a shortcut key on the face of the unit.
Running on the Symbian 9.1 operating system, the N73 has a full array of smart phone applications, including Quickoffice Word, PowerPoint and Excel document viewers, a host of PIM features (calendar, contacts, to-do list, notes, recorder, calculator, clock and converter) and both voice recording and dialling. Overall, we were pleased with the speed of the N73 interface, although it does struggle somewhat switching between applications. Start-up time is also a little slow, taking just over a minute.
According to Nokia the N73 is rated at up to 226 minutes of talk time and up to 370 hours of standby time using a 3G network. These figures are very good, and we found they were quite close to the mark - on average we found ourselves charging the unit every three days or so, which is quite impressive considering the unit's extensive multimedia capabilities. If you use a 2.5G network with the N73, you'll get an extra 20 minutes or so of talk time, but 20 minutes less of standby time.
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