As I mentioned last week, I picked up a Nokia N82 smartphone after an unsuccessful experiment with a Nokia N95. I have been using it pretty much nonstop for about a week now, and have a review and summary of it. My review concentrates on two things: usability compared to a Blackberry Pearl and photographic capabilities.
First, usability: I had a Nokia model before I had the Blackberry Pearl, so I was able to get used to Nokia's interface again very quickly. I found that moving around the interface was intuitive, and there are many things I liked over the Pearl, including the gallery interface (much slicker on the N82, with a rotating menu, and much, much faster than the Pearl). I also very much like that the screen tilts if you turn the phone on its side, much like the iPhone, but I think that is mostly beneficial for scrolling, as typing in that position is quite difficult. The browser on the N82 is approximately one billion times better than the limited browser on the Pearl, but that can be worked around by using Opera for the Blackberry, which is much better than the native BB browser.
What I found lacking on the N82 versus the Pearl are: predictive text, ease and feel of button navigation, and a couple of minor "number of clicks" issues. Predictive text on the Pearl is amazing and can figure out most words very easily (though I had to train it to cuss; when I first used it, I said "duck" and "shut" a lot). The N82 uses T9, which gets things wrong enough that I just turn it off and resort to multi-tap. I was very fast at it before I got the Pearl, though, and it's only taken me a week to get close to my pre-Pearl texting speeds.
Button navigation on the N82 is easy, but some of the buttons are very close together, which makes it very easy to accidentally press the wrong or multiple buttons. The Pearl's scroll wheel is much easier to use than the Nokia's scroll buttons. And for some apps like Gmail, I have to tell the phone that the application is allowed to access the internet every time I open it on the N82. Not so with the Pearl. Annoying, but I can work around it.
What's really special about the N82, and my main deciding factor in keeping it, is its camera. It packs a 5 megapixel camera into a fairly compact phone, with a Zeiss lens, real autofocus (with an assist light for low-light situations), and a real Xenon flash. The camera in this phone is enough to replace your casual point & shoot camera. The flash is much more powerful than any LED flash on any cameraphone I have handled in the past and works well in low-light situations (see bar images below). All of the photos in this entry were taken with the N82 and I am very happy with the image quality. Also a bonus are the Flickr and Vox integration features that are included out of the box; once configured, I can post a photo directly to my Flickr photo stream via the internet instead of sending it via MMS. And since the phone has built-in WiFi capabilities, if I am near a wireless access point, I can use that instead of my cell phone data plan to upload the images.
All in all, I think that the Nokia N82 is an excellent phone for someone who likes photography and is a heavy web user. If your primary use of your mobile device is work-related e-mail, the Blackberry is better suited for what you are doing. But for someone like me, who needs a fully capable multimedia device, the N82 is perfect.
More photos after the jump.