As you’ve probably noticed, it’s been a bit quiet around here lately… But fear not. Despite being rather busy, I’ve managed to review some products and line up a few more!
The first one of these is the Nokia N81 8GB, kindly provided by Nseries WOM World. It’s a music phone with 8 GB of built-in flash storage, WiFi, and a 2 megapixel camera – the successor to the microdrive-equipped Nokia N91.
Like the Nokia N82 and Nokia N810, the N81 8 GB uses Nokia’s new N-series design language with similar features (such as micro-USB). In fact, it closely resembles the upcoming Nokia N96 complete with “hold” switch (to lock the keys) and Navi Wheel (similar to the iPod’s Click Wheel).
Hold the N81 8GB and it’s a bit heavy. Touch the screen bezel and it’s cold, like metal. Push the slider and it pops open via a spring-assisted mechanism – this phone feels expensive! Build quality is better than most current Nokia phones, yet the keypad squeaks when pressed…
The N81 8GB sounds better than other N-series devices I’ve used, with less background noise, less distortion, more detail and a flatter frequency response – it’s clear that Nokia paid special attention to the audio hardware in the N81 8GB.
- Attractive N-series device
- Standard 3.5 mm audio connector
- Nice bright screen
- Spring-assisted slider
- “Hold” switch
- Navi Wheel
But here’s the real question. How does the Nokia N81 8GB compare to the Apple iPhone?
Both are music phones with 8 GB built-in flash storage, WiFi and a 2 megapixel camera. The N81 8 GB sounds good, and so does the iPhone. Here’s where each device shines.
N81 8 GB:
- Stereo Bluetooth support (A2DP)
- USB mass storage support (lets you drag and drop files)
- Europe-compatible 3G (2100 MHz)
- MMS, camera flash, video recording, unlocked
- Gapless playback
- User interface
- Coverflow (of course)
- Large screen
So there you have it :) Personally, I think the iPhone is the better music phone – the deal breaker for me is the lack of gapless playback on the N81 8GB. But if you want stereo Bluetooth support or you live in a Europe-compatible 3G area, the N81 8GB is worth considering.