The joint is quite rigid and requires time and effort before one gets used to it. The phone features a facilitating spring, but it is no big help, either. The top half of the phone jumps open to a stop position by itself, so you need to push it through the rest of its way with your fingers. Nokia N76 can be also opened with a single hand, but this operation requires getting used to it and is not really comfortable. The opening angle is big enough; the joint is solid and shows insignificant play.
Flat etched keypads are the style today. Besides, a keypad with elevated keys would have not suited this slim body at all. Flat keypads look cool, but tend to be less user-friendly. Nokia N76's keypad is no exception to the rule. Its keys don't feature touch separators, which inevitable leads to frequent typing errors. Tactile feedback is not positive, either. The delete and the editing keys wedged in between the navigation key and the numerical keys block are extremely small - bad news for users with large fingers. Along with the obligatory "pencil" key on the keypad you will also see a "Symbian" key that provides access to the main menu and a multimedia key for instant access to a selection of multimedia functions.
There is no doubt that every user will get accustomed to Nokia N76's keypad sooner or later. On the other hand there is no doubt that the phone is not made for keen texters, either. The keys legends including key contours are illuminated in flashy green at night. Backlighting is regulated by a light-sensitive sensor for the purpose of energy saving.
The main 2.4" display is great. It's a 16M color TFT one with a QVGA resolution (240 x 320 pixels). The brightness of the display image can be adjusted from the menu.
Above the display there is a tiny, almost invisible camera lens for video calls. It works at CIF+ resolution, that is, 384 x 320 pixels. Apart from video calls it can also be used for self-portraits and video recording.
The external display on stand-by • when somebody is calling and when a call has been missed • selecting a ringing profile
The heart of Nokia N76 is its Symbian 9.2 OS. It uses the well known graphic user interface S60 3rd edition. Beside, Nokia has improved it by adding Feature Pack 1, which we first experienced in the high-class N95. The strongest advantage of Feature Pack 1 is its repeated alarm clock and the fact that its voice recorder is not limited to a mere minute, but to an hour. Nothing else but these two applications has undergone modifications.
The stand-by display naturally features an active stand-by mode. Yet, we find it rather simplified in comparison to the stand-by mode applied in the new Nokia S40 3rd Edition models: for example, you cannot freely reorganize its elements. In result, you have a band with icons for instant access to pre-selected functions in the top of the display and upcoming events from the calendar together with tasks in its bottom. In the bottom area of the display you will also find the title of the running song or the name of the tuned radio station. Text notes are not available.
Shortcuts can be assigned to both context keys as well as to all ways of the navigations key and to its confirming center as long as the stand-by mode is off. Other 4 functions can be assigned to the menu, opened by a press on the Multimedia key.
The basic configuration of the main menu is presented by a matrix with icons. Eventually, you could also display it as a standard list, in the form of a horseshoe animated list or in the form of a V-shaped animated list. The last two options are very impressive, but of little practical use. Icons can be reorganized or moved into a different menu folder.
Nokia N76's menu is browsed fast. As soon as you try a more complicated operation, however, the phone will make you wait for a few seconds. Of course, the speed, with which the phone reacts, depends on the number of simultaneously running applications. Their list can be seen in the form of a Task Manager accessible through a longer press on the Symbian key. A great part of the applications supported by Nokia N76 get terminated if you use the red-receiver key to exit them. However, this does not hold true for the radio and the music player, which only get minimized. To download new applications from any computer you can use the proprietary program Nokia PC Suite or download them straight into the phone via data transfers. In order to do so, use the folder Download; this shows an upgraded portfolio with applications available on Nokia?s website.