Nokia N76 Review

Nokia’s N-series comprise various phones, all of them profoundly different from one another and having in common only their operating system (Symbian S60), which invariably results in similar technical characteristics. Although they are all intended as multimedia devices, their differing design allocates them into different consumer groups: one is targeted at the average consumer, who likes to take pictures, another is intended for those who like to video, still another is a device that does everything equally well, but neither of them is slim, with a contemporary ‘terrific’ look. And here comes N76, inspired by Motorola’s RAZR models. It is almost twice slimmer than N71 (the previous clamshell from the N-series) and is made either in black or in eye-catching red. It delivers a message mainly by its looks, but it’s nevertheless a smartphone, equipped with multimedia possibilities, predominantly intended for music.

The set contains:

  • The phone itself
  • Stereo headset
  • Charger
  • miniUSB cable
  • Manual and software

PhoneArena's Nokia N76 Video Review:

N76’s design immediately calls an analogy with the RAZR series, but so do many other phones and we should not blame Nokia for this. Our device is from the red variation, representing a combination of deep red and metallic gray, rather contrasting, compared to most phones. The slim silhouette is also impressive and the fact that this is a smartphone, makes it an achievement. The other color version uses black instead of the red.


Dimension (Inches)

Dimension (MM)

Weight (OZ)

Weight (Gramms)

Nokia N76

4.2" x 2.0" x 0.5"

106.5 x 52 x 13.7



Motorola RAZR V3

3.85" x 2.08" x 0.5"

98 x 53 x 13.9



Nokia N71

3.9" x 2.0" x 0.9"

99 x 51 x 23



It feels nice when held in the hand, its structure is solid and it resembles a metal device, although it is actually made of plastic. The plastic’s color has a metal shine, which also enhances its metal-like look. N76 is conveniently held both in open and in closed position, as well as during conversation. Our criticism is that it is difficult to open: there is nowhere you can ‘stick’ your fingers, so that it is almost impossible to open it single-handedly. Since it is very slim, while you’re holding it, your fingers almost always touch both its sides and therefore even opening it with your other hand is hard.

In closed position you will find the external display and 3 music buttons on the front panel. They are flat, but backlit, so that they can be visible. Although their function has been indicated, it also changes, because simple operation with certain functions is also possible with the phone closed. In standby mode the external screen visualizes the phone’s system condition (signal strength, battery, time). At the bottom there is a line, showing the functions of the buttons, which operate like three software keys. You can open the Music Library, switch on the music player or the radio. You can easily change tracks with the phone closed, using not only the previous/next function, but also the functionality that is available with the phone open – sorting by artist/album/etc.

You can also access the calendar by pressing a side button or you can use the camera interface for taking pictures, and even to adjust the settings!

The external display is nothing special, its size is only 1.36” and the resolution is 128х160 pixels, which actually is not so bad, keeping in mind that such a resolution is used for the main displays of the budget models.

The other outside buttons are located on the right. Here you’ll find the volume rocker in the upper part and the camera shortcut and gallery/multimedia shortcut, known from the N73 and N95 models. All buttons are felt when touched or pressed and pressing them is hard.

In the upper part are located the power button (shortcut to profile change), miniUSB port, covered with a safety rubber and a 3.5mm stereo jack for plugging in headphones. Here, just like in the case of N95, the standard, used in almost all portable audio devices is made use of, which makes us happy, because it is not difficult to plug in standard stereo headphones to listen to music. The top location is a good choise for the 3.5mm jack as you will easily put the phone in a pocket, when headphones are connected. The drawback is that the clamshell cannot open fully when headphones or miniUSB cable are attached.

On the left is the opening, connecting to the charger. There is such an opening, because in this model Nokia is not making use of charging through miniUSB as it is with their new models with microUSB (8600 and 6500 series). Next to it is the microSD card slot, with cover matching the style of the design. On the bottom you can attach a strap, to wear the phone around your hand or neck as a fashion accessory. The openings for the loudspeaker are also here. The sound it produces is not the loudest possible and it does not live up to that of N95, but the quality is similar: the music sounds distinct and clear. Of course, the low frequencies are not reproduced, but this is only logical for such a loudspeaker.

