Review of the new Nokia N86 - Nokia's first 8 MP camera shooter. In this part of the review, we look at the smartphone's multimedia capabilities, the 8.1MP camera and connectivity options.
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The Nokia N86 has a fully featured Gallery application which is the hallmark of the N-series. It allows you to view your images in a 3D rotating view, in landscape and portrait modes, in full screen, as a slideshow etc. You can also set some music to play in the background which you navigate through the gallery. The image gallery automatically starts when you flip the stand open which makes using it super intuitive.
The default music player supports a lot of formats - MP3, WMA, WAV, RA, AAC, M4A etc. It is the standard music player which comes bundled with all N-series devices. The interface is very intuitive and easy to use. It also supports album art and an equalizer with five presets. The music tracks can be sorted by artist, album, genre and composer. You can also create custom playlists. The audio quality of the Nokia N86 is very good as we've come to expect from Nokia devices over the years. On a very positive note the music and overall audio quality completely lives up to its N-series lineage. There is minimal noise and the frequency response is much better than most other phones. The dynamic range is also much better than most phones in its range. It can easily double up as a PMP.
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Video Playback and Camera
The N86 comes bundled with a video player which supports the following formats: WMV, RV, MP4 and 3GP. It may not be the largest file support we've seen, but it should suit most users needs. You can view videos in the portrait and landscape modes and also in full screen. The video playback quality is pretty nice, while the N86 can be used as a portable video device thanks to the excellent AMOLED display. You can also try using Core Player for better format support and more playback options. It also has a built in FM Radio with RDS to automatically display station information using your devices data connection. While the devices included FM transmitter allows you to transmit your own tracks over a small range. The FM transmitter is perfect for playing your devices songs over your car radio or a home theater system which is definitely an added bonus, for example iPhone users need to use a separate adapter or Bluetooth over A2DP to accomplish a similar goal.
The Nokia N86 also comes equipped with a 8.1 MP camera which has a maximum image capture resolution of 3264 x 2448 pixels. It also has autofocus and a Dual LED flash. The wide 28 mm Carl Zeiss lens also gives you a nice and wide viewing angle through the viewfinder. While the device also has a variable aperture which gives you much better picture quality. The image quality is very good with excellent contrast and very accurate color reproduction with no overtones or undertones. It is comparable to the Samsung INNOV8's excellent camera which is saying a lot considering how well that device has been received. The camera interface is also the same as in the N85. This smartphone also offers a host of advanced customization options including white balance, sharpness, contrast, ISO sensitivity etc. While the camera also supports Geotagging. Finally it also has video recording in the VGA resolution at 30 FPS. The video quality is also nice for such a small handheld, however it's not going to replace your camcorder by any means.
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Connectivity and Battery life
The Nokia N86 offers a lot of connectivity options which include GPRS, EDGE and 3G. It also has Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g with UPnP, Bluetooth v2.0 with A2DP and USB v2.0 connectivity. The N86 also has a GPS receiver with the A-GPS feature. While it comes bundled with Ovi Maps 3.0 and three months free voice navigation. It also supports N Gage gaming. Overall I was very impressed with the speed of the devices 3G data connectivity and the ease of connecting the WiFi adapter to both secure and non-secure networks with a few quick button pushes. The A2DP was also crisp and clear even on older A2DP enabled headsets including the Motorola S9.
Finally, the Nokia N86 is powered by a 1200 mAh Li-Ion battery. It is a very powerful battery and can power the phone continuously for about 2-3 days with standard usage. While the retail package of the Nokia N86 comes with just the basics - a charger, USB data cable and a headset with remote. It also includes the phone manual and a software disc. The call performance of the N86 is pretty amazing with no reception problems that I could discover over a few dozen calls. Since I started reviewing smartphones, I haven't seen any Nokia phones which have given any reason to complain in terms of the call reception aspect. I can't emphasize enough that the reception quality is very good with almost zero interference.
All in all, the Nokia N86 is a very nice phone; it's also Nokia's first 8 MP camera shooter. Not only does it sport the latest edition of the Symbian OS, it also has a wide range of features that users will find very helpful. It is priced a bit high but if you can afford it; it's totally worth the price.