Music and entertainment are the big focuses here at Nokia's Go Play event in London, and the two new N81 handsets address both of these with aplomb. Designed to complement Nokia's new Ovi online portal that rolls a music store and the N-Gage gaming platform together, the Nokia N81 and N81 8GB include a bunch of multimedia functions in a sexy slider design.
Both models of the Nokia N81 include dedicated music buttons on the bottom and gaming keys on either side of the ear speaker. The N81 phones are designed to be used in a landscape orientation when used for gaming. The music and gaming keys also selectively light up when needed, ensuring that they don't get in the way when they are not required. A 3.5mm headphone jack and Bluetooth v2.0 with the A2DP stereo headset profile mean you can use your favorite headphones to keep everything discrete, while a 3D multimedia menu provides a fun way to access your content. The devices are pre-configured for the Nokia Music Store and N-Gage, meaning you are ready to play straight out of the box.
The polished face of each Nokia N81 model hides a lot of non-music and game related smarts as well. The handsets run Nokia's S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 1 smartphone operating system with a full complement of PIM services. The N81 phones are also compatible with high-speed 3G UMTS networks, and also provide 802.11b/g WLAN connectivity for when you are in range of an access point.
About the only place where the two N81 variants differ is in internal storage and expansion slots. The regular N81 has a built-in miroSD memory card expansion slot, while the N81 8GB has, not surprisingly, 8GB of internal storage but no expansion card slot.
Nokia expects the N81 and N81 8GB to ship during Q4 this year. The N81 is expected to go on sale for 360EUR (approximately US$490) while the N81 8GB should retail for EUR430 (approximately US$590).
Specifications for the Nokia N81
Band GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz
Size 102mm x 50mm x 17.9mm
(4.0" x 2.0" x 0.7")
Weight 140g (4.9oz)
Battery Life Up to 17 days standby
Up to 4 hours talk time
Main Display 2.4" 16M color TFT, QVGA (240x320 pixel) resolution
Camera 2 megapixel
Video QVGA (320x240 pixel) video recording at 15fps
Bluetooth 2.0 (stereo)
Java Yes (MIDP 2.0)
Memory 12MB with microSD memory card slot (N81) or 8GB internal with no card slot (N81 8GB)
Availability Q4 2007 (manufacturer's estimate)
Other Built-in stereo speakers, supports 4GB microSD cards (N81 only), 802.11b/g support