Being one of the last has some pros and cons. Cons include you cannot cash in on the latest fad but the pro is you can work on the flaws of the first ones to etch out a close to flawless product. Nokia is one of the last one to roll out an 8MP phone and mind you, the only one. We tested it for a considerable amount of time and this is what we’ve found.
If you see looks-wise, N86 steps up from its predecessor, N85 with revamped design, dual-sliding function, better spaced out keys but if you consider camera-wise, it’s a thorough upgrade over Nokia’s 5MP shooters (N95, N82 et al). Or at least we expect.
Good thing about N86 is that it feels good in your hands even though it weighs a bit on the higher side (149g). It’s a dual slider with a decent 2.6-inches AMOLED display that reveals the alphanumeric keys while sliding up or shows its multimedia keys when slid down. I’ve not been a fan of Nokia sliders but this one is one of the best sliders to come out from the Nokia stable.
The key placement includes D-pad, call/end keys, Gallery, cancel and soft menu keys on the front; keypad lock on the left, power off on the top; while dedicated camera and volume keys on the right.
N86 runs on Series 60 with FP2. If you’ve used any of the Nokia Symbian devices in the past, there’s not much to explore in here because the UI is reminiscent with few changes like new menu icons. The phone has a built-in accelerometer, which the software takes advantage of by changing to horizontal/landscape mode on tilting the phone.
N86 boasts an ARM11 processor clocking at 434MHz. Although it is not the fastest Nokia around, the UI is optimized to execute commands swiftly. You won’t find much lag while surfing through the menu or starting an app.
Nseries is touted for its multimedia friendliness and belonging to the same category, N86 is no different. N86 features gallery, music player, FM Radio, FM Transmitter, dedicated music controls, Kickstand.
The gallery has been given a 3D touch, also found in other Nseries camera centric phones but I found that it lagged initially if the phone has a lot of photos stored in the memory.
Music Player is the same you would find in other Symbian devices. The music library can be sorted in numerous options, there’s EQ and support for dedicated music keys that can be used after sliding the phone down.
As far as music quality is concerned, you won’t be disappointed as the music sounds good with the included in-ear earphones as well as on loudspeakers.
FM Transmitter allows user to stream phone’s music on to another FM enabled device. Setting it up and playing is as easy as 1-2-3. Just set the frequency, run your N86’s music player and tune in the same frequency on the desired device.
Another interesting inclusion is the integrated kickstand. The kickstand is located besides the camera that can be pulled out when you’re viewing pictures or videos. The kickstand could be configured from the settings menu to initiate an application when pulled.
Now let’s come to its USP – the 8MP camera. The camera is located under the lens cover which on sliding down reveals its 28mm wide-angle Carl Zeiss lens. The camera is complemented by dual LED flash and features like auto focus, image stabilizer, mechanical shutter, face detection (in the recent software update) and more. Nokia N86 is one of the few wide-angle lens equipped phones that gives more subject capture area to users, which is apt for landscape pictures. The image quality output is good under adequate lighting conditions but it somewhat lacks when it comes to clicking pictures under low light. Here are few comparison shots one taken with N86 (left) and the other with Nokia’s 5MP N82 (right). Click pictures for full resolution.
N86 records video at VGA resolution at 30fps. The video output is at par with most of the camera-centric handsets and the inclusion of a wide-angle lens with dual-LEDs acting as a video light adds to its video recording prowess.
The battery is rated at 1200mAh and with a use of about 1 hour of calling, 1 hour of music, bit of N-gage and lots of Wi-Fi use, I was able to use it for around 1.5 days.
Amongst other things, N86 also integrates GPS with digital compass, N-gage and range of Ovi services.
To conclude, Nokia has tried really hard to make N86 a worthy competitor and yes, they’ve succeeded too. However, with the competition offering touchscreen interface, faster processing power and better camera capabilities, N86 seems a bit pricey at its Rs. 23k level.