People usually give mixed reviews about N86, and Nokia in general. It is easy to see why. Nseries or N86 8MP to be more specific have its own targets on the market and that’s how Nokia made their plans, giving different phones for different necessities and tastes of people.
Nokia N86 8MP. Only one title can define on what these words tell us about, and that is Nokia’s Camera Phone Flagship. Being technical and numerical, 8MP stands for 8 Mega pixels, and whatsoever complaints you have, still N86 was made to call the attentions of the fellows. Aside from being on the top, N86 offers more than a camera phone, and these things can be found on the smart phone sections. It’s obvious that 86 is lesser compare to 97, and I already said that it depends on what our needs.
At the other end of the spectrum there are features on the phone that thrives to be advanced and enhanced. Its bright OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) screen, the dual slider form factor can be seen on the few phones and N86 was one to have it, the scratch resistant front surface of the phone, its 8GB built-in memory or even the kickstand are one of the special features of the phone. But in the whole review I will focus much on the camera and design of the phone.
Harder Facade.Giving the visual treats are the descriptions of what the phone looks like outside. The facade of the phone was the best soothing spot for your naked eyes. The hardened glass together with the metal details was blended carefully to give shiny and glossy visual feedback. The dpad is well organized and balanced to maintain the accentuated metal linings and its pristine hardened glass. The plastic back cover. Yes, I mentioned plastic and it’s a different kind of plastic. The cover back is tangibly metallic and you can’t feel the plastic effect neither the smooth surface. P.S. Hardened glass means scratch resistant.? =D
Sexier Body. If I have the chance to choose the gender for N86 8MP definitely it will be a male. I am always amazed of how the N86 was designed and formed. The dimensions and weight will tell you that it’s a gentleman, with the futuristic and artistic body form; it will be blessed hot six packs-phones. Mentioning the size of the phone, it is thicker than mini but in more compact way. While mini is lighter, the N86 is heavier compare to it. But no worries, N97 Mini and N86 8MP feels comfortable in my hands.
Stronger Slide. The well-polished-keypad was a YES, while double slider on the N86 8MP should be a compliment above others. Even though it is not new when we are talking of N85, N96 or N95 8GB, the flexibility and the durability of the double slider was improved. Unlike in my N81′s slider, the slider on the N86 is stronger and tougher. I can’t feel the wobbliness neither the shaking of the upper slide. I used the phone for 1 week and still can’t feel any weak mechanism on the slider and I hope that after long use of N86 I will be able to see the same toughness on the slider.
Bigger Mega Pixels. The 8MP counts well on what a camera phone flagship can offer. Compare to a lower pixel count camera, 8MP will be stretching more pixel counts giving vivid and finer photos. Absolutely the quality will be different while using bigger mega pixels.
Below are the sample shots taken by N86 8MP and N97 Mini both in 5MP image quality, so it’s an equal battle for them. *Nokia N86 8MP images are always first followed by N97 Mini, except in other sections (Wider Aperture, the plate and the square light) because they were taken by N86 only.
But talking of bigger MP here are the samples taken with 8MP for N86 and N97Mini for 5MP. At full digital zoom N86 delivered an excellent result. Look at the details on the first photo (N86 8MP) compare to the 5MP of N97 Mini.
Wider Angle Optics & Aperture. The wide-angle optics made by Carl Zeiss should be consider as one of the stretching points where N86 8MP excels from others. The first phone from Nokia to offer a magnificent camera feature. Wider angle lens of N86 will give a gewgaw on macro or close up mode yet the multi-automatic focus will save you from this qualm.
Close up photos:
Due to the enthusiasm of mine and am to learn and to become a professional mobile-paparazi-wanna-be or just a plain photog in the field of camera phone, I placed the aperture on the main topics of the camera section. Technically, wider aperture allows more natural light to be use by the camera sensors. With these innovations the camera sensors don’t need more artificial lighting or to produce its own lights on every photo. Also, relying on the natural lights will result in a lively and natural photo.
Plus with the wider aperture it will help the camera phone during low light scenes and will not depend on the flash.
