REVIEW: Rogers Nokia N86

Andrew Duong January 6, 2010 2

Rogers released the new Nokia N86 not too long and after using it for quite a while, I’ve found this to be one of the best camera phones around. This device would run you for a pricey $300-$500 retail at a Nokia store but Rogers has somehow drop that price-tag to $99.99 with a 3 year.

Pricing and Specs

The Nokia N86 will cost you $99.99 on a 3 year term with Rogers or $499.99 to buy it out. Features include their award winning Carl Zeiss 8 megapixel camera lens with 20x zoom, Symbian S60 platform, 3G, WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth support, an FM transmitter and 8gb of internal memory capable of extending up to 16gb with a MicroSD card. It also has an impressive media player with it’s own dedicated multi-media buttons.


The N86 has a simple clam-shell design but slides up to reveal a somewhat small keypad. I found these buttons to be quite hard to press, but easy to get use to. Sliding the phone down reveals the 4 multimedia keys, similar to the N95 and N96 design. On the right side of the phone are the dedicated camera key and the volume rocker which also acts as a zoom key. On the left side is a simple key lock slider. The top has the 3.5mm headphone jack, micro usb port which is also the charger now and the power button. The back of the phone has the 8 megapixel camera covered by a sliding cover to keep scratches away. There is also a kickstand design to keep your phone standing up sideways to watch videos.  The front screen screen is glossy and attracts a lot of finger prints but that’s a small flaw you’ll have to live with. The N86 is quite heavy even tho it’s still made of plastic. It’s very sturdy and like every other Nokia phone, this should be able to withstand some abuse.

Call Quality and Signal Strength

This phone is by far one of Nokia’s best work. The call quality is like no other, very clear and loud without any drop calls. The speaker phone was also very loud and clear and had no echo when talking with others. The signal strength is by far one of the best. I have yet to find any phone that’s been able to hold full bars in my basement and this phone seems to be the only one.

Multimedia Experience

This might not be able to compare with the iPhone’s simple music player, but it has much more features. The Nokia N86 has a built FM radio, 8gb of internal memory to store music, videos, and pictures as well as an FM transmitter which can be used to transmit the music in your phone to a radio near you. Rogers has thrown in their urMusic application onto the phone and download music from the internet but I much prefer the default Nokia player which has the ability to set your own equalizer. You’ll find the four dedicated multimedia keys (pause/play, stop, next, and back) to be very useful when playing music and videos. The 3.5mm headphone jack is a plus as well. Nokia has thrown in their own pair of earphones and microphone but I’d highly recommend to get yourself a decent third-party pair of earphones as these aren’t the greatest.

Battery Life & Charging

This thing will last forever, and I say this because Nokia somehow makes their phones with amazing battery life. I was able to easily squeeze well over 3 days of use on this N86 texting once a while and making phone calls. Keeping bluetooth and WiFi off is quite mandatory but but 3G hasn’t done too much too the battery life. The phone comes with a MicroUSB charging adapter which is a great replacement for the old plug that Nokia had. MicroUSB have become a sort of a universal charging adapter for most phones so finding car chargers or even using your old one shouldn’t be a problem.

Camera Quality

Finally, a phone that takes quality pictures. The award winning 8 megapixel Carl Zeiss lens does the job along with the 20x zoom. Photo’s are quite clear and vibrant when taken in daylight, but at night outdoors. The dual LED flash doesn’t seem to do that good of a job. I was disappointed that Nokia chose the dual LED flash instead of a Xenon flash but I’ve found a good reason. The phone takes amazing video quality, better then any of my basic digital camera’s, and the dual LED flash acts as a light for darkness which is great for nights, indoors and out. The Sony Ericsson C905a uses an 8 megapixel camera but after comparing phone in general and picture quality, I’d definitely take the Nokia N86 any day.


Nokia has done a great job with this phone. While others may think this is a smartphone. I consider it a basic phone, with smartphone features added. The Nokia N86 impresses me with it’s stunning photo qualities and tons of features including GPS and WiFi. While this might not be great for business users. It is a great phone for teens or even adults who would like features from a smartphone without loosing the compact size of a basic phone or a good camera phone to capture a memorable  moment, and at the price of $99.99, you can’t go wrong.


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