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Despite it's chunky (perhaps "robust" would be better?) appearance and close resemblance to a breeze block, the Nokia N86 is reliable, easy-peasy to use and feels great in your hand. It's wonderful for texting fast, even though it lacks the Qwerty keypad, and has a satisfying dictionary which has the charming ability to remember words you often use that other phones sometimes refuse to recognise; for example, one can text without being corrected to "shiv" and "aunt". The camera is a delight to use, with a handy sliding shutter thingy over the top which loads the camera-using-thing as soon as it's open. This is really useful for taking quick snaps of passing seals or the poorly dressed in the street. With an 8 mega pixel camera and a flash that actually works, the quality of the photos that can be taken with the phone match those of a real camera, with the advantages that come from being a phone, such as: taking calls, making and receiving text messages and having the internet. With an MP3 player also on the phone it comes with these handy headphones, which also make using the internet with the phone a more, er, personal experience: one can use the Nokia N86 to watch one-legged-hobbit-funsies without having to share the sound with others in the room or forgo the sound altogether. The OTHER camera on the other side of this phone (greedy little phone) can be accused of encouraging vanity in the user and is perhaps only really there to make creating emo-posey photos easier. Overall, the Nokia N86 is a lovely phone with a very lovely camera which I would recommend to anyone. I personally would chose no other phone. Hooray!
I got this on an 18month contract for £25 a month. I am pleased to say that my contract recently came to an end and i no longer have this phone. When i first received it i felt that it looked quite bulky and old fashioned. Even though this slide-phone is small, it is heavy. It looks like a brick and doesn't look fashionable or cutting edge in anyway. In fact i'd say it is a pretty ugly phone! It is a smart phone which means it has lots of features including 8 megapixel camera, video camera digital music player, radio, GPS navigation with Nokia Maps and digital compass, email and Java games. However i'm not very technology minded, so i'm not bothered about apps and all that. I just want to be able to text and call and also get on the internet and Facebook, all of which it was great for until a week later when it started crashing. It would just switch itself off while i was on the internet and sometimes even when i pressed it back on it wouldn't turn on so i would have to take the battery out, leave it for a few minutes, put it back in and then switch it on. This would happen regularly about once every two weeks. Also the battery life was rubbish. It would need charging constantly and it would never give a warning like other phones do, instead it would go from three bars to it running out. The internet was really slow when i was on it and towards the end of the contract it wouldn't let me go on certain things, for example it would let me get on the BBC News site but when i clicked on a story it would go back to Google. It was infuriating! The keys are really small too so are quite hard to use. Plus the call quality is bad - the person's voice on the other end of the line always felt too low. The one good thing about this is the camera. This is Nokia's first phone to feature an 8 megapixel camera, which results in really good quality photos. But that isn't enough for me. It is too temperamental and not reliable.
I'll start off by stating the two stand out features of this admirable work horse of a phone, these being the excellent digital camera quality and of course the free Satellite navigation provided by Nokia's Ovi Maps. OK so the camera quality has been eclipsed by the more recently released Nokia N8 but in its day this phone was and still is one of the best camera phones on the market. Captured images have great clarity and vibrant colours although with the automatic settings images can lack a little in detail but this is only noticeable when you zoom in on your saved images. There are numerous built in macro settings and I found switching the macro mode to close up really improves image quality and this phone makes for a great eBay item snapper. Recent software updates brought face detection to this phone which is usually quite accurate and helps a little with capture focus. Also available is 'sequence mode' which takes photos every so many seconds and self-timer mode. As with all camera phones you will get the most out of it in bright day light conditions, its ability to capture images in dark conditions is actually rather good at close range but anything further and quality tends to degrade. The dual LED flash is very powerful and tends to blind the eyes of the person having their photo taken but the flash can be turned off if required. It also features reduced red-eye flash mode built in which is a nice feature. Last but not least the phone has a wonderful built in kick-stand which combined with the self-timer option makes for great self-snaps when no one is around to hold the camera for you. Ovi maps is an excellent satellite navigation package which has the rather nice feature that you can pre-download maps of locations, this saves you from having to incur high data mobile fees while abroad. The phone/Ovi maps keeps good track of your location and updates quickly, the quality of the voice narrator is very clear and easy to hear using the phones built in speaker. The one drawback I've discovered with the satnav feature is that the voice navigation is automatically switched off if you activate Bluetooth for hands free phone calls in your car. This phone is a dual slider candy bar design, sliding the phone up reveals the reasonably spaced touch pad, sliding the phone down reveals four media centric buttons play/pause, backwards, forwards and stop. They also double up as gaming buttons. From personal experience I tend not to use the media buttons very often however. Call quality is above average and the built in loud speaker is as it says on the tin loud which is great for having a conversation without having to hold the phone next to your ear all the time. Battery life is about two to three days before a re-charge is needed, the phone can charge through a USB connection to your computer. All in all, if you're after a good looking camera phone with satnav functionality you won't do far wrong with the N86.
