The camera key on the other side is comfortable enough, making a satisfying click, each time it is pressed. The volume rocker doesn't make any noises but is equally pleasant to use.
The power key may be a bit too small to our liking but you'll probably end up using that quite rarely anyway. The microUSB slot and the 3.5mm jack, which share the N86 8MP top with it, aren't protected at all from the daily dirt and grime - especially if you carry your phone around in your pocket.
The Nokia N86 8MP back side is easily our favorite part of the handset due to the sleek looks of the plastic used - think N97 style. It hosts the 8MP wide-angle camera and the dual-LED flash, hidden under a small protective cover.
The active kickstand is there around the camera and by default it starts the image gallery when you flip it open. We would rather fancy watching videos with the phone on its kickstand, so Nokia have added an option to customize its behavior to suite the individual needs.
Under the hood lays the 1200 mAh Li-Ion battery, which sounds quite decent on paper. Nokia quote it to last for up to 312 hours of stand-by and 6 hours and 18 minutes of talk time in 2G network, while using 3G should give you up to 264 hours of stand-by and 3 hours and 54 minutes of talk time. Unfortunately, we cannot publish any real-life figures - we'll probably leave that for the upcoming detailed review next week.
The slider mechanism seems finely tuned with the effort required to put it in motion just about perfect. It gives away a satisfying click every time it locks in one of the three positions. The rest of the build quality also seems pretty fine at first sight, making the phone a joy to handle even with a hefty weight like that.
So at first glance the Nokia N86 8MP is not that fun to use - its design is heavily based on another phone announced almost an year ago (read Nokia N85), there are hardly any novel controls on it and finally, it's a quite heavy phone. On the other hand, the build quality seems top-notch and all the materials used are the same as the high-ranking Nokia N97 so you can rest assured you get Nokia's best.
We really didn't mean this to sound bad - judging the exterior is quite frequently a subjective thing, so when you consider our observations, bear in mind that they are really OUR OWN and they won't necessarily impose on you too.
Ok, if you've had enough of this eye inspection, head on to the next page for a quick and dirty Symbian smartphone walkthrough.