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Nokia N79 – the sleeper

sleeper \ˈslē-pər\ noun: someone or something unpromising or unnoticed that suddenly attains prominence or value

The Nokia N79 is a stealthy device. Figuratively, because it’s been flying under people’s radar, overshadowed by it’s slider twin, the Nokia N85. Literally, because beneath its elegant but understated, thin and light casing, there’s a bona fide, feature-packed Nseries phone.

I’ve been using the N79, US version (UMTS/HSDPA 1900/850 MHz) for a couple months now (thanks to Molly at Nokia Blogger Relations) and I’m suitably impressed – it’s very much the sleeper of the current Nseries stable. Take a look at my recap video.

Sure, it’s slightly “detuned” compared to the N85, with a smaller non-OLED screen (2.4″ instead of 2.6″), US-only 3G (instead of tri-band 3G), and no USB charging, but it’s equipped with the same 5 megapixel Zeiss camera (with lens cover), WiFi, and GPS.

It’s also the most affordable fully-equipped Nseries model available. But you’d never know, because it shares its design language with the über-sexy white N97 hotness, and feels reasonably solid. It’s both slippery and resilient – I’ve dropped it without any resulting damage.

With Feature Pack 2, a glowing Navi Wheel, and multiple sensors, the N79 supports the latest S60v3 functionality. Like the N85, the phone features a convenient “hold” switch (to lock the keys), but the placement (on top) is less ergonomic.

The N79 camera takes pretty nice pictures, but it’s not good enough. Low-light performance is hampered by noise, which is rather disappointing – the N85 camera exhibits the same problem. Color balance is fine. Exposure, while sometimes off, is mostly decent…

– Lens cover
– Thin, light, elegant
– Excellent value

– Poor low-light performance
– “Hold” switch placement
– Slippery casing material

If you’re craving a tasty slice of Nseries goodness that’s easy on your wallet and perhaps a bit understated, I highly recommend it the N79!

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