Nokia N73 Hands-On

I haven’t owned a Nokia since the 8260 and that was a very long time ago. I didn’t have a problem with it, but I did have a problem with AT&T wireless being bought out by Cingular. Does anyone remember a time when incoming text messages were FREE? Spending some time with the N73 was a homecoming of sorts, but I felt like an 85 year old trying to learn how to use a computer. What’s this 3D Snake all about? Lifeblog, wtf is this?!

As always, Nokias are the most user friendly phones on the market and it only took me a few minutes to navigate through the UI. The N73 is packed with so many features and applications that I was overwhelmed at times, and that rarely happens with mobile phones. Nokia likes to call this gem a ‘Multimedia Computer’ and I’m inclined to agree, but keep in mind that it does its primary job very well — being a phone. Calls were clear and flawless.

There isn’t a whole lot that I feel the need to cover since most of you are well aware of the simple features that phones come with in this day and age, so let’s chat about the cool new features and apps this phone comes with.

Before I do, I’ll discuss a few things that are old, but worth mentioning. Bluetooth on the N73 is nothing special, but I haven’t had a phone that’s been able to transfer media to my Mac so utilizing this feature was loads of fun to play around with. I transferred all pics and videos via Bluetooth and I never experienced a hitch or glitch. Some may argue that WiFi isn’t a necessary feature, but I crave it for some odd reason. The N73 lacks this, but the EDGE on T-Mo did its job so I can’t complain too much. The HTML/XHTML browser does as good a job as any phone browser can do, but I’m spoiled so I didn’t bother using it much.

The N73 also supports email capabilities which seem to be a must in this day and age. As much as I’d like to detach myself from email and be a ‘normal human being’ who checks it once in a while, but I can’t. SMTP, IMAP4 and POP3 accounts with attachments as well as VPN work on this N-series workhorse. Enough about the boring old stuff; it’s time for the goodies.

The 3.2-megapixel camera on the N73 worked like a charm! The Carl Zeiss Optics lens, autofocus function and 20x digital zoom are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the barrel full of options the N73 packs in. The camera on the front isn’t much to rave about and the picture quality isn’t worth posting, but having two cameras is always a good selling point. Picture quality is VGA, but it does have 2x zoom. The main camera contrast, brightness, exposure, white balance and color tone can be adjusted, which, I think, is a lot for only a camera phone. You can also utilize the self-timer, mod the sequence mode for up to six pictures and there’s an LED flash with red-eye reduction. We’re still talking about the Nokia N73, right? Indeed we are. The camera also features the normal modes of night and day as well as having three picture quality settings. How good is the camera? Check out the picture. You can also capture video with sound in MP4 or 3GP formats, which is demonstrated below.

A pic taken with the Carl Zeiss 3.2 megapixel camera

The apps on this badboy are pretty sweet. LifeBlog, for example, is a multimedia journal tool that syncs up your pics and all your messages so you, too, can become a blogger. Quickoffice allows you to read Word, Powerpoint and Excel documents and there’s also a PDF reader so the business types can definitely get by without a full fledged smart phone. PIM has the basics such as calendar, calculator, clock, etc.

On-board memory is limited to 42MB, but the miniSD slot allows for expansion. The music player gets the job done and it supports MP3, AAC, WMA, M4A, and eAAC+ files. The built in equalizer was a nice touch and I’ll admit I used the player for a few days and liked it. The FM radio is great too as long as you hold onto the headset because the tuner is built into the headset. Rest assured that the N73 has all the bells and whistles you’d expect, but I decided to leave that out and focus on the major features. If you want more details then feel free to email me.

Blue lights!!!

Video taken with a negative color tone and the last few seconds are zoomed in on the TV. I have huge nostrils.

Overall, the N73 was a welcome surprise and my expectations were exceeded exponentially. I’ve never had problems with Nokias and if you’re in the market for a non-smartphone that’s basically a smartphone then the N73 is a safe bet. You won’t be disappointed. It’s available now and retails for $429.99.

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