On paper the Nokia N82 is very similar to the N95 -- except it's a candybar phone and not a slider. But before you think this is just a redesign, take a second look, because the N82 really surprised us in more ways than one.
It will be shortly available for free on a monthly contract with most major networks.
This is not an attractive phone. It may come packed with features, but the N82 is ugly. It literally looks like it's fallen off the production line too soon. The silver front and silvery grey casing combine to create a flat, uninspiring look.
It feels solid but lacks the quality feel of the Nokia 6300 and is rather plasticky. Things don't get better when it comes to the keypad, which although usable, features rice-grain like keys that are a too small for our liking.
There's a small shortcut key nestled in between the right soft key and cancel key that feels out of place too -- but all is not lost in the design department.
The soft keys and navigation key are large and easy to press, and the camera keys are equally straightforward. The camera cover uses a simple switch mechanism and the expandable memory card slot is easy to get to.
In a massive improvement over the N95, the N82's 3.5mm headphone jack is placed on the top of the phone instead of the side. Another noticeable difference is that the N82 has no moving parts, so taking it out of or putting it into your pocket won't accidentally activate anything.
The N82's most impressive feature is definitely its camera. You may be thinking that on paper there's no significant difference between it and the N95's -- they both boast 5 megapixels -- but we think it's much better. It's possibly even the best camera on a phone so far.
Flick the cover open and you're ready to go. Auto-focus works very well and most importantly so does the xenon flash, which the N95 doesn't have -- it really illuminates scenes well in low light and even in total darkness.
But as with the N95 it's not just about the camera, the N82 packs GPS and we managed to find a satellite within minutes of stepping out of the office. The GPS just works and doesn't feel as clunky as the GPS on the N95.
In terms of media, not much has been modified from the N95's offerings. You get a very capable music player that supports a variety of formats, an FM radio, video playback and a demo of the new N-Gage 3D gaming platform.
Add to all of the above HSDPA and Wi-Fi, combined with Nokia's own Web browser, and you can do some real Web browsing damage. You can also download programs such as Opera Mini or Google Maps to bolster this phone's array of apps.
Audio during calls was loud and clear without any noticeable distortion or muffling. The loudspeaker was equally sharp and we were impressed by the stereo speakers, which really were surprisingly loud.
Picture quality from the camera was truly superb and worthy of adulation. Never have we seen such crisp pictures in a variety lighting conditions. It's the best camera phone available to buy now and worth inspecting if you're after an all-in-one solution.
Battery life lasted for over a day with moderate use, but needed recharging if we hammered the camera, GPS, HSDPA and Wi-Fi for more than a few hours. Overall though, we were impressed with how long it kept going.
We're really torn by this phone because it offers some excellent features while at the same time being rather unsightly -- it's not the kind of gadget that will have your mates green with envy.
It's like chopping up a Ferrari and putting all the pieces into a Ford Ka: it's not big and it's not clever. If you're not bothered by looks and can stand the rice-grain keypad, definitely buy it. If you're a trendy-haired Hoxton fashionista, steer well clear.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Nick Hide