NOKIA N82 Review

I have been a Sony Ericsson user for some time, so will this phone make me switch to Nokia? Is the Nokia N82 the ultimate camera phone?

New Nokia N82 Camera Phone

New Nokia N82 Camera Phone

For some time, Sony Ericsson has topped the camera phone market with its Cybershot line of Mobile Phones. Now, with Nokia N82, they aim to take a big slice of that market share. N82, is the first 5 megapixel Nokia camera phone with a built-in Xenon Flash, and for its price range, it’s clearly aimed to be pitted against Sony Ericsson’s K850i and also other manufacturer’s 5 Megapixel Camera Phone line. Nokia Philippines was kind enough to lend a full production unit to test. I was able to take the phone with me for more than a month and has gone to places like Bolinao, Batanes, Iloilo, Guimaras and also China, field testing its capabilities. I have been a Sony Ericsson user for some time, so will this phone make me switch to Nokia?

So let’s get the lowdown first before I bore you with the technical details.

What I liked:

  • Camera image quality good with high resolution and well saturated colors
  • Very good VGA (640 x 480) Video Recording up to 30 fps
  • Wifi enabled with very good Internet Browser
  • Able to read office documents like Word, Excel (though not edit them) and also view Adobe PDF files
  • Real Player for smooth video playback
  • Built-in GPS and Nokia Maps (although GPS can be weak at times to lock on satellite)
  • High Speed Mobile internet with 3G and 3.5G (HSDPA)

What I didn’t like:

  • Camera startup is slow and doesn’t remember the last settings used
  • Camera autofocus isn’t as fast
  • 2.4″ 16M color QVGA display isn’t bright enough for shooting outdoors
  • Bad Audio Quality
  • Stereo Speakers aren’t as loud and good as competitors
  • Phonebook doesn’t show names if they have duplicate entires

Photo Comparisson

Unedited and only resized photo comparison

Camera Image Quality: I wish I could compare this phone head on with K850 but since I only have the K800i I will use this one to compare with the image quality. Honestly I find the Colors, Image Quality, Resolution and sharpness far superior to my K800i. The color saturation is more “Consumer” oriented making it more appealing to the mass public.

Camera Operation: The K800i may loose in terms of image quality but the in terms of speed in camera operation, the Sony Ericsson is leading. One thing I really hate about the N82 is that it doesn’t remember the last setting you used and you have to re-set all settings that you want which can be annoying. Maybe a firmware update could fix this? Also Autofocus is not as fast as the Sony Ericsson.

Video Recording and Playback: I think this is one of the main strengths of this phone. It can record VGA Videos up to 30 fps in smooth clear quality. For samples you can check out the videos I did for Bolinao and Manila Ocean Park. Playback is also great. I can convert some videos to MP4 and this phone can play them smoothly.

Using GPS and Nokia Maps

Using GPS and Nokia Maps

GPS Capabilities: As a traveller, I really find the GPS capabilities of this phone very useful. The only drawback is it can be real slow. I noticed that when there are a lot of obstruction in the area, it’s can take quite a time to lock on to satellite.

Camera Shutter Button and side speaker with volume control

Camera Shutter Button and side speaker with volume control

Audio Quality Playback: This must have been the worst sounding MP3/audio player device I’ve used. Clearly, this is the phone’s weakness for me. The device supports a 3.5mm audio jack to you can use different headphones. But even with a sennheiser headphone or a much expensive Audio Technika, it still isn’t as good.

Conclusion: There is a lot to like with Nokia N82. I think its image quality is one of the best if not the best in current camera phones right now but you also have to deal with a slow quirky operation. The video recording quality was an unexpected welcome surprise for me. In terms of feature set in comparison to its direct rival Sony Ericsson K850i on paper, Nokia N82 has a lot more to offer. So when a choice between buying the two, with only a 1000 pesos difference between them, it’s hard not to recommend N82 for its whole feature set and performance. Now only if Nokia Philippines let me keep my test unit I would be a proud owner.

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