Nokia N76 review: Elegant and smart

Jan Horalík, 12 July 2007. Read the original review at MobilMania.cz
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Nokia N76 will fascinate you! Not only will you fancy its slim clamshell body, but you will also like its rich functional portfolio based on Symbian S60.

Key features

  • attractive slim design in clamshell form
  • two excellent displays
  • OS Symbian 9.2 with S60 3rd Edition user interface
  • "improved" Feature Pack 1
  • possible download of additional applications
  • microSD memory slot
  • 2 megapixel camera with diode flash
  • Records video in QVGA (320 x 240 pixels) resolution
  • UMTS and video calls
  • multi-item repeated alarm clock
  • functionally rich music player with external controls
  • FM radio
  • voice recorder with a 60 minutes limit
  • great web browser
  • standard 3.5mm jack and a miniUSB connector
  • 256MB memory card, data cable and stereo handsfree in the package

Main disadvantages

  • only 26 MB internal memory
  • the phone is extremely susceptible to fingerprints
  • joint toughness makes opening a bit difficult and less comfortable
  • uncomfortable keypad
  • switch-off button is unreachable when the phone is open
  • the phone does not open full if earphones or data cable is plugged in
  • no Wi-Fi or HSDPA
  • camera image quality is below average
  • music player constantly runs in background
  • Bluetooth does not support A2DP profile

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Nokia N76 in black and red

Not so long ago phones with open OS, the so called smartphones, were significantly bigger than standard feature phones. And it was just size that would often deter users from purchasing a smartphone. Nowadays, however, smartphones are slowly assuming the dimensions of standard phones. The new Nokia N76 - the first slim clamshell based on Symbian S60 is a brilliant example of this trend.

Tracing RAZR

A single glimpse at the elegant curves of the new Nokia N76 reveals clearly and immediately that the Finns have drawn from the experience of the competition. N76's design unmistakably resembles elements of Motorola RAZR, which was the first mobile of a slim clamshell body featuring a flat etched keypad. Along with these two characteristics Nokia has also adopted the famous Motorola "chin" naturally associated with RAZR. Anyway, Nokia has given N76 a real flashy look. The phone is attractive and stands out among other smartphones.

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Nokia has drawn from the experience of Motorola

In dimensional aspect Nokia N76 is an above-average clamshell. It is bigger than common phones (106.5 x 52 mm), but also extremely slim - its thickness is mere 13.7 mm. The phone weighs 115 grams. Nokia N76 is going to be offered in two color versions: a decent black one that will surely catch the fancy of gentlemen and a more attractive red one that will definitely be preferred by ladies. The model we have been testing is black. It features a lot of plastic elements that look rather cheap, which does not respond to a high-class phone. Nokia N76 deserved more steel. Yet, the real disaster is somewhere else: the awful susceptibility of the phone to fingerprints, visible on its entire surface: on the black matt plates, on the protecting glass of the external display, on the silver band winding the phone… In other words, cleaning is going to be a full-time job for the N76 owner.

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Slimness follows the latest fashion trends • buttons beneath the external display • the external display is hidden behind protecting glass

Although the external display is active and is TFT, its legibility behind the glossy cover is poor. Legibility is especially limited under direct sunlight. The good news is that it displays 262K colors on a resolution of 128 x 160 pixels. Beneath the external display you will find three easy-to-manage keys controlling the music player and the FM radio. Their legends are illuminated. There are more external keys on the right side of the phone: a dual volume control key, a camera release button, and a key for an instant view of the last image made. A tiny connector for the charger is also situated here.

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Three control elements on the right side • charger connector is almost invisible • the "chin" including the loud speaker

The standard jack is always welcome

The rest of the connectors are on the top of the phone body: a standard protected miniUSB connector and a standard 3.5 mm jack (a very unusual, but welcomed decision on behalf of Nokia, as this connector permits users to plug into the phone any type of headphones). The last element on the top of the phone is the on/off button, which can also be used for changing ringing profiles. Situating a major part of the connectors on the top of the body was not a happy solution, though, because plugging a device in them limits opening. Another inconvenience is the inaccessibility of the on/off button when the phone is open, which makes changing ringing profiles impossible too. The bottom of the phone only features an eye-let for a wrist band and a handsfree slot.

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3.5mm jack, miniUSB connector and switch-off button on the top of the phone • the cap of the memory card slot does not stick perfectly

As usual, a great part of the rear plate consists of the battery cover that also incorporates the "chin". It is made of trivial plastic material and is not easy to remove. In the bottom of the battery cover you will see a rubber stub, which prevents the phone from sliding on even surfaces. Nokia N76 has a Li-Ion battery of moderate capacity (700 mAh). A single charge is said to provide the phone with enough energy for 165 minutes of talk time or 204 hours on stand-by. In reality, Nokia N76 requires charging every 2 to 3 days.

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Camera is untraditionally situated on the back • accompanied by the LED flash

The SIM card is inserted in an untraditional way: you have to first place it into a yellow drawer and then insert it into the phone body. The 2 megapixel camera, represented by a non-protected lens and a flash LED, is situated above the battery cover. A few millimeters aside you will also see the slot for microSD memory card, whose silver protection cap does not fit nicely (at least in our test unit). An additional 256MB card is enclosed in the retail package. Nokia N76 works great with 1GB memory cards too.

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The battery cover surrounds the entire "chin" of Nokia N76 • the SIM card is first inserted into an uncommon tiny drawer and then into the phone body

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