Live photos of the Nokia N85
- Design, Size, Controls
- Hardware Specifications
- USB, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
- GPS - navigation
- Music Department
- Search – vesrion 4.0
- Multimedia Menu
- N-Gage and Gaming Department
- Preinstalled Applications
- Nokia N85 vs Nokia N95, Nokia N95 8Gb, Nokia N79
- Nokia N85
- 1200 mAh Li-Ion battery (BL-5K)
- Charger (AC-10)
- Nokia Video Connectivity Cable (CA-75U)
- USB data cable (CA-101)
- Wired stereo-headset with a remote (HS-45, AD-54)
- Nokia 8 GB microSD card (MU-43)
- User Guide
At a glance, the N85’s positioning in Nokia’s portfolio may seem somewhat tangled. Judging by its technical specifications, it looks like almost the exact copy of the Nokia N95, bar a couple of things; however this first impression is deceiving. In fact, the N85 comes in to replace the original Nokia N95, that recently got an upgrade in the form of the N95 8 Gb. And since the N85 is superior to the latter on all major accounts, it easily qualifies as a successor to all existing iterations of the fabulous N95.
When it first arrived, the Nokia N95 retailed for around 550-600 Euro, whereas the Nokia N85 will go for around 450-500 Euro at start. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that these convergent devices have been relegated to a lower price bracket that will allow boosting their sales in a major way. So, the Nokia N85 will be targeting the mass market from the get-go and will remain one of Nokia’s key offerings throughout 2009.
The question remains, however, what the Nokia N85’s audience will look like? Actually, there will be several well-defined user groups in it:
- The owners of the Nokia N95 (and to a lesser extent - of the N95 8Gb) who are still content with what their phones have to offer, but looking for a worthy replacement, preferably housed in the same form-factor. While there won’t be many of them, this group is still big enough, so that we can’t neglect them.
- New users - these consumers will be the bread and butter for the Nokia N85. Comprising this group are people for whom the original Nokia N95 wasn’t an economically sound choice in view of its steep price, and then it rapidly became “outdated” and lost a fair amount of its charm. The N85, however, will attract them with its price tag and also by being the epitome of the all-in-one device. All in all, it will be a rational choice. Another thing of note is that these users put Nokia above all other phone makers and rarely resort to other handsets.
- Migrants - as the group’s name implies, these users are switching to the Nokia N85 from phones made by other companies. As a rule, these people are looking for the best price/quality ratio and a fair bit of technology in their new handsets. In other words, they demand not the most feature-rich solution around, but still pretty close to it. Just don’t think we decided to describe techi in such a fancy way - by no means. Oftentimes consumers in this group don’t know much about mobile phones, they simply set some brackets for price and functionality and then take it from there;
- Techi - the N85 is less of a messiah for this group than the Nokia N95 when it only debuted. Very few tech-inclined guys will actually buy it and this is probably the most distinctive difference between these two phones. In fact, this is what characterizes the gap between the mass market and stand-alone segments. While the Nokia N95 managed to climb to the top of all sales charts more due to a lucky coincidence, the Nokia N85 has been designed to beat all records in the first place.
We left out some secondary consumer groups on purpose, since they aren’t all that important. Having rolled out a replacement for the N95, Nokia is all set to retire it from the market. They will keep both phones in for the next six months, and while the N85’s price will be somewhat higher at start, it will steal the market from the Nokia N95 all thanks to its superior functionality.
Now it may sound a bit strange, but the Nokia N85’s greatest rival will be the Nokia N79, since these two phones are second to none in their respective categories. The N79 will be picked by the more conservative part of the audience, who aren’t particularly sweet on sliders.
Initially the N85 will be available only in Copper with its front fascia decked out in black glossy plastic that isn’t much of a fingerprint- or scratch-magnet. The side plates of the phone are finished in matte plastic, and the entire underside of the N85 is a big piece of textured and lacquered plastic, similar to that found on other Nseries-branded phones, such as the N82 and N79.
