Nokia N86 Review

Nokia N868GB | 8MP | ? awesomeness

Today I am going to review my new cell phone Nokia N86. I am so much excited that I actually wanted to do a comprehensive review of the phone but that would have to be cut down on to my opinion of the features of the phone. Before I would start, I would say “awesome” and I am sure you will say the same after reading the complete review.

Key features

  • 2.6″ 16M-color OLED display of QVGA resolution (scratch-resistant glass)
  • 8 megapixel autofocus camera with dual-LED flash and AF assist light
  • 28mm wide camera lens, variable aperture, mechanical shutter, geotagging, time-lapse, camera lens cover, VGA video recording at 30fps
  • Symbian OS 9.3 with S60 3.2 UI
  • ARM 11 434 MHz CPU, 128MB RAM
  • Quad-band GSM support and 3G with HSDPA 3.6Mbps support
  • Wi-Fi with UPnP technology
  • Built-in GPS with A-GPS functionality and 3 months of free voice-guided navigation (Ovi Maps)
  • Dual slide design with dedicated gaming/audio/gallery keys
  • 16GB microSD card slot with microSDHC support
  • Beefy 8GB internal storage
  • Built-in accelerometer for UI auto-rotation
  • 3.5mm audio jack doubling as TV out port
  • Stereo FM Radio with RDS, FM transmitter
  • Standard microUSB port and stereo Bluetooth v2.0
  • N-gage support plus you get an N-gage game for free
  • Digital compass
  • Web browser has full Flash and Java support
  • Active kickstand
  • Superb Audio quality

Well that’s a lot. Isn’t it? I will get back to them one by one.


  • Image processing isn’t very well tuned at this moment (just scope of improvement, else its good)
  • VGA@30fps video is no longer top of the line (could have been better)
  • No xenon flash (doesn’t really matter, believe me)
  • HSDPA only 3.6Mbps, no HSUPA
  • Poor display sunlight legibility

Instead of bragging the features it has got, I would first like to express my concern on the disadvantages. The camera is pretty good and the images and video are really good. I will upload the samples of both images and videos. Dual LED flash is good in performance too. Expecting it to have a Xenon flash just because its the latest offering isn’t acceptable for me and that too when the difference is not that much. It doesn’t have HSUPA but HSDPA should be enough and regarding the sunlight, the visibility is poor but how much time is one going to spend standing in the sunlight.

Retail Package

Other than the phone and battery, the retail package included the following:

  • Charger
  • USB Data Cable
  • Two piece Headset (Remote + Earplugs)
  • Nokia OVI Suite DVD
  • Some Redeem coupons for OVI Store

That’s pretty much of a basic packaging but it does the job for me. In fact, it will, for many of us.

Design & Construction

It is built on dual-slide form factor and is smaller in size (103.4 x 51.4 x 16.5 mm) as compared to its competitors. It has a volume of 69cc and weighs 149grams. That’s a little heavy but hardy noticeable. Its the power in your hands.

dpad The screen is good but doesn’t match as that of its competitors. The phone has a D pad for operating it which attracts a lot of fingerprints and the same is with the metallic but is quite user friendly.

upper-part-n86 The ambient light sensor, earpiece and video-call camera are as usually up there.

n86-keypad Sliding up sports a alphanumeric keypad (standard 4-row 12-key layout) and sliding down reveals four multimedia keys which are used for controlling the music playback or gallery. The keypad is not something to complain about. The keys are quite comfortable and I get very decent speeds on it.

multimedia-key-n86 However the four multimedia keys are not soft and I guess they should be this way only.

keypad-locker-n86 There is an additional slider to lock/unlock the keypad which is something I like in my phone but many have questioned its use. I guess this is a personal choice for the owner.

cmera-key-n86 volume-control-n86On the other side there are comfortable keys for Camera & Volume control both of which are just right. Not too out of the design and not too in that they become hard to press.

top-look-n86 On the top there are Power key, 3.5mm Audio jack & micro USB port which is used for connecting the Charger, Data cable and the TV out port.

camera-lens-n86 On the back the 8MP wide-angle camera is covered with a lens cover which unlocks the phone and starts the camera when opened.

kick-stand-n86 Around it is a kickstand which makes the phone a viewable screen by placing it on the table. kick-stand-look-n86One can even set the behavior that which application to start when opening the kickstand.

Thanks to GSMArena for the flash embed and the pictures of Nokia N86! I couldn’t have taken my own because my only camera is N86 8MP itself.


