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While there’s been much talk of touchscreen operation coming to its N series, Nokia continues to roll out conventional additions to its high-end smartphone range that don’t demand the spotlight but which still put in a big-stage feature performance. The N85 slots into the N line-up just below the flagship N96, and there’s a …

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Can a phone ever be just a phone again?

I use a Nokia 5185 as my primary phone. I've had it for eight, maybe nine years (I bought it new). It is still on it's original battery. It can still go a couple hours of talking without recharge, three-four days inactive. It has always worked everywhere I have needed it to work, and I have been perfectly happy with it. My wife likes hers, too.

Will people ever remember that sometimes a phone is just a phone?

If Nokia were to produce new 5185s, I'd purchase several ... As it is, I have a couple that I found at thrift stores ... Spares are a good thing :-)

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Dead Vulture

Battery Life?

Come on Reg - You should know Battery Life is a pretty important review piece on Nokia Phones - considering unless I charge my N95 at least twice a day it will no doubt run out of battery through normal usage!

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Flame

Too bloody shiny!

What's the point in this phone, as well as all the others with smooth shiny surfaces that immediately get covered in human crud such as earwax, sweat, snot etc!!!??? You end up either forever cleaning the thing, or with something decidedly grubby. Why don't designers do their job properly rather than making shiny new toys that get thrown away in a year for the next toy? Perhaps the answer is actually in my question! Great for their turnover and revenue. Barstewards.

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Happy N85 owner

It's solid, functional, reliable (almost strangely so for an early firmware version these days), and the screen kicks ass (being OLED, the screensaver can permanently light up small bits of the screen with time/date/etc without using backlight, which is rather nifty).

It's basically the N95 in a smaller package, with small improvements all over. Although nothing earth-shattering new, the Fm transmitter / OLED screen / USB charging / newer operating system / keylock button / etc make it a worthy upgrade IMO.

(Didn't fancy the N96 at all - a monster with useless DVB, and 16gb of memory which i've put in the N85 with an SD card anyway).

The navi-wheel is useless though - turned that off after 5 minutes!

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Happy

@Jake

HTTP Error 5100 - Innapropriate content placement

We're sorry, an appropriate place for your comment could not be found on this site (www.theregister.co.uk).

Based on the content of your comment, we'd like to suggest the following sites may be more appropriate:

www.grumpyoldgits.com

www.iliveinthepastandamhappythere.com

www.whyprogresswhy.net

www.nothinggoodevercameofinnovation.co.uk

Alternatively, you might like to consider that your parents probably said something similar when mobiles were first introduced: "what's wrong with a fixed line anyway", "I'm doing perfectly fine without this newfangled Mobile jiggerypokery" and "Youth of today don't know what's good for them".

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Luddite

He-he-he. Luddite. Good man!

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(Written by Reg staff)

@Daniel

From the last page of the review:

"How you manage in the real world will, of course, depend on the extent to which you use the more power-hungry apps, which are the whole point of owning an N-series handset. While we averaged around two days between charges, you can expect rather less if you hammer Wi-Fi, HSDPA or GPS regularly."

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Anonymous Coward

not so smartphones

Jake maybe a luddite but he has a point. All these converged devices have the same, serious problem, that is if you actually use any of these features, the battery life is abysmally short and you are left without the important aspect of a phone - the ability to call.

I did use an iphone, but now have reverted to a simple cell phone that'll go over a week without charge, isn't a huge lump like the iphone and is actually good at being a phone. It still isn't as good as a pre-Ericsson Sony phone I had with a simple monochrome LCD display. I take seperate GPS (runs 25hours on replacable AA batteries) and an ipod nano (runs 20hours) when needed.

The iphone wouldn't even do 3 hours as a GPS!

Wake me up when such a phone will do a long weekend with as much surfing, video watching, music playing, GPS and phoning as I can manage.

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@can a phone ever be just a phone again?

in a word, no.