The thing I really want to focus your attention on is the size of the N85 - at 103×50x16 mm and 128 grams it is considerably thinner than the Nokia N95 with its 99×53x21 and 120 grams, meaning that it’s way more pocket- and palm-friendly. Perched in the top left corner is the lanyard eyelet, although I doubt many will use it. But who knows.
Located on the right-hand spine are two loudspeakers - this setup is nothing new, though, as most other Nokia’s latest and greatest phones employ it as well. Also here is the keypad lock switch, volume rocker and dedicated camera button. The rear of the N85 houses camera lens and flash module.
Many S40-based phones already enjoy OLED screen that offer a brighter picture and better viewing angles while being less power hungry. Thankfully, S60 devices are moving in the same direction, and the Nokia N85 is one of the first handsets in this range to adopt a 2.6 inch AM-OLED screen (39×43 mm) capable of 16 million colors and QVGA resolution.
The cover glass here is slightly tinted, which allows for better legibility in the sun. All in all, the N85’s diagonal/resolution ratio is just right to provide for decent picture quality - should they have installed a bigger display and kept the QVGA resolution intact, the N85’s quality would have been far from what it is now, especially in the way of fonts. Speaking of which, the Nokia N85 offers mid-sized fonts, that remain visible at all angles, so that you won’t have to stare at the screen to read them. This display accommodates up to 8 text and 3 service lines, although in certain modes you can cram in as many as 14 lines of text.
Nokia N85 (on the right) vs Nokia N96:
Since the N85 sports a motion sensor onboard, it allows you to rotate the screen in any menu, although you can disable this feature in the phone’s Settings.
The N85’s navigation cluster keeps a low profile while in standby - without any backlighting this area appears to be a completely flat and lifeless surface without any trace of buttons. It can even make you second-guess yourself, thinking that the N85 may actually employ touch-sensitive keys. But in reality all these buttons are mechanical and our only niggle with this navigation cluster concerns its soft-keys - they may feel on the stiffer side, although it’s nothing you won’t be able to get used to.
The handset utilizes a 1200 mAh Li-Ion battery (BL-5K), similar to that employed in the Nokia N79. The N85 is rated for 7 hours of talk time (GSM) and 363 hours of standby. Music time - up to 30 hours, video recording time (top resolution and quality settings) - up to 180 minutes, video playback time - up to 7 hours.
Below is our chart of battery times we managed to squeeze out of the N85:
- GPS-navigation – 4-4.5 hours
- Video playback – 6 hours 15 minutes
- WEB-surfing (EDGE) – 4 hours
- Wi-Fi (non-stop data upload) – 5 hours
- Music (in earphones) – 29 hours 20 minutes
- Radio – 19.5 hours
- Internet radio (over Wi-Fi) – 8 hours
- Games – 6 hours
In our review of the Nokia N78 our verdict on its battery was as follows: ” Thanks to the inclusion of the FP2, some modes are now less power-hungry, which adds up to a nice battery life boost. The N78 is obviously ahead of the N82 on this front, although their batteries are drained equally fast by web-browsing and Wi-Fi. At the same time, the newcomer can put up almost twice as many hours in the music playback mode”.
The good news is that the Nokia N85 is even more of an overhaul on this front - in terms of energy consumption Nokia have addressed pretty much every department in the phone. While its overall battery time is pretty good thanks to the new display type, when it comes to data connections, such as EDGE, WiFi or GPS, the N85 is second to none. The only area where it can’t stand up to the competition is video recording - here its numbers have dropped down by 30 minutes. But this isn’t that much of a deal, seeing how much more juice it offers in all other modes. As you probably remember, not so long ago we praised phones that could put up 21 hours of music in bundled earphones, now the N85 raises the bar all the way up to 30 hours. Plus it can play video for 1.5 hours longer than other Nseries phones.
With the N85 you will also be able to benefit from its power saving mode: when the battery is about to run out of charge, the phone drops down the display brightness to the minimum without cutting out any applications (such as camera). But when the battery indicator reaches the critical level, the N85 will shut down all applications and will start saving some charge for several more calls that can really come in handy. That said, the Nokia N85 does exactly what you’d expect from a smart phone, in every way.
