Nokia N78 review: Bitter sweet

GSMArena team, 11 June 2008.
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Display: thumbs up

Nokia N78 is equipped with a 2.4" 16M-color display of QVGA resolution. Beside ample size, it did manage to impress us with picture quality. Brightness and contrast levels are excellent and, overall, the display looks even better than that of N95 8GB.

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Nokia N78's display did manage to impress us

Sunlight legibility is praiseworthy. Nokia are one of the best when it comes to producing displays that fare well in the sun and N78 makes no exception. Even on the brightest of days you will have little trouble using your N78 outside, albeit the colors are a bit washed out.

Keypad - lost in design

The front of Nokia N78 looks like nothing we have seen. Scratch that, it looks like a front panel is yet to be fitted. Following the Nokia N81 trail has inevitably made a negative impact on usability. That said, we do acknowledge the fact that many are attracted or must have got used to the N81 design. Everyone's free to feel whatever they like about looks. But hey, would the N78 type any sweeter if we called it great?

We are fine with the D-pad and the multimedia menu key, which are large enough and provide good press feedback. The Navi wheel functionality (which is now usable in almost every menu) is a welcome bonus. It is in fact quite a fun way to control your handset, but it brings some inconveniences. The problem is that the D-pad is a bit too sensitive and will often trigger a move when you just want to confirm an action, sending you to the wrong menu.

We are far from happy with the Call and End keys, which are utterly flat and placed a bit too close to the edge and thus a little uncomfortable to use. You do eventually get used to that - another flashback to the N81 experience, but this is not as easy as we hoped.

The alphanumeric keypad is a story of its own. The knobs are way too tiny and there are no borders of any kind between keys within the same row. With all the free space around we wonder why it was necessary to make typing such a challenge with Nokia N78. Even the Nokia N82 keypad, which is not our favorite, is better for texting than this one.

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The keypad needs getting used to

The menu and clear keys have somewhat unusual (if you're not into N81, that is) placement on Nokia N78. They are on either side of the keypad and that too raises eye brows in terms of ergonomics. The major problem here is the C key, mostly when used in typing. It way to stranded on the edge.

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Nokia N78's call and end keys are far from being the most comfortable around

The backlighting of Nokia N78 is strong and even. It does make the phone more attractive to look at in the dark. We are even tempted to say that usability in the dark is trouble-free, but all those ergonomic peculiarities still hold true.

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The backlighting is really nice

Telephony uncompromised

With Nokia N78 signal reception is simply flawless. The phone offers brilliant speaker quality and the sound during calls is amazingly clear and free of any interferences. Vibration is also strong enough to make sure you never miss an incoming call or message.

"...Nokia N78 is equipped with a 2.4" 16M-color display of QVGA resolution. Beside ample size, it did manage to impress us with picture quality. Brightness and contrast levels are excellent and, overall, the display looks even better than that of N95 8GB..."

The results from our loudspeaker test are at your disposal. Check out the table showing how it stacks along some of the handsets we've put to the same test. In case you want to find out more about the test itself or a complete list of tested devices, hit the link.

Speakerphone testVoice, dBPink noise/ Music, dBRinging phone, dBOveral score
Nokia N7870.7 66.675.7Good
Nokia N8270.2 61.265.3Below average
Nokia N95 8GB75.766.270.5Good
Samsung i55073.866.678.1Good
Sony Ericsson W98070.275.775.7Very good

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