Market leaders Nokia are usually among the key news makers at the Mobile World Congress. By using a clever marketing move to postpone the announcement of their 8 megapixel flagship Nokia N86 8MP for the second day of the MWC 2009, they really got all the attention to themselves.
And we gotta admit Nokia, you really had us there for half a day, fooling us into believing that you won't be revealing an all-in-one flagship as an answer to the pressure of other manufacturers such as Samsung and LG.
The Nokia N86 8MP leaked yesterday with its full specs available, however it was only today that we could lay our hands on it.
The goodies on board the Nokia N86 8MP include 8GB of internal memory, a microSDHC card slot, a 2.6-inch OLED screen, FM transmitter, Wi-Fi and GPS connectivity, a 3.5mm audio jack and TV out. There's also quad-band GSM and tri-band HSDPA support for a truly worldwide voice and data roaming.
Photography-wise, the N86 8MP promises unmatched performance that's closing the gap between cameraphones and point-and-shoots. It's the first and only cameraphone to offer variable aperture values and a 28mm wide angle lens.
You can see the difference the wide angle lens makes when compared to a regular cameraphone lens. Here are two samples shot simultaneously from one and the same position with Nokia N86 8MP and another Nokia phone. The samples are downsampled to 800x600 pixels. Guess who's got the wider lens!
The first benefit of the variable aperture (going through F2.4/F3.2/F4.8) is that at F2.4 the camera has more light to work with as compared to the standard F2.8 value of all cameraphones we've seen. The second benefit is that when there's enough light and the aperture closes a bit (F3.2/F4.8) the resulting images are usually sharper.
Here are several full-res camera shots taken with the Nokia N86 8MP at the Nokia booth. If you go through the images EXIF data however you would see that it says Nokia N85 instead of N86, and the aperture value is F2.8, which doesn't really match what Nokia advertized. We guess the N86 units we saw are too early to really show their potential. Some of those were labeled as Nokia N85 8MP straight on the front panel - so it's understandable.
The dual slider design has been a traditional Nokia thing ever since the original Nokia N95. It's a really cool solution and with the Nokia N86 8MP the keys have excellent ergonomics.
We actually loved the Nokia N96 kickstand, and you can bet that we dig the N86 one as well. By the way, the Sony Ericsson W995 also has a clever kickstand solution that's worth a look as well.
The Nokia N86 8MP runs on the Feature Pack 2 of the S60 Symbian user interface. It's nothing new actually, but what you may notice about all new Nokia smartphones announced this week is that they have some newly customized interface graphics and it's all about transition effects. Every Nokia smartphone comes with different set of transition effects and they all look lovely.
It's all about Ovi as well - Ovi integration can be spotted throughout the whole user interface, and there is even an Active Standby plug-in now that shows how many of your your Ovi Chat contacts are online.
The Nokia N86 8MP is one really nice smartphone with rich equipment. Perhaps the only disappointment is the screen size - we couldn't help but sigh over Nokia N95 8GB 2.8-inch screen. Camera-wise N86 8MP seems to shorten the distance to point-and-shoot digicams quite successfully. It's camera performance is yet to stand trial by fire but the specs look just impressive.
The only thing that seems to be missing from the Nokia portfolio now is an 8 megapixel cameraphone with full touch UI - something along the lines of Samsung Omnia HD.