Photos taken by N86 8MP with flash (first) and with no flash (second):
Brighter Dual LED. Now let’s talk another stretching point and this award goes to the 3rd generation dual-LED flash/video light. First of all you will be thinking of how the 3rd gen dled will break another limitation and let’s insert the Xenon on our topic, the powerhouse on N82′s history. Clearing your cloudy thoughts on this issue, Xenon offers more light (100s or 1ks times compare to leds, ok leave it as a blank coz im not sure =P) and the speed of Xenon’s flash effect can be consider as the time stopper of every rotating of moving objects. While talking of 3rd Generation Dual-LED on N86, the video lighting was a big priority and the upgraded photo flash, too. The light emitted by photo flash on 3rd gen dled is brighter than a normal dled e.g. on my Mini, and eats lesser power consumptions on the battery while Xenon is a monstrous energy eater.
On the video lighting, Xenon will be forgotten and DLEDs will be welcome. The remedy of other company on this Xenon problem was putting LED and Xenon together in one phone, but I can’t see them on N86, and I am not an expert to tell you which one is better, the Xenon + LED or the enhanced DLED, but I prefer DLED for less space and less power consumption.
So here the sample shots taken by N86 8MP with flash and we will compare it to the N97 Mini.
Video recording with DLEDs on.
Higher Video Quality. Next pit stop will be on the video recording and its not a surprise that N86 got a higher quality video recording compare to my N97 Mini, unluckily it’s a surprise that the phone didn’t get a body massage, and I’m talking about HD and an Auto Focus on the video recording. But with these videos I manage to capture, it is seen that the video quality of N86 8MP are on the higher quality compare to others and well, it’s a good alternative for video camera too. Digital zooming is not a problem but it’s much preferred to have an Optical Zoom and Auto Focus on video recording on the next Nokia’s Camera Phone flagship.
If I miss mentioning other features of the camera and the phone itself then I reserved a special section on them. So it’s time to criticize the oddities of the phone.
*Kickstand – The multifunctional kickstand offers convenience in photo browsing, watching videos, and lots of multi-media functions.
*Active lens cover – Even when your phone is lock you can easily open the camera application with speed. Just open the cover lens then the camera UI will pop and you are ready to snap pictures.
*Customizable Camera Toolbar – Out of 16 camera widgets there is an editor toolbar for you. Minimize the widget numbers or organize them in your own way.
*Multimedia Buttons – Sliding the phone downward will expose 4 buttons on top of it. There are play/pause & square, next/ff & zoom in, stop & circle, and back/fb & zoom out. All of them are friendly and useful in browsing media contents or even in camera mode.
*Bass Booster – Music Player settings on N86 8MP has its own side dish. Aside from equalizer, another settings for music player is quite nice for me. Settings includes stereo balance, stereo widening, and the bass booster. This bass booster replaced the loudness control on my old N81.
Untouchable. The N86 is a not a touch screen phone unlike other phones, but with its unbeatable functions on the camera field, there are only few reasons to hate N86. In my experiences of using the N97 Mini and N86 8MP, I believe that we need more physical keys on a camera phone flagship but it’s obvious non-touch phones have a smaller screen compare to touch screen phones. And some functions will be unavailable for non-touch phones e.g. touch focus or manual focus. But this will serve as inspirations on the next camera phone.
If Nokia will just make a tripod accessory for their phones it will be a blessings for most bloggers and users. We saw N900 with an auto focus on its video recording and I hope this tactic will continue on the future phones.
Who says DLED sucks? 3rd Generation DLED was superior as Xenon in terms of photo flash, and yet DLED can’t par on Xenon’s capabilities in full flash support. But, Xenon will learn much on N86 8MP’s DLED and still it’s fundamental to have a LED for video lighting. If companies reach to the point of producing 3rd gen dled, so it is not impossible to make a 4th gen dled or more of its kind that can kill or par the Xenon on photo flash.
Sorry if I didn’t go deep on the OS and other software related stuff (e.g. UIs) and it doesn’t mean that the Symbian OS for Series 60 3rd ed phones are not impressive as others. Still the versatility and scope of Symbian is wider compare to others. The multimedia experience on N86 was supported well by its OS and its not surprising that Nokia and Symbian offers more compare to others.
About the hardware of the N86, I was impressed on how N86 managed to multitask. Running applications/programs at the same time was a relief. Web Browser + Gravity + Music Player + Nimbuzz are on its phase as always with no interruptions or ended programs.
So, that’s all for N86 review and stay tune for my next project, the Nokia N86 8MP Galore.
Here are the other photos taken with N86 8MP hope you will enjoy them.