The major sell for the Nokia N86 is that it boasts an 8-megapixel camera, multiple aperture settings, a mechanical shutter and a Carl Zeiss lens with a 28mm-wide angle of view. In other words, it takes a mean photo. A high megapixel count is one thing, but the additional features result in pictures that rival those of most personal cameras. When set to the maximum resolution settings, the captured images are pretty impressive – and they can be automatically uploaded to an Ovi photo sharing account so your friends and family can see them online.
The N86 utilises the same dual-slider form factor as the N85 before it. It’s not a slim handset by any stretch (so maybe not ideal for those who wear skinny jeans), and although it’s a little heavy, it fits comfortably in the hand when in use. The phone’s call quality and audio are decent, as you’d expect of any Nokia handset.
In terms of features, the N86 has wi-fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and an accelerometer (which allows you to view the display in either landscape or portrait schemes). There’s 8GB of internal memory with support for an additional 16GB through the MicroSD slot, and the N86 also doubles (or should that be triples?) as an mp3 player.
The Symbian interface is mostly pretty intuitive for general phone navigation, and most of the settings can be changed fairly instinctively. But even though the N86 attempts to talk you through the wi-fi Internet and email set-up process, it took a few attempts to establish some kind of regular connection to my home wi-fi set-up. Once I did, though, the Nokia Messaging email service was a breeze to set up. Once outside of your wi-fi network’s range, however, the N86 will prompt you for wi-fi network details whenever you try to access mobile data (even via your carrier’s 3G network). This soon became annoying, and if there is a way to enable the N86 to automatically detect your wi-fi network (or default to 3G if it’s unavailable), it wasn’t very clear.
PROS: Extremely impressive camera, handy photo-frame-style ‘stand’ on the back of the phone, nice comfortable design, no need to cart both a camera and a phone around anymore.
CONS: Expensive, poorly placed key-lock slider that almost makes the feature redundant, less-than-intuitive wi-fi network support.
VERDICT: A solid unit, both in form and functionality, although some of the features aren’t as smart as they might be in other, competing devices. If you happen to be in the market for both a phone and a digital camera, the N86 is worth consideration, but at its current price point, it’s hard to justify to those who aren’t.