If you've seen Nokia's 3G 6680 then you might think the N70 has nothing to offer you. Certainly that handset and this are rather similar in looks and you could, on visuals alone, think the N70 is more of the same.
But you'd be wrong. This is an altogether more advanced handset, with better specifications all round, and in most respects its quality shines.
Orange, O2, 3, T-Mobile and Vodafone all have the N70 on their lists, so you've the full range of 3G operators to choose from, and it is available from free from all of them, with some tariffs under £20. If you want the handset on its own, SIM-free, we found it online for around £350.
The N70 is an unassuming handset. No flashes of bright colour, no twisty swivels, no oddly shaped buttons or curvy design. But the 640x480-pixel resolution front camera gives away the N70's 3G pretensions. To get to the main 2-megapixel camera you have to slide a very large plastic cover, which consumes around three quarters of the back of the casing, and is heavily disguised as a design feature.
Slide this cover away from the lens and flash light (there's no self-portrait mirror, sadly) and the camera software starts to run, with the front screen becoming a viewfinder. Slide the cover over the lens, and the camera software turns off. It's slick, but you'll need to be careful when carrying the N70 around, so that the lens cover doesn't get moved by friction in your bag or pocket, or you could end up with a dead battery and hundreds of fuzzy shots of your keys.
This isn't a handset of many buttons. The front has its fair share, of course, and a legacy from the old 6680 is that there are two elongated buttons to the left and right of the number keys that provide access to the main menu and edit functions on the left and back and your 3G operator's services on the right.
We found these fiddly and the same is true of the number keys too because they are all pretty small. The navigation key and its central action button is also diminutive, though the softkeys and call and end buttons that straddle it are larger. We got used to the small keys pretty quickly, but given the amount of space between them and the screen we were miffed, as there is definitely room for larger keys all round.
A design plus is that on the right edge of the casing sits a slot for a memory expansion card. Nokia has chosen to support Reduced Size MultiMediaCards in the N70, and the provided 64MB card can be plugged in and protected by a plastic cover on a rubber hinge.
The only other side-mounted button, apart from a very tiny on-off switch on the upper edge, is a small unlabelled one that is the camera shutter. You can use this if shooting in landscape mode and holding the N70 longways, but the action button beneath the screen does the same job and is more convenient if the phone is being held in its more ordinary tall orientation.
The screen is disappointing. At 176x208 pixels it's not the crispest we've seen. You can apply themes, though -- Nokia provides some on the handset and you can download plenty more.
Many users like the uniformity of the charge connector on Nokia handsets -- it means they can charge their phones anywhere a Nokia handset resides, just by sharing the mains adaptor. The bad news is that the N70 has a much smaller pin-size connector than usual. Realising this will be a huge irritation, Nokia provides a converter cable to the more usual size. But it's down to you to remember to carry it.