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Nokia N81 8GB: Let’s Get Physical

Nokia N81Last week, I got a surprise package at my front door: a Nokia N81 8GB, courtesy of the fine folks at Comunicano who run the Nokia Blogger Relations program. I’ve had a few days to play with the device and will do a series of posts about the device.

The first post I will do is on some of the physical aspects of the device. The size, the buttons, and so on. Functionality will be discussed in future postings.

Disclaimer: I work for one of the few areas in Nokia that has nothing to do with mobile phones. However, the fact I work at Nokia is something you should probably know. These are my opinions and not Nokia’s. Got it?

The Nokia N81 8GB is a slider-style phone geared for music, gaming, and Internet. There are buttons geared for music–you can see the music controls–and gaming buttons, which you can’t see in this photo. They are at the top of the phone to the left and right of the metal earpiece. Both the music and the gaming keys light up at the appropriate time, but I find the lighting on both the music keys and the gaming keys to be exceptionally weak.

I find the keys here just a little cramped. I accidentally hit the play/pause button, which causes whatever I was listening to to start playing again. I also find the numeric keypad that slides out underneath a little uncomfortable on the top row of the number pad. The slide needs to protrude out a little bit more.

On the left and right side of the device, there are two stereo speakers. The sound that comes from those speakers is at least as good as my Nokia N95, if not just a little better. Also on the right side of the device is the camera shutter and volume control/digital zoom keys.

At the top of the device there is a slightly recessed power button, a standard 1/4 inch stereo plug for your headphones, and a key lock slider. Slide the key lock slide to lock the keys on the handset. Slide the key lock again to unlock the handset.

On the back side, you have a 2mp camera lens with flash. Underneath the snap-on battery cover is the BP-6MT 1050 mHa battery and the obligatory SIM slot. In this phone, you put the SIM in a little drawer and slide the drawer into a compartment below the battery.

On the bottom is the now standard Nokia mini-plug for power and a new data connector: MicroUSB. As I recall, MicroUSB was also supposed to be used for power in addition to data connection, but apparently they didn’t design it that way.

Overall, I like the feel of the phone. It’s a little heavier than my Nokia N95, but not annoyingly so. It feels solid in my hands. I like the overall look, even if I think they could have improved the implementation.


C-List #Cybersecurity Celebrity, Podcaster, #noagenda Producer, Frequenter of shiny metal tubes, Expressor of personal opinions, and of course, a coffee achiever.