By May 9, 2010

Nokia N86 Review

n86 Nokia’s handsets have always been popular and as Matt mentioned, this isn’t exactly new, it’s one of those handsets that kinda passed us by originally but is definitely one worth reviewing as the N86 seems to have remained as a quite a popular handset.

Apologies for the length of time it’s taken me to get this review out to you all!


Read on for my take on the Nokia N86 and how it still holds up today.



What’s in the box?

  • Nokia N86 handset
  • Battery (BL-5K 1200 mAh Li-Ion)
  • Stereo Earphones/handsfree
  • USB cable
  • Mains charger
  • Nokia Ovi suite DVD rom
  • Manual

For more info you can check out Matt’s Unboxing Video


Nokia N86 specification:

  • Dimensions: 103.4 x 51.4 x 16.5mm
  • Weight: 149g
  • Display: 320 x 240 pixels/2.6 inch AMOLED Display
  • Network: GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 (Quad-Band)
  • 3G/HSDPA: 900/1900/2100 (Tri-Band)
  • Camera: 8 mega-pixels (auto-focus), Carl Zeiss Tessar Lens
  • Dual LED Flash
  • Video: Hi-Resolution VGA Video Recording, 30fps Video Recording (VGA)
  • Music: Supported formats: MP3, AAC, eAAC+ & WMA
  • FM Stereo Radio (RDS)
  • Nokia Music Store
  • Messaging: SMS/MMS (with video), E-mail (POP3, SMTP, IMAP4, MS Exchange), Instant Messaging (MSN)
  • Memory: 8GB (internal) / microSDHC (external)
  • Nokia 3.5mm AV connector
  • Bluetooth (2.0)
  • Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11g)
  • AGPS
  • Nokia Maps
  • Office Document Viewer (Word, Excel & PowerPoint)
  • PDF Document Viewer
  • Accelerometer
  • Flash Lite 3.1 Support
  • Battery: Talk Time: 378 mins / Standby Time: 315 hrs



Front – 2.6 inch screen, left and right softkeys, call and end buttons, D-pad with select button in the middle (for navigation through the menus), menu button and cancel button. The menu button has a grill type finish to is as it also houses the phone’s microphone.

Nokia N86 – front view


Keypad – The keypad is revealed when the phone is slid up and it’s a standard phone keypad.

N86-keypad Nokia N86 – keypad view

You can also slide the screen down the way which reveals the media buttons

N98-media-buttons Nokia N86 – media buttons view



Top – On the top is the microUSB socket, 3.5mm headphone/handsfree socket and the power button

N86-top Nokia N86 – top view


Left – The keypad lock slider is located here on the left side.

Nokia N86 – left side view


Right – On the far left and right of this picture you can see the loud speakers. There is also a dedicated camera button and an up/down rocker button for volume adjustment and for use as the zoom when using the camera.

Nokia N86 – right side view


Back – The 8MP camera is shown here. It has a sliding cover to protect the lens and also has a dual LED flash just above it. The back cover houses the battery, sim card and memory card.

Nokia N86 – back view

Around the camera is a small stand that can be flipped out.

Nokia-N86-stand Nokia N86 – stand view



  • Stylish handset
  • Robust build
  • Good keypad
  • Excellent camera
  • 8GB internal storage
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • FM transmitter


  • Screen size (could be bigger)
  • LED flash – Xenon flash would be better
  • User interface looks a bit dated alongside the stylish handset



The Nokia N86 impressed me as soon as I took it out the box. It’s a stylish handset that feels good to hold. It seems like a good quality slide phone and the slider action is smooth and robust.

The Nokia N86

The screen display is clear and bright and the colour quality I found to be excellent. It can be a bit difficult at times to see the screen in bright sunlight though as it’s quite reflective but this can be expected with many phones. It’s 2.6 inches which is adequate enough, but I think a larger screen would have been even better for the N86 as it is a media focused handset.


The keypad is a simple phone keypad. The buttons are spaced apart nicely which minimises the scope of hitting the wrong buttons (‘fat thumb syndrome!!’). The media buttons at the top end (when you slide the screen down) aren’t a new feature of the N-series handsets and I’m glad that Nokia kept this feature on the N86 as they are quite useful. You can control your music, videos and web browsing with these.

The operating system on the Nokia N86 is Symbian OS version 9.3 (S60 3rd edition). It’s the same one that is used on the likes of N97 and the 5800. For some reason I think the icons are looking a bit dated. The stylish handset needs something on the same level. New and less cartoon like. But putting that aside, there are still plenty of features an applications that will make you like this phone.

If you press the main menu button you will be presented with the usual applications and tools such as the contacts, messaging, calendar, calculator, alarm clock, and Nokia’s usual web browser, Nokia Maps and Ovi store.

You can access loads of applications through the Ovi store to use with the phone. Like the iPhone apps store and Android Market, there are a huge selection of free and paid apps for you to chose from, and the Ovi store is simple enough to use.

You may see it stated on the box or some adverts that the N86 has Facebook and YouTube applications preinstalled. This isn’t really the case. In fact, all it is are icons in the applications part of the menu that just link to the websites. A bit disappointing!


Messaging and emailing with the N86 is easy enough to use. SMS and MMS use the same text entry screen with the obvious difference that with MMS you attach an image or sound clip. Setting up emailing is very simple to do too and the email client is quite a pleasure to use.

The web browser is great. It is quite easy to navigate through pages and zoom in when you want. When viewing a large page/site you can make use of the mini maps that helps you move to the area of the page that you want without having to zoom out and back in again.

For connectivity the Nokia N86 comes with 3G, Bluetooth, AGPS, WiFi, USB and TV out. Connecting through WiFi can be a bit confusing as it seems like there are loads of options to choose from. I also found it unclear sometimes when web browsing whether the handset was connecting via the WiFi or 3G connection. I think a tidy up of these features is needed.

I didn’t have any issues with the in call quality. The sound was clear and people I spoke to said the they could hear me clearly too. The stereo speakers are also pretty good when using the speaker phone.

There is a built-in voice recognition system that apparently does quite a good job in recognising most commands. I didn’t try this myself so I’ll have to take other people’s word for that – or you can make your own mind up about this if you get this phone.


The big selling point for the N86 has been the 8MP camera. I’ve not put any photos on this review that have been taken with the camera because if you have a look on the web there are hundreds out there. The large majority of the photos taken reflect my general opinion of the N86 camera – great quality!

In good lighting you can take some excellent photos with the N86. The images are clear, sharp and the colour comes out very nicely.

In lower light you can still take some pretty good photos. The dual LED flash does an ok job but a xenon flash would be brighter and keep a more natural colour to the images. This isn’t something that would put me off this phone though.


As you can imaging, the image gallery and media player on the N86 are excellent. Easy to navigate, and the screen’s sharp display really does it justice when playing back videos. The music player is still quite old-style. It’s plain and doesn’t have any fancy effects, but it still does the job. 

Listening to music is a joy. The in-ear stereo headphones that are provided give a great quality sound which is not normally what you would expect from standard boxed earphones. But – if you would rather use your own earphones (like I normally do) there is the 3.5mm headphone jack at the top of the handset.



Nokia’s N86 has had quite a few mixed reviews and has even been called ‘ugly’, but I was quite impressed with it! I found it to be a stylish and robust handset which I would be quite happy to show off!

N86-open-right The Nokia N86

In general it’s one of the simpler smartphones out there but can still be packed with apps of your choice. Definitely one to consider.


Reviewed by: Emma

Posted in: Reviews

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