Nokia N79 review: Swiss Army knife

GSMArena team, 20 November 2008.
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Unboxing - well rounded retail package

Under the lid of the N79 retail box we found some nice surprises. For one, there is a 4GB microSD to grant generous storage space straight out of the box. A nice two-piece handsfree set is also supplied and this time it comes in white color. The keys on the remote are large and tactile enough, so you can quickly get used to operating it without even looking.

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Plenty to cheer in the box

A microUSB cable is also in place, along with the DC charger. The best thing in the box however is the two bonus smart covers for the rear. In our case the extra options were in white and red. Once fitted they automatically change the active theme of your Nokia N79 but there'll be more about that in a short while.

The last items in the box are the usual suspects - a bunch of leaflets and guides plus the DVD with the required PC sync software.

Nokia N79 360-degree spin

Nokia N79 measures 110 x 49 x 15 mm, totaling a volume of 74 cc. This is a tiny bit more compact than the Nokia N78 but in everyday usage you are unlikely to feel the difference. In bar-shaped phone terms this isn't the most compact there is but considering the feature-set not too much to fuss over.

The weight of 97g is quite a good achievement too. After all, there isn't a single handset with that kind of specs to weigh less than the N79. You might want to check out our Nokia N79 spin to get a better idea of its size.

Design and construction

The design of Nokia N79 is but a breath of fresh air to the Nseries. No, it has nothing to do with the N81-esque cheap gloss we'd been bombarded with recently. The N79 is simple and looks more like a phone, so we happen to like it. Well, it sure isn't Eseries-elegant but Nseries phones hardly get any prettier.

The whole front of the phone is finished in opaque plastic and is quite resistant to finger smudges. The display is the only bit that's vulnerable to fingerprints but why would you need to touch it anyway?

The earpiece of the Nokia N79 is traditionally placed in the middle of the topmost part of the front. Right next to it are the secondary video-call camera and the ambient light sensor. The rest of the front is taken by the 2.4" display and the keypad. As you might know those key elements have a reserved spot in our reviews, so we won't look at them in detail now.

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The top of the front panel: earpiece, video-call camera and ambient light sensor

The left side of Nokia N79 features the microUSB slot, the microSD card slot and the charger plug. Due to an interesting design solution the USB slot and the memory card slot share a plastic lid. This certainly benefits the design as there is one less aperture on the surface of the phone and since we can hardly think of a scenario where you will need to use both slots simultaneously we find this a very good idea.

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The microSD card slot and the USB port share a seat on the left side

The power key is topside, right next to the 3.5mm standard audio jack. The other element here is the keylock switch, which seems to be gradually becoming a standard piece of gear on Nseries phones.

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At the top you get a 3.5mm standard audio jack, power key and keypad lock

Nokia N79's right side hosts the stereo speakers, the volume rocker and the dedicated camera key. Both controls are reasonably large and comfortable enough to use - no complaints here.

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Both keys on the right are comfortable enough

The bottom of the handset is where a lanyard gets attached. The only other thing of interest here is the mouthpiece.

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The mouthpiece and lanyard eyelet all the way down

The back panel of Nokia N79 has a neat and simple styling although the plastic is a little too glossy for our taste. The 5 megapixel camera lens is here under a small active cover. It is also complimented by a dual-LED flash.

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The camera lens is at the back, under an active cover

If you remove the back panel you will notice the four tiny connectors the phone uses to change the theme accordingly.

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Tiny connectors on the back panels allow the phone to switch themes to match the cover color

Removing the Xpress-on cover reveals the 1200 mAh BL-6F Li-Ion battery, which gives the N79 its juice. It is quoted at the sweet sounding 5 hours and 30 minutes of talk time and 370 hours of stand-by.

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The BL-6F battery has promising capacity

The build quality of Nokia N79 is excellent. High quality materials have been used and that should be enough to make the phone quite resistant to the everyday wear and tear. What's more, the phone does look better than what Nseries have been offering lately and is absolutely a pleasure to handle.

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Nokia N79 held in hand

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