Nokia N75 Review

The N75 is Nokia’s first 3G flip smart phone in the United States and has been highly sought after by many people. Designed for music and speed, the N75 does not disappoint. Featuring external music controls and external memory capable of up to 2 GB, the N75 will be a perfect companion while on the go for music lovers.

Uniqueness is the key to the N75. Nokia’s Symbian v9.1 S60 operating system is the main factor that allows the phone to do what it is able to accomplish. While being a clam shell design, the N75 does everything that most PDA’s on the market today are able to do, and in some cases even more.

Package contents include a USB cable, AC charger, user’s guide, quick start guide, warranty information and Nokia’s PC Suite software. The most interesting thing coming out of the box upon receipt is a coupon for a 60 day trial for AT&T Music.

Nokia’s N75 is a clam shell design with a plastic shell. It fits nicely into the hand while all of the buttons were easily within reach while using the phone one handed. In the pocket it was noticeable visually and the weight made us want to use a case. At 3.74” x 2.05” x 0.8” the phone seems bulky while compared to other smart phones for AT&T, notably compared to the 3125. Overall construction of the phone seems pretty solid at first glance,but after a few days we noticed the hinge may be a weak point. The topportion of the phone seems loose and easily slides back and forth. Oursuggestions for changes would be to slim down the overall size, whilestrengthening the hinge area.


Dimension (Inches)

Dimension (MM)

Weight (OZ)

Weight (Gramms)

Nokia N75

3.7" x 2.0" x 0.8"

95 x 52 x 20.2



Motorola RAZR V3

3.85" x 2.08" x 0.5"

98 x 53 x 13.9



Cingular 3125

3.9" x 2.0" x 0.6"

98.5 x 51.5 x 16



The external display measures in at 128 x 160 pixels and supports over 262 thousand colors, which is also used a primary screen for taking pictures. Items on the external screen in standby mode include signal strength, battery life, time and date. Quick keys link to the music menu and the “now playing” screen.

While looking at the interior display, we were amazed at the sheer size squeezed onto this phone. Coming in at 2.4” with over 16 million colors and a resolution of 240 x 320, this is one of the largest displays we’ve seen in quite some time on a clam shell phone. The screen was very visible in bright sunlight.

The keypad on the N75 is large and spacious, which is given partly by the size of the phone. The buttons have no spaces between them, which isn’t a problem on the main keypad. The top keypad does not have keys as large as the bottom portion as the keys are smaller, partly because there are so many keys squeezed into such a small space. The keys in this area include two soft keys, call, end, clear, menu, music, a note key and a directional pad with the enter key in the middle. The external keys on the front screen control music playback as well as the ability to browse through your songs without opening the phone. On the side of the phone are keys for volume control, camera and media shortcuts.

The charger port is on the left side of the phone which is perfect for right handed users to charge the phone while talking. Open the N75 and your attention will be drawn to its large sharp display which supports over 16 million colors. The large number keys also stand out as not many recent phones have such spaciously large keys for dialing or typing a message.


N75 features the Symbian v. 9.1 over Symbian S60 Interface 3rd edition, the same as the N73 and N93, rather than N95’s 9.2, although the two phones were announced together. The two versions of the OS are similar, but naturally newer is better.

The top part of the home screen displays a clock and the date, as well as the usual signal strength and battery, while the name of the carrier or Offline can be seen in the middle. The Offline tag indicates that the N93i works only as an “organizer” and multimedia device with the phone function switched off (that’s handy for using the smartphone during a flight). Just below these is located a row of 6 shortcuts which can be personalized to suit you best. The rest of the display, below them, is used for “notifications” – this is where missed calls, upcoming tasks (or To-Do in the calendar), received messages are displayed, as well as the music player status (the song that’s played at the moment). The various capabilities of this Active Desk can be set to serve you best. It resembles a well-personalized homescreen of a Pocket PC with Windows Mobile OS and is really useful and pleasant to use, and it saves a lot of time. Located at the bottom of the screen are the two software buttons which can also be personalized from the Settings menu.

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Based on a Symbian OS, the organization portion of the N75 gives users the ability to save in depth information on any contact they wish. Information you are able to save includes name & nick name, company, job title, email address and multiple phone numbers. You are only limited to device memory for your contact list, and you can also use your SIM card to store up to 250 more contacts.


Personal information management (PIM) includes features seen on many smart phones and PDAs available today including an alarm, calendar, calculator, converter, notes and voice memo. All performed as expected, with no problems accessing information or moving between the options.

In addition to the basic PIM features, you also get Adobe Reader, Zip Manager and Quick Office which lets you view Word, PowerPoint and Excel documents. While you can view these documents, we had to continuously move back and forth to view the entire document which became a hassle after a very short while. It may prove useful for occasional use; I’d say stick with a PDA for the heavy users.

There are several applications that are installed on the N75 that help with hearing or sight impaired. All are under the settings menu. Voice aid will tell you what is highlighted on the screen. You can navigate the entire list including recent calls, address book, number dialer, voicemail and the clock. Text to speech types out the message you want to send without you having to type anything in the phone. Message reader read our messages through the speaker phone. While using these applications, we noticed small pronunciation errors, but all comments were understandable.


