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First impressions of the Nokia N78 with S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 2 and FM transmitter

When it rains, it pours and I am getting swamped with new mobile devices to evaluate right now with the HTC Advantage 7510, Nokia N82, and now the Nokia N78. The Nokia N78 is the successor to the very popular Nokia N73 with significant improvements, including WiFi, GPS receiver, S60 Feature Pack 2, and a FM transmitter. The image gallery and some thoughts below form my first impressions since I have only had the device for about a day and a half. I plan to post a more detailed review after at least a couple weeks of using the device, especially in regards to S60 Feature Pack 2.
matthew-miller
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer on

When it rains, it pours and I am getting swamped with new mobile devices to evaluate right now with the HTC Advantage 7510, Nokia N82, and now the Nokia N78. The Nokia N78 is the successor to the very popular Nokia N73 with significant improvements, including WiFi, GPS receiver, S60 Feature Pack 2, and a FM transmitter. The image gallery and some thoughts below form my first impressions since I have only had the device for about a day and a half. I plan to post a more detailed review after at least a couple weeks of using the device, especially in regards to S60 Feature Pack 2.



The Nokia N73 has been one of my favorite Nseries devices because I liked the camera cover design, it has a nice and compact form factor, the battery lasted forever, the display was beautiful, and it was a solid device. Back at Mobile World Congress in February, Nokia announced the N78, but it was kind of lost in the shadow of the N96 and other devices. I didn't get too much time with the N78 then, but thought it could definitely be a dark horse this year when it was released. After spending just over a day and a half with it so far, I am very impressed with it and think I found a new home for my T-Mobile SIM.

The model I was sent is the N78-1, which is the European 3G model, and Nokia has stated that a North American model with support for AT&T's 3G network will be coming eventually. Thus, I placed my T-Mobile SIM in the device since T-Mobile only supports EDGE data at this time. The specifications of the Nokia N78 include:

  • Dual mode WCDMA (900/2100 MHz), Quad-band GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz)
  • Symbian S60 3rd Edition, Feature Pack 2
  • ARM11 processor at 369 MHz
  • Integrated A-GPS reciever
  • 802.11 b/g WiFi
  • Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR
  • 2.4 inch QVGA (240x320 pixels) display
  • 70MB internal Flash memory and 96MB RAM to run applications
  • 3.2 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics and flash, 15 fps video capture
  • Forward facing camera (for European conference calling)
  • microSD card slot with 2GB card included
  • Stereo FM radio receiver
  • 3.5 mm headset jack
  • FM radio transmitter (extend the device output to your radio)
  • USB 2.0 through the microUSB connector
  • Amazing battery life with the 1200 mAh BL-6F battery
    • Talk time: up to 190 minutes (WCDMA); 260 minutes (GSM)
    • Stand-by time: up to 320 hours (WCDMA); 320 hours (GSM)
    • Music playback: up to 24 hours (offline mode)

  • Dimensions:
    • Weight: 3.59 ounces
    • Length: 4.45 inches
    • Width: 1.93 inches
    • Thickness: 0.59 inch

I opened up the box to setup and start using the device and after taking some photos, I removed the entire back cover to insert my SIM and the battery. The back cover takes a bit of effort to remove since the two side clips seem to stick tight and I thought I was going to break it as I pulled off the cover. The SIM card was easily inserted and I then closed everything up and charged the device with the very nice compact travel charger.

Box contents include:

  • Nokia N78 (including Nokia 2GB microSD Card MU-37)
  • Nokia Battery BL-6F
  • Nokia Travel Charger AC-5
  • Nokia Stereo Headset HS-45/AD-54
  • Nokia Connectivity Cable CA-101
  • User guide
  • Quick Start guide

After the device was fully charged up, I turned it on and was immediately impressed with the very bright display. The new S60 Feature Pack 2 includes some new settings wizards that make configuring the device for your connection, e-mail, and more much easier for a good out-of-the box experience for the new buyer. You can even transfer info from an existing Nokia device to the N78. I also noticed the cool new transitions, icons, and menu options scattered throughout the device. For lots of details on the new S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 2 functionality, I recommend you check out Mobile Review's coverage which is quite extensive and detailed.

One aspect that I was at first a bit concerned about was the keypad design. There are no distinct buttons, but there are four very thin bars that extend under the backlit numbers. I find that my fingers slide back and forth across the bars and I am able to text quite fast. When the backlight is off you will also only see the four bars, the Tiles button, and the directional pad/naviwheel since the other buttons are all flush and not distinct except for the backlit areas. So far this design is working quite well, but I find the menu button to be a bit low down on the left so it is requiring a bit of effort to make sure I extend down to press it.

The naviwheel is similar to the touch sensitive wheel on the Nokia N81 8GB and can be turned on and off. I used it for a day and then turned it off because I kept accidentally selecting things with the directional pad when I did not mean too. You see with Feature Pack 2 there is now a left, right, and center soft key on the display.

The device feels great in my hand and the thinness really makes it very pocketable, even in a shirt. The stereo speakers are about as far apart as you can get on the device to give you a stereo experience. The camera has been working pretty well, but unfortunately there is no lens cover. There is no accelerometer in the device so you don't get autorotate functionality like that seen on the Nokia N82.

I've already loaded it up with quite a few applications and I am finding that some applications do not yet work with FP 2. For example, Mail for Exchange, WorldMate, and Nokia Conversations do not work on the N78 at this time. Luckily, RoadSync is working so I was able to sync my hosted Exchange data and email with the device and get setup and running.

Another very cool thing that I found was that you get full screen caller ID images appearing on the Nokia N78. This is a great feature of the iPhone and as you can see in my image gallery photo, full screen caller ID is helpful to quickly identify who is calling.

I have much more to play with on the device and look forward to using it as my primary device for a couple weeks. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to ask me and I'll try to answer them in my full review.

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