Nokia N70 review: Universal fighter

Marek Lutonský, 26 October 2005. Read the original review at MobilMania.cz
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Tags: Nokia, N-series

Nokia N70 is a smart mobile phone. It is so smart, that it has basically everything. It supports 3G, has a 2 megapixel camera, three times more memory space than its forerunners, a radio, a MP3 player, memory card slot… But don't worry, we will also point out many Nokia N70 cons in this extended review.

Key features

  • Attractive design
  • High-quality construction
  • Good keypad
  • Symbian OS
  • Active stand-by mode
  • Enough memory space
  • 2 MP camera
  • 3G support and video calls
  • Built-in radio

Main disadvantages

  • Lower speed in comparison to common mobile phones
  • Red button closes applications
  • Bad-quality macro mode
  • No infrared port
  • Old cons have been left unsolved

Nokia N70 is the second phone from the new N series, announced by Nokia in the spring. All models of this line are extraordinary in a certain way: the N90 model because of its 2 megapixel camera and optics from Carl Zeiss, Nokia N91 because of its built-in hard disk. And here we have the new Nokia N70, even if not that special when compared to the two others described above. It is a Symbian Series 60 smartphone just like its forerunners.

Nokia N70. Click to zoom Nokia N70. Click to zoom
Nokia N70

Still, it is a brilliant smartphone, the best of all in the Series 60. According to our test results, it is also the best current mobile phone in the world. (Note: MobilMania has a complicated system for phone evaluation by assigning a rating in percents in eleven categories and then calculating the average rating. Nokia N70 is currently in the first place by rank from more than 200 evaluated handsets). Nokia N70 just hit the market at a price of about 500 euros.


A full 360° presentation of the phone (AVI, DivX 5.2, 2.1 MB)

As Nokia N70 works up on its forerunners, the best I could do would have been to refer to their reviews or even copy certain paragraphs from them and use them here. Eventually, however, we decided to prepare N70's review in an utterly different manner, from the very beginning, as if we had been given a brand new phone.

Where does it fit?

Nokia N70 is a mobile phone, which was engineered as an instrument for both work and fun. It offers an excellent phonebook, good organizer functions, and active cooperation with PC. It gets you on the web, downloads emails, views documents in Microsoft Office or PDF format, and connects you to the 3G network. It is all about compromising though, for small display and keypad are always just a substitute. They can never offer the comfort provided by the bigger devices.

Which devices are made for work mainly? Take a look at Nokia 9500 Communicator, Nokia 9300, Sony Ericsson P910i, Palm Treo 650, for example. A possible combination of a notebook and any mobile that manages the communication part is also a good choice.

As for the fun part, the users of Symbian smartphones do not need to make compromises. Nokia is equipped with a very good camera. It has an advanced video application, plays MP3 files and features a built-in radio. The game offer is also quite extensive. What could be considered a disadvantage is the fact that N70 does not offer a standard use of games for the N-Gage game console. I tried two demo versions, but they refused to even start. According to various discussion forums on the net, most users experience the same difficulties. As you will be able to read a bit further in the article, these games were the main reason for the phone to have to be formatted.

Which mobile to use for games? The best is Nokia N-Gage QD.


Design and construction: excellent

Pros: top-quality plastic • good outlook • solid construction
Cons: big and heavy • fingerprints are visible on its surface • memory card slot cover seems wobbly • lens cover is not very solid

N70's design is very attractive. This is not only my opinion. People discussing phones think the same. The reason is that Nokia N70 has finally been given an outlook, which deserves to represent equipment for 500 euros. It is made of plastic, but you won't tell at all. Nokia N70 gives a luxurious metal impression. The plastic material, of which the inner body of the phone is made, is solid and pleasant to touch. I am testing the silver-black version. It is also offered in a combination of white and wine red, but I don't think it looks that good.

Nokia N70. Click to zoom Nokia N70. Click to zoom Nokia N70. Click to zoom Nokia N70. Click to zoom
Nokia N70 is a very nice phone

What is really interesting is the construction of Nokia N70: its dark inner part is covered in silver. The smaller back cover is a slider. In its basic position it meets the bevelled upper part of the front silver cover. When you remove the cover, the camera lens pops out. The cover itself levels with the bottom edge of the front cover.

The construction of the removable back cover is better than the one in the 6681 model, where Nokia first presented this construction type. It does not creak. It shows a bit of a play as its plastic shell bends down, but it is not critical. A notable hunch can be seen on the back cover when the phone is looked at from aside. It is what makes the phone thicker.

Nokia N70. Click to zoom Nokia N70. Click to zoom
Nokia is thicker than other smartphones due to a hunch on its backside

Nokia N70 is big and heavy for a mobile phone. Yet, it is not an exception. The majority of smartphones - except for some HTC models - are big and heavy. When held, however, N70 feels smaller than its forerunner 6681, perhaps due to its oval edges.

Nokia N70. Click to zoom Nokia N70. Click to zoom Nokia N70. Click to zoom
Size comparison

In the table below you can find a size and weight comparison between Nokia N70 and several competitors.

Phone Size Weight
Nokia N70 109 × 53 × 24 mm 126 g
Nokia N90 112 × 51 × 24 mm 173 g
Nokia 6681 108 × 55 × 21 mm 131 g
Sony Ericsson P910 115 × 58 × 26 mm 155 g
Motorola MPx220 100 × 48 × 24 mm 110 g
i-mate SP3i, Qtek 8020, … 108 × 46 × 18 mm 103 g

Nokia N70 from all sides

Phone's front side is eye catching thanks to a plate with metal outlook. It is made of plastic and catches fingerprints even though it is not entirely glossy. Fingerprints reign on the display too. Nokia seems to be fully aware of this disadvantage, because they have prepared a special cloth to go with the phone.

In the upper left corner of the phone there is a sensor, which regulates the backlighting of the display and the keypad. I really wish Nokia had added a switch-off option for the backlighting, but my expectations were in vain. I just don't find it practical that the keypad beams in a rather disordered manner. On top of it, in the user manual, Nokia states that the display and the keypad may sometimes blink as a side effect. To me though, if nothing else, a possible switch-off function would have saved energy.

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