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(Pocket-lint) - Packed to the rafters with everything you’d expect on a high-end device, the Nokia N79 is an impressive offering.

As you’d find on a high-end device, there’s GPS (with Nokia Maps preinstalled), the N-Gage gaming interface, Wi-Fi, HSDPA, TV out and an FM transmitter for streaming music to your Hi-Fi.

However, it’s the build quality that is jeopardised here. The casing is plastic, and it really does make the handset feel cheap.

Although the main number keys are a good size, the call answer/end and two soft keys below the screen are nothing more than super-thin raised lines. This does make answering calls quickly quite a cumbersome task.

Between the soft keys and call control buttons, there are two clickable flat panels. The left is the quick menu button, the right the cancel key. Although the area that these two keys cover is larger than the other keys in this top section, they really are too awkward to press to find convenient.

In the centre, below the screen is a four-way navigation key that is also just a flat panel. A light in the centre pulses as if breathing and this is a nice touch if you’re in a club and want to see what you’re doing, but not so great when trying to get to sleep if you’re one who leaves their phone on all night.

Previously, Nseries devices were aimed at prosumer multimedia junkies but it’s clear that the N79’s core market is the youth area.

Anyone who remembers the first Nokia devices with Xpress on covers will be pleasantly surprised with how the idea has developed. Three covers are shipped with the Nokia N79; blue, green and maroon coloured. The clever part is that each features an embedded chip, which when put into contact with the phone changes the wallpaper of the N79.

The 5-megapixel camera is the same as on the N96 and recently announced N97, but this is no problem. The dual LED flash is suitable for any dark environment, although sometimes it is a little too strong and results in a loss of detail.

Stereo speakers sit along the right-hand side of the Nokia N79, allowing you to watch video in landscape mode with the speakers blasting out respectable sound levels.

The accelerometer on the N79 is a little hit and miss; sometimes it’s too sensitive, other times it takes seconds to adjust the screen orientation. The screen itself may not be as large as on the N96, but the 240 x 320 pixel resolution makes it super-clear, even if watching a movie.


One quirky feature now popping up on most Nokia handsets is the slide keypad lock switch. Although in theory this seems like a good idea because you can choose when to lock the device, it’s something that’s easily forgotten. In fact, it’s so inconvenient that more than once I inadvertently dialled the first entry in my phonebook.

Although the Nokia N79 is a respectable offering, filled to the brim with the latest tech, it’s disappointing that Nokia has jeopardised the design and build quality.

Writing by Rachel Day. Originally published on 10 December 2008.