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OhGizmo Review: The Nokia N70, Part 1

By David Ponce

It was with trembling hands that I opened the package two weeks ago: the N70 was here! If you had seen the sorry state my V300 was in, you’d understand my excitement. And, hopefully you’ll understand this even more once you realize just what an amazing piece of technology had just entered my life (if only for a while, as I have to return the phone when I’m done). While it may not cure world hunger, owning the N70 will definitely cure you from cell envy.

So here I will write the first of a couple of reviews. I feel that this particular product warrants a little closer inspection than other things that come through the OhGizmo headquarters. I’ve even included my very first, ahem, video review. You will marvel, dumbfounded, at our hefty production budget.

Out here, for those of you who make it a point not to read through reviews, know this. The N70 is a smartphone that wears Armani suits by day, and hits the clubs at night. It’s solid, powerful and jam-packed with features rarely found all combined in one package like this. Everything works as it should and works well.

Allright, for the meat, come in.

The N70 is the second N-Series phone to come out. First, there was the N90, and it will be followed by the much anticipated N91. Under the hood, the operating system is S60 (Symbian) and as such, it is a smartphone, though Nokia doesn’t overemphasize this point. The main feature here, is the nicely integrated 2MP camera, though as you’re about to see, the full feature list is about as long as my arm.

So, let’s get started with some pictures. Below, I am pasting a series of “unpacking” shots.

First off, if you’re not the reading type, you can just scroll down to see the video review. Like I mentioned, it’s really crappy. Bad lighting, bad sound, no jingle, even lower quality because of Youtube, etc. So, make fun all you want, but just know that I’m aware of how bad it is. Yeah, knock yourselves out in the comments, I don’t mind.

On with the writing. So what makes the N70 so special? Well, here’s a quick rundown. At the end of this article, you can find a slightly longer list with highlights of the tech specs, and also a link to a PDF containing a blow-by-blow of every single feature on the phone. But the things that count are the 2MP camera with flash, the FM tuner, the video recorder to MPEG4 format, the full-screen playback, the hotswappable RS-MMC slot, and the slew of features that come with the S60 operating system, including the ability to add third-party applications.

The device has 32MB of RAM, so there’s plenty of juice to run everything. And everything does run quite nicely.

So how IS the phone? Well, reception, for one, is very good, catching signals in places my V300 turned into a paperweight. The camera is protected by a sliding cover. The cover has a spring-type mechanism that completes the motion for you once you’ve pushed the cover halfway. Simply opening this cover activates the camera. The only problem is that the said cover feels slightly too plastic-y. I’m almost scared to play with it for fear of wrenching it off, though I know my fears are unfounded. I did try on a few occasions to tug a little harder, just to see, and it does hold up quite well. It’s just that it doesn’t feel as monolithic as the rest of the phone.

The screen’s brightness adjusts automatically, and I found that I was always able to read it, even in bright daylight. Images are clear and crisp, and the colors vivid.

The phone isn’t particularly small, though it’s not overly big either. It’s definitely shorter, narrower and lighter than a Treo 650, though it is about the same thickness. It easily fits in a pocket and is highly portable. The keypad is a little small, to make room for the 176×208 pixel screen. Unless you have ten meaty thumbs, it’s not too small, though some people are bound to gripe about this.

Battery life is highly dependant on just what you do with the phone. Simple call taking/making with lots of standby time will give you a couple of days between charges. But, start taking pictures with flash, listening to MP3s and using Bluetooth, and you’ll be drastically cutting into your use-time, though if you charge every night, you should be able to do everything you want with the phone without having to worry.

The FM tuner works only if you plug the lanyard type headphones, though it does work quite well. It picks up all the stations, and you can also tune it manually. Sound quality is great (well, as great as FM radio can be), though for some reason, I feel the earbuds could have had 2mm in diameter less. Maybe it’s my ears. A nice feature is that the headphones double as a headset when you receive a call while listening to music.

The MP3 player sounds great, whether though the headphones or through the integrated speaker. It can get quite loud, and you could technically use the N70 as a little ghettoblaster/boombox.

