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Nokia N85 smartphone

Puts in a big-hitting performance

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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.

Nokia N85

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.

Nokia N85

...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.

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