Nokia N73 Smartphone Review0
The main target of the N73 are the people looking for an all-in-one multimedia device that can offer good music playback options combined with a camera with good image quality. The phone is sold as a 3-megapixel shooter that can easily replace your pocket-size camera. Located just around the lens is the Carl Zeiss Tessar sign, guaranteeing that it's manufactured under license of the legendary brand, and it's only Nokia that currently uses it in their mobile phones (N73, N90, N93 up to now). Turning it on is done by opening the slider on the back of the phone, as starting the camera takes the annoying four seconds which may cost you if you instantly want to take a picture of something. Just after it's started you can half-press the shoot button (unfortunately, it's still not precise enough like with a digital camera) in order to focus on the object you want to take a picture of and it takes 2 seconds even in poor lighting conditions, as it's aided by a blink of the flash. After taking the shot, you will still have to wait for another four or five seconds before you get the chance to focus for the next picure so for taking two photos you will need about 15 seconds if the camera has already been started. In other words, you can take about six pictures per minute, which is definitely slow, having in mind the pretensions of the smart cameraphone.
The camera interface is displayed in landscape mode and we think the phone is intended to be held with both hands. The right one is used for pressing the shoot button and the left one for zooming, which unfortunately is only digital, unlike the N93 which has an optical one. The various options are displayed in small icons arranged vertically to the right of the screen, so that there's as much space left on the display as possible for the viewfinder. Interesting options are a few scene modes including night photo, night portrait, Sports, Close-up. There's an option for more than one color scenes and white balance, but the latter still lacks manual tuning.
The camera can obtain good results only outdoor, when there is bright light then it does not produce much noise in the image and there the 3-megapixel resolution helps for capturing more details. Unfortunately in very bright light the colors are not realistic and little amount of purple fringing occurs. In low light the noise-reducing system in the phone kills all the detail of the image and everything becomes blurry as if you've used a watercolor to produce the photo. When you hold the phone steadily (as you can't put it to lie horizontally) and use the night photo mode, the captured photos are clear (although again there is the water color effect) if the object you shoot is lighten enough. If Nokia had used better image sensor (as digital cameras need good lens, sensor and processor) they would definitely have the best cameraphone, but unfortunately they haven't and the biggest drawback of the N73's camera is its noise levels (noise-reduction).
Let's don't forget that we are talking about a cell phone with built-in camera. In our head-to-head tests of 3.2 mega pixel camera phones (N93, N73, N80, K800 and D900), N73 and K800 got the highest scores.
|Nokia N73||Canon SD200|
The pictures taken can be viewed from the gallery, which is in landscape mode too.It displays a single image at the centre of the display, which is surround by small thumbnails of the other images in the phone. Navigating left-to-right the images move at the centre position to be displayed in bigger size. It's nice that the phone caches different sizes of every image, so they load pretty fast once you've previewed them in the gallery.
The Multiemedia key opens a dedicated menu, which has shortcuts to various applications, with the Music, Radio, Web and Slide Show by default (they can be defined by the user). This menu pops up with animation, but it's boring to wait for it every time.
The phone comes with headphones in the box, but can also play the music through its stereo speakers, which should be cool for the incoming ringing alert. The interface of the music player is the same as those used in other Symbian S60 phones (for example the E50 that we've reviewed earlier). It's not quite comfortable moving through the options can only be done with up and down directions and the buttons are so small that you have to stare at the display if you want to see what each of them does this is a total waste of space and resolution.
The Music Library menu allows you to sort the songs by Artist, Album, Genre, Composer, and we find the Track Lists option to be an interesting idea as it allows you to select the most played songs for example. The music player works fine in background mode thanks to the multitask capabilities of the smartphone, while the beautiful homescreen displays the songs that's played and the time elapsed by pointing at it you are allowed to adjust the sound volume of the player without even opening it but you can not pause it or change to the next track. As there is plenty of space between the N73's keypad and display, we'd have been happier if we found a row of music dedicated keys there, but unfortunately we didn't.
The sound quality of the music player is not the one we'd like to hear in a high-end multimedia phone
neither from the phone's speakers(they sound awful, with distorted sound, total lack of bass, muffled high frequencies and unreal vocals and also had some noise from time to time), nor from the stereo headphones, which also didn't produced any bass and had low quality of middle and high frequencies unfortunately it is hard to connect decent hi-fi headphones to the phone, and you have to search for Nokia adaptor (Pop-up Port to 3.5mm jack). It's sad that it is not in the box, as it was with Sony Ericsson W810 and LG Chocolate KG800. As you can expect, the built-in equalizers don't help for the sound quality at all.
The phone can use applications based both on the Java platform and Symbian S60, which provides wide 3rd party software compatibility like any other smartphone. Installation is a piece of cake, while additional programs increase the software's capabilities very much and thus it can be personalized to better suit you. The phone comes with several applications, as well as a game, called Snakes, which is a 3D version of the well known from other Nokia phones game.
N73 has only 42MB of internal memory and you must expand it with a miniSD card to take advantage of the phone's functionality. The slot for the latter is located at the bottom of the phone, above the pop-up connector and is covered with red plastic flap, which opens from the right to the left and is put solid in its place. However, that's quite inconvenient as you have to use your finger to open it, and if you often swap cards you will not be happy with the way it is done. It's nice that it is almost hidden and doesn't make a bad impression design-wise, unlike the IrDA eye on the left side.