By Sascha Segan  |  Posted 2006-06-20 Print this article Print

So this is what the Europeans have been keeping from us. The Nokia N80 ($799 list) is the ultimate bleeding-edge convergence phone and the first 3-megapixel camera phone in the U.S., packed with connectivity and multimedia features. Though it can be a bit sluggish to use and lacks push e-mail, the N80s sheer audacity warrants our Editors Choice.

At 3.7 by 2 by 0.9 inches and 5.2 ounces, the N80 is a boxy, businesslike slider phone that feels solid in the hand. The 352-by-416 screen is just bright enough and shockingly high-res, so photos and text look beautiful. A tiny VGA self-portrait camera sits above the screen.

Below the screen, theres a bunch of confusingly labeled buttons that turn out to be pick-up, hang-up, menu, clear, two soft keys, and a quick application-access button. The camera button is on the side, encouraging you to turn the phone 90 degrees to use the 3MP camera on the back. Dedicated music playback and volume buttons are, sadly, absent. Slide the screen up to reveal a keypad of tightly packed, rectangular black keys.

The N80 has excellent reception and good sound quality through the earpiece and speakerphone. Calls that I made from a noisy street came through clearly, and the speakerphone is loud enough for most situations. Speaker-independent voice dialing lacks digit dialing, but it generally works with names in your contact book, and it works over Bluetooth. Battery life, at a little more than 5 1/2 hours of talk time, is short for a GSM phone, and it drops further with extensive Wi-Fi use. Still, the N80s battery life is comparable with that of some CDMA phones on Sprint and Verizon, so I wont judge it too harshly. The phone is ideal for world travelers, with quint-band roaming: the usual four global bands and the 2,100-MHz band used for high-speed data in Europe and Asia.

Connectivity is a big strength here: You get EDGE, stereo Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. EDGE speeds were a bit poky, at around 80 Kbps, when the phone was hooked up to a laptop as a modem. Wi-Fi zipped along at up to 925 Kbps using the built-in Web browser. I connected the phone up to several Plantronics headsets, a PC, and a Mac via Bluetooth. File transfers, PC modem use, and syncing with Microsoft Outlook via Nokias PC Suite all worked fine. I couldnt get the N80 to sync with the Mac, though file transfers worked.

Read the full story on PCMag.com: A Do-Everything Camera Phone

Sascha Segan is PC Magazine's Lead Analyst for mobile phones and PDAs. He is responsible for testing, benchmarking and evaluating mobile phones and other handheld devices. Sascha joined the magazine in 2004 after covering consumer electronics for technology, travel and lifestyle publications, and editing the now hard-to-find book, 'I Just Got a Cell Phone, Now What?' He once helped cover an election in Africa using only a PalmPilot Professional with a modem and attachable keyboard as his traveling gear.

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