So, how are the pictures? How’s the 2MP? Well, I thought that taking pictures of fruits and veggies would give you an idea, because of the colors and such. So, here are three pictures that you can click to get the full 1600 x 1200px images.

As you can see, they’re really quite nice. Good enough to print. Now, don’t go throwing your digicam just yet. While the pictures it takes are gorgeous, there are limits to what it can do. There’s no autofocus, and under low light conditions, quite a bit of noise enters the picture. But hey, these are by far the best pics I’ve seen coming out of a phone.

There a quite a few other features to talk about, and I’ll probably cover these in the next installment. Also, I do want to give you a little incentive to watch my mug discuss the N70, so I won’t write about everything. So, right below this, is the video review. Right below that, you also have a short clip taken with the phone. Keep in mind that the quality is actually much better than that, but great as it is, YouTube can fuglicize your images in a heartbeat.

Conclusion

So, to conclude the first part of this review, know that the N70 is a great smartphone. There are tons of productivity applications for the serious business person (not really discussed here, stay tuned for Part 2), but also a lot of fun multimedia capabilities that enhance the overall user experience. While pretty rosy, the picture isn’t perfect, as there are a couple of tiny things that nag me. First is the plastic-y feel of the camera cover. While I have faith in the phone’s craftsmanship, I just don’t like the way that part feels. And, secondly, the keyboard is a little small. Not that it could possibly be any bigger without sacrificing something, but it has to be said.

And finally, below, you will find highlights from the tech specifications. One thing to look for? The list of formats it can play. It’s pretty impressive. For a complete list of every single feature on the phone, here’s a PDF.

I’d like to ask something from you all. For Part 2, I want to take questions. There’s tons of stuff I haven’t covered, and I want to know what you’re interested in. Ask me stuff about the phone, and I’ll do my best to answer you in Part 2.

TECH SPECS

Operating Frequency
-Dual mode WCDMA/GSM and triband GSM coverage on up to five continents (GSM 900/1800/1900 and WCDMA 2100 networks)

Display
-176×208 pixels
-Up to 262,144 colors
-Automatic brightness control

Imaging and Video
-2MP camera (1600 x 1299 pixels) with 20x digital zoom
-Second VGA camera with 2x digital zoom
-Dedicated shutter key
-Integrated flash (operating range up to 1.5m)
-Flash modes: on, off, automatic and anti red-eye

Nokia XpressPrint Printing Solution
-Print digital photos directly from the device

RealPlayer Media Player
-Full-screen video playback to view downloaded, streamed or recorded video clips in larger size
-Played formats (decoding): MP3, AAC, Real Audio, WAV, Nokia Ring Tones, AMR, AMR-WB, AMR-NB, AU, MIDI, H.263, JPEG, JPEG2000, EXIF 2.2, GIF 87/89, PNG, BMP (W-BMP), MBM, MPEG-4 and eAAC+

Memory Functions
-Up to 22MB of internal memory
-Hotswappable RS-MMC slot
-Comes with 64MB RS-MMC card

Visual Radio
-Listen to music and interact with your favorite radio stations
-Find out what song is playing, who sings it and other artist information

Connectivity
-Bluetooth v.2.0
USB 2.0

Data Transfer
-WCDMA 2100 with simultaneous voice and packet data (PS max speed UL/DL= 128/384kbps, CS max speed 64kbps)
-EGPRS (EDGE)
-GPRS

Links:
[The Press Release]
[Nokia N-Series Page]







.
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  • Pip

    I don’t know if you can test the phone to see whether it can listen to the sounds streaming from my favorite radio station: radiolibra.com
    Thanks for your time and dedication.
    Pip (one last question, the video looked pretty fuzzy, and I wondered what the full size of the video is (640×480 or 720x 480 and what the fps rate is). Thanks!

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  • http://www.tranism.com/weblog electro^plankton

    Good phone but SLOW UI, especially when viewing media content. Heavy for what it offers and subpar screen compared to Sharp, Panasonic, Samsung, and even it’s brother the Nokia N90.

  • http://www.projecttree.com mike

    for part 2, can you cover the pim apps? i want to know about the to-do list, calendar and the notes apps.

