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February 15, 2008 / Marco

Nokia N78: The Ideal Cell Phone for Audiophiles

It’s now a few days after Nokia’s announcement of the upcoming release of a few handsets, namely the Nokia N78, and we’re seeing more handset specs on the web. Many people are of the belief that the N78 is at best the successor to the N73 and that Nokia doesn’t want to manufacture a direct N82 competitor. However, I don’t think that’s the case. Why, you might ask. Read on . . . .

What makes the N78 a unique cell phone

This handset has a number of features which make it unique among all Nseries devices.

Battery capacity

The N78 offers a 1200mAh BL-6F battery, and this is impressive by the standards Nokia has implemented in the Nseries cell phones. Currently the N95 8GB has such a battery, and even the N82 has a 1050 one, and N95 a 950 battery. Even the much talked-about N96 would have a 950 battery. This means that Nokia wants to set aside all battery-related concerns with the N78. It is worth mentioning that I don’t want to bring the Eseries handsets into my comparison because the story becomes different with something like the E90 Communicator. The bottom line is that the N78 would prove to be one of the best handsets in the arena of battery capacity.

Dimensions and weight

The N78 is the lightest Nseries handset, I dare say. Just look at the following specs:

  • Volume: 76.5 cc,
  • Weight: 101.8 g,
  • Length: 113 mm,
  • Width: 49 mm,
  • Thickness: 15.1 mm.

It’s just amazing to have a great battery, a GPS receiver, a 3.5 mm audio jack, WLAN and HSDPA access inside a 101.8 g handset. No compromises have been made to produce such a relatively light cell phone which should feel comfortable in one’s hand. Kudos to Nokia.

Furthermore, this great package comes in a candybar style which makes it capable of withstanding a lot of wear and tear. I’ve always been an avid lover of candybars as opposed to sliders.

Audio features

This is, I believe, the area in which the N78 truly beats other Nseries handsets. First and foremost, it offers up to 24 hours of audio playback. Coming from the world of 9 to 12 hours of audio playback, I’m truly astonished. Apart from a better battery, something else must be at work here because the use of a 1050 battery as opposed to a 1200 battery cannot explain the difference between 12 and 24 playback hours. This makes music fans ultra-joyous.

Secondly, the N78 is the only S60 handset with an FM transmitter which helps with music listening in a car. If the transmitter is also capable of broadcasting other handset sounds, it would offer a huge potential for, say, listening to different programs via Nokia Internet Radio on FM.

Of course, it is yet to be seen if the N78 provides as good speakers as those of the N95 or the N81, but I think that should be the norm for an audio-centric device like the N78. In particular, I’m hoping to see something better than the N82 here.

The NaviTMwheel

Although the Nokia N81 offers this great feature, it has been tweaked for the N78 and the Nokia N96. It allows you to find desired items in big lists more quickly and efficiently. If, for instance, you are positioned in the Music Player application and want to find a particular song among 264 tracks of the “All songs” folder, the NaviTMwheel is just for you. I wish the N82 were equipped with the NaviTMwheel, but everyone knows that a wish is just a wish.

Concluding remarks

So far I’ve tried to demonstrate what is so special about the N78, and the list implies that Nokia has put everything in it to make it appeal to music fans. It is true that the N78 doesn’t have the coveted Xenon flash, but neither does the N96 nor does the N95 have it. It also provides a 3.2 megapixel camera and video recording capabilities with a resolution of 15 frames per second, but given the audio-centricity of the device these can be ignored for the most part. Also, the device doesn’t have dedicated music keys and a physical lens protector/shutter, but, again, these shouldn’t get in the way of actually utilizing its audio capabilities.

These speculations and built-in features have made me keen on giving the N78 with its 70MB internal memory a serious try. The N78 might not be the day-to-day companion of camera-dependent people, but does the same apply to its audio features? My answer to the second question is “no”. Do you think the N78 can find a solid position among other Nseries handsets with its “mid-tier” label and above-average audio-centricity?

Related Info: Nokia N78 Owners Manual

Nokia N78 Firmware Update V11.043

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