Nokia N78 review: Bitter sweet

GSMArena team, 11 June 2008.
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3D Gallery improved

The gallery of Nokia N78 is simply great with the 3D rotating view. The Navi wheel is in its element here. It isn't bringing any kind of superior functionality, but is really fun to use.

The Feature pack 2 also brings some really cool improvements to the gallery application. The browsing system is now improved with the speed of browsing your pictures increasing if you hold the direction buttons on the D-pad longer. This allows quick skipping through tons of photos in a blink of an eye. Besides, the gallery has a much more conveniently placed shortcut for accessing the picture details.

Nokia N78
Nokia N78 has awesome picture gallery

Otherwise, no changes are to be seen here in terms of features - pictures can be viewed in both portrait and landscape mode and zoomed in up to 800% (not that anyone would actually need that much). Overall, picture browsing and zooming is really fast with almost no hanging even with larger photos.

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Looking at a single picture

The gallery also offers a nice slide show with customizable settings, including automatic browsing and playing a pre-defined track from your music library.

If the gallery file-management functionality (which even includes sending multiple files at a time) is insufficient you can use the file manager. It allows you to do almost anything you can think of with your files. Copying, moving, creating new folders - you name it and you bet Nokia N78 can do it.

Nokia N78
The file manager can do anything you can think of with your files

There is also an application manager to take care of the installed applications on Nokia N78. Not much to talk about here, as it is identical to the one in any other Symbian device. Its functionality boils down to providing details about installed applications, removing them and keeping a log of movements in either direction.

The useful "Search" application is also aboard the Nokia N78. Its reserved line in the active stand-by menu no longer comes as a surprise. After all, an application this useful deserves to be conveniently placed. The application itself finds almost every item in your Nokia containing a given keyword. From messages to settings, every bit of data is checked and then all results are shown.

3MP Camera

Nokia N78 is equipped with a 3 megapixel camera with a maximum image resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels. It sports auto-focus and LED flash but unluckily no protective mechanism whatsoever. This means that the glass protecting the lens is extremely prone to scratches and finger smudges.

Among the hip camera features is the geotagging capability, which by the way works with videos too.

Though not a 5-megapixel top-of-the-shelf cameraphone, the Nokia N78 camera UI is the same as in N95 8GB. It offers extensive settings - starting from manual white balance and ISO sensitivity and including exposure compensation, sharpness and contrast settings. Various effects are also at hand, labeled color tones.

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Camera viewfinder and user interface

Gridline can be applied to the viewfinder to assist you in framing you photos, using the photographic rule-of-thirds. Using it to align your subjects and place points of interest on or near the lines and their intersecting points makes your photos more professional and aesthetic.

The S60 UI Feature Pack 2 also enables tagging of your pictures. In addition to geo-tagging, which is automatically handled by the built-in GPS, you can also tag any keyword you can think of to your photos. These should help you organize and find your pictures easier.

"...The picture quality of Nokia N78 is quite good. The colors are really precise and the noise is kept to a very low level, except in the shadow areas. There is also more than enough detail and even foliage seems to come out well with the N78 camera..."

The picture quality of Nokia N78 is quite good. The colors are really precise and the noise is kept to a very low level, except in the shadow areas. There is also more than enough detail and even foliage seems to come out well with the N78 camera. The sharpness levels are also very good with no traces of excessive sharpening. It seems that internal processing includes some time of shadow correction, which generally produces good results, but might look unnatural in some scenes.

Have a look at the sample photos made with the camera of Nokia N78.

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Nokia N78 sample photos

Video recording

As for video recording, the N78 camera shoots in VGA resolution at 15 fps. Although this is a decent achievement, the quality is not that impressive. The modest frame-rate is taking the fun out of the nicely sounding VGA resolution. Videos are captured in MPEG-4 format and have automatic or manual white balance. The other available features are night mode and color effects.

Sample video (6MB)

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