NokiaN81 8GB has a neat design, it is made of shiny black plastic thatfeels nice to touch, the only disadvantage being its weight of 140grams, which, however, does not make it an oversize phone, given itsdimensions of 4.0 x 2.0 x 0.7 inches (102 x 50 x 17.9 mm).

Model Dimension (Inches) Dimension (mm) Weight (oz) Weight (Gramms)
Nokia N81 8GB
4.01" x 1.96" x 0.70" 102 x 50 x 17.9 4.93 140
Nokia N91 8GB 4.44" x 2.16" x 0.86" 113 x 55 x 22 5.64 160
Motorola RIZR Z6 4.15" x 1.79" x 0.62" 105.5 x 45.5 x 16 4.05 115
Sonny Ericsson W960 4.29" x 2.16" x 0.62" 109 x 55 x 16 4.19 119

Slidingis facilitated by a spring that helps the phone open easily.Unfortunately, this phone shares a common problem with other similardevices, namely a play between the two slides, which is rather annoyingwhen working with it. As time passes, one probably gets over this disadvantage, but this is no excuse for the manufacturers who again have failedto make a sufficient effort to ensure the comfort of the buyers supporting their brand. If you decide to part with quite a lot of yourmoney in order to buy a new phone, you would have a good reason todemand the best, and such small details are really annoying - however,let’s leave it to the manufacturers from Nokia to think about this.

Similarly to most Nokia phones of this class, using a big display,Nokia N81 8GB is also equipped with a 2.4-inch unit, a QVGA (240 x 320pixels) resolution and maintains up to 16.7 colors. The images havesaturated and vivid colors; the display is very well visible in broaddaylight and the visibility angle is also very good. Many of the othermodels are equipped with a light sensor, regulating the brightness ofthe display according to the intensity of light, but N81 8 GB doesreally well even without such a sensor. The second camera, intended for3G connection, is to the right above the display.

Just like most sliders, N81’s keys are dividedbetween the upper and lower part, which means that you need to open thephone only if you want to use the numeric keyboard.The keys are flat and arranged close to each other without any spaceor relief in-between, which increases the risk of pressing the wrongone. The keys are rather hard to press, but they give a perfect tactilefeedback.

On the navigation keypad,apart from the standard navigation keys, used in all Symbian phones,there are also music keys, located around the D-Pad and which, are logically used to navigate the player. Those are soft to press,but do not give a good tactile feedback and are small. The call/endkeys are located vertically in the two opposite ends of the keypad.Unfortunately they are extremely small and inconvenient to use and youhave to press them with your fingertips. The D-pad, is bulging around its edges, thus standing out among the other keys.During the tests we came across quite a strange defect: when workingwith the D-pad the play key of the music player would activate ratheroften, which was really inexplicable, provided that we never touchedthe respective key; not to mention the disturbance that a pumped-upsong can bring when it starts completely unexpectedly while you’relooking at some information in your phone.

The navigationkeypad includes one more multimedia key, which is used for activatingthe menu in 3D mode, containing the functions Music, Games, Gallery,Contacts, Internet and Maps.

Now’s the time to mention the twokeys, intended to switch to the games mode. They are located exactlyabove the display and you need to know they’re there in order to findthem, because the manufacturer has made all the efforts necessary tohide them around the receiver. You’ll see the first signs of them ifyou activate the games mode: then the keys give themselves away bylighting up.

Keeping in mind that this is also a music phone, the stereo speakersare big enough and fairly distinguishable. They are located in theupper part on both sides and are covered with fine metal grids.

Apart from one of the speakers, there are also threekeys located on the right-hand side. In the upper part are the volumekeys, which have almost merged with the phone’s panel – this featurewill create some difficulties when using those keys. A little bitdownwards is the camera shortcut and the situation there is almostidentical. You have to use your fingertips to press it. When youactivate the music player, all three keys are lit up, which is a ratheruncommon feature with the different models of phones.

On the otherside there are no keys whatsoever and the only thing that is seen aretwo small holes in the lower corner, which are intended for a hand orneck string to be run through.

In the phone’s upper part are the 3.5mm jack,the on/off button and, mind you, the keypad lock key. This is really avery good innovative solution by Nokia which, we believe, results fromthe fact that, you have to open your phone in order to lock it, whilethis function enables you to lock it with just one movement.

However,this is all that we can say about this key’s advantages and we shouldmove on to its disadvantages. When you shake the phone, you hear arattling sound, whose source you’ve probably guessed: yes, it’scoming exactly from this hardware locking button. It is rather ricketyand is actually walking about the place designated for it and thereforethis is the defect you’re bound to come across if you decide to opt forN81 8GB.

In the phone’s lowerpart there is a place designated for the mic, as well as for the slotfor the microUSB cable and for the charging connector, which we arefamiliar with from other recent models. It is interesting to note thatthe phone is equipped with exactly this type of charging connectorinstead of using the microUSB port for the purpose, like, for example,in 6500 classic.

The phone’s back isvery well designed, so that you have the maximum comfort when takingpictures. The 2-megapixel camera with the LED flash just above it arelocated here; the camera is on one side of the lid, so that it’sunlikely that you encounter the ‘picture of my fingers’ problems. Whenyou’re taking pictures the camera button is just under your indexfinger.

Under the back lid you’ll find the battery; when youremove it, you’ll find the SIM card slot. Unfortunately, there is noslot for expanding the memory, but since the phone comes with 8 GB ofin-built memory, we can be pretty sure that most of you will hardlyfind this a problem.

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