Since the Nokia N85 runs on similar hardware as the Nokia N78 and N79 and employs the same Feature Pack 2, it’s safe to say that Nokia have done a great job fine-tuning the system’s code to allow for longer battery life.
The device comes equipped with 128 Mb of RAM, after first launch you will get around 70 Mb of free memory at your disposal. Also you will have around 72 Mb for storing personal data. The N85 deals with microSD memory cards (hot-swappable), the phone comes packaged with a 8Gb unit. There are no restrictions as far as memory card’s size is concerned - our handset easily identified a 32Gb card.
Actually, in this section of the review, I should probably start kicking myself, and for a good reason. The fact of the matter is that in my preview of the Nokia N85 I insisted that this phone ran on the same chipset as the Nokia N96; furthermore, it was confirmed by several people, including Nokia’s Vice President. Mea culpa - as it turned out, that wasn’t really true - in a nutshell, the N85 employs a chipset from Freescale, being identical to the N78, N79 and some other phones in this department.
The N85 is almost no different from other FP2-based phones performance-wise, so it is pretty much in line with other state-of-the-art S60-powered devices.
USB. USB. You pick one of these 3 connection modes in the USB settings of the N85:
- Data Transfer (Mass Storage USB) – memory cards is available, no drivers required, as your OS identifies the handset automatically.
- PC Suite – used for device management via Nokia PC Suite, enables all features of the phone, data backup etc.
- Image Transfer – no explanation required.
- Media Transfer – another self-explanatory mode (MTP).
Data transfer speeds top out at around 2 Mb/s. Once you plug the N85 into a PC it starts recharging automatically via the USB cable
Bluetooth. Bluetooth. The phone comes with Bluetooth v2.0, with support for EDR. The following profiles are supported
- Dial Up Networking Profile (Gateway)
- Object Push Profile (Server and Client)
- File Transfer Profile (Server)
- Hands Free Profile (Audio Gateway)
- Headset Profile (Audio Gateway)
- Basic Imaging Profile (Image Push Responder and Initiator)
- Remote SIM Access Profile (Server)
- Device Identification Profile
- Phone Book Access Profile (Server)
- Stereo Audio Streaming:
- Generic Audio/Video Distribution Profile
- Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (A/V Remote Control Target)
- Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (Audio Source)
The top speed you can get with the N85’s Bluetooth connection is around 100 Kb/s. We also tested its A2DP profile in pair with the Sony Ericsson DS970 headset, which worked just fine - we managed our play list, skipped within tracks and adjusted volume seamlessly, however we couldn’t make current track’s title show up on the N85’s display.
Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi. This handset comes armed with Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11 g) support. All security standards are supported: WEP , WPA , WPA 2, with other advanced settings available. The device supports Universal PnP standard (UPnP), which is the successor to the wired standard PnP. With its help, along with Wi-Fi, you can send slides to a TV, music to a stereo system, and photos to a printer. In a certain sense UPnP is like an add-on to the infrastructure (Wi-Fi, for example) in the form of Bluetooth-esque services, so this looks more like a software upgrade. The sales package includes Home Media Server, which allows connecting the N85 through your home Wi-Fi network to a desktop PC.
There is also a Wi-Fi wizard available in the N85 - it can keep looking for enabled networks in the background mode and tap into them.
The handset comes bundled with a 5 Mpix CMOS camera, similar to that found in the Nokia N95 and some other Nokia-branded handsets. The N85 features a two-section LED flash that can make some difference when taking a picture from 1-2 meters away. While the N85’s flash does better at shooting sceneries rather than people, it’s still debatable which kind of flash is superior - Xenon or LED. Perhaps the Sony Ericsson K850i answers this question in a certain way, utilizing both the Xenon and LED flash types.