I agree with your sentiment, and to a degree practise it myself - i have a pile of older phones that I use as backups, and i like some of them a hell of a lot more than my shiny new samsung.

that said, everyone wants mp3 players, internet browsers, personal organisers, games consoles that fit into the palm of their hands and let them phone and text their mates aswell. nokia would be exceptionally dumb not to be making what the majority of the market want / what they are telling the majority of the market that they want.

its all because of the i-Phaile, if it wasn't around then the world would be a better place..... and phones would be for talking to people, not for trying to impress them because you managed to afford one.

the problem is, the world is full of materialistic tossers who think that buying something like this is a status symbol (the kind that says "look im a tosser with more money than sense") rather than a useful tool for communication.

</RANT>

apologies to anyone who owns an i-Phone for legitimate reasons, i'm not trolling, honest. its just that everyone I know who owns one has it either because it was made by apple or they want to say "my phone is better than yours cos it cost me far too much moneys lulzzzz". Which it isnt. my old motorola pwns any iphone. its teh awesome.

i for one welcome our 1995-era WLAN-less, game-less, greyscale-lcd, removable-aerial-enabled overlords.

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replace that jesus phone

It could be time if I can get one of these cheap.

Im assuming it supports AD2P bluetooth that the jesus phone does not. You dont mention it but I think any phone from last 3 years does minus the jesus.

FM recv and trans. Bonus.

Browser with flash. Prob not as good as safari, but you cannot have everything.

better camera. No need to use that pos iTunes.

Sign me up.

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Stop

RE: Can a phone ever be just a phone again?

Yes.

http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2007/03/29/review_motorola_motofone_f3/

It's about as simple as it gets and is throw-away cheap to boot.

Oh wait, is that TOO simple now?

No pleasing some people.

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was that Man Utd vs Barnsley?

I hope Barnsley won!

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Anonymous Coward

@jake & N85 VOIP support

@Jake,

It says right in the article title that it's a SMART phone, ie not a simple call-yer-mammy brick. If you don't like it great, you don't need to buy it. Jeeze, do you comment on handbagsatdawn.com that your asda bag does the same job as the current Versace object of desire?

N85 VOIP

I bought an N96 cos my beloved N95 was nicked/lost, and I'm not at all pleased that Nokia saw fit to cripple the N96 by whipping out the software stack which provided the VOIP/SIP functionality (see http://blogvoip.nomado.eu/tag/truphone). Does this phone still have that capability? Incidentally, has El Reg chased Nokia on why they are removing this feature? Are they being pressured by the telcomms companies?

PS handbagsatdawn.com randomly made up; don't blame me if it is not work safe!

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Heart

my dream phone

would be the size, shape and weight of nokias 3315, but it would have more memory for messages, phone book, as well let me listen to mp3s or fm radio since i do need some entertainment sometimes. that would be way cool. and with the price of memory and chips coming down, such a phone would be cheap as well. i still have my 3315, although i use my 9300 and e71 and yes, i can't live without either one of them.

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Safari on S60

It's basically the same web browser running on both the S60 devices and the iPhone. I the iPhone has the funky zoom / finger browsing sweep, but the S60 has flash support... six of one really.

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Dead Vulture

New platform alert: Nokia N-Game

Top spec journo half-arsedness there, chaps ;)

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@dream phone

>size, shape and weight of nokias 3315, but it would have more memory for messages, phone book, as well let me listen to mp3s or fm radio

Sounds like the Siemens SL45 would be your ideal phone then. First MP3 player/phone I ever owned, a real jewel of a phone with removable storage. Way ahead of its (2001) time, shame Siemens seemed to lose the plot a little after that :(

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Heart

The comments page here reminds me of...

this classic review

http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2007/12/20/nokia_breakthrough_phone/

In a good way of course.

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Silver badge

Neo-luddite? Me?