    -can to-do items be categorized? calendar items?
    -is i possible to schedule alarms outside of the calendar?
    -does calendar support recurring alarms?
    -can notes be attached to to-do items? calendar items?

    basically, i’m looking to dump my pile-of-crap treo 650 w/o missing out on too much of the pim functionality.

    thanx!

  • Andrew

    My only gripe with this phone is that it doesn’t have the 850 band, unless Nokia is releasing a US version that I’m not aware of.

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  • Goonie

    I bought an N70 in Australia and the phone is great. Does everything I want….
    Apart from the contant resets dropping in and out of 3G zones and losing all the settings.

  • Goonie

    I bought an N70 in Australia and the phone is great. Does everything I want….
    Apart from the constant resets dropping in and out of 3G zones and losing all the settings for data, email and screen.

  • Jimi

    Can you please really push the phone?s capability to multitask? My goal would be to try and get the phone to either: a) crash, b) reboot, c) close some (or all) of the programs you have running in the background.

    The multitasking test could be achieved by running the (or several) web browser(s) while running an S60 IM program, all the PIM applications, and taking pictures while running all those programs. I?m very interested in knowing how the N70 would handle such stressful usage.

    Thanks!
    -Jim

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  • http://www.sunky.org/ Sunky

    to mike: I bought my N70 two weeks back, and have been using it rigorously. It’s definitely the best phone that I’ve ever had, so I’ll try to answer your questions:

    “-can to-do items be categorized? calendar items?”

    To-do items can be prioritized by three priorities, but they won’t cause any alarms even if you miss the deadlines. Calendar items are the same as in any S60-phone. You have “meetings”, “notes” and “anniversaries” (I don’t know what they’re called in English, since I’m using it in Finnish). “Notes” are assigned on a date, not a specific time. “Meetings” can have their time window set, and may also cause alarms(on times other than the beginning too).

    “-is i possible to schedule alarms outside of the calendar?”

    Other than the alarm clock, no.

    “-does calendar support recurring alarms?”

    Yes. Daily, weekly, every 2 weeks, monthly and yearly.

    “-can notes be attached to to-do items? calendar items?”

    No.

    …and here’s to Jimi:
    “The multitasking test could be achieved by running the (or several) web browser(s) while running an S60 IM program, all the PIM applications, and taking pictures while running all those programs. I?m very interested in knowing how the N70 would handle such stressful usage.”

    The N70 definitely seems faster than my previous N-Gage and the 6630 I had for testing one month last summer. I’m doing right now a small stress test. I have currently following programs running:

    – Program manager(where you unistall programs)
    – Card Deck (a solitaire MIDlet)
    – Tasks
    – Camera (the screen refreshes as fast as ever!)
    – Calendar
    – Messages
    – Snowboard 3D (a 3D midlet game)
    – Web browser
    – Address Book

    And the phone just keeps on running! All the menus function just as if had no programs in the background. I have read from some forums people claiming that the N70 would shut off programs automatically when running out of memory, but I have yet to witness that. It might be due to the fact that the red (call disconnect button) apparently closes the program instead of tasking out as in the older S60-versions. This really threw me off initially, but once you get used to it, it doesn’t really bother.

    Great phone in all ways, so – I love it!

    Ps. too bad that I had to hack Apple’s iSync to import my contacts, but that’s not really Nokia’s fault, is it? ;)

  • http://www.projecttree.com mike

    Sunky, cool, thanks much for the info. looks like i’ll wait for the s60 v9.x, hopefully the pim apps are better. i’m especially looking forward to the nokia e70 and if not that then the se p990.

  • Gary

    I’m looking for a new phone… does the N70 work in the USA ? also which service provider would be able to support it ?

  • http://www.projecttree.com mike

    Gary, the n70 supports 900/1800/1900 gsm. tmobile uses the 1900 frequency, cingular/attws uses 850, but they do have coverage in the 1900 range as well. this phone will not work with cdma providers, verizon, sprint, etc.

  • Raz

    Wondering, does this phone (or any other) let you record your conversations and save the audio files on the phone’s built-in (or external) memory?

    TIA

  • http://www.phonesreview.co.uk Phone Reviews

    This phone looks awesome your article was very useful to read, i know alot about the N series anyway but just wish to say you have a great post.

