Nokia N85 and Nokia N79 preview: First look

GSMArena team, 29 August 2008.
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Nokia N79 - a true chameleon

The Nokia N79 will probably make many early N78 adopters feel sorry about their buying decision - at roughly the same starting price you get a smartphone with a handful of new features such as a 5 megapixel camera with Carl Zeis optics and VGA@30fps video recording, as well as smart XpressOn covers and several other tidbits.

The design update is also a welcome change, since the Nokia N78 didn't exactly manage to win our hearts. Still, the good news for people looking forward to buying N78, is that its price will probably go down to a more reasonable level once the new N79 becomes available.

The Nokia N82 will also feel the pressure by the N79 as they have pretty much the same feature set - the N79 outperforms it in several minor aspects except for the xenon flash. However, the Nokia N82 has a more attractive price tag than the N79 and that will probably allow it to keep its positions.

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Nokia N79

Nokia N79 at a glance:

  • Successor of Nokia N78
  • Interchangeable back covers with an embedded chip for themes control
  • The most compact Nseries device (measures 110 x 49 x 15mm and weighs 97 grams)
  • 2.4-inch QVGA (320 x 240) display
  • 5 megapixel auto focus camera with dual LED flash, records VGA video at 30 fps
  • Touch sensitive Navi Wheel
  • Symbian S60 9.2 with the latest Feature Pack 2
  • Accelerometer sensor for auto screen rotation
  • Quad-band GSM, dual-band 3G with HSDPA
  • WiFi, stereo Bluetooth (A2DP)
  • GPS receiver with A-GPS support and Nokia Maps application (3-month free navigation license included)
  • microUSB port and 3.5mm audio jack
  • microSD card slot (ships with a 4GB card)
  • Stereo speakers
  • FM radio with RDS and FM transmitter
  • 1200 mAh battery

Design-wise, the Nokia N79 is much more attractive than the Nokia N78 and the keypad ergonomics are way better. Again, the 3.5mm audio jack is on the top along with an inconveniently placed keypad lock key.

A most unusual solution is the combining of the microUSB port and the microSD memory card slot tightly together under a common protective cap. We guess that this arrangement may prove uncomfortable in some situations.

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More of Nokia N79

The Nokia N79 also introduces for the first time the concept of smart XpressOn panels. The thing is that these panels have an embedded chip which stores the information of their color. You can clearly see the contacts of the chip on the panel. When you snap one of these panels on your N79, the interface theme changes automatically to match the panel color. It's not a practical feature that would influence your buying decision but still it's some fancy piece of refreshing novelty.

By default, the Nokia N79 will come with either a white or a grey back panel, but there will be two more in the retail package. And you can buy additional ones as retail accessories.

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The smart back panels carry an electronic color code for automatic theme managament - check out the chip connectors

In terms of camera performance, the Nokia N79 is on par with every other 5 megapixel N-series handset. There are no changes to the camera user interface or features except for the GPS image geotagging.

Again, there is no xenon flash, but only a dual LED unit. The active lens cover is comfortable to use and it will certainly keep the lens well protected.

Here are several camera samples by Nokia N79. Of course image quality will be subject to improvement in the final retail version of the handset.

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Nokia N79 camera samples

Nokia N79 first impressions

The Nokia N79 seems like a great all-round device - it's got a feature set to match even the substantially more expensive Nokia N85 and it's also got the excellent performance of N78. So summing it up, the Nokia N79 will most probably make a great midrange buy somewhere around Christmas - be sure to watch out for it.

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