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+ Weekend Reading: Nokia N85 -:- Mini User Review

11 January 2009

Weekend Reading:
N85 Mini User Review by Declan Shortall

Nokia N85 Thanks to the guys from WomWorld, I again have the opportunity to trial a new Nokia device.

This time around it’s the Nokia N85. Touted as the successor to the monster N95, I was eager to get my hands on this device.

Initial Impressions: The N85’s sleek and compact design caught my eye straight away, but I was a little surprised at how heavy it was.

And I certainly liked Nokia’s “minimalistic” approach to the front of the device, giving it an air of mystery as to what lies beneath the shell.

Build Quality:

Many reviews have reported to the superior quality of the N85 slider. However, I certainly did notice a slight wobble, both in the open and closed position. The inclusion of the keylock switch was a welcome change to the old key-stroke keylock.

The battery was running a little low, so I picked up the every trusty Nokia charger to plug it in. I think I looked around the whole device about 5 time until I realized that the standard charging port was nowhere to be seen. Nokia chose to integrate the charger and data ports on the N85. Thankfully bundled CA-101 cable looks after charging while the device is plugged in to a USB port.

Nokia N85 Nokia N85 Nokia N85
*click to enlarge

The front panel keys were surprisingly stiff and required a rather firm pressing to actually activate the switch. I was shocked when I realized the keymat cover was stuck on with an adhesive! I can see this adhesive weakening over time and the keymat falling off. The memory card door was easily opened, so no problems there.

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With the slider opened in the up position, the tidy alpha-numeric keypad is exposed. The ridges are slightly raised to separate the key-press regions. The camera key was in a good location. A slight touch was required to bring to auto-focus into action. However, a more firm press was required to actually take the picture.


The 2.6 inch OLED screen has been one of the most talked-about features of this phone. This was my first experience with an OLED equipped device, and I was SERIOUSLY impressed. The colours were incredibly rich and bright. You can even see the difference in the Nokia Handshake welcome screen. Nokia, please give ALL new devices the OLED screens!

Nokia N85 Nokia N85 Nokia N85
*click to enlarge

Software & User Interface

The N85 is built around the very popular and well equipped S60 3rd Edition FP2 platform. Being a previous N78 owner, I was very familiar with the changes implemented in FP2. The Kastor UI enhancements were blisteringly smooth, thanks to the obvious increase in RAM over the N78.

The new vertical shortcut bar looks amazing on this screen. Instead of just stretching the 240 X 320 screen resolution on the 2.6 inch screen, Nokia scaled the size of the shortcut bar down so it didn’t feel or look pixelated. Even with the Kastor enhancements on, the phone seemed very quick and punchy.

Nokia have included the very handy Software and Application updaters, which allow the user to schedule automatic checking for built-in 3rd party applications as well as firmware updates.

Multimedia & Camera

The built in stereo speakers were the loudest and clearest I have EVER heard on an N Series device. Even at the highest level there was no distortion even with the Loudness and EQ turned on in the Music Player.

The N85 is equipped with a 5 megapixel Carl Zeiss camera with Dual-Led flash. The choice of Dual-Led over Xenon flash means that the N85 will never compare to the quality of the N82 picture wise, but the dual led’s were more than capable of lighting up a poorly lit area while taking pictures. Nokia have updated the camera software allowing for Geo-tagging of both pictures and videos, and also customization of the camera shortcut bar.

Nokia N85 Nokia N85 Nokia N85
*click to enlarge

The Video Centre has also been updated, allowing for better organization of videos, and it is easier to add and download internet videos.

Both the Music Player and Radio applications have not been updated over those in the N78. However, people who have not used a device built on FP2 will notice that the Visual Radio & Internet Radio have been coupled together under the Radio application. The FM transmitter is as in the N78, with an active range of about 3 feet before the signal drops in quality.

Nokia Maps 2 is embedded in the software which allows for out-of-the box mapping and navigation. Most regions will include a free navigation license and maps installed on the bundled memory card. The initial GPS fix came in around the 2-3 second mark which was very fast. However, even in complete stationery position, the location indicator was jumping around. I don’t know whether that was the cause of an early build of Nokia Maps, the installed maps, or the actual GPS transceiver itself.

Nokia N85 Nokia N85 Nokia N85
*click to enlarge


What can I say about the N85 to sum up? I found it a truly wonderful device to trial. Anyone entering into the N Series world should definitely consider the N85. The N85 is surely worthy of replacing the N95 as the” Jewel in the Crown” of the Nokia fleet

SF Review: Weekend Reading: Nokia N85 -:- Mini User Review
Originally posted: 10.01.2009
Last Updated: 1.01.2009
Author: Declan Shortall (AKA declanshortall)
Photos: Mobile01
Copyright: Symbian Freak 2009; all rights reserved
Nokia E63
Photos by: Mobile01 Author: Declan Shortall

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