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  • Stephen

    I have had the N70 for a few weeks and i feel it runs really slowly like im trying to run a high end game on an under equipped computer, takes agaes to load up menus and read messages etc is this a fault with my phone or all N70s, also i have found that my phone does tend to reboot itself when i hit the talk now button?

  • Goonie

    To Stephen
    I returned my phone to the shop and they decided it was a faulty handset and are replacing it eventually. Might be worth trying the same.

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  • djejnyc

    Yeah, I want to know about about the PIM functions, too. Can I buy this instead of a Treo?

  • http://www.mobile-review.org.uk/nokia-n70.html dave

    Just got the Nokia N70 myself, have to say I really like the camera(s), very impressive, the games are a nice touch too!

  • nasact

    N70 was the cellphone i ever use, u all should try to get 1, its a great greatt greatt one more time GREATTT mobile phone

  • http://Guddu Guddu

    Hi

    I am planning to buy nokia n70 but i am concerned about few problems. It would be nice if someone can address to them – one by one. Thanks for your time. I appreciate.

    a. default ringtome problem – no matter what ring tome u assign, still it plays default. Downloading the patch. Is it sure that it will solve the problem.

    b. the keypad gets unlocked, if the camera slider slides open while in pocket. Is there any way to keep it locked even if slider opens up by mistake.

    c. People say, its slow ? is it fater than 6600 or slower.

    d. People say, its keyboad is very small and keys uncomfortably small. R they so small or is it just a mtter of time as we get used to them. Is this a big issue.

    e. Camera quality is ok but close up pics and taking pics of TEXT is horrible coz this has no auto zoom and what is this macro mode. I know sony 750i camera is better but still r these issues about n70 cam big or just minor ones.

    f. Should i go ahead and take n70 or wait for any new model. Just to mention, i dont like sliders, so i wont take n80 or n91 and i dont like clam shell so i wont take n71 n90. Is there any new better model expected which is simple in looks like n70, in near future.

    Thanks for your time. I appreciate.
    thanks

    Guddu

    Hi,

    My research to find my next phone continues. I am putting my doubts point wise so that u can address to them one by one.

    A. In india, there r lots of nokia care centres but the general impression is that sony ericsson doesnt have post sale care and services, as good as nokia in India. If this is real then i will stick to nokia (nokia n70).

    B. If i buy sony ericsson phone, I can go for the latest and best, but I read sony phones, even w810i doesnt have 3G Features. Is this true.

    C. What r 3G features. I want my phone technology to last for few yrs atleast, My phone shud not be traditional. Money is not consideration, I want best. Is it true that if we comapre nokia n70 and sony 750i or 810i, nokia n70 has 3G and cud be considered more advanced, leaving apart camera issue. Is 3G feature important.

    D. Now about camera, its said sony erisccos 750i onwards, have better camera as compared to n70 in terms of close ups, text pics clarity and Macro mode. What is macro mode?

    thanks

    Please answer in as detail as possible.

    My overall confusion is between nokia n70 and any sony phone. And as i said, money is not the consideration.

    I am considering a small sized, powerfull mobile. I mean, I dont like the sixe of sony ericsson p910 which dont fit in pocket.

    E. Is it not possible to have some software to lock the keypad of nokia n70. In a number of websites people havementioned that their n70 keypad got active coz camera cover slid when phone was in pocket (i can give u weblink if u dont believe me). Somehwere i read, there is some software which cud solve this problem and everytime u want to activate the phone, u need to enter some password and probably this keypad lock is strong enough to ignore camera cover movement, while phone is in pocket.

    thanks

    Guddu

  • Harish

    How is the audio quality while listening to Mp3s in Nokia N70? IS it as good as sonyericsson’s walkman series? Is the bass good?

  • Roaming

    Do you know how i can get my “notes” written in the phone using Nokia Browser? I think they are .txt, supported by PCs so I want to get them in mine.

  • Ameet

    I have a N70….and even after downloading the ringtone patch from nokia website,the default ringing tone problem is still there…I am frustrated.

