Review of the Dual Slider Nokia N85

Nokia N85

The Nokia N85 is a fun, entertainment oriented phone from Nokia's N-Series line of multimedia smartphones. It feels rather light in weight and is comfortable to handle. This slider phone comes with a dual slide feature. One for the more serious phone functions while the other is dedicated to entertainment and casual use.

This Nokia phone was announced in August of 2008 and released in October of the same year. It comes with a fresh new design and features to match. Included is an accelerometer and support for gaming on Nokia's N-Gage platform. This is just a taste of the other features that come packed with this smartphone as we will see later on in this review.

Let us start off by looking at the design.

Design (5 out of 5)

The Nokia N85 is a sturdy, plastic designed phone that comes in either copper or black color schemes. This phone has dimensions that measure 103 x 50 x 16 millimeters and it weighs in at 128 grams.

The front end of this phone has the ear piece and the secondary camera right at the top. Following these there is the 2.6 inch AMOLED display. Below the display there are the two softkey buttons on each side that support various functions depending on the active application. Below these on the left side there is the green call button and the red call cancel button. These are split by the touch sensitive Navi pad.

Sliding the top panel upwards reveals the alphanumeric keypad while sliding it in the opposite direction reveals the dedicated multimedia keys for audio visual and gaming functions.

The left side of this phone has got the slot for the microSD storage card. The right side of the phone is equipped with the external stereo loud speakers, the volume up and the volume down keys. The dedicated camera key is also placed on the right side of the phone.

The top part of the phone is fitted with the 3.5mm audio jack, the microUSB slot and the power button, while the back of this phone has the primary camera and LED flash, as well the battery compartment lid.

User Interface (2 out of 5)

The user interface on the Nokia N85 is based on the Symbian S60 feature pack 2 interface. It comes with customizable home screens, profiles and themes for different needs. Applications can be accessed directly off the home screen by navigating shortcut keys with the touch sensitive Navi pad. There is a one click key for access to the menu on the softkey panel.

The menu comes in either a grid or a list and is navigated by using the directional keys on the Navi pad. Selecting an application to launch can be done using the Navi pad center key. Text input into the device is done using the alphanumeric keypad under the front panel.

Calls can be managed using the dedicated green and red call buttons found on the softkey panel. There is a dedicated button on the side to access the primary camera. For gaming, music and video entertainment, there are dedicated keys under the second slide on the phone to control music and video playback, as well as to use as game controls depending on the kind of game you are playing. There are also two dedicated volume keys for convenience.

Features (4 out of 5)

Nokia N85

The Nokia N85 comes with a 240 x 320 pixel resolution AMOLED screen with auto-rotate and accelerometer features. It has stereo speakers in addition to the standard 3.5mm audio jack feature. There is internal memory of 74 MB with external memory supported up to 8GB.

This phone supports GSM networks in quad band. As for data connectivity, this Nokia smartphone supports GPRS, EDGE, 3G, WLAN and Bluetooth in addition to microUSB connectivity. 3G capability is supported up to 3.6 Mbps. The primary camera on this phone supports up to 5 megapixels with a resolution not exceeding 2592 x 1944 pixels. Carl Zeiss optics can be found on board and the camera has auto-focus and is backed by an LED flash. There is a secondary camera for video calls as well.

Other multimedia features include an FM radio as well as an FM transmitter. There is a MP4/WMV/H.263/H.264 video player and a MP3/WAV/eAAC+/WMA music player on this device. Gaming is also supported through N-Gage. To cap all of this off there is a TV-out connector.

There is also a built-in A-GPS receiver and support for Nokia's Maps application for navigation and geo-tagging photos.

Performance (3 out of 5)

The Nokia N85 comes with Symbian OS 9.3 backed by a relatively slow ARM 11 369 processor. Despite being a gaming smartphone, there is no support for hardware graphics acceleration. Applications on this phone, however, do run relatively well with fast response times. The screen is of great quality — bright and with vivid colors.

The camera quality is not all that great and could do with some improvement as the images remain grainy and fuzzy. The call quality on this phone is great and so is the sound quality on the external speakers. With 3G networks or a good Wi-Fi connection, the Nokia N85 gives you great Internet connectivity performance.

Depending on the headphones, you can get great sound through the standard audio jack. GPS takes a while to respond correctly without a cellular network in range but is quite responsive when A-GPS is active.

Battery life on standby mode on this phone is kind of left wanting. It has a talk time of just under seven hours with about only 360 hours of standby time. All in all the Nokia N85 performs okay for its purposes.

Verdict (3 out of 5)

The Nokia N85 holds up under scrutiny and is a great phone for general purpose use, as well as for multimedia entertainment. It plays music well, with great sound, and videos are equally good thanks to the AMOLED display. This is a smartphone that would be nice to have to do some casual gaming, especially with the auto-illuminated feature keys and back-lit keyboard. With a price tag of about US $250 for an unlocked model, this is a mobile phone that is still worth getting.


  • Author’s own experience.
  • Nokia,
  • Image Credit: Nokia Press,

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