The glossy black front panel features a navpad that also does iPod-like touch-sensitive scrolling. It’s reasonably sensitive to brushing, but not as assured and reliable as an iPod clickwheel, so it can be a bit frustrating when it works faster in some apps than others. A Multimedia key next to the navpad pulls up a carousel of menus for zippy access to audio visual content, maps, games, mobile TV, contacts and so on.
Flip the slider one way for media controls...
Slip the phone into action, and a quartet of additional buttons glow from beneath the black surface – a pair of soft-menu keys, plus a Clear key and the typical S60 menu button. It’s tidy and not overcomplicated.
The media player keys on the smooth upper slide panel are similarly backlit. In music and video mode, they take care of regular play/stop/forward/rewind functions, but in other applications, additional key functions appear – such as very useful zoom keys for browsing and image viewing, and dedicated N-gage gaming buttons.
Slipping out the upper slider flips the screen automatically into landscape widescreen view, but there’s also a motion-sensor inside the phone, so you can opt to have motion sensing automatic screen orientation too.
The numberpad, like the upper slider, is a flush one-piece panel, but Nokia’s done a good job with responsiveness, and it’s pleasingly springy for speedy texting.
...and for gaming
The N85’s S60 UI is easy to get to grips with. Towards the top of the home screen are half a dozen icon shortcuts, all of which can be swapped for other functions, apps or even website links. Additional home screen help includes info updates from the calendar, music player status, an online and local search facility, and a Share online option for uploading photos and videos. Wi-Fi status is displayed too, along with quick search and connect options for nearby WLANs.
Thankyou - I didn't see that - some further in depth battery tests would be welcome though, My Nokia n95 gives me 2 days if I dont touch it, it gives me less than half a day if the radio is on (whether actually playing or not), about 5 hours of constant music playback, about 3 hours solid internet browsing (3G) and much less with WiFi.
Nokia seem to completely overlook battery life.
@ Steve Sutton
Quote: "...and boast about some bloke who designed their lens (yeah, whatever - I don't care if Ronald McDonald designed the lens, as long as the pictures are ok!)..."
I doubt that Nokia are actually getting Carl Zeiss to personally design their lenses for them. Not when you consider that the guy has been dead for more than 120 years.
Flash and media button (@ Joe K)
Absolutely agree with that one mate - It utterly baffles me that people put 5+ MP cameras in phones, and boast about some bloke who designed their lens (yeah, whatever - I don't care if Ronald McDonald designed the lens, as long as the pictures are ok!), and then some shitty flash which means photos taken in low light conditions are blurry and dark - often, indoor photos will have a very yellow tint too!
Dear Nokia - The Xenon flash was the killer app on the N82, without which I would not have upgraded. I read this article and was considering upgrading to the N85 (especially because of the FM transmitter, which I've been trying to buy separately for my N82), but the lack of xenon flash means I will not buy it. You fail!
Oh, and one more thing - please, for the love of god remove the sucky media/gallery/whatever it is called button - it makes me want to throw my phone at the wall/out the window/at the nearest Nokia designer/etc... on an almost daily basis, when it activates, despite my not intending it to!
(Thumbs down for the phone, not the article!)