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Nokia N70, a future smash hit

What if sultry Angelina Jolie and NFL’s King QB Tom Brady somehow found themselves in matrimonial bliss and that led to a genetic mash-up? Imagine the beauty and ruggedness and now apply that to two of the hottest cellphones from Nokia’s stable – the briskly selling 6680 and the ultra sleek Nokia 8800. What you get is Nokia N70, a hot 3G WCDMA/GSM phone from Nokia, that is surely going to be a sizzler for many months to come. N70 is part of the Nokia’s N-series premium phones that are supposed to be less phone, and more convergence devices. High end digital cameras, music players and video cameras are supposed to be selling points of these phones.

First lets take the looks. It seems like the 6682 had a little nip-and-tuck, lost a few proverbial pounds (or at least some grams), got into fighting trim for a night out on the town. And then it went to Rodeo Drive and got itself a whole new wardrobe. The pearly white of 6682 has been replaced by the silver gray/steel gray combo. The faceplate/camera cover, despite being made of plastic type material has an “Apple Powerbook” like feel to it. Rest of the phone is a curvaceous (yet still masculine) steel gray plastic, but you would never think of it that way.

Now lets turn to other features. I have been using the Euro-version of Nokia N70 for nearly a week, and it has managed to not only meet but exceed expectations. Forget the excellent 2 megapixel camera, high quality of its photos, built-in FM radio, or the new S60 Symbian OS – it is a great phone. Period. Thanks to a top notch RF chip, the sound quality is crisp and clear. The phone came-up trumps in my blind dialing test, every single time.

The keypad, seems a little shrunk, but the bevel-type keys make dialing easier. The four-way navikey is very effective, despite its diminutive size. Writing short SMS messages is pretty easy, and not tedious. The peripheral keys however seem a little squished and take some getting used to, despite being in the all familiar spots.

The S60’s PIM is as usual pretty good. In order to make it work with my Mac, I had to do a little hackery, and for that I have top tip my hat to fine folks at MacOSXhints. (PC owners can use the accompanying software to get going!) The bluetooth helps you connect to Powerbook, and you are good to iSync. I paired the phone with three different headsets, without a problem, and also was able to use the Nokia bluetooth keyboard. (On short trips, N70 plus Nokia 770 and the keyboard is all that you will need. The phone and the tablet share a common charger, that is slightly different from traditional Nokia chargers. ) However, I must remind you that bluetooth drains the battery and be judicious in how you use it.

Phone’s 3G features are pretty much pointless in the US, since we use different frequencies here. I am told Cingular is going to sell this phone, and hopefully they will make it work with its HSDPA network that is supposed to launch any day now. (Apparently, this bit about Cingular is just a rumor, and not a fact.) Still the phone performed remarkably well on an EDGE network. It comes with Opera pre-installed and I have been using the phone to manage and moderate the comments section of my blog through WordPress control panel.

I like the audio (music) functionality of this phone. The accompanying headphones completely confused me. They have white cords, which perhaps was a tip-of-the-hat to iPod. However they did seem out of place. Nevertheless, I got over that, and explored the audio functions. The enhanced Visual radio is great if you want to catch up on the latest tunes etc. You need to go online (over the air) to register your location. After that you can simply preset your favorite FM radio stations. You can enjoy your own tunes if you have a big enough RS-DV (1.8/3V) MMC memory card. Once I can find a 1GB card, I am going to be playing back Ogg files using the OggPlay, my favorite mobile music player. The built in music player is pretty good and can handle all kinds of music including un-encrypted AAC files. Since I literally live walking distance from work, that will work, but not a chance the phone will replace my iPod.

Since Nokia is positioning N70 as a digital camera, lets take a look at its camera. The phone has two cameras – one in the front and one in the back. The front camera is 0.3 megapixels, but it is for making video calls, which are not quite possible yet in the US, so don’t really know how it works. The main camera is better than anything I have used, and I have become quite a shutter-bug. I will be posting some of the images later to my Flickr account, using the Lifeblog software.

