As the decade of the new millennium comes to an end, so does telephone keypad phones. The dawn of touchscreen phones was approaching as Apple and Android was slowly but surely taking over. On 2009, feature phones were mostly touchscreen and Nokia’s releases are hardly seen on top.
Nokia was running on a relatively outdated OS and performance wise, it was having a hard time catching up with the aforementioned rising Stars. Software was obviously not Nokia’s strong suit so it, presumably, went to develop phone’s hardware and release one of the first 8MP Camera and arguably, the best non-touch and non-qwerty phone to ever be released.
The Nokia N86 packed quite a mighty punch but for some reason, especially here in the Philippines, it is not quite a popular device. Back then, I hardly knew anyone who had this device and when my friends saw I had this phone about a year ago, they all thought it was a new release! So for today’s #TechThrowbackThursday, I present to you, Nokia N86, the unsung hero of the telephone keypad World!
The Nokia N86 came at white or black and is quite a looker as it posseses a two-way slider form. At first glance, a lot of my friends thought it was a touch screen phone and it looks like a scaled down Nokia N97. Sliding gives you the telephone keypad and The dedicated gallery and music keys. Comparing it into a present device it is definitely thicker. The front looks a lot like Nokia N97, front camera, Menu, Clear, Call, Cancel, Options and Back. The back houses the enormous, by yesteryear’s standard, 8MP camera. The sides have the volume rocker, lock button and camera shutter – a button absent on most phones today.
Nokia made a wise decision by using the standardized microUSB port along with a 3.5mm jack instead of its proprietary ports. Enabling you to easily get a spare. The screen is a scratch resistant AMOLED 2.4 Inch with 240×320 resolution, which, by then has been used over and over for Symbian S60v3 phones. The AMOLED screen actually gave it a relatively better color, and saturation as opposed to its predecessor.
The Super Camera
Nokia N86 was one the first to feature an 8-megapixel camera with amazing image quality. N86 offered one of the most vibrant, sharp and colourful pictures a phone could give back then, and by today’s standards, it still is!
It may show lags every now and then but it does offer a steady Focus mode and amidst its out-dated interface, it did offer plenty of options for you to tinker. Options include:
- Video Mode – Switches the Camera to video mode capable of capturing VGA video @30fps
- Panorama – A nice feature which has been on quite a number of device today
- Scene Modes- With a Nice Automatic Option, along with Close-up, portrait, sport, etc.
- Flash Mode
- Sequence Mode – Kind of like burst shot today.
The images Nokia N86 captures still fares well with today’s standard and it can still pass as a camera phone rather than a smartphone to some people. See the pics to appreciate.
Not only does the Nokia N86 function as a DigiCam with a SIM card, it could also be used as an MP3 player. For music lovers, Nokia N86 is quite a performer as it offers clean and clear audio output even on a connected external speakers. Sadly, though, if you are going to use it today as a video Player, you would have to deal with its unreliable codec as its stock player can is limited to only WMV,MP4 and 3GP. Unlike Android, which has MX Player Pro to tend to your video playback needs, N86 does not have a reliable third party app to fill your Video needs.
Aside from doing a decent job as a multimedia device, Nokia N86 does offer peculiar features such as dedicated gallery and camera keys, accessible via sliding the phone, a kickstand, enabling your phone to stand so do tasks without having to hold your phone and an FM transmitter, which enables you to play your music via radio. It targets niche audience, but it was generous of Nokia to give something new.
On a technological standpoint, Nokia N86 by its conception, was falling behind, it was running Symbian S60v3, with 128MB RAM and 433MHz Processor. Granted it had a huge 8GB Internal storage, expandable up to 16GB MicroSD, its competitors, (ehem) 3GS and Motorola Milestone, offered better functionality and usability which, in my opinion, led to its infamy and eventual demise of the beloved operating system. The only thing that Nokia N86 could boasts in functionality would have to be its good battery life.
Conclusion – When Software Fails Hardware
Nokia N86 is a pretty great phone, sadly, its greatest strength may have also been its greatest weakness. The phone packs a mighty hardware with its camera, but that was it, it basically is a camera with a sim Card slot on an outdated phone factor. It may have been popular but one of its major disadvantage was its exorbitant price at its launch.
It was launched with a price tag of almost P25,000, that is, in my humble opinion, too much for a camera. The aforementioned price almost rivaled the iPhone 3Gs and Motorola Milestone which had much better features and functionality both sporting quite respectable cameras of their own. Unlike Nokia 6630, which was one of the greats on its release, Nokia N86 became a borderline choice with an executive price for borderline use. Nokia N86 may have a good number of applications but these were old apps, installing and playing games on a faster phone with a better screen maybe fun for a while but it gets boring when you do the same thing over and over. It showed no signs of growth and consumers were starting to favour functionality over battery life.
New Nokia Smartphones
Nokia N86’s usability today is questionable, if you are looking for a classic non-touch, non—qwerty camera phone with better image quality and audio output, this a definite choice. But if like videos on the go, better stay clear from the Nokia N86!
What do you guys think? Have you ever owned an N86 before? What did you guys think of it? Hit us up on the comments and stay tuned for more!