Nokia N86 8MP smartphone

The Nokia N86 8MP has an 8-megapixel camera with a Carl Zeiss lens as its flagship feature

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Nokia N86 8MP
  • Nokia N86 8MP
  • Nokia N86 8MP
  • Nokia N86 8MP
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5


  • Reasonable build quality, decent camera, Ovi Store preloaded, zippy Symbian interface, AMOLED display


  • Expensive, nothing overly new or exciting, some keys are a little small

Bottom Line

The Nokia N86 8MP is a premium multimedia phone with a price tag close to those of the best touch-screen smartphones on the market. It’s not a bad phone at all, but there really isn’t anything to get excited about.

Would you buy this?

In a day and age where feature-packed, touch-screen smartphones dominate the upper tier of the mobile phone world, you can't help but feel Nokia's N86 8MP looks a little out of place. Though it offers a reliable interface, a decent features list and an 8-megapixel camera, it's hard to get excited about a phone with a price tag that puts it in the league of some of the best touch-screen smartphones on the market.

Nokia's N-Series phones have previously set the benchmark when it comes to multimedia smartphones. At least, they did until the iPhone hit the scene. The Nokia N86 feels comfortable in your hand, and has a sturdy-feeling slider and a well-designed keypad. However, its basic design differs little from previous N-Series phones' — the N95 8GB, N96 and N85. There is nothing to really get excited about, and the overall look and feel evokes the past, rather than the future.

Though it doesn't look impressive, the Nokia N86 8MP is certainly functional. The AMOLED screen is bright and clear and possesses excellent viewing angles when compared to traditional LCD screens. The five-way navigational pad is comfortable and responsive and the handy keypad lock slider is a nice inclusion. The two selection keys, answer and end call buttons and dedicated menu and back buttons are a little small and flat, but they are well spaced and positioned intelligently. The Nokia N86 8MP is a dual slider, so sliding down reveals handy multimedia keys.

As its name suggests, the Nokia N86 8MP has an 8-megapixel camera with a Carl Zeiss lens as its flagship feature. Autofocus, a sliding lens cover and a dual LED flash help take decent photos. We were impressed with the colour reproduction, but the N86 8MP's camera is susceptible to the problems that plague nearly all camera phones — photos captured in low light are full of noise and the dual LED flash doesn't do enough to compensate for the lack of light.

The Nokia N86 8MP runs the Symbian Series 60 interface, the same used in almost all of the company's N-Series devices. The OS has come a fair way since the original N95; we didn't experience any glitches, lag or bugs. If you've used Nokia phones before, you'll be right at home. The main menu is a simple 3x4 grid layout, though the wealth of folders to browse through can complicate things, especially when looking for settings. Thankfully, the overall experience is snappy and fast.

The Nokia N86 8MP comes preloaded with Nokia's Ovi Store application, as well as the nGage portal for mobile gaming, Nokia's Music Store and Nokia Maps. The Ovi Store functions reasonably well considering this isn't a touch-screen phone, though it runs through the Web browser rather than as a dedicated app by default. It can become annoying moving the mouse cursor through lists of apps, though, and the downloading process isn't the smoothest we've come across.

The Nokia Messaging service is also included and allows up to 10 e-mail accounts to be used on a single device. The service can handle personal e-mail accounts like Gmail, Yahoo! or Windows Live mail, but also works with corporate accounts — it can synchronise your contacts and calendar information as well as e-mail.

The Nokia N86 8MP is a decent multimedia handset, thanks mainly to the inclusion of a 3.5mm headphone jack. The music and video players are relatively standard fare for the Symbian S60 platform, though we were impressed by the zippy performance again. The phone also has an FM radio, an FM transmitter and 8GB of internal memory. The flip out stand is excellent for watching videos on a table or desk.

Strangely, the Nokia N86 8MP is an HSDPA-capable smartphone but it’s only rated at 3.6Mpbs for download speeds. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth with A2DP and USB connectivity through a standard microUSB port are all available.

Battery life is quite reasonable — it managed to last more than two days with fairly heavy use, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and push e-mail use.

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