  • Jake

    Nokia N70 is shit. Impossible to load/upload stuff in one go unlike my older 6230i which is wonderfully easy to use. This is definately a downgrade not an upgrade. Crap – I want to get my money back.

  • Anisha Roberts

    Turn ur N70 into a powerful torch! Use “Flashlight” to turn ON the LED flash.
    For more information visit http://my-symbian.com/s60/software/applications.php?fldAuto=1731&faq=2

  • Tom Grabber

    Enhance your N70’s video capture capabilities at low light condition with N70Torch. It’s the first yet the best application allowing the camera flash to be used for illumination and video captures.

    For mroe information, please visit: http://www.otstudio.com/n70torch/features.html

  • Gabi

    hy …i bought a nokia n70 from portugal TMN network and i want to unlock it whocan help me ? please i need your help.

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  • http://www.ohgizmo.com/2006/02/22/ohgizmo-review-the-nokia-n70-part-1/ cheska

    how to use and how to save your track in a mp3 player

  • http://www.ohgizmo.com/2006/02/22/ohgizmo-review-the-nokia-n70-part-1/ cheska

    please i don’t know how to move my track in a mp3 player co’z they have no instruction how to move and how to save the track in list of mp3

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  • Dragos

    Hy.I’m planing to buy a N70 Music Edition.Has anyone “played” with it yet? I heard it has different firmware (the latest).Everywhere on the Net it says that it comes with 1Gb MMC,but i found it with 2Gb MMC, for 370Euros. Thanx

  • Brian

    Have had my N70 for over a year and love it to bits, but has anyone found a way to get rid of the ringtone that plays whenever you first switch it on (other than putting phone into silent mode before switching it off, pressing a keypad button as the tone starts to play or never switching it off). Thanks

  • zeinab

    Hi
    I buy a nokia N70 musik edition.but its sharj dose not wear long.(only 12 hour)
    even if i did not use mobil set ,again its sharj to come to an end!

  • sam

    hi every one. m glade to c u all. but i have one problem. i want to record songs form the fm radio. but n-70 can”t it. if any one know the app for record from radio for n-70, please kindly send it to me.
    thank for your help.
    hope to hear good new from u soon.
    goodluck every body!

  • 3oda zaz

    S.O.S plz someone help me i need to unlock my n70 … i switched it off cuz i wanted 2 sleep and the other day when switched it on after the pin code it asked me 4 a lock code … but i didnt put anylock code plz i need help : )

  • http://harry-christian.blogspot.com Harry Christian

    Default lock code is 12345
    Try it, otherwise you must reset the phone

  • http://yahoo nrkmohan

    Can you send me the mobile phone settings for N70 s for gprs,mms,mobileoffice net on phone and help me to activate them. Also I will be happy if you can activate Yahoo go!.
    My mobile number is +919894182858.
    regards

  • Confused

    Auto lock kepypad for N70. Is there a software. Mail me the website.thtz all.than a mill

  • Rachel

    Nokia N70 is designed as a perfect handset for both fun and work. It has a very powerful 20x digital zoom, an integrated flash and a choice of modes including scenery, portrait, night and sports. Came across something interesting on Nokia N70 at
    http://www.g2bux.com/myaction.do?product=409

  • Aris

    does aanyone know how can i turn off completely the backlight of my screen on my N70? any progzz to do that? the settings do not allow to do so as in the nokia 6600 so now i cannot cheat in my exams!! :-) any ideas?

  • Vikas

    Hi,

    My Nokia N70 is freezing and Hanging up, please suggest something.
    I tried to remove the Memory Stcik but still the same. Also let me know from where I can get Nokia OS Symbian and how to install the same, someone provide me the instructions please, I think that I had installed something through Blue Tooth By Mistake… Thanks in Advance .
    Regards

    Vikas (New Delhi) – India.

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  • http://pokerlt.com Josh

    Im using Nokia 6600 and now I got problem… when Im trying to open gallery I need to wait a long time but not nothing… always loading…

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    hi nokia n70 is good but i like nokia n73 music edition what about that.

  • http://laptoparticles.blogspot.com laptopreviews

    hi nokia n70 is good but i like nokia n73 music edition what about that.

  • http://laptoparticles.blogspot.com laptopreviews

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