x PhoneArena is hiring! Reviewer in the USA

Nokia N81 8GB Review

Nokia N81 8GB

Posted: , posted by PhoneArena Team



Nokia N81 8GB has a neat design, it is made of shiny black plastic that feels nice to touch, the only disadvantage being its weight of 140 grams, which, however, does not make it an oversize phone, given its dimensions of 4.0 x 2.0 x 0.7 inches (102 x 50 x 17.9 mm).

Nokia N81 8GB Review
Nokia N81 8GB Review
Nokia N81 8GB Review

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

left to right and bottom to top - Nokia N81 8GB, Samsung SGH-F700, Samsung SGH-G800 - Nokia N81 8GB Review
left to right and bottom to top - Nokia N81 8GB, Samsung SGH-F700, Samsung SGH-G800 - Nokia N81 8GB Review
left to right and bottom to top - Nokia N81 8GB, Samsung SGH-F700, Samsung SGH-G800 - Nokia N81 8GB Review

left to right and bottom to top - Nokia N81 8GB, Samsung SGH-F700, Samsung SGH-G800

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

2.4 inch display - Nokia N81 8GB Review
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 320 pixels) resolution and maintains up to 16.7 colors. The images have saturated and vivid colors; the display is very well visible in broad daylight and the visibility angle is also very good. Many of the other models are equipped with a light sensor, regulating the brightness of the display according to the intensity of light, but N81 8 GB does really well even without such a sensor. The second camera, intended for 3G connection, is to the right above the display.

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

Nokia N81 8GB Review
Nokia N81 8GB Review
Nokia N81 8GB Review

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/end keys are located vertically in the two opposite ends of the keypad. Unfortunately they are extremely small and inconvenient to use and you have 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 working with the D-pad the play key of the music player would activate rather often, which was really inexplicable, provided that we never touched the respective key; not to mention the disturbance that a pumped-up song can bring when it starts completely unexpectedly while you’re looking at some information in your phone.

Dedicated Game keys - Nokia N81 8GB Review

Dedicated Game keys

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

Now’s the time to mention the two keys, intended to switch to the games mode. They are located exactly above the display and you need to know they’re there in order to find them, because the manufacturer has made all the efforts necessary to hide them around the receiver. You’ll see the first signs of them if you activate the games mode: then the keys give themselves away by lighting up.

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

Right side - Nokia N81 8GB Review
Left side - Nokia N81 8GB Review

Right side

Left side

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

On the other side there are no keys whatsoever and the only thing that is seen are two small holes in the lower corner, which are intended for a hand or neck 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 a very good innovative solution by Nokia which, we believe, results from the fact that, you have to open your phone in order to lock it, while this function enables you to lock it with just one movement.

Upper part - Nokia N81 8GB Review
Bottom - Nokia N81 8GB Review

Upper part


However, this is all that we can say about this key’s advantages and we should move on to its disadvantages. When you shake the phone, you hear a rattling sound, whose source you’ve probably guessed: yes, it’s coming exactly from this hardware locking button. It is rather rickety and is actually walking about the place designated for it and therefore this is the defect you’re bound to come across if you decide to opt for N81 8GB.

In the phone’s lower part there is a place designated for the mic, as well as for the slot for the microUSB cable and for the charging connector, which we are familiar with from other recent models. It is interesting to note that the phone is equipped with exactly this type of charging connector instead of using the microUSB port for the purpose, like, for example, in 6500 classic.

Nokia N81 8GB Review
Nokia N81 8GB Review
The phone’s back is very well designed, so that you have the maximum comfort when taking pictures. The 2-megapixel camera with the LED flash just above it are located here; the camera is on one side of the lid, so that it’s unlikely that you encounter the ‘picture of my fingers’ problems. When you’re taking pictures the camera button is just under your index finger.

Under the back lid you’ll find the battery; when you remove it, you’ll find the SIM card slot. Unfortunately, there is no slot for expanding the memory, but since the phone comes with 8 GB of in-built memory, we can be pretty sure that most of you will hardly find this a problem.

  • Options

Want to comment? Please login or register.

Nokia N81 8GB

Nokia N81 8GB

OS: Symbian 9.2
view full specs
PhoneArena rating:
Display2.4 inches, 240 x 320 pixels (167 ppi) TFT
Camera2 megapixels
Single core, 369 MHz, ARM11 processor
0.1 GB RAM
Size4.01 x 1.96 x 0.70 inches
(102 x 50 x 17.9 mm)
4.93 oz  (140 g)
Battery1050 mAh, 4 hours talk time

Latest stories