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Nokia N76 mobile phone

Not a poster child for Nokia's sense of originality

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Review Out of the box the first thing that struck us about the N76 was how much it looked like the Motorola Razr flip. The similarity to the Razr isn't limited to the looks department - it's about the same size and weight too. Many things it may be, but Nokia's 3G flip smartphone isn't much of a poster child for the Finnish company's sense of originality.

Like the Motorola, the Nokia handset has two screens - a rather fine 2.4in, 240 x 320 resolution, 16m-colour job with adjustable brightness as the main screen, and a one-third size 262,144-colour, 128 x 160 display on the 'back' of the flip. When the phone is closed the smaller screen displays time, network, battery power and details of any music playing. When open it displays the time and date. Visibility of the smaller screen is pretty poor in direct light, and it really only justifies its existence by virtue of the phone's ability to operate as a music player and camera with the flip closed.

Nokia N76 mobile phone handset
Nokia's N76: opinion is divided on the looks

Opinion on the phone's looks have been divided, though the silver panel at the front that frames the secondary screen certainly looks like a bit of an afterthought. Also, the 'piano' black example we have is a fingerprint magnet - so much time is being spent trying to polish smudges off it with t-shirts and handkerchiefs that some of the Register Hardware hacks are beginning to look like they have OCD.

Build quality is generally fine; the flip opens with a rather stiff action - it's a two-hand job - and shows no sign of play when open. The “chrome” cover for the micro-SD slot gives us concern, and the battery/SIM card cover is not the easiest to remove, especially if your hands are a little greasy. One rather annoying physical feature is that when the 3.5mm jack headset or USB cable is plugged in, the flip won't open all the way, and when it does it obscures the on/off button. Insertion of the SIM card is a little strange - it rests in a fully-removable small yellow plastic tray that slides under some electrical bits to the left of the battery. Lose or break the little yellow thing and you may well be up a creek without a paddle, as there's no way to slide the SIM into the correct space without it - nor indeed to get it back out once it's in.

The N76's operating system is the by now familiar Symbian OS 9.2 S60 Release 3.1, as seen on the N95. When the phone is closed you can access the play/pause, skip forward, skip back, volume up and volume down controls for the MP3 player and radio. You can also use the camera, the image appearing in the small outside screen. When open you have to deal with a Razr-esque etched keyboard. We found this example of the genre to be reasonably tactile and no hindrance to text input. The main screen menu allows direct access to the phone book, messenger application, calendar, internet browser, music player and Bluetooth application. Hit the familiar Symbian menu button and you access the main menu.

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