Nokia N73 Review

While aesthetics are subjective, I would argue that the N73 is a good looking phone. It seems many others would agree, as the device was met with many “oohs” and “aahs” when I pulled it out to answer a call.


The review unit presented to me was of the white and red version. It would go quite well with a pink iPod, if I were attempting to color match my tech accessories (and if I had such a device). It would also go well with a slick point and shoot camera done in, say, brushed aluminum and chrome finish, but we’ll get to that later.

Given its size, the phone is fairly light, and while somewhat on a large side, fits nicely in a jean pocket. The surface real estate isn’t wasted. Front of the phone is graced with one of my favorite features of this communicator, namely a relatively large and bright screen. And did I mention it’s colorful and high-resolution as well? Nokia claims 262,144 colors for every one of its 76,800 pixels (240×320 resolution). I have no reason not to believe them since I didn’t notice any banding artifacts or poor color reproduction. The screen is also quite bright with 5 levels or adjustment. I kept it in the middle and it was bright enough to see even in direct sunlight. The size of the screen also allows for usable web browsing. I was able to read my RSS feeds, check weather, look up movie times, and even browse some sites completely not optimized for mobile thanks to the excellent web browser. Also very useful is Google Maps with its traffic information and GMail client, which I downloaded and installed on the phone without any trouble.

There are also a number of applications pre-installed by Nokia, such as the QuickOffice, Adobe Reader and various media players. Add to that an IM application, a 3D sound tool (fun for a few minutes, and would probably impress at parties), an anti-virus, a radio, the list goes on. Oh boy, the phone really is full of features; it’s a marketing guy dream. You can find the full list on the Nokia website, no need to list them all here.

The user interface is reasonably fast, but not as good as the butter smooth Sony Ericsson k800i. Going from menu to menu, you will now and then stare at some odd refreshing artifacts for about half a second as the phone is redrawing the UI elements. It is not bad, but you would expect more from a phone like this. Navigating through menus could also be made easier as the joystick in the center is far too slick and slips from under your finger when you try to push it side to side. Pressing it down could also be an exercise in patience at times. I wish Nokia made the top of the joystick out of the same material used on the number pad, as it feels pleasant to touch and isn’t as slippery.

I am finally getting to the “phone” related features of this device. Frankly, there isn’t much to say here: it’s good. Voice quality is excellent on both ends, and the speakerphone is clear. I found myself recharging the battery every 3-4 days with moderate Internet usage, some picture snapping and casual phone conversations.

Remember, I mentioned a point and shoot camera at the beginning? Well, you probably see where this is going: there is a 3.2 mega pixel camera in the phone. The protective cover feels sturdy with a spring that locks it nicely in either open or closed position. Open it and wait, wait, wait, you can now take a picture, but only after waiting a few seconds for the auto-focus to kick in. After pressing the button, you will wait again for the phone to process the image. Overall, the time from “camera closed” to “picture taken” is about 10 seconds. This isn’t bad considering it’s a phone, and I know it’s really trying to displace a point and shoot camera out of the user’s pocket, but it is just not happening yet.

Don’t get me wrong, the N73 will capture the spirit of the moment, and it will capture it much better than most phones. It will not, however, capture it in full detail that you can print, frame and be proud of. If you are going on a hike, or to a party (low light conditions), take a dedicated camera along with you. Chances are that it will produce better shots.

I did manage to snap a few good shots with the camera, and I also took a couple images of similar subjects with the k800i for comparison. Both phones produced similar results, but my preference in image quality was towards the N73. It managed to produce sharper images and I liked the color reproduction better.

Click to zoom
Nokia N73 PhotoSony Ericsson k800i Photo
Nokia N73 PhotoSony Ericsson k800i Photo

Overall, I am very pleased with the phone. Its bright screen, excellent web browser, clear voice reproduction and tons of other features make it desirable in my eyes. If you want a powerful device with a superior integrated camera, the N73 is a good candidate. However, don’t hope to retire your point and shoot just yet. My only other minor gripes are the slippery joystick and the lack of the USB connector, there is just no reason to have a proprietary interface this day and age.

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