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January 23, 2008 / Marco

Nokia N82 Cell Phone Review: Part 1 The Speakers

Now it’s more than 3 weeks that I have been using my Nokia N82. Simply put, it’s one of the best cell phone handsets that I’ve ever owned. I’m sure many of you have so far managed to get your hands on comprehensive N82 reviews and, as such, I don’t want to start by talking about its keypad. Rather, I’m going to follow a new approach and start by a feature that many of you, including myself, may be interested in: the N82 speakers.

Over the past couple years Nokia has managed to produce S60 handsets with fabulously-sounding speakers. After all, who can forget the Nokia N73, Nokia N91, Nokia N95, Nokia N81 and the Nokia 5700 when it comes to talking about speakers? However, compared with the aforementioned cell phones, what N82 offers is quite frustrating. Not that it lacks the “base” effect or it cannot fill an empty room. On the contrary, the N82 scores well here, and the source of my complaint lies somewhere else.

Having made extensive use of the N82 and having seen a few more N82 handsets around, now I’m convinced that Nokia hasn’t paid enough attention to the speakers which come with the N82. If you start playing a track and crack up the volume to its maximum allowed state, you’ll easily notice that the voice quality decreases and the speakers start shaking. That’s not the case with the N81, the 5700 and the N95. More important than that, sometimes it looks as if the speakers were damaged. This becomes quite obvious if you play a piano-rich track. As a very good example, if you have access to Josh Groban’s album called “With You”, simply find the song titled “My heart was home again” and start playing it. This track starts with 7 seconds of piano, and as you listen to the piano you can see what I mean by N82’s damaged or “cracked” speakers, as if someone had used a sharp object to break the internal components of the speakers. To sum up, if you listen to a piano-rich track which is also a bit echoey, you’ll immediately wonder why the N82 uses such horrible speakers.

Now this effect totally goes away if you connect your N82 to a headset or music stand, so I think it has nothing to do with the software components which are responsible for audio production and handling. Yes, I know that the N82 is not Nokia’s flagship music handset, but, guys, here we’re talking about one of the most feature-rich handsets in the world. Many claim that its camera is simply the best among all handsets, so why shouldn’t you get at least naturally-sounding speakers with the N82?

What do you think about this? Am I wrong in assuming that Nokia has little to be proud of if it decides to demonstrate the speakers which ship with the N82? And do you know of a good workaround to get rid of this annoyance?

Nokia N82 Firmware Update

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17 Comments

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  1. Edwin / Jan 24 2008 10:00 am

    Hi Amir,

    Thanks for an excellent blog. Have been a silent supporter all these while.
    Keep up the great work.

    Ok, now on to my 2 cents worth regarding the speakers of N82. I can’t agree
    more with you. Its just not justifiable for its features. Its like just 1
    feature which spoils such a feature rich and solid built handset. If not
    cause of my hardware issues with my previously owned N95, I might not have
    gone in to N82, despite I’m a candy bar lover on the whole. The speakers on
    the N95, though not basy, the sound is 1 of the better handsets and
    justifies its premium price. Yes, it might not to give any excuse for this
    short-coming of N82. However, I believe Nokia is aware of this and they just
    simply don’t take this in to account. The fact of not including a music
    remote like of N95 and N81 and not having dedicated music keys clearly
    states their stand. I guess, just got to accept the fact that nothing’s
    perfect. Nokia still hopes to have a share bite in their other premium
    phones. As
    for a work around for this, I guess, nothing could be done. The built of the
    hardware is already like that, i dout any firmware could fix this issue.
    Another work around perhaps might be to invest in those portable bluetooth
    speakers, and I know Nokia does make some which are quite outstanding like the MD-5.

  2. Amir / Jan 24 2008 10:39 am

    First off, Edwin, thanks for your continued support.
    As for your comments, I can find nothing better than the old saying: “Misery loves company.” .
    I’m also a candybar lover and have never been in a position to live with sliders. However, as you sort of mentioned, the more you pay perhaps the better you get, and that may be the case with the N95 speakers.
    At any rate, the N82 has so many nice features that its purchase seems quite justifiable.

