Hands-On: Nokia N Series
The N79 takes many of the features of the N85 and crams them into a monoblock instead of a slider.
It is a compact little phone. It is easily gripped in your hand, and slips into a pocket no problem. It feels very well balanced and its weight isn't overbearing.
Rather than show off a black face that many of the other N Series phones have been favoring of late, the front of the N79 is white. The back plate will be interchangeable, with three (white, black, red) different plates coming in the box with the phone. There is also a chip built into each of the backplates. The N79 will automatically change the theme on the screen of the phone depending on what backplate you put on it. This makes it stand out a bit from its N Series brothers.
The pre-production unit we had the chance to use seemed to be a bit less final than the N85. Almost all of the buttons on the front felt very cheap. Travel and feedback just didn't feel good, and the buttons felt very "plasticky" in a bad way. They also didn't work consistently. We hope that this is something corrected in the production units. We will say this, they keys at least are real keys, and not the blips found on the N78. This is a welcome return to normal keypad design.
The D-pad itself was different compared to the D-pad of the N85, N81 or N96. It is flatter and doesn't have the high ridge around the outside. The center button also protrudes a bit more than on other N Series devices.
It has the same camera lens cover that is found on the N85, and it was a bit loose in the frame. We'll chalk this up to is pre-production status.
Overall, the N79 is a worthy bearer of the N series badge. It has all the features you'd expect, and improves on the usability of the N78.
Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.