Nokia N85 review: Nseries revved up

GSMArena team, 07 November 2008.
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Messaging is great too

Nokia N85 supports all common message types - SMS, MMS and email. The first two share the all too familiar intuitive editor. It has a counter of characters left to the limit of 160. An indicator in brackets is showing the number of separate parts the message will be divided into for sending.

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The SMS and MMS share a nice and intuitive editor

Switching from SMS to MMS is as simple as inserting some multimedia content. The phone prompts scaling down photos that are too large for sending via MMS.

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You can easily convert one type of message to another

Nokia N85 also features the dedicated audio message editor for instant recording of audio. You can either record the message on the spot or use a sound clip from the phone memory.

Delivery reports pop up on the standby screen and are then saved in a separate folder in the messaging sub-menu. When you are exiting the message editor without having sent the message, the editor prompts saving it to the Drafts folder or discarding it.

The email client is really nice, able to meet almost any emailing needs. The best part is that Nokia N85 is yet another handset that sports the ultra easy email setup we came to know in recent Nokia phones. If you are using any public email service (it has to be among the over 1000 supported providers), all you have to do is enter your username and password to start enjoying email on the go. The phone downloads all the needed settings to get you going in no time.

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The email client is commendable

Multiple email accounts and various security protocols are supported, so you can bet almost any mail service (be it POP or IMAP) is set to run on the N85.

The client can download headers only or entire messages, and can be set to automatically check mail at a given interval. A nice feature allows you to schedule sending email next time an internet connection is available. There is also support for attachments, signatures and generally, you can hardly think of something important that the Nokia N85 is missing.

Music player flying high

Barely surprising for a multimedia device, the music player of Nokia N85 is quite capable. With the huge number of supported formats you will hardly ever come across an audio file that the phone won't handle. Album art is also supported but unluckily there are no alternative skins.

Your music library is automatically sorted by artist, album, genre and composer and searching tracks by gradual typing is also available. You can also create your own playlists in no time. The process of adding tracks to the library is as simple as choosing the refresh option. You can avoid that if you upload the music via the proprietary PC Suite application.

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The Nokia N85 automatically sorts your tracks by artist, album, genre and composer

The player comes with five equalizer presets and if they seem insufficient you can create new ones in a matter of seconds. Quite naturally, the player can also be minimized to play in background. In this case a tab appears on the stand-by screen indicating the currently running track.

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If the five equalizer presets seem insufficient you can create new ones

Finally having dedicated music keys also helps the sonic experience.

Audio quality goes in the right direction

The audio quality of recent Nokia handsets has quite notably improved over the previous generation. Nokia N85 makes no exception boasting the best noise and dynamic range levels among the Finns so far. The frequency response also shows improvement drawing near the best in business. The commendable stereo crosstalk reading is also worth noting.

The problem with audio quality of Nokia N85 is the rather high distortion levels. We've seen a few worse performers than that but most of the competition blows the N85 away on this one. There go the results so you get an idea of what Nokia N85 is all about.

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
Nokia N85+0.28, -1.19-94.495.40.3050.701-88.1
Nokia N96+0.52, -2.14-90.690.70.016 0.364-73.5
Nokia N95 8GB+1.14, -1.68-77.176.90.0066 0.148-68.5
Nokia N95+1.17, -2.68-74.974.90.0190.186 -75.3
Nokia N81+0.39, -1.13-86.685.80.0410.040-69.9
Apple iPhone 3G+0.52, -1.05-89.990.10.0033 0.016-93.1

Nokia N85 frequency response graph
Nokia N85 frequency response graph

Video player

Nokia N85 video player can work in both portrait and landscape mode and can be switched to fullscreen. When in full screen, the soft key labels are hidden so that they don't spoil the viewing and only pop up when a key is pressed.

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The video player offers fullscreen in both portrait and landscape modes

As you might have guessed, watching a video clip on a screen with this kind of picture quality is nothing short of great. The ample size is also more than welcome for truly enjoying your videos. Finally, the dedicated keys also contribute to the nice video handling.

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