Nokia N82 Review

Over 6 months ago I reviewed Nokia’s flagship phone, the N95 8GB, which I thought was fantastic. It was essentially a refresh of the N95 (which I wasn’t enamoured with), fixing the built quality, battery life, and a few other niggly little things that turned me off. Since then the N95 8GB has been my main phone. I was surprised to find myself switching back to it after less than a month of owning the BlackJack II, that’s how much I liked it.

Over the last week I’ve been using the N82, which is basically an N95 inside a candy-bars body. It has a few other hardware tweaks, but is otherwise the same feature-set, which to be honest is a very good thing. The N95 has almost every radio available (HSDPA, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS and FM) and an excellent camera, all features shared with the N82.

But it was never the feature-set that bothered me about the N95, it was the case that they were packed into, and I find myself having some concerns with this new model…

The N82 is a standard candy-bar form-factor. No sliding keyboards, no flips, just plain and simple slab with a screen and keypad. While this makes it simple, easy to use, and there is less to go wrong, it does mean that the screen and keyboard have to be made smaller.

The 2.4” display is noticeably smaller than the 2.6″ N95, and considerably smaller than the 2.8” display found on the N95 8GB. This does make the image sharper which is nice, but it is considerably dimmer than either the N95 or N95 8GB. I don’t run my N95 8GB on maximum brightness, typically one stop from max, which is still brighter than the N82.

As you can see the N95 8GB has the nicer display. That said, the iPod Touch kicks its ass 😛

The N82 has retained the 3.5mm headphone jack which is wonderful for people wanting to use the phone as their music player. No stupid adapters are necessary to get nice clear sound into your good quality headphones. The dedicated media buttons from the N95 are gone, but they were useless anyway (would switch to the Music app when pressed).

Along the left side of the phone is the microSD slot (2GB card is included, very nice) and the microUSB. I’ve seen this port on all the Nokia’s I’ve tested recently, and I’m not a fan. Apart from being uncommon, it feels fragile and dangerous. miniUSB was a solid connector, this just isn’t. It’s not like they are using it on this phone to save on thickness.

Which brings me onto the size, which isn’t good. It just feels too chucky and wide for a candy bar phone . It’s only slightly thinner than my N95, but it doesn’t have the excuse of hiding a keypad. Other manufacturers are fitting similar amounts of technology into their handsets without making them this chucky. Nokia’s impending E71 is evidence of that.

Making it wide certainly wasn’t to give it big keys. I mean look at them! They remind me of the keys on my dad’s tiny Nokia 8850 he had a couple of years back. I hated them too. Moving from the massive keys on the N95 to these was not fun. The labels aren’t clear on the reflective metal covering the face on the phone, so it’s like hunting and pecking in the dark.

The battery life seemed to be almost exactly the same as my N95 8GB. I would normally get a day of use out of my N95 8GB (plenty of use between 6.30am and 11pm, HSDPA constantly connected to Exchange), which is the same as what I achieved with the N82. I don’t have a problem with my device only lasting a single day on a charge, as long as it lasts the WHOLE day, which in the case of these phones it does.

I was struggling to figure out why anyone would buy this over the N95 8GB, with it’s bigger screen, better keypad and shorter design, until I pressed the shutter button.

The N95 has a fantastic camera. 5 mega pixels with autofocus, easily the best I’ve used. But by adding a proper flash, it is sensational. Instead of the almost-pointless LED blinker, a proper xenon flash illuminates a dark scene just as good as a regular digital camera. Carrying the N82 is pretty much as close as it gets to having a decent point-and-shoot camera at all times. In fact, I would go as far as to say for most people the N82 could serve full time as a happy-snapper. It can’t possibly compete with a good DSLR, but then again neither can a P&S.

Here are some photos I took with the N82. I thought I had some more, but I must have forgotten to transfer them off the internal memory before wiping it, whoops! Photo 3, Photo 4, Photo 5, Photo 6, Photo 5, Photo 6 and Photo 7

After a week of the using the N82, I wasn’t disappointed going back to my N95 8GB. I think it’s better looking, has better buttons and a much nicer display than the N82. However, since it’s guts are largely the same as the N95, and with that xenon flash bolted on, it does make a pretty good all rounder. And from what I gather, it’s a fair bit cheaper as well.

The Nokia N82 can be bought on-contract and SIM free from carriers and stores.
MSRP: AU$959
What I Like: Brilliant camera and flash, excellent performance, good battery life, solid build quality
What Needs Improvement: Screen isn’t bright enough, buttons are rather odd, too thick

Categories: Reviews

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13 replies

  1. Hi Mitchell! I guess get used to the micro-USB adaptor, it seems to be on Nokia and Motorola going forward.. I’m waiting for HTC to move to it.. :-)

    I did see those little keys on the N82 and completely agree, I need big buttons! Also the chunky factor is a giant put off. I don’t care for the slider aspect of the N95 because its harder for me to text on.

    Think you were spot on great review and photos! ;-P

  2. Great review Mitchell; I still want to give it a try. :-)

    But! (the mom in me coming out) N82 Photo #3?! Ahem! 😉

  3. LOL Judie! :-O

  4. I admit I’m impressed by the photos it can take. That EB photo is showing the red nicely. Mitchell, you were taking pictures with your phone while driving at almost 120!! :0

  5. he was driving 120 Kph vs. 120 Mph. also notice he is on the wrong side of the road, and looks like video player is on as he is driving as well.
    I have same problem with N82 and small buttons but love photo and video features, especially since I paid full price for mine.
    Also, did first streaming video today from Lincoln launch event in DC but cannot view it as hotel computer does not have updated flash player. dang

  6. The fact that he is driving 120Kph, and on the wrong side of the road, and watching movies on his in-car computer is beside the point! He should not be taking pictures while driving. 😆

  7. Wait…. Don’t Aussies drive on that side of the road?

  8. Yes, we are just teasing Mitchell. 😉

  9. Looks like the right side of the road to me! 😉

    I’ve swapped my SIM card from my WM Samsung i600 into my N82 to see how it goes as my main phone. The GPS in it is really good – worked brilliantly in both US and at home in the UK, and can even be used walking around, which is ideal if you’re visiting somewhere and have to park your car away from the place you’re visiting.

    Now I just want to get my hands on an E71!


  10. You and me both Alison!! I am extremely interested in the E71, since I have been so impressed with Nokia and Series 60 over the last few months.

    I’m on the list to get one as soon as they come out here (early Q3 08 I’m told), and I’ll be sure to have the review posted in short order 😉

  11. I look forward to it. I love your reviews, and I love the view from the table on your deck!


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