Feeds
83%

Nokia N81 8GB smartphone

You wait ages for an 8GB Nokia then three come along at once

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The N81 comes with a decent helping of 3G and smartphone features, and you can add further Symbian S60 applications. Video calling is present and correct, and there’s a RealPlayer multimedia player for viewing downloaded or PC-transfered video content. This can look great in landscape mode. The camera on the Nokia N81 is, however, a pretty average affair.

The two-megapixel camera has dedicated on-button access and a user interface that’s fairly intuitive. A reasonable set of tweaks can be made to the settings. But the pictures we took were patchy, and sometimes the colour rendition lurched from acceptable to disappointingly poor. The fixed-focus lens can produce decent snaps up to 5 x 7in in size, but close-up quality is limited and images are often soft.

Nokia N81 smartphone
Still photography is OK, but video works better

Not, then, Nokia’s best effort by a long way. Video capture is better than average for a cameraphone, recording in VGA quality (640 x 480) at 15 frames per second.

You can upload stills and video with a couple of clicks to Flickr and Vox, and then there's Nokia’s Lifeblog application, which can automatically timeline texts, messages, notes, pics, videos and so on, and allow you to upload them to a blog or transfer them to your PC.

Although there’s no GPS receiver, the N81 does come with Nokia Maps software, which can work with a Bluetooth GPS receiver if you have one. Web surfing is taken care of by the Nokia Web Browser, which works as swiftly as you’d expect on Wi-Fi and fairly smartly too on 3G. The device also supports email with attachments. As usual with Nokia S60 smartphones, you get a good selection of personal information apps, calendar, notes, calculator and PDF reader.

Nokia claims the N81 can run for up to 17 days on standby, with a talktime quoted at four hours on GSM and three hours on UMTS 3G networks. We found the battery to be a heavyweight contender in this respect, requiring infrequent recharges in regular usage. To make the most out of its music and gaming facilities, though – which presumably someone forking out for an 8GB phone will do - regular charging will be required. Music playback time is estimated at up to 11.5 hours, while thumb-tapping gamers can expect six hours' play from the battery pack. Call performance was excellent.

Verdict

If you’re looking for plenty of track storage in a smartphone, the N81 is a lower-cost alternative to the N95 and, indeed, Apple’s iPhone. It doesn’t come with the same wealth of functionality as the N95 – no GPS and a lower quality camera than the N95’s five-megapixel job. The design's slick but the plastic casing gives the N81 a cheap feel. And while the controls are cluttered and definitely not as ergonomic as they could be the music player performance is excellent.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

83%

Nokia N81 8GB smartphone

It's cheaper than the N95, but not as feature filled. Makes a very nice music phone, though...
Price: Contract: from free to £220. Handset only: £360 RRP

More from The Register

next story
TEEN RAMPAGE: Kids in iPhone 6 'Will it bend' YouTube 'prank'
iPhones bent in Norwich? As if the place wasn't weird enough
iPAD-FONDLING fanboi sparks SECURITY ALERT at Sydney airport
Breaches screening rules cos Apple SCREEN ROOLZ, ok?
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
The British Museum plonks digital bricks on world of Minecraft
Institution confirms it's cool with joining the blocky universe
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.