The guys at WOM World kindly loaned me the N81 8GB to play with. The usual S60 functionality is excellent and the handset has a nice solid feel to it. The handset is aimed at the music market, hence the huge memory, and my device came bundled with a superb pair of Bose headphones. As a music player combination they are fantastic but the handset doesn’t really work for me.
Nokia has clearly focussed on the music aspects of the handset, perhaps to the exclusion of other features. The handset only has a 2MP camera and whilst this is adequate it’s less than you’d expect on a premium device like this.
The keypad takes a lot of getting used to. It uses a curious rocker key that extends across the whole width of the handset. I’d much prefer to see separate keys. The Navi wheel is a nice idea but I couldn’t get on with it. It’s too inconsistent in operation.
Like other N Series devices the N81 is missing the Active Standby plug-ins function that the E Series devices have. This is a really useful facility that allows the status of multiple applications to be listed on the home screen. It’s something you need to use to understand just how useful it is and a key reason why I love my E51.
In summary, the N81 is a great idea but somewhat flawed in implementation.
Thank you to WOM World for the loan of the handset.