Recommended Stories
You have to open the phone, so that you can get to the main display and keyboard. The 2.44” display with QVGA resolution and 16 million colors is in the upper part. It offers bright and contrasting images, typical for Nokia’s N-series phones. Its colors are saturated, but neutral and the white is really white, neither red nor blue. Underneath is the keypad, which, similarly to RAZR, is metal and flat: the buttons are large, but the different buttons are not easy to tell and they are comparatively hard to press. The backlight is in the „Cyan” color, which is not in tune with the phone’s design. It is operated by a light sensor, which turns it off when it’s light.


N76 is a phone running on Symbian Operating System with S60 interface. To be precise, the exact version is Symbian 9.2 with S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 1, which is the latest one used in a Nokia phone up to now. The only other device using it and currently available on the market is the N95. Unlike it, you can’t fully use the display in landscape mode, but have software for the external display (see design).

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 N76 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.

The main menu can be viewed as 3x4 grid of icons that can also be displayed as a list (it’s chosen directly from the main menu) but the icons are not animated in both cases. N76 adds two new possible visualizations – Horseshoe and V-shaped, which are interestingly-looking, but inconvenient to use 3D menus. The numeric keypad buttons can be used as shortcuts – a function which is much better implemented than version 6 of the S60 interface but still a lot of things should be changed: as the menu not always holds 12 icons (they can be more or less), scrolling up/down shows you different ones that should be associated with the keypad – but they’re not. If you press 3 while at the highest part of the grid, you’ll select the icon located at the top right corner. But if you scroll down to reveal the other icons in this menu, pressing the 3 button will still open the afore-mentioned menu, not the one currently located at the top right of your screen; so these shortcuts only relate to the first 12 icons in a particular menu, while the rest (if there are any) remain without any shortcuts. If a button’s function is dynamic and corresponds to the grid in the menu, you can click the button for a given menu without even thinking about it. Thus, you save the time you usually need to “walk around” the menus, using the joystick.

The new extra of the OS (9.2 compared to 9.1), which we find in both N76 and N95 is that each application which is active has a small circle next to its icon in the menu. For example, if you left any application running in the background, than in the main menu next to "Applications" link an indication would appear. As all other Symbian S60 phones, you can see the running applications by holding the Menu key, and shut some of them off by selecting them and using the C key.

The menu can be personalized by using themes, and if you combine various screensavers and personalized homescreens, two identical phones can look quite different. Definitely, the operating system provides many good personalization options, so it can be compared to the most advanced system, according to us – Windows Mobile for Pocket PCs. During the test, we used a vivid red theme preloaded with the N76, perfectly matching its style.


Symbian phones are not only multimedia devices, they are phones. And every phone should have a good system for managing the concats. The phonebook of Symbian S60 phones is one of the best on the market, together with those of Windows smartphones. All the contacts are displayed as a list and if there is a picture ID, it can be seen in the top left corner of the screen as a thumbnail with a very small size (it’s the same when you have an incoming call and that’s why we find this feature useless) when you select the contact. If you want to search, you type in directly from the keypad and searching is done for the whole name (not only the first word), even if the name is saved in more than one field (first and last name for example). If you want to edit a contact , you can only change the already defined fields. For adding more information you need to select the Add Detail menu. When adding a new contact you are provided with the “basic” fields, but with the “Add Detail” function you have almost no restrictions on the fields and their number and you can add a lot of phone numbers.
We also like having the option for adding a given field several times and in that manner for example we are able to record the numbers of three phones each one with a status “Mobile”.

The phone has a set of voice commands – they are speaker independent and you don’t have to “train” every command, something that can save you a lot of precious time. By holding the right soft key, the “recognizer” turns on and you can say a name (from the phonebook) to be dialed. Names like “Father”, “Brother”, “test”, “John” and “Neo” were no problem, but we had no success with others like “Amy” for example.

The commands can activate various programs or perform different functions, like “New SMS” for example, but a list with different capabilities must be added to the menu - not all of them are added by default so that they’re easier to recognize with any speaker – thus by adding only the ones you need you can achieve best possible accuracy without the annoying training. Аnd it works, the voice commands were very accurate and we rarely experienced mistakes when launching applications.

A voice recorder can record your voice by the means of speakerphone as the duration of the recording is limited only by the available memory. You can record on the memory card, which will allow longer recording times. In that way the smartphone replaces your voice recorder without needing third party software.


