Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Nokia N80 Internet Edition
- VoIP, native Wi-Fi, good display, 3 megapixel camera, connectivity and PIM functions
- Sliding mechanism, no auto focus on camera, poor battery life
The N80 Internet Edition adds VoIP to an already enticing package, and the deal with Engin only makes it even better. Unfortunately, it's still let down by a below average battery life
Price$ 1,049.00 (AUD)
Dubbed as "the first Mobile Internet Phone to be released in Australia", the N80 Internet Edition is an upgrade to the previous N80. This new model only differs to its predecessor by extra software, upgraded firmware and Voice Over IP (VoIP) functionality. The hardware, such as the 3-megapixel CMOS camera, native Wi-Fi and vibrant display remains exactly the same.
The N80 Internet Edition is equipped with plenty of connectivity options, including integrated wireless LAN. It supports the 802.11g protocol and scores points for its ease of use and setup. The N80 Internet Edition can search for wireless access points every 1, 5 or 10 minutes and you simply select the network you want to make a connection. Nokia includes 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 like. Bluetooth and infrared connectivity are also included.
The N80 Internet Edition also supports SIP (Session Initiation Protocol), which is commonly used for Voice Over IP (VoIP). This allows the N80 Internet Edition to connect to SIP networks, such as Engin, for example. Engin has partnered with Nokia to offer customers the ability to make VoIP calls using the N80 Internet Edition. Calls between Engin users are free of charges and call cost rates start at just 10 cents. To make an Engin VoIP call, users need to sign up for an Engin account, activate the service and be in range of a wireless Internet access point. Nokia includes a new download application, and some other web applications, while Engin has offered the Engin Mobile Wizard, which allows users to easily configure the handset for VoIP calls.
We particularly liked the fact that VoIP calls appear in the call log menu (marked with a distinctive Internet icon) along with regular mobile calls. The N80 Internet Edition can also hook up to compatible Wi-Fi based Private Branch Exchange (PBX) systems and act as a normal office extension. It supports the same features as your regular office phone when doing so, such as call transfer and four digit dialling.
The N80 Internet Edition 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, task list, alarm clock, notes, converter, calculator) and both voice recording and dialling. There is support for standard SMS, MMS and email messaging with T9 predictive text input. We were also pleased with the speed of the N80 Internet Edition interface. It's a little slow to start-up and switching between applications results in a slight delay, but for most part it performs well.
This phone hasn't been designed specifically for music, but it includes an adapter to plug in a standard 3.5mm headphone jack and features a digital music player with stereo audio supporting MP3, AAC, m4a, eAAC+ and WMA files. Best of all, the N80 Internet Edition is a USB mass storage device so it's easy to drop and drag files to it. There is also a stereo FM radio with 20 preset stations and this can be quickly accessed by the multimedia key. The N80 Internet Edition multimedia menu cleverly appears and expands when you open and close it, allowing you to select the radio, an image slideshow, the music player, the web browser, or alter any of the multimedia settings.
The N80 Internet Edition includes a 3 megapixel camera with flash and macro capabilities. The quality of photos produced is quite good for a camera phone. Naturally, they still don't compare to a stand alone digital camera but most of our test images were fairly clear with decent levels of detail. But like most other camera phones, the N80 Internet Edition shots are let down by poor levels of image noise, which appears as random speckles, and this significantly degrades the overall quality of photos.
The camera has a number of settings including specific shooting modes such as automatic, sports and portrait, red eye flash reduction, white balance, exposure, colour tone, image sharpness and colour saturation. Other features are 20x digital zoom and a second, integrated, VGA camera on front with 2x digital zoom. This second camera can be used for video calling over a 3G network, or for taking portrait photos. The main camera can conveniently be used without sliding open the handset, thanks to the dedicated camera button on the right hand side. The N80 Internet Edition is also capable of recording video in MP4 and 3GP formats with up to 5x digital zoom, but quality is less than average. For editing photos and other images, Nokia includes a copy of Adobe Photoshop Starter Edition 3.0, along with their standard PC Suite software.
The N80 Internet Edition is a slide handset and it measures 95.4mm x 50mm x 26mm, so it is quite chunky. This means the phone feels solid and well built, but at 134g it's quite heavy as well. Despite this size and weight, the phone is still comfortable to hold. Our only complaint with the design is the sliding mechanism. It isn't spring operated so sliding is not smooth and the top section of the slider is not well mounted, meaning it sways slightly from side to side.
Just below the screen are the controls, which consist of a five-way navigational pad, two selection keys and answer/end call buttons as well as dedicated menu, edit, clear and multimedia keys. Sliding up the N80 Internet Edition reveals a comfortable and well positioned keypad. The keys aren't raised but they are large and responsive enough to ensure that typing long SMS or email messages is comfortable.
Where the N80 Internet Edition falls down is battery life. According to Nokia figures, battery life is rated at just three hours talk-time and up to eight days of standby time. We found we had to charge the phone every night with only moderate usage.
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