Nokia N79 review: Swiss Army knife

GSMArena team, 20 November 2008.
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Nseries keep on throwing heavy-spec'd phones at us and there's no question they're hitting their best form in quite a while. About time we got less of a curve ball lookswise, Nokia N79 embodies a new approach to Nseries styling. As to the insides, the N79 sides with N85 to make quite a number of Nseries veterans fear retirement. A true all-in-one, and less N-gage, Nokia N79 is big enough on personality and inspiration. No wonder we're eager to see it in action.

Nokia N79 Nokia N79 Nokia N79
Nokia N79 official photos

Key features

  • 2.4" 16M-color LCD TFT display of QVGA resolution
  • 5 megapixel autofocus camera with dual-LED flash and AF assist light
  • VGA video recording at 30fps
  • Symbian OS 9.3 with S60 3.2 UI
  • ARM 11 369 MHz CPU
  • 3G with HSDPA support
  • Quad-band GSM support
  • Wi-Fi with UPnP technology
  • Built-in GPS with A-GPS functionality and 3 months of free voice-guided navigation
  • microSD card slot with microSDHC support
  • 4GB memory card included in the retail package
  • Built-in accelerometer for UI auto-rotation
  • Swappable Xpress-on smart covers (two of them in the box)
  • 3.5 mm audio jack
  • TV out
  • Stereo FM Radio with RDS
  • FM transmitter
  • Stereo speakers
  • Navi wheel navigation
  • USB and Bluetooth v2.0
  • One free N-gage game
  • Keylock switch

Main disadvantages

  • No smart dialing
  • Doesn't charge off USB
  • No office document editing out of the box
  • Not the best camera performance
  • Zooming in on a photo takes ages
  • No dedicated 3D graphics accelerator
  • The GPS performance is not the best among Nseries

Nokia N79 is certainly one of the best equipped bars on the market. In fact there is very little (and certainly not too important) features that the phone lacks. The best part is it excuses itself from the company of most recent Nseries devices and makes an impact with its own distinct appearance.

Nokia N79 Nokia N79 Nokia N79 Nokia N79
Nokia N79

If you are eying this attractive package, it currently goes at about 320 euro (400 US dollars). Let's now have a brief look around for what else that kind of cash can get you.

We've been there already with Nokia N85. A complete multimedia gadget with full-ranging connectivity, Nokia N85 comes out as a potential upgrade for a number of Nseries phones - from the classic N73 to the imaging headliner N82.

N79 is of course the direct successor of N78 - it doesn't look it and that's a downright improvement, on top of the boosted camera.

Nokia N78
Nokia N78

Nokia N82 is another handset that should feel threatened. While it packs a better camera and xenon flash, the reduced weight advantage, looks and the new UI version count in favor of the N79. The FM transmitter might also play a part here though with the N82 costing 30 euro less, we may as well act it square.

Nokia N82
Nokia N82

We should also count the experienced fighter Nokia N95 and its upgrade - the Nokia N95 8GB. Once an industry leading device, the N95 is now comfortably settled in the upper mid-range, luring potential buyers with a competitive price tag and what's still one of the best displays in the business.

Nokia N95 Nokia N95 8GB
Nokia N95 Nokia N95 8GB

It will hardly pass as the latest software package available but it still can handle most of the workload you give it. And the number of available third-party applications is maybe infinite.

As to the real competition, Samsung i7110 comes to mind straight away. Having the same form factor and virtually identical set of features the only difference between it and the Nokia N79 is the slightly larger display with OLED technology. However we are yet to see how they stack up in terms of pricing.

Samsung i7110
Samsung i7110

Now that we know the N79 is not totally without alternatives, let's get to work and see what makes it tick. Join us at the next page for unboxing and in-and-out check up.

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