I picked up a Nokia N78 today from Nokia’s Tampere office to review thinking it would be final hardware with final shipping firmware preloaded,
unfortunately it doesn’t have the final shipping firmware which is why I’m going to hold back on publishing my comprehensive thoughts on this device. The hardware however is final and I will throw a few brief comments about it out there for those who are curious.
Before I get there however, let me introduce the Nokia N78. Announced on February 11 2008 in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress the Nokia N78 is a 350 EUR device, before subsidies and taxes, that has a 3.2 megapixel Carl Zeiss camera, WiFi, HSDPA, 3.5 mm headphone jack and runs the latest version of S60, 3rd Edition Feature Pack 2. It ships with the BL-6F battery which has a capacity of 1200 mAh. It weighs 102 grams and is 15.1 mm thick, 113 mm tall and 49 mm wide. It’s the first Nokia device to ship with a FM transmitter built in, meaning you can output the audio to a manually specified frequency that nearby FM radios can pick up. Oh and it also has GPS and Bluetooth with A2DP support.
Here is the box:
It says Nseries on one side:
And the model number on the other:
Back of the box has the specs and marketing messages in more languages than you’ll probably ever hear in a lifetime:
The top of the box says nothing and the bottom has the serial number along with the model number:
Now for the hott stuff, open this baby up:
And again from another angle for those unboxing fetishists out there:
What does it say in the corner? Here is a close up, notice the English (UK), not English (USA):
Pulling the flap open this is what we see, don’t worry about the lack of battery, whoever played with this device before me put it in the N78 and simply forgot to take it out:
Now remove the plastic:
So what exactly is in the box? A CD, which I can’t tell you what it actually contains since the laptop I’m on has no optical drive, Lenovo ThinkPad X61 Tablet:
Getting started manual:
Full blown manual:
Full size USB male to microUSB male cable:
Close up of the buttons on the remote for those who actually use these things:
A pair of headphone that no, I will not tell you how they sound like since the reason I buy devices with a 3.5 mm jack is to use aftermarket cans that don’t suck:
Enough foreplay, here is the phone, I mean Multimedia Computer:
The top of the device which from left to right has a 3.5 mm jack and a power button:
The right side of the phone which from top to bottom has a speaker, volume up, volume down and camera shutter button:
The bottom of the N78 has a microphone and a hole to attach a lanyard on the left side:
The left side of the N78 has a speaker on the bottom, which threw me off at first since on the right side it is on the top, then a 2 mm charging port, microSD memory card slot and finally microUSB port:
The back of the device, all white:
Closeup of the camera module, unprotected lens:
The back of the phone with the cover taken off and the battery inside:
The back with the cover off in greater detail:
Enough with this, time to turn the phone on!
How small is the keypad? Here is a 50 EUR cent piece on top:
Now time for general thoughts on the device which I’ve been playing with for less than 5 hours and have to return in about 4:
The keypad looks small, but it is totally manageable, I got used to it in less than 5 minutes.
Feature Pack 2 is snappy snappy snappy and the transitions are pretty, but not for me. I turned them off after less than 5 minutes, 4.5 of those minutes was spent finding the check box to tick (Menu -> Tools -> Settings -> General -> Personalization -> Themes -> General -> Options -> Theme effects -> Off).
The naviwheel is turned on by default and it scrolls through every list I’ve encountered thus far, but most annoyingly it also scrolls through the 3×4 grid of icons in the application menu and it doesn’t scroll through Handy Taskman, one of the first applications I install on all my S60 devices. I turned the naviwheel off after about 10 minutes. The dpad is solid, but it doesn’t click, hard to explain, best phrase I can use is “just right.”
The sound quality out of this thing is amazing, better than my N82.
The file transfer speeds are up, way up, I pulled over the Trainspotting Soundtrack, 2 CD’s, 160 MB, at over 2 MB per second. It still isn’t as fast as an iPod, but it’s a heck of a lot better than before.
The camera is fantastic, it can autofocus remarkably fast, enough to make me with my N82 downright jealous. I’m not going to post image samples due to the firmware situation, my apartment is too messy to take a picture of anything and I haven’t shaved in around 4 days therefore I look like a terrorist.
There is a new menu in FP2 called “events” where you can set custom sounds for things such as warning tones, charging your phone, low battery, battery full, etc. Best of all you can type out phrases your phone will say during these “events.” I have the N78 set to say “Give it all she’s got!” when I start charging it, cute for today, but I can see myself getting tired of such a feature.
The barcode reader is not installed, which makes me sad because I use 2D barcodes quite often.
The Bluetooth menu lets you block devices, which is fantastic since there is this one store I keep on walking past that attempts to send me stuff via Bluetooth. Being able to block them is awesome!
The “switch” application, the one that takes your settings, contacts, texts, notes, etc, from your old S60 phone and transfers them to your new device, says my N82 is incompatible.
Now the new Nokia ringtone, I’m not sure I digg it, but here it is for those who want to hear it:
All of the pictures you see above were taken by my Nokia N82 and you can view them in full resolution here.
Update 1: I just found out that the firmware on my device is indeed final, something I find a bit troubling since there are a few bugs that I would call major. Plan on talking to the engineer who let me borrow this device to sort things out later today.
Update 2: Whoever wants the new Nokia ringtone can grab it here.
Update 3: Bug squashed like an insect, apparently my memory card was not formatted properly therefore the device was acting a bit funky. Format the memory card and Bob’s your uncle the device works superbly again!