The Nokia N85’s Killer App

There are many reasons to like the Nokia N85, but the one thing that has blown my hair back and made me truly appreciate this talented little device is something I had never before seen in a mobile phone…an FM transmitter*.


And not just any weak wannabe transmitter, I’m talking about one that is just as strong – and allows the music to sound just as rich – as the dedicated transmitter on my Sirius box does.

I didn’t think that this feature would be that big of a deal, until I gave it a try the other day. I activated it on the N85, set a station, tuned in to the same station from my vehicle’s radio, and… chicka-pow!


The amazing thing is that 102.5 FM was getting a bit of leeching from another station, which I noticed before turning on the Nokia’s transmitter; but the N85’s signal was so strong, that it totally smothered the bleed-through. This meant that I didn’t have to keep searching for another station, and it will be especially handy for those who live in urban areas that have a lot of radio stations on the dial.

An even more amazing thing is that I did not have to turn off the Sirius FM transmitter in order to get a clear static free sound, like I have had to do with add-on transmitters in the past. Speaking of add-on FM transmitters, they can cost anywhere from $10 to $70, so having the transmitter already built into the music device is a really nice feature.


I can set the N85 in a cup holder, plug it into the power port, and cruise along with my favorite music playing over the vehicle’s sound system – no extra wires or costly add-on devices necessary.

It’s funny how a certain feature will just impress the heck out of you, and that is exactly what this one has done. I can’t hep but wish every other mobile phone that markets itself as an audio device (:cough: iPhone!) would include the same feature. Good job, Nokia!

*I realize that there are some phones which have built-in FM transmitters, like the the Sony Walkman W980 or the LG FUSIC for instance, but I have never used one of those. 😉

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About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
Judie is the co-owner and Editor-in-Chief of Gear Diary, which she founded in September 2006. She started in 1999 writing software reviews at the now-defunct; from mid-2000 through 2006, she wrote hardware reviews for and co-edited at The Gadgeteer. A recipient of the Sigma Kappa Colby Award for Technology, Judie is best known for her device-agnostic approach, deep-dive reviews, and enjoyment of exploring the latest tech, gadgets, and gear.

4 Comments on "The Nokia N85’s Killer App"

  1. Very Interesting! I found a similar situation in my car.. I have a BT Car Kit in my car and hooked up my Vertu and found that I could go into the music player on the Vertu and play my music via BT over my car stereo! I had been previously been peeved to not be able to hook up my iPhone to the car and play my music.. So yes Ahem iPhone! There's two ways other phones are beating the iPhone for integration! BTW, my lowly Motorola V9 is also capable of the same hook-up!

  2. After showing the Neuros HD around the office, that's the one thing I pimp as it's already to go when your in the car. That and the fact that you can easily upgrade it's hard drive.

  3. Yep, the Neuros was totally ahead of the curve because they added a FM transmitter. When I did that review it was definitely a huge PRO.

  4. I'm curious though, I read something a while back about the reasoning behind why the FM transmitters available often seemed so weak and it was because of government regulations regarding allowable broadcast strength (before you have to get a broadcast license). Did Nokia somehow get past this? It's an even bigger problem in Europe, I understand, where the maximum allowable strength is lower than it is here in the U.S.

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