Hands on with the Nokia N85

We were given the chance to have an extensive hands on with the Nokia N85 ahead of its release next month.On paper the N85 shares most of the specs of its bigger brother the N96. With the N85 you get:5 mega-pixel auto-focus,3G (HSDPA),Bluetooth,Wi-Fi,AGPS,microSDHC slot,3.5mm Headphone Socket,TV-Out,Accelerometer,FM Transmitter

It wouldn't be unkind to call the N85 an N96 light, it looses the on board 16GB of memory and the DVB-H receiver, but it also looses a lot of the bulk. The N85 is surprisingly small and slim; it's closer to the Nokia 6111 in size then the N96. In loosing the DVB-H receiver (useless in most countries including the UK) the N85 has gained a much more useful FM transmitter.

One additional trick the N85 has is the display, its one of the first handset to feature an AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic LED) display. This new generation of displays consume less power then traditional displays, and provide wider viewing angles too.

Like the other N-series devices the camera was top notch, with all the controls you'd expect, although it does feature an LED flash rather then a Xenon one. Nokia however point out that this lets the N85 use the flash for video, not just photographs.

Since the device supports VGA quality video recording at 30 fps (approximately DVD quality); it is a welcome addition, although a complimentary Xenon flash would have been nice. Like Nokia's earlier N81 and N96, the N85 has strong support for media and their N-Gage platform.

Slide the handset open normally revealing the keypad, finished in the same gloss black as the device. Slide it the other way and you'll reveal the media keys, to let you FF, REW & Play/Pause music and media.

As a nice touch the screen automatically rotates to landscape display, accompanied by a nice smooth animation effect. Start the N-Gage application and the media keys disappear and become gaming keys via hidden LED's.

Trying to stress testing the N85 was surprising, starting Nokia Maps, N-Gage game, 3 tabs with the web browser, quick office, with all the usual phone apps (contacts, calender, etc) and trying to stream video clips all at once, the N85 only showed a very slight drop in speed.

It's really hard to fault the N85, small, light, well built, and competitively priced. The biggest problem with the N85 is that it makes the N96 seem a little redundant. Smaller, cheaper, but almost as powerful, you'll have to try hard not to like it.

This post was contributed by eXpansys plc, the owner of the eXpansys brand, the largest wireless technology online retail business in Europe and the USA.