Nokia N85 camera specs:
- Carl Zeiss Tessar lenses
- 20x digital zoom
- Focal length 5.45 mm
- Focus range: 10 cm ~ infinity
- Macro mode - 10 cm ~ 50 cm
- Scenes - automatic, user defined, close-up, portrait, landscape, sport, night;
The N85’s top resolution is Print 5M - large, which stands for 2592×1944 pixels and image size of 700Kb-2Mb. The user can also make use of the following resolution settings:
- Print 3M – Medium (2048×1536 pixels)
- Print 2 M- Medium (1600×1200 pixels)
- E-mail 0.8 M – Med. (1024×768 pixels)
- MMS 0.3 M – Small (640×480 pixels)
It takes the N85 around 3-4 seconds to save a shot in any of the above resolutions if you have enabled the after-shoot view. Or 1-2 seconds in case you are ready to take another snap right after that (in the latter case all images are saved from the buffer).
Color tones. Since these overlays can be applied to any snap in a standard graphics editor, it won’t be wise of you to enable them for taking a snap on the N85. There are four effects available - Sepia, Black & White, Vivid, Negative.
White balance.. The N85’s camera does very well in the auto mode, though you can manually adjust the white balance and choose one of the following settings - Sunny, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent.
The major update to this department is the new version of Nokia Maps, which you can learn more about in our review of the FP2. Also, we would like to note that the application has become even speedier, the cold start time makes around 4-5 minutes, and we felt that the gears were spinning faster, so to speak. To my mind, the N85 is a tidy navigation-savvy solution, it does the job hands down. But, unfortunately, as far as battery life goes, the N85 doesn’t improve over the predecessors.
All applications that have something to do with the N85’s music department (music player, radio, Internet radio) have been carried over from the FP2’s standard suite of features and are basically nothing to out of the ordinary. The handset ships with a remote control, the same as that found in the box with the Nokia N81; the bundled earphones are nothing to shout about, so you should definitely replace them with something me capable.
RightMark Audio Analyzer tests:
|Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB:||+0.12, -0.98||Average|
General Performance: Good
Nokia N85 vs Nokia N78, Nokia N95 8Gb, Nokia N96:
|Criteria||Nokia N96-2||Nokia N95 8 Gb||Nokia N78||Nokia N85|
The utility marries the local search abilities and browsing. Furthermore, the search engine used in the N85 may vary by country - for Russia it is Yandex.ru. Generally, you can pick a search engine you like manually or keep the default one - Yahoo. The reason behind this differentiation between regions is that the maker deems local search engines better tweaked for respective countries.
Local search is performed in all categories, which are:
- Messages (including message body)
- Email (headline and message body)
- Points of Interest
All you need to do is punch in first letters of a word and the N85 will instantly display how many matches it could find in every section, which is really handy. For the time being, Samsung-branded devices come with a quite similar feature onboard; however their search engine is somewhat less sophisticated, even though the abilities are pretty much in line with Nokia’s search.
This is a wheel-shaped menu (made its first appearance with the Nokia N81), where every tab features kindred functions. You can navigate through these tabs with the help of the D-Pad or the numeric keypad.
The current version sports only six pages, whose order of appearance may be easily varied - by the default, the first tab you see is all about music (with this tab on, you can check out your library, start random playback of your tracks or view podcasts). The Games tab proposes exactly the same options as the N-Gage section. The Gallery allows you to view your last captured shot and calls up the Album. You can submit some entries to the Contacts tab, so it acts like a speed dial menu, which may come in handy on certain occasions. Internet - links to your favorite pages, Maps - points of interests and locations.
The Nokia N85 is the first phone to feature a full-fledged N-Gage client - a tad later its localized editions will become available world-wide. The handset comes boxed with fifteen Try&Buy games, although you can pick one of them and get a full version free of charge using the activation code the N85 ships with.
Video Center – enables the user to subscribe to various channels offering an assortment of video clips, including YouTube’s mobile version. All videos get uploaded onto the device, so that you will be able to watch them whenever you want. You can expand clips to full screen in the landscape mode, plus there is the portrait mode available with the N95 8Gb. The best way to upload clips is via home or office Wi-Fi networks.
