Saturday, February 22, 2020

The Nokia N73: A Smart But Dull Competitor to the K800i

January 4, 2007 by · 14 Comments 

Nokia N73

The Nokia N73 is a whiz-bang phone with a plethora of features. It’s main rival in the camera phone arena is the Sony Ericsson K800i, which currently stands as my top camera phone. So how well does the N73 fare against the K800i? Follow the link for more.

This isn’t as much a review as it is a comparison of the N73 to the K800i. Presumably if you’re in the market for a cameraphone, you will have stumbled onto both of these and may have reached the point of indecision between them. My objective is to simply push your indecision in a specific direction.

Front comparisonSide ComparisonBack Comparison

My desire to evaluate the Nokia N73 came from the amazing set of statistics that it has: Quadband with Edge & 3G, movie mode with mp4 recording capability, 3MP camera, beautiful screen, and the powerful Symbian OS v 3 that can be greatly customized. However, once I started playing with it, the N73 started unraveling into what felt like a various pieces of an incomplete project put together. For the record, the N73 that I tested had been flashed with the latest version of the Symbian OS series 60 3rd edition (v3 vs the standard shipping firmware which is v2).

First, let’s start with the good:

Reception-

As always with Nokia, reception is not the weak point. It wasn’t necessarily any better or worse that the K800i, but it didn’t disappoint.

Screen-

Absolutely stunning. I very much enjoyed the screen of the N73, and felt that it was a good size for a non-blackberry type smartphone. It is large enough to be of use with other applications, but small enough that you can pocket the phone. Larger and nicer than that of the K800i.

Believe it or not, that is where my satisfaction with the phone ends. The features that I will speak about below didn’t so much as disappoint me overall, but in comparison to the K800i didn’t make the N73 stand out.

Menu System lags-

By far my biggest gripe with the N73 is the overall sluggishness of the system. I tried both the shipping firmware and the updated firmware, and neither felt as fast as the K800i in regular usage such as opening and browsing through the address book and/or calendar entries.

Switching to Camera mode-

As an addition to the point above, the time to camera readiness from when the slide was opened was excruciatingly slow. It seems that the OS is not only trying to open the camera application, but also change the rendering of OS display to the horizontal format with the aggregate product being a substantial lag in the system.

Design & Construction-

Although the design of the N73 is not offensive, it is very much a love it or hate it design. Personally, I like the design elements on the top where the power button is, and where the 3D audio ports are (by the way, in my opinion, the 3D thing is kind of gimmicky), but I’m not crazy about the tapering of the display towards the bottom part of the body as it proves rather slippery to the touch.

The keyboard is definitively worse than the K800i, for the keys are small, squishy, not clearly outlined from each other, and prone to error. Although the K800i is no winner in this area, I made more typing mistakes with the N73 than the K800i. With stellar keyboards such as the one on the 6131, Nokia could have done a better job on this one.

The overall body feeling is not as solid as the K800i either. The K800i has a solid body that feels like it has some parts in metal and other in plastic, but with an overall feeling of quality. The N73, like my Gramps, is just creaky all over. The bottom part of the keyboard on two of the N73s that I played with had a gap between the keyboard and the lip of the keyboard that looked like it was squeezed. I just didn’t feel that the N73, for as expensive a phone as it is, lives up to the Nokia construction quality reputation.

Another example of this sub-par construction can be observed with the memory slot of the N73. The little door for the memory card is thankfully in the outside of the phone, however, it is not easy to open, and is fragile enough that it could easily be damaged just by trying to open it too hastily. The K800i’s slot has a nice notch in it for easy access, and rests flush with the side of the phone.

Video and Photo Quality-

The N73 is an odd duck when it comes to its visual capabilities. In some test shots, such as the one below (click for larger image), the quality was just amazing:

Bike Small

But on others, particularly in low lighting, it was prone to blueish coloring in the photo such as the shot below:

Door Small
There is a definite ‘blue-ing’ of images in low lighting. Click Here, for a link to All About Symbian where users have shared the types of images they are getting that have that blue-ish tint. Very annoying.

Video quality was similar in nature, nice when bright, but blue-ish in dark conditions. In this regard, however, the N73 does beat out the K800i. However, only when it brightly lit areas. The N73 is pretty decent at taking videos, at least better than the K800i, just take another phone to use as a flashlight (just kidding).

The test video below is during a nice day outside and in Mp4 mode:

Nokia N73 Test Video

As for the quality of the front camera.. well, it’s pretty much unusable.

Synchronization-

As many of you know, I love my mac, so I used the free plugins from Mactomster to get the N73 to behave with iSync. It’s not without a hiccup here and there, but it works.

Conclusion-

The Nokia N73 is still a great phone, but when it comes down to its core function, media, I don’t think it compares well with K800i. The N73’s mp3 player is blah, and the supplied headphones are blah, the camera is unreliable and so is the video, and starting the camera is slow. The K800i just feels like a more refined product, and works better as a cameraphone. Battery life of both phones is comparable, with a slight advantage towards the K800i.

However, if what you are looking for is a smartphone with camera capabilities, the N73 is a pretty good alternative. Its Symbian OS will allow you to get access to many applications, and nice screen will allow you to enjoy them. Its reception both from its bluetooth radio as from its WCDMA and GSM radios don’t disappoint either. Just make sure you update to the latest version of the firmware with the N73, and be careful with Nokia screw do-it-yourself update software. It is VERY prone to bricking people’s phones.

Other Related Chromewalker Reviews-

Sony Ericsson K800i Video Review

My List of Favorite Symbian OS applications

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