  3. Edwin / Jan 24 2008 11:06 am

    Just got a thought regarding output of sounds. Yes, the speakers are really not that great when outputing sound on N82. However, wonder did any1 of you realise that the output through the ear piece speaker is someword distorted? What imean by ear piece is not your headset or earphones but rather its the ear piece of the handset of N82 If you hear carefully, its just slightly loud, as if its trying its best to output as loud as possible thus causing slight distortion. I am particular comparing N95 verses N82. For N95, the output of both the stereo speakers and the ear piece speaker is just right and ideal. Well, guess we really can’t complaint. Nothing’s perfect after all. So fokes, if you are extremely particular on sound output, N82 just isn’t convincing. However, its premium features like what Amir mentioned is just justifiable to get this phone. On a site note, I do hope that the accessibility glich issue of web forms not being able to open with talks would be settled soon. And IM+ too. O well…

  4. Amir / Jan 24 2008 11:57 am

    That’s an interesting observation, Edwin, and I’ll definitely give it a shot tonight and report my findings here. In a few minutes I’ll be heading to the next internet center with ADSL capabilities to update my N82 firmware. I’m planning to publish a few N82-related articles, so stay tuned. . .

  5. Stephen / Jan 24 2008 10:17 pm

    Myself; The best sounding speakers I have found are on the N73. It has the best volume that I have seen. The N82 speakers are week when you compair them to the N73. Nokia could have used a more responceive amp on the N82 like they did on the N73. The rest of the phone is a very good phone. The other thing I wish that Nokia would come out with a adapter for the N82 so that a person can use their old POP wired headsets or a adapter that would allow a person to use a headset that has a 2.5 adapter. So this adapter would need to be a 3.5 Male to a 2.5 feemale. Then I would be able to use my old wired mono headsets when I’m talking on a call. The reason I like them is the fact the Micro phone is on the headset and not on the wire. This allows me to use the headset when I have my winter boat on and this also blocks out any wind noise and the person I’m talking to can hear me find. With the Nokia having the micro phone on the wire and you have a winter coat on; The person either can’t hear you or you are muffeled. Then if you put the wire on the outside of your coat; Then person you are talking to hears all the wind noise if the wind is blowing and you are walking into it.

  6. Amir / Jan 25 2008 9:53 am

    Well, Steve, in terms of volume I also think the N73 is the best Nokia handset around. However, few days ago I took advantage of an opportunity to take a look at the N81 and, in particular, I managed to see how it plays tracks. Believe me, it’s the best Nokia handset as far as speakers are concerned. It combines the fabulous volume of the N73 with the great base effect of the N82/N95/5700.
    Also, I can’t agree with you more regarding the need for a special audio adaptor on the N82. I guess I should try to be happy with my N82 speakers, too.

  7. Eugene / Jan 26 2008 2:41 pm

    Hello Amir,

    Same here, I’ve been using the n82 for about 1 month now. From wad I’ve discovered after just a few days of usage, is that the upper speaker is softer then the one below. Therefore when I hold the phone vertically upwards, my hand covers the darn speaker. Wads worst I’m covering the bottom speaker, which makes listening to anything a pain. The upper speaker is seriously so darn soft no matter wad u do to the speaker settings. Damit! But i still love it lol, i rarely blast music 😀

  8. Amir / Jan 26 2008 4:04 pm

    Very interesting comment, Eujene. I’ve not yet managed to notice a difference between the two speakers on the N82, partly because the speakers are so close to one another that I can’t easily focus on one and ignore the sound of the other. I can easily do it with the N73 because there the difference is obvious. Thanks for sharing it with us!
    I also love it anyway!

  9. JASON / Feb 8 2008 7:30 pm

    i just bought my n82 2day and the speakers really suck ……the n95 has a much more better speakers than all the mobiles i used so far..so if your looking 4 a loud sound use the n95

  10. JASON / Feb 8 2008 7:34 pm

    i just bought the n82 2day..every things perfect except 4 the speakers, they really suck..and if your looking 4 a loud go 4 the n95, it has the loudest voice between all the phones i use till now..good luck in your choice.

  11. Amir / Feb 8 2008 8:05 pm

    Jason, both the N81 and the E90 also have fabulous speakers, but the former lacks many of the features found in the N82 or the N95, and the latter is also pricy! You are right in saying that the N95 offers better speakers compared with the N82.