QuickOffice here comes in a shrunk edition. Specifically, with the version found in the Nokia N95 8Gb you won’t be able to edit office documents. To go beyond the Read Only mode you will need to pay extra money.
Adobe PDF – allows reading PDF-files, no complaints about the application.
ZIP – enables you to extract files from archives or create new archives.
Barcode – reads bar codes, as its name suggests. Almost of no real use these days, though.
Firmware update – this application checks your current firmware version and updates it if necessary.
So, the only question that remains is whether the Nokia N85 is any better than the Nokia N95 8Gb. But I’m sure the chart below is enough to convince you that with all things considered, the newcomer outruns the good old N95 8Gb hands down
Those who are in the market for a phone that is just as feature-rich, yet comes in the candybar design should put an eyeball on the Nokia N79 - while the latter comes with a smaller screen and a smaller memory card in the box, as far as functionality goes it holds its own against the N85.
|Criteria||Nokia N85||Nokia N95||Nokia N95 8Gb||Nokia N79|
|Form-factor||Dual slider||Dual slider||Dual slider||Candybar|
|Size, Weight||103×50x16, 128||99×53x21, 120||100×53x21, 129||110×49x15, 97|
|Battery||Li-Ion, 1200 mAh, around 3 days of battery time||Li-Pol, 950 mAh, around1,5-2 days of battery time||Li-Ion, 1200 mAh, around 2 days of battery time|
|Display||AM-OLED, 2.6 inches, QVGA, 16M||TFT, 2.6 inches, QVGA, 16M||TFT, 2.8 inches, QVGA, 16M||TFT, 2.4 inches, QVGA, 16M|
|GPS||Yes, Maps 2.0||Yes, Maps 1.0 (version 2.0 available)||Yes, Maps 2.0
|Yes, Maps 2.0|
|Camera||5 Mpix, CMOS||5 Mpix, CMOS||5 Mpix, CMOS||5 Mpix, CMOS|
|Memory||72 Mb of built-in memory, 8 Gb memory card in the box||160 Mb of built-in memory||8 Gb of built-in memory, no memory cards||70 Mb of built-in memory, 4 Gb memory card in the box|
|USB||2 Mb/s||950 Kb/s||950 Kb/s||2 Mb/s|
|OS version||S60, 3Ed, FP2||S60, 3Ed||S60, 3Ed, FP1||S60, 3Ed, FP2|
|Price||450 Euro||400 Euro||520-550 Euro||350 Euro|
Call quality was never an issue with the N85, as it easily lived up to our expectations of a Nokia-branded phone. Ring tones sounded quite loud thanks to the handset’s dual speakers - in this sense, it is one of the market’s vociferous offerings. The vibrating alert was on the stronger side all thanks to the N85’s svelte casing
The N85 will remain the undisputed flagship in Nokia’s Nseries range for at least six months to come, as we won’t see anything remotely close in terms of features or sales package any time soon. At the same time, other phone makers don’t have any competent solutions on their plates that could stand up to this brand new do-it-all wiz. The N85 is a well-balanced offering, plus Nokia’s engineers have worked on its battery time and music quality. Together, the N85 and the N79, that is just as feature-rich, make a fearsome duo that will rock the mass market and no other manufacturer will be able to do anything about it. All in all, this latest release shows that Nokia has been preparing for the golden era of S60 since a long time ago. But seeing that phones with VGA screens and S60 Touch (we’ll see it already on October 2nd in London) are already on the horizon, the N85 isn’t that much of a revelation, but in terms of price/quality ratio it is Nokia’s, and let’s face it, the market’s finest solution to date. Basically, you won’t find a phone below 600 Euro that can take on the N85 functionality-wise (while the Samsung INNOV8 can give the N85 a rough run for its money, its price tag is a lot heftier).
That said, in 2009 the N85 won’t come off the top of sales charts in this price segment - in fact, with this device Nokia have set the pace for their rivals that they will have to keep up with in order to remain competitive.