Nope. I'm no neo-luddite. I've got a Hasselblad with a CF-39 back on it, FFS. I sold off my color film processing gear years ago (I still do black & white film, mostly for fun, but partially to teach my nieces & nephews a technology/artform that they won't otherwise learn). Changing with the times isn't the issue here. The issue is single point of failure, combined with dropping capability with the intent of shoveling in more features.

I don't have a problem with kids having shiny toys. But I'm an adult. I want a phone that has a good radio, and decent battery life. If I'm broken down at the North East end of Lake Clementine[1], I want my phone to work. Newer phones don't work there, nor in various odd corners of California's Wine Country (where I'm based). My old Nokia does. But I guess it's OK, because instead of a good radio you can play games or take pictures or view your porn stash or see where you are. Me, I'd rather place a phone call to AAA[2].

On top of that, what happens when your "modern" phone dies? You lose all your toys ... No phone, no camera, no GPS, no music, no Web Browser ... Back in the day, we called FAX/Print/Scanner devices "Hydras" ... Kill the body & all the heads die, too ...

I guess my problem is that I'm an old UNIX[tm] hacker ... Each tool should do one job, and do that one job extremely well. The Nokia 5185 (nearly) fits the bill.

[1] maps.google.com, "Lake Clementine, Placer, California 95603", hit the terrain button.

[2] This actually happened, BTW ... The tow driver said that I was the first person his company had ever heard of who managed to get a call out in real time ... Most people had to wait for the Sheriff to come and make certain everyone was gone before locking the gate for the night, or have a friend with a workable vehicle make a call when they got back to civilization.

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The rights to many N85 functions may be auctioned in Hong Kong next June

As I see it, they can only sell that to which they own the rights. It is my understanding that certain patent rights, (which may, or of course, may not, impinge upon some of their geographic markets), are going to be auctioned in Hong Kong next June. If indeed that turns out to be correct, they should worry about that as surely they would not wish to become a hostage to the fortunes of, say, a new upstart Chinese or Indian wireless phone manufacturer; would they?

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Usual nod

to the idea that stuff should not be shiny.

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What happened to the Xenon flash?

With the N82 and N-something-else getting the Xenon flash, with amazing results, i thought it would be making its way into all the high-end phones.

Yet it seems to have been ditched, why?

Can't cost that much more, and my N82 performs superbly with it, not a drain on the battery as you'd think. Just what are Nokia playing at by crippling their phones with LED flashes?

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Flash and media button (@ Joe K)

Absolutely agree with that one mate - It utterly baffles me that people put 5+ MP cameras in phones, and boast about some bloke who designed their lens (yeah, whatever - I don't care if Ronald McDonald designed the lens, as long as the pictures are ok!), and then some shitty flash which means photos taken in low light conditions are blurry and dark - often, indoor photos will have a very yellow tint too!

Dear Nokia - The Xenon flash was the killer app on the N82, without which I would not have upgraded. I read this article and was considering upgrading to the N85 (especially because of the FM transmitter, which I've been trying to buy separately for my N82), but the lack of xenon flash means I will not buy it. You fail!

Oh, and one more thing - please, for the love of god remove the sucky media/gallery/whatever it is called button - it makes me want to throw my phone at the wall/out the window/at the nearest Nokia designer/etc... on an almost daily basis, when it activates, despite my not intending it to!

(Thumbs down for the phone, not the article!)

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Paris Hilton

@ Steve Sutton

Quote: "...and boast about some bloke who designed their lens (yeah, whatever - I don't care if Ronald McDonald designed the lens, as long as the pictures are ok!)..."

I doubt that Nokia are actually getting Carl Zeiss to personally design their lenses for them. Not when you consider that the guy has been dead for more than 120 years.

EPIC FAIL.

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@Tony

Thankyou - I didn't see that - some further in depth battery tests would be welcome though, My Nokia n95 gives me 2 days if I dont touch it, it gives me less than half a day if the radio is on (whether actually playing or not), about 5 hours of constant music playback, about 3 hours solid internet browsing (3G) and much less with WiFi.

Nokia seem to completely overlook battery life.

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