The Organizer is spread into different submenus – the calendar is one of the icons in the main menu and it can be viewed by month or week. Of course, you can easily add notes (Meeting, Memo, Anniversary, To-do) to a particular day with a few clicks; To-Do notes are also displayed on the homescreen if the corresponding option is turned on (see Interface). An alarm can be assigned to each entry in the calendar.

Other options like Calculator, Notes, and Converter are located in the Office menu. Notes are just annotations with no option for adding an alarm like the To-Do notes. The Converter works with various quantities (Length, Weight, etc.) but the interface has not changed much, compared to older versions, and working with various types is still inconvenient – entering different values requires a quite slow transition from one row to another, while choosing types is done from a drop-down list, which usually takes a lot of time.

The calculator is very simple and is not scientific one, which would suit a smartphone.

Unlike N95, the N76 comes only with PDF reader and lacks applications which open Microsoft Office documents. From the downloads section, you can get the QuickOffice which is actually the software coming with the N95. You can also get F-Secure, ZIP manager, and AAL.

Alarms are located in a third menu - Clock (in applications). In Symbian 9.2 you can add as many alarms as you wish and for each one you could choose whether it should repeat each and every day for example or not. This is excellent and there is no stupid limitation in the number of the alarms like with other even smart phones (i.e. Symbian 9.1 allows for only one alarm that even can not be set to repeat).

The World Clock is also located in this menu and you can add various cities that you like to view – that's very convenient and saves a lot of time compared to the standard way with “moving across the world map". You can easily review given cities, which you are interested in without searching them each time.

The Tools menu houses the integrated File Manager which we would've liked to feature an improved navigation too. Unlike PPC phones, it does not resemble the explorer we know from PCs and working with files is not quite fast.


The Messages menu has nothing new to offer – you can easily compose SMS/MMS or Email and located in My Folder are templates which are handy for text that is often used in messages. The fast T9 can help you enter text quickly. The EDGE and UMTS connection helps for fast retrieving of Emails. In order to limit the generated traffic, you can set the phone to download the headers only, or to limit the size in KB.


Nokia N76 is quad-band GSM/EDGE phone supporting UMTS 2100 MHz for 3G in Europe/Asia. As it doesn’t support America’s 3G bands, here it will work only as 2G phone but at least without any problem, thanks to the quad-band support.

It is ridiculous that A2DP profile is not supported! The phone has Bluetooth v2 and plays the music through any headset connected to it, including stereo ones, but plays them in mono, not in stereo and with low quality. Even stranger is the fact that N76 supports AVRCP profile, so you can control the phone through stereo headset (change songs, adjust the volume). Lacking A2DP is a step back, as phones on Symbian v9.1 didn’t supported it but Nokia N95 (v9.2) does.

Like most other Nokia phones, along with the N76 comes a CD with Nokia PC Suite. The version of the software is newer than the one coming with N95 and offers new interface, matching the style of the N76. It has the standard backup and synchronize, connecting the PC to the Internet via the phone, managing contacts, messages, multimedia and applications. Connecting is done without a problem, when using the miniUSB cable from the box (or any standard one) and choosing the PC Suite mode from the phone. In this mode we transferred 176 entries (contacts, to-do notes, etc) in just 10 seconds. If you choose Mass Storage, the phone’s memory will be displayed as a removable drive, in which you can copy any file.


Thanks to the UMTS data and the QVGA resolution of the display, loading and viewing a standard HTML web pages is easy job. The phone has no problem rendering all pages and reading phoneArena's news was a pleasure. Scrolling left-to-right and top-to-bottom is done with the phone's d-pad, and a mini-map shows you, which part of the page you are looking at. The pages loaded pretty fast and as a whole, we had a great experience with the browser, so we definitely like it more than the Internet Explorer, built in Pocket PC phones based on Windows Mobile. The browser can load RSS feeds for even faster access to information.

What we loved about it is the history: when you use 'back' to see pages you've seen earlier, you see the pages as thumbnails, you can open from the phone's cache.


The N76 has a 2-megapixel camera on its back, which is a necessity nowadays. Its lens is neither autofocus, nor with Carl Zeiss branding, clearly showing that the camera is not the phone’s key feature. You can use either of the displays for a viewfinder, but it is recommended to use the internal one which is bigger and of higher quality. The options are identical to those of the N95, due to the same operating system, and so, the N76 has more features than the N93i. 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 interface starts for 3 and taking and saving a picture takes only 4. This is faster than Nokia’s top cameraphone, the N95.

