Techcraver Review: Nokia N79 Handset

Introduction

The Nokia N79 is a deceiving little device. At first glance, the candybar-shaped phone looks like an ordinary mobile phone. However, the N79 stands out from the other NSeries cousins in aesthetics in that it is all white in color on the front facing.

This phone features an outstanding camera that produces high-quality images and smooth flowing video. It also has 3G data access and in-built WiFi. On the software side, this Symbian S60 phone has a full messaging and productivity suite.

The Nokia N79 has almost the same feature set as the N85 (review here), which was released at about the same time, but the N79 has is smaller with a more attractive appearance. While the N85 is a dual-slider, the N79 is a candybar style, as you can see above.

Out Of The Box

This phone is a great-looking device. Unlike the bulky Nokia N95, the N79 is a slim, light and gorgeous phone. The face is all-white and the screen is a bit small at 2.4 inches, but it is bright and vibrant. The XpressOn covers that adorn the back are interchangeable. Upon purchase, you have the choice of a white, red, and brown back covers and the N79 has a unique feature as you swap covers on and off the back. The background on the phone and themes change accordingly according to what cover is on the phone…a very nice touch.

The handset is a mere 4.3″ tall, 1.9″ wide, and .5″ deep and weighs in at only 3.4 ounces. The face of the front is trimmed by a chrome strip. Overall, the phone feels solid and well-balanced in your hand and slides easily in a pocket or bag. The screen has a 320×240 pixel resolution that presents text and images in a crisp manner.

The top of the handset has the power button, lock switch and 3.5 mm headphone jack. As with other N Series handsets, the right hand side features a volume rocker and camera button. The left side features a micro-SD slot and micro-USB port for data transfer.

In the box, you’ll find a power adapter, the N79 itself, USB cables, Video out cables, a 4GB microSD card, and reference manual.

Features

Being an NSeries phone, it should be assumed that the Nokia N79 was made for consuming and creating media. The phone comes fully loaded with all the necessary components to make this your one-stop shop for media consumption, whether it’s audio or video content.

The built-in media player plays MP3, AAC, and WMA audio files. On the video side, the N79 plays MP4, 3GP, and H.264 media. These files can pump out media via the standard sized 3.5 mm headphone jack or the on-board speakers. Another great feature – if you have a headset plugged in, you can listen to FM radio on the N79′s on-board FM tuner.

If you’re more into creating you own digital content, the N79 will suit you as well. The on-board 5MP camera has a Carl Zeiss lens that captures phenomenal photographs. The camera is also great at shooting video at full VGA resolution at 30 frames per second for true-to-life video. To help make your videos look even better, Nokia has included a video stabilization feature to help reduce shake as you capture videos.

While I’m talking about the camera, I’d like to mention one great feature…a sliding cover that not only protects lens, but provides a great piece of functionality that I really like. When you have the N79 in your hand and want to shoot an image, you simply open the cover, snap the photo, and close it when you’re done. No weird menus to navigate through – just easy photo taking fun.

The N79 features is 3G capable, meaning it supports the 850/1900 Mhz for 3G data access on AT&Ts 3G network. T-Mobile USA uses a different set of frequencies so if you’re out of luck if you’re on the T-Mobile network. However, like other N Series models, the N79 has Wi-Fi for fast data when you’re in range of a Wi-Fi hotspot. The N79 also features on-board GPS and Bluetooth 2.0.

On the software side, the Nokia N79 does not disappoint. The Nokia N79 runs on the 3rd edition of the S60 Feature Pack 2 of the Symbian operating system. For navigation, the N79 features Nokia Maps 3.0 which provides driving and walking directions along with syncing with Ovi services along with color maps, route planning, and other points of interest.

For productivity and other needs, the N79 features QuickOffice gives you access to view Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents. Also, you have access to a PDF view, a calendar, and other standard mobile applications. As with other Nokia handsets, the N79 features e-mail functionality with standard e-mails in addition to Exchange email for corporate-types.

Performance

I tested the Nokia N79 throughout the Portland, Oregon and Los Angeles, CA areas on the T-Mobile network. I found call quality to be very good in areas with even low signal areas. As with other Nokia handsets, the Finnish company engineers and manufactures amazing radios in their mobile handsets. I consistently enjoyed great volume with no background noise or other common problems associated with cell phone issues.

The built-in accelerometer performed well also – changing screen orientation whenever needed (this feature can be disabled in preferences). In terms of system performance and usability, the Nokia N79 performed well. There was minimal lag and delay when launching applications or navigating menus.

Going into the hardware capabilities, the N79′s speakers are very audible, even in slightly noisy environments. Music sounds great both using the headphone jack and the Bluetooth chip with wireless headphones.

I achieved very good battery life on the N79. Even using battery-heavy features such as snapping photos, shooting video, and using Wi-Fi, the battery held up well. I was able to easily get 2-4 days of battery life based on my usage – which is much better than some other handsets I’ve tried in the past.

Conclusion

All-in-all, the Nokia N79 is a fantastic handset. In my opinion, for a candy-bar style phone, the N79 has all that anyone could ask for. The N79 has good looks, great call quality, strong multimedia performance, awesome photo and video capturing capabilities and stunning battery life.

The Nokia N79 may not have a touch screen like the Nokia N97 or an amazing full QWERTY keyboard like the E71, but this phone carries a lot of great features. The little stunner of a phone makes it easy to keep in touch with your friends and capture all the important moments of your life.