The nokia n86 is a dual slider similar in style to it's brothers the n95 and n96 however it is smaller than them more akin to the n85 size. It feels good in the hand and the slider mechanism feels sturdy with minimal wobble in either direction. On the device is a 3.5mm jack, volume rockers, a dedicated camera and lock key and your charging and data ports. Navigation on the device is done via the 5 way directional pad on the front which is surrounded by the call and end keys and the symbian menu key. Having used an n96 before I was expecting the navigation area to be cramped (as on the n96) but it feels rather spacious and I have big thumbs! The alphanumeric key pad Is a little small but the keys have plenty of space between them and plenty of travel however with the amount of space between the keys I would have liked to have seen a bigger keypad as the space seems wasted (similar to the keypad on the k810i). The screen is small but it looks crisp and vibrant and is large enough for the occasional look at facebook and check of emails but watching videos may strain your eyes abit. Web browsing is made a chore by the navi pad having to click your way around the webpage takes time and I think an optical track pad like on the samsung innov8 would have worked better. Symbian S60 works really well, it is not as stylish as iPhone or android OS or even an LG or Samsung OS but it does work. It is a no frills experience and everything just works which is probably why nokia have the reputation of making reliable smartphones. Music on the device is very good, sounds true and loud with plenty of options for eq etc plus it has a fm transmitter which is another bonus of the device. But music is simple and feature packed with the bundled headphones being of better quality than most with an in line mic and music remote. The camera is one of the main selling points of the phone with it being an 8mp with carl zeiss optics and the ability to shoot high quality video (Steve litchfield shoots his phoneshow on it!!) The stills shots look very good and the camera app launches quickly with the option of uploading a picture straight to facebook which is a nice feature. I would say that the camera on the c905 is better and produces more vibrant shots but the n86 is a close second. The camera has a lens cover which slides open and protects the lens nicely, there is also a kick stand on the back which puts the phone at a good angle for viewing videos but as I have already stated, watching long videos may strain your eyes on the small ish screen. However it is a nice feature as you can have your n86 display the time on your night stand like an alarm clock. The n86 has wifi and hsdpa so data is fast either at home or on the go. Email can be pushed to your device or set to manually check every few hours which saves battery. Also included is gps which can be used with nokia maps for a free sat nav which is a bonus however the screen is rather small but at least you have it as a back up. The battery life was quite good even using wifi and taking photos and playing games you will get 2 days or so out of a full charge. The 8gb of internal memory is plenty but it can be upgraded with an extra 16gb memory card which might not be necessary but is nice to have that option. I would say that if you want a smartphone without a touch screen then the n86 is a very good and stable choice. Despite it's smaller screen I'd recommend it over the n95/6. If however media is your thing and you want a touch screen the n97 may be a better phone for you, if gaming is important the iPhone is king in that area.