Nokia N85 Review

Introduction and Design

If you’re a Symbian fan most likely the Nokia N96 represents the best you can get. It is not without it’s flaws however, like the weak battery and the DVB-H tuner which is usable only in a few countries. The phone is very good but not perfect, and if you  find yourself wanting just a bit more then the N85 may be the phone for you. It is the first of Nokia’s N-series equipped with a power-saving OLED display. In addition to helping the battery, it doesn’t fade away in direct sunlight and offers a brighter picture. It’s hard to figure out whose successor is the N85 by just looking at the company’s product line. It is supposed to be a lighter version of N96, but at the same time offers upgrades such as a better display and battery performance; it is almost as if the N85 is an updated version of the N95...

The package includes:

  • Nokia N85
  • handsfree extension with a remote control
  • stereo headphones
  • USB cable
  • 8GB microSD card
  • documentation
  • codes for ordering n-gage games
  • software CD


The N85 reminds us of the N95/N96 – it’s a dual slider featuring four multimedia buttons which are revealed when the phone is open. The device carries the new ideas for the design of the N-series.

The back panel is in a cream-colored tone, while the front one is entirely black. N85 fits well in a hand no matter the mode you are using it in (portrait/landscape) and is perfectly balanced. In a pocket, the N85 feels slightly thick, but not large or heavy.

You can compare the Nokia N85 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

It is made entirely of plastic, which bends easily. The unpleasant feel of the slider also creates the impression for a cheap and fragile phone. Moreover, it’s hard to open, especially downwards. We weren’t very impressed with the overall feel, after all this is a high-end smartphone.

We had great expectations for the OLED display, a key feature for the model. It was clear from the start that the contrast is at a very high level and the colors are realistic, as if the image is alive. All this is thanks to the characteristics of the organic screens. In contrast to the TFT technology, the image quality stays consistent when exposed to moderate sunlight. The true test is when you try to read it in direct sunlight, when then you can clearly see how the iPhone’s display gets the upper hand, and N85’s one is not that easy to use.

The keyboard can hardly be called stunning, but we enjoyed it. It is much more user-friendly compared to the Samsung INNOV8’s. Text input isn’t exactly pleasurable, but it’s acceptable for casual messaging . At first, the navigational buttons create the impression that they are touch sensitive, but they are actually clickable keys. The designers have come up with a strange solution for the SEND and END keys;t they are simply two rubber lines, which are hard to hit sometimes. Another interesting element is the Navi Wheel. It is a part of the D-pad which responds to circular movements from your finger. This allows easy scrolling like seen in N78 and N81. The feature is not sensitive enough and sometimes interferes with operating the device. Luckily, it can be deactivated. On the right of the navigational block we have the multimedia key, which opens the Nokia XpressMedia menu. We’ll get to it later. The nice Breathing function illuminates the 5-way navigational button and flashes every few seconds as if breathing. This reminds us of the elegant Nokia 8600 Luna.

On the right we have the volume rocker and the locking slider, accompanied by the camera shutter. Talking about the latter, we have to say that it’s somewhat confusing and we don’t always know when we’ve reached the autofocus position and when we are all the way to the end.

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