Messaging is fairly simple to use.  You are able to reach the messaging screen through the up key on the directional pad from the home screen, or by selecting the menu.  The buttons are responsive while typing.  If you’re a fan of predictive text, the dictionary seemed to store most of the words we were trying to type.  Instant messaging is supported, coming pre-installed with AIM, MSN and Yahoo.  All three signed us in without any problems or freezing and seemed very responsive.  We sent and received several pictures over the course of our review with no problems on either end of the transaction.  

Email on the N75 is supported through AT&T’s mobile email platform which supports email from Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, AIM, ATT Yahoo and Bellsouth.  Being a Symbian OS, you can also use your existing mailbox if it is POP or IMAP.  Starting the mobile email application we experienced a delay of several seconds, which isn’t that bad, but annoying if you open it often.  While viewing email, we used a Yahoo account and didn’t experience any particular problems.  On the 3G network emails downloaded quickly, but we were unable to view the entire email without selecting the option to view the entire email, which is standard on the mobile email application.

Connectivity and Data:

The N75 is quad-band GSM, and can work in any GSM network around the globe. For 3G it supports two bands of UMTS (850/1900 MHz) which are the standards used in America, but won’t be usable in Europe where the 2100 MHz band is used. Supported is Bluetooth v2.0 but without A2DP profile for stereo music, which is strange, considering the good music player, and the external controls.    

The browser like on all other Symbian S60 phones is excellent. It renders the pages as you’ve used to see them on a computer and thanks to the UMTS speed it is done faster than if you are using GPRS/EDGE. We really like the MiniMap and the History (back) options of the browser.


The camera quality on the N75 is decent compared to other phones currently available with AT&T particularly the Samsung Sync or the Sony Ericsson w810i. All of the pictures that we took came out decent. While taking a picture you have the option to use the internal or external screen as the viewfinder. Using the internal screen is awkward at best as you have to hold the phone sideways. Starting the camera was fast, there was almost no delay. The N75 gives you the option to auto save to the memory card or you can choose to save each picture as you take it.

Taking video we didn’t have any complaints. Videos are limited to one hour and are taken with up to CIF (352x288) resolution and 15 frames. If the frames were 24, the videos will be of good quality when previewed on a computer but now they are chopping.


Several file types are supported for listening to music including MP3, M4A, AAC, eAAC+, WMA and has keys on the front of the screen so you can control the music player without having to open the phone – not only change to next/previous song, but also browse your library. It’s fairly easy to set up different play lists and can use the shuffle setting. Interesting is the fact that the music player is the same as on Symbian 9.2 phones, instead on 9.1, which is the version of the N75. It is easier to use and looks better. The speakers are stereo and the sound is clear with no distortion.

Also available is the FM radio, as long as you’re willing to plug in a headset which acts as the antenna. While testing the FM radio, reception was exceptionally clear.


With 40 MB of internal memory, the N75 doesn’t have the most memory available, but can be expanded up to 2GB with a microSD card. Powered by Symbian S60 3rd Edition means there are endless 3rd party programs available. Pre-installed software applications include a Zip manager, Quick Office, Adobe Reader, eBay, MobiTV, Tetris and 3D Pool Hall. An interesting application is Lifeblog, which shows you on one screen some information from the current day including text messages, emails and notes. You also have the ability to post the information onto your webpage blog.

AT&T also includes applications for Cellular Video and AT&T Music. Cellular Video worked well for us in a 3G area. We experienced very little time buffering the video even though the phone runs on the UMTS portion of 3G. AT&T Music includes MobiRadio, Music ID and Billboard. We had no problem using these features, especially the MobiRadio which we had on for about 4 hours one day. A few times the phone went quiet, but came back within 10-15 seconds each time.


Our history with the Symbian operating system taught us that delays while doing certain things were something to expect. On the N75, we were surprised to experience none of these delays. The phone was smooth moving through the menus, and starting all the applications we were using.

Reception is exceptional as we’ve come to expect from Nokia. We would put this phone on the high end of the reception list. Using the phone around town, we experienced no problems other than issues with 3G while on a fringe area. Occasionally we dropped to an EDGE connection, but that’s to be expected since we were on a fringe area.

Sound quality for voice calls is decent using the ear piece, there were times when the caller reported we sounded “kind of tinny”. Everyone we talked to could tell we were on a cell phone, so we’d like to see an improved microphone on the next model. Speaker phone quality was clear incoming and outgoing. Callers still reported as being able to tell we were on a cell phone.

Battery life is rated for 4 hours talk time, which we were unable to reach during several days of testing. We were able to squeeze about 2 ½ hours each day, which is unacceptable on a phone of this caliber. Perhaps in a non 3G area, battery life will reach the 4 hour mark for talk times, but as more areas roll out the 3G network; this could become a problem down the road for many users. We also only got about 4 days of standby time, well below the rated 200 hour standby time.


While the Nokia N75 was a great phone when announced over 6 months ago, it has since been passed by other, more advanced models. The phone has many strong points, but lacks in important areas such as battery life. Unless you need some of the specific applications that come with or are available for the Symbian OS, look at different models. AT&T and Nokia should have had this phone out 6 months ago, which is ages in mobile technology.


  • Large screen, over 16 million colors
  • Clam shell smart phone
  • Exceptional reception
  • Large buttons


  • Battery life
  • The hinge feels weak
  • Lacks Wi-Fi
  • Lacks GPS

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