Okay, now like a perfect marriage of looks, form and function, the phone has some problems. Switching between apps seems sluggish, and I do get a feeling that phone might be underpowered. I find the icons on the new phone a bit tardy, and not in sync with overall beauty of this phone. Given that a phone like this can cost a few hundred dollars, as a user I expect better.

Bottomline: On a scale of one to 10, this phone merits a solid 7.5 on a scale of one to 10, and a Very good rating.

Additional links:

Nokia press release and Nokia N70 website. Photos courtesy, Nokia PR

69 Responses to “Nokia N70, a future smash hit”

  1. there isn’t advantage in buying nokia n70 as compared to nokia 6681,6680 , as both both has same software profile ,screen resolution,connectivity ,ease of use,picture or sound quality . only advantage is radio and 2 pixel camera ,which hardly make any difference in absence of autofocus. it is not cost effective at all in comparison…
    please refer mobile review com for better judgement instead of following what others says…

  2. shamim zaidi

    Just bought Nokia N70 from Pakistan. Didn’t realize that inside the operating booklet is in another language,not in English. My question is where and how can I get this book in English. I don’t have any knowledge of N70 and how to use it unless I get book/instruction in English. Please help?

  3. I live in the UK and my gf got this phone. We have 3G in the UK and she can watch T.V broadcasted through 3G, it gets Living T.V, sky 1, Bravo, Cartoon netwok, etc its so cool. She got the phone free with at £18 a month contract from orange.

  4. I have the N70 and my one problem with it is that it isn’t able to link up to my computer, there is something wrong with my phone’s software, so before you buy one just check your PC connectability

  5. hello Mr.sir.

    I bought new n70.I am interested 3D Aero Mission from Zapptrio. Is it possible to download 3D Aero Mission from Zapptrio which i have seen this in all sony erricson k750i in singapore. will nokia n70 support this particular game if yes where on the net i can find it.

    2.can we do some thing to improve music effect (sound quality) in n70.

                                Thank you.
  6. “Three are realising that there’s more to mobile content than bloody ringtones. […]”

    lol … It’s the silly people that pay for them. ^_^
    People, phones should only go “ring, ring”.

    Anyway, I just found out that my N70 will not do multiplayer games. :(
    I develop mobile games, and this was one aspect I was going to explore. I guess I should have done more research on the N70. But either way, I still think it is a good phone.

  7. This N70 is like the best phone ever! i looooove it! the camera is great! even though it misses autofocus… but still and the video recording? amazing! love the resolution of 352×288, thats like a VCD in Pal.. cool! haha im so exited about this phone, i was at first not shure wheter to go for the Sony Ericcson W800i or this Nokia N70, but u know Nokia is one of the best manufactores of mobile phone’s! so i’ll stick with Nokia. jup connecting people!

  8. The N70 is a good phone to get – if you’re not in the US, or are only using t-mobile in the US.

    pp: Don’t get the 3230 – the 6630/6680/6681/6682/N70 are definitely better buys; and if you wait a little the N80 will arrive: and that’s virtually the smallest symbian ever (and with full support for US UMTS frequencies), or you could get the E60 which is really the smallest symbian ever (but only europe/asia frequencies, and no 2MP camera)

  9. Eric Maryniak

    I agree that it’s a nice phone, however I found the Sony v800, although lacking some of the Nokia n70’s features, much more intuitive to use.
    Also, the PCsuite software, when used via usb, under Windows XP is very buggy: after a little browsing, Explorer hangs and you need to restart.
    And just now, the Contact Person sync module is hanging.
    This is the latest version (Dec 2005) of PCsuite, dl-ed from …
    I think there are some serious memory leaks and/or pointer problems, as the event log shows bad memory access init’ed from the nokia stuff.
    Clearly not ready yet imho.
    Maybe the Bluetooth connectivity works better (which i don’t have on my pc yet)…

  10. I just bought a NOKIA n70. Its really fantastic after having to see the reviews and the set itself. Am just afraid if there is any carrier in US that carry this phone. I would like to know if the cingular could give me service. It would be of great help if it does work with CINGULAR? thankyou