  12. Babu / Apr 14 2008 1:11 pm

    hai Amir

    pls tell now i have n73m, can u pls advice next i want to go n82 or n95. i need following features with mobile: Music play in good sound, Camera clarity, web browsing

  13. Amir / Apr 14 2008 1:52 pm

    Well, that would be a tough decision, to say the least.
    First, if you want to choose between the N82 and the N95 Classic, I highly recommend that you get the N82 because it has a better battery. If, however, you want to choose between the N82 and the N95 8GB, you should take into account a few factors. The N95 8GB has a superior battery, offers more powerful speakers, comes with dedicated music keys, and is a slider phone. The N82, however, has a better camera for imaging specially in low-light environments, is lighter than all N95 variants, and is a monoblock handset. In terms of web browsing both the N82 and the N95 offer the same features, but the N95 family has bigger screens compared with the N82. Also, the N95 8GB doesn’t have a physical camera shutter but the N82 has. If you ask for my opinion/recommendation, I suggest that you get the N82 because it’s newer and also offers User Data Preservation (UDP) which helps you a lot while updating the firmware. The N95 family doesn’t have this feature.

  14. xyz / Jun 23 2008 5:55 pm

    hey ppl….i m facing a small problem with my n82 speakers….last month i got hold of the black n82…….ws very satisfied wid the sound for a few days……when suddenly…..the right speaker started to switch off automatically…….and when i tapped the speakers its came back to normal………..am still facing this problem…..can u help me???

  15. Jodaboda / Jul 5 2008 12:18 am

    @stephen, and anyone else interested in using a WIRED HEADSET on the N82:

    I don’t like bluetooth, and don’t think one exists that works well in my convertible at freeway speeds. I wanted to use a traditional (but good, noise-cancelling) WIRED headset with the N82.

    I tried 3.5mm to 2.5mm adapters to plug my Shure boom headset into the N82. No go (speakers work, no mike).

    So I cut open the adapter and tried switching/shorting wires. Still no go (though I think this should be possible…).

    So my final solution was this:

    1. Take the wired headset you get with the phone. snip off the earbuds.

    2. Open the plastic control piece and pull out the circuit board.

    3. The mic is a small metal cylinder. Take it off (you could de-solder it, but I just used some needlenose pliers in a twisting fashion, and it came off). If you want (and I did), solder a couple short wires onto the posts where the mic was soldered.

    4. Get a 2.5mm female plug. This will have three wires.

    5. Strip the wires from either of the nokia headset’s earbud wires (you only need one; you’re going mono). You’ll have two thin wires.

    6. Since your wire color will vary from mine, I’ll give a quick summary and you’ll have to test to get the colors right (I use the voice recorder to test as I’m doing the wiring):

    A. One of the 2.5mm plug wires (in my case, green) will be soldered to one of the mic wires (the ones you soldered to the board) AND to one of the earbud wires (in my case, green).

    B. The other mic wire from the circuit board is soldered to another 2.5mm plug wire (in my case, red).

    C. The remaining earbud wire (my case, copper color) is soldered to the remaining 2.5mm plug wire (my case, copper color).

    *** that’s it ***

    *note: You COULD skip the 2.5mm female plug and just snip your wired headset, soldering it directly to the nokia headset wires.

    *note 2: You COULD do all the soldering directly on the circuit board. I’m not good enough to solder that small, and would have fried something with the heat (or dropped a ball of solder on something– who knows).

  16. hendy / Oct 2 2008 6:23 am

    Hi all,
    Yesterday, my N82 right speaker is not workig. So I shaked it and tapped it, there was a little sound then stopped again. So I blew the speaker with my mouth several times with increasing power. Then Voila!..it works again..

  17. rick / Nov 9 2008 9:04 pm

    i tried the song by Josh Groban that you recommended on my black N82 which i bought in sept ’08.. , yeah, the piano sounded abit ‘harsh/cracked’ maybe due to a bad ‘digital’ recording, but overall it sounded ok, quite crisp and clear, it just lacking in bass.

    N82 speakers are arranged in such a way(up and down of its right side) it’s meant for vertical viewing/suitable for wide screen movies so you get a nice stereo sound when you lie it vertically, that’s why new models like N85, N79 etc have a similar arrangement. thanks

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