The camera is not the best on the market, but works OK. Outdoors, your photos will be underexposed, and with not saturated colors. Indoor images have very low quality, and lots of noise. The flash should be used when it is dark, but it’s very weak and useless.

The camcorder is not as good as those of the N95 and N93(i) and captures QVGA videos in MPEG4 format instead of VGA, which is 4 times bigger resolution. Still, their quality is high enough for previewing on a computer and the resolution is the standard one using in most online video blogs, like YouTube for example.

The pictures taken can be viewed from the Gallery. It displays a single image at the center of the display, which is surrounded by small thumbnails of the other images in the phone. Navigating left-to-right, the images move at the center 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 multimedia shortcut acts as the one of older Symbian phones, like the N73 – it gives you 5 shortcuts, for each side of the d-pad respectively. You won’t find the more fashionable landscape menu, like the one of the N95.


The phone naturally comes with headphones in the box, but can also play the music through the speaker, which is also used for the incoming ringing alert. As it was already mentioned, the sound coming from this speaker is not very strong but clear.
The music player interface is the same as the one of the N95, which is much more convenient than the one of the Symbian version 9.1. The functionality has been preserved, but the navigation is more rational. The interface has been optimized for landscape, but it can also be used in portrait orientation without problems. The navigation is assigned to the d-pad directions and therefore you don’t have to shift through the small icons as was the case with N73, for example.

The Music Library menu allows you to sort the songs by Artist, Album, Genre, Composer. You can also create playlists.
The music player works fine in background mode thanks to the multitasking capabilities of the smartphone, while the homescreen displays the songs that are playing 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. In order to do this, use the music keyboard on the top.

In addition to the Music Player comes the built in FM tuner. It is nothing extraordinary but allows you to listen to local FM stations, delivering music or audio information (news for example) over the air. The interface is standard and allows for saving of a few stations to your "favorite" list. As always, wired headphones should be attached in order to be used as an antenna for the phone.

The viewing of video files is a real pleasure on the phone’s display. The processor does a very good job and we monitored no delay with an encoded 320x240 pixels video clip, as was the case with some other smartphones.


The phone can use applications based both on the Java platform and Symbian S60, which provides wide 3rd party software compatibility. Installation is a piece of cake, while additional programs increase the phone's capabilities and it can be personalized to better suit you. The N76 comes preloaded with 3D Snakes game.

The internal memory of the device is just 26MB, so you should get a microSD card to store your music on. The slot is located next to the charging socket and is hot swappable, which means you can replace the cards while the phone is on.


Nokia N76 uses a ARM11 processor with a working frequency of 369MHz, which is 11% more, compared to ARM11 at 332MHz, used in N95 and N93i. Working with the menu is instantaneous and this is the quickest Symbian S60 phone that we have used! It is so quick that we can easily compare it to a non-smart phone, which are quicker by definition.

We are disappointed in the phone’s coverage, which, surprisingly for an upmarket Nokia, is below the average. In our underground test we have evaluated it at 4 out of 10. The sound quality, however, is typical: realistic voices in both directions and strong outgoing sound. Our only criticism is the average incoming sound, due to which you can have difficulties in a noisy environment.

The loudspeaker is optimized to be used during video conversation: you have to keep it at a small distance (up to half a meter) so that you can be hear distinctly and loudly. The incoming sound strength is below the average and you’ll not be able to use it if it is noisy around you.


Apart from its sexy look and its slim silhouette, Nokia N76 offers quite a lot of possibilities as a Symbian S60 smartphone. If you’re a music fan, you can listen to your favorite tracks through the player’s latest version, the standard headphones with a 3.5 mm jack and a nice thing is that the navigation can be done even with the shell closed. The camera is not on a par with the upmarket cameraphones like N95 but can take photos for memory; some of the functions of the top-of-the-line model (WiFI, HSDPA) are not available here, but that’s the price of being cool-looking. Overall, this is a slim device with unusually quick reactions for Symbian S60 smartphone


  • Slim profile with extravagant look
  • Music player can be fully controlled with the shell closed
  • 3.5mm stereo jack for easy connection with headphones


  • Larger than some people would like to
  • Weak signal reception

PhoneArena Rating:


User Rating:

12 Reviews

Recommended Stories

Loading Comments...
FCC OKs Cingular\'s purchase of AT&T Wireless