  11. This N70 is like the best phone ever! i looooove it! the camera is great! even though it misses autofocus… but still and the video recording? amazing! love the resolution of 352×288, thats like a VCD in Pal.. cool! haha im so exited about this phone, i was at first not shure wheter to go for the Sony Ericcson W800i or this Nokia N70, but u know Nokia is one of the best manufactores of mobile phone’s! so i’ll stick with Nokia. jup connecting people! ;)

  12. S’ok. I just solved it.
    Found that it works beutifuly in Linux. :)
    Using a little app called “Bluetooth File Sharing” by Edd Dumbill.

    Just another reason to stick with Linux. ^_^

  13. I want one of those keyboards!
    However, how can I transfer files via bluetooth to my PC. I refuse to use WinXP so don’t use the Nokia software. As a result, Nokia tech services refused to help me. grrrrr.
    With the Widcom bluetooth software on my PC I can transfer files from every phone I have used but not the N70. :(
    Otherwise it is a great phone.

  14. there is a whole lot why its better than 6682, and well don’t get me started on sony phones. that’s a different story all together.

    better battery life, a better interface, much better sound quality and of course being lighter make it more useful.

  15. Rajat Agrawal

    Om, I’m using the N70 and have already used the 6680. If you see from an average user’s point of view, there isn’t any major departures between the two devices. The keys are a lot cluttered in this one. The 2 megapixel camera is the lone cherry on the cake. Had there been Wi-Fi on this beauty (as you term it), it would have be worth noting. With no 3G here in India (and I presume even you can’t use most of the features in the States) gimme one good reason why one should not go for the Sony Ericsson K750i or the W800i in favour of the N70? These are affordable, have a better camera (with auto-focus) and play music (with a built-in equaliser) as well… The only reason that I can figure out to go for the N70 is its S60 OS. The present N-series is over-hyped and I’m waiting for the N80, that should prove Nokia’s mettle.

  16. i have read the macosxhints guide to adding the code to have iSync support the n70 and attempted it several times.
    i cannot get it to work though.

    i am using tiger 10.4.3 (fully updated) on a 1.33ghz 12in powerbook.

    any ideas?

  17. Oh – and cingular does not have GSM 1900Mhz everywhere (please correct me if i’m wrong). Only T-mobile does, which is why for the Nokia N90’s US launch the handphone is being sold with a t-mobile account.

  18. Om – Nokia/Cingular said that the N70 was going to be carried by Cingular? That’s very surprising, unless a new version is in the works.

    There are currently two known versions of the N70 in the world; the standard N70-1 which is sold everywhere except china and has triband GSM(900/1800/1900) and WCDMA 2100 (which allows UMTS services) and the N70-5, which is the china version and only has triband GSM.

    Releasing a new version would be very strange, because as the first commenter noted the N80 fits cingular (and indeed, north american) requirements even better, with quadband GSM and WCDMA 1900.

    Also, no currently shipping N70 will be able to support HSPDA. No handset does, at the moment.

    I agree that the N70 is a great phone, but it has a number of shortfalls as compared to upcoming symbian handsets which make it not really a good buy:

    1. No Wifi (Wifi will come with almost every single new symbian phone after this, including the E60, E61, E70, N80, N91)
    2. low resolution screen. (the screen resolution of the N70 is 176*208, the same as the very first nokia series 60 phone, the Nokia 7650. almost every single new symbian phone will have QVGA resolution or higher, including the E60, E61, E70, N71, N80)

    Symbian OS 9.1 on all new models is a bonus, but it’s hard to say whether it’ll be a bid deal. Early reports have said that it does make much better use of screen real estate however, which is a very good thing.

  19. Om, are you sure about the N70 being picked by Cingular? Some of those photos posted by Engadget are of the N80 with Cingular branding and partial FCC approval.

    Although there appears to be a second version of the N70 without the UMTS band and second camera that I think has been FCC approved which could be picked up by T-Mobile because of the single NA GSM band supported by the N70. This was also posted by Engadget I do believe.