Its the Nokia’s first 8MP phone (3264×2448 pixels) and boasts of Carl Zeiss lens with dual LED flash. It has got many options like a digital camera and has a panorama feature too.

I will be uploading some sample pictures & a video too but till that you can have a look at the ones from GSMArena (Just click on the thumbnail to view the original size).

camera4 camera1 camera2 camera3

Download a N86 Video sample! I find them pretty much doing the job of a beginner’s digital camera (The Nokia has an aggressive noise reduction for photos and the photos end up with oily look when fully zoomed at 100%)

Processing Speed

The phone is pretty much responsive in everything. Thanks to the 434 Mhz CPU and 128MB RAM. One thing that I like the most is that viewing photos in gallery is an awesome experience. One doesn’t need to wait for the picture to process while scrolling and increasing the scrolling speed rotates the gallery in N-series style smoothly.

Audio Quality

The audio quality of loudspeaker is just enough. Its not loud but I wish it was. I am more of a headphone junky and when I listened to some of my music in the earplugs, I was impressed. It even sounds better as compared to when I plug in the headset into my PC audio jack. That means the phone’s hardware is even better than the PC’s soundcard.

Its sound quality is almost equivalent to the Nokia N97 as their frequency response graph runs very close.

It also has a FM Transmitter which enables you to transmit your playback on a set frequency and then any FM device can play the music. It adds up awesome for Car stereo.

Battery Life

It is powered by a 1200mAh Li-Ion battery and on paper it has some decent standby and talktime. However I am facing a little trouble with this one. I might need to get it checked. My cell never shows up the “Battery fully charged” message and keeps on charging but in the screensaver it shows the battery is fully charged. Still it runs for a whole day of mix usage but I believe it should run for 2 days with heavy usage & GSMArena has reported that too. I will update this section once I am done with my visit to the Nokia Priority as the fault can be anything – charger, battery or the microUSB port. If any other user can share his/her experience it would be great.

Apart from all this, the web browser is pretty good too with full flash and java support. The accelerometer is good too and responsive enough.

Final Verdict

Instead of the fact that I am having some issues with battery backup time, I love this offering of Nokia. I would recommend it to anybody looking for an all rounder phone in range of 20k. I bought it for 20.8k actually from Nokia Priority. They were asking for 21.4k but my friend managed to get the deal in 20.8k. Its totally sexy.


19 responses to “Nokia N86 Review”

  1. The N86 seems to be a great phone. Does it support the divx & xvid formats. If yes, thoes it support the all versions of codec?

    1. It doesn’t support them natively. However you can install any media player on them and they should play fine. Yes, its a great phone other than some weird battery problem (as in the post) and a glitch cuz of which video playback has stopped somehow. It used to play earlier so it is just a software fault.

  2. dhananjai Avatar

    good post…
    nice post…..
    it really helped me a lot
    keep writing…

    1. Glad that it helped 🙂

  3. Hey….!!!
    iv seen many information about n86…
    and i dont noe which to buy…n85 or n86…does the key pad of n86 come out real fast?

    1. Definitely N86! And what did you mean by keypad coming out real fast?

      1. like ruin or something?….lols
        how about the battery life?…is it good?

        1. Nope! The upper part touches the keypad a little which has created some hard to see minor scratches. Battery life is good but not what the stats say. Mine never told me that it is fully charged, just keep on charging but when the screensaver is displayed, it shows that the battery is charged.

          1. A quick update is that it charges to full after 2hrs of charging and is working great so far!

  4. kalpajeet bhattacharya Avatar
    kalpajeet bhattacharya

    I bought my N86 few months back….the 8MP camera is quite efficient in day light but not upto the mark in night….it’s battery life is definitely not good….I have to charge it every second day after very moderate usage….but with hevy usage one day is max….& it never tells that it’s fully charged, only screen saver shows it.

    1. Same is for me. Battery could have been better. And charge it for 2 hrs or a little more, it will say that battery is fully charged. Try it 🙂

    2. And yes I updated my firmware too. Not to the latest one (21) but just the next branch (11)

  5. i heard that n86 works slow enough!!! and were would i get anti-virius 4 n86?

    1. It works fine and I don’t use any antivirus cuz I don’t play with crappy apps.

  6. is da device slow?

    1. Nope. Its fast.

  7. Really Impressive review..!!

    1. Thanks mate 🙂

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