Nokia N-Gage QD

Nokia's upgraded its N-Gage portable gaming phone. We take a look in our Australian review.


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Nokia's first attempt at a games-centric phone, the original N-Gage, was, to put it kindly, something of a mis-step. Phone users were either befuddled or outright annoyed at the side-talking phone method it employed, and gamers were left indifferent owing to a less than stellar games lineup and an extremely cumbersome games replacement feature. The N-Gage QD is Nokia's second generation of N-Gage phones, and while it fixes many of the inherent design flaws of the original model, it's still not an immediate attention grabbing unit.

Design
The N-Gage QD is a much smaller phone (118 x 68 x 22 mm, 143g) than its predecessor, and in most respects, that's a good thing. It'll slip into pockets and purses much more easily than the older N-Gage did, and those who prefer a phone will smaller keys will find the layout easier to use. The reverse is also true; if you hate phones with tiny buttons the N-Gage QD isn't for you. The QD boasts a 'tick' key that replaces the need to click in the main selection rocker on the original model - anyone upgrading from an N-Gage will find this a tad confusing at first, but it's definitely preferable in actual operation. While the existing limits of how the original N-Gage was designed have clearly limited the number of changes Nokia could make to the QD - they couldn't add gaming-related features that the older unit wouldn't support - the majority of the design flaws in the original deck have been cleared up in the QD. Gone is the sideways facing earpiece that necessitated placing the N-Gage on the side of your head like a massive single Spock ear; its replacement sits on the face of the unit so that you talk into it more like a normal phone.

Gone also is the grievous design flaw that saw the need for gamers to remove the back casing and battery in order to change games - a slot on the bottom of the QD takes care of inserting games, although you'll still need to go through the battery-change routine if you want to change your SIM card. The screen is a tad brighter -- Nokia claims twenty percent brighter, although we didn't spot that much of a difference in actual use.

Features
In comparison to the original N-Gage, the N-Gage QD is, in some respects, something of a lightweight - and we're not just talking about its smaller physical frame. Gone are the facilities to play MP3 files or listen to FM radio - although at least in the case of MP3 playback, that's something you could replicate with any number of S60-compliant software players.

In all other phone-related aspects, the QD is mostly functionally identical to its predecessor - MMS, Bluetooth and GPRS capable, and, as a phone running the Symbian 60 operating system, compatible with any suitable software for that platform. The only thing that's gone in a phone sense is tri-band GSM support -- the model sold in the Australian market will work here and in most European states, but not in the US. At the time of launch, Nokia was bundling one game title, The Sims: Busting Out , with the N-Gage QD.

Performance
As a phone, the N-Gage QD is adequate, but hardly exciting. It's certainly a massive improvement over the original in terms of call clarity, although we did find the headset speaker to be a little soft in some conversations. The smaller dialling buttons will suit some fingers and not others - as always, it's a good idea to take a quick test drive dialling in a store before making a purchase decision.

One area where the QD that we tested did excel, comparatively speaking, was battery life. Nokia rates it for 5 hours talktime and up to 11 days on standby. We managed around four days on a moderate usage pattern during our testing period. That isn't spectacular, but is much, much better than the average of two days (or less!) we got with the original N-Gage unit.

As a games device, much of what was true about the original N-Gage still stands true with the QD. There's nothing yet commercially available to match it in real processing and visual power, although that's a slender margin, with both Nintendo and Sony promising handheld games decks (albeit not phone-compatible ones) in the next six to twelve months.

The N-Gage-specific game library is still on the small side, and there's only a few real standout titles - one of which comes bundled with the unit itself. The controller and buttons are reasonably well spaced and fairly comfortable to use for small gaming sessions, but in a sense it's a pity that Nokia couldn't abandon existing N-Gage units and design the QD around a horizontal, not vertical screen; it's a definite limiting factor in the way that games are designed and thus ultimately played.

The N-Gage QD is a definite design improvement over the original N-Gage, and as such if the flaws in the original design were all that was keeping you from buying one, then Nokia's done the right thing. Having said that, there's still work to do - especially in quickly getting together a really compelling games library - before the N-Gage QD becomes a compelling buy for most consumers.



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ravie
9
Rating
 

ravie posted a review   

awesome,really gr8 mobile
evry student will wann 2 buy this 4 gamingwise ,lookwise,nd finally it giv a diffrent look in between others

 

Nick posted a reply   

Could I h ave a translation please?

rohit
10
Rating
 

rohit posted a review   

The Good:gamer friendly design
good sound quality
big screen
its symbian
good battery life

The Bad:no camera
only 4k colours
bulky

unique handset not for everyone!!!

Serraxor
9
Rating
 

Serraxor posted a review   

The Good:Half-decent games, bluetooth to upload your own wallpapers and ringtones, and MMC hot swap slot. Excellent reception. Some of the games made for N-Gage rock.

The Bad:Limited color palattes, very little compatible downloadable games. Most games made for the N-Gage suck.

A great device overall. Games seem tacked on, but I've never dropped a call, making the N-Gage QD the best phone, bar none, that I've used for making a call. Better even than my home phone!

SHASHANK AGARWAL
7
Rating
 

SHASHANK AGARWAL posted a review   

N-GAGE IS NOT A BAD MOBILE ITS JUST DEPENDS ON YHE USER FOR USING IT IT JUST NEED SOME SOFTWARES TO BE DOWNLOADED IN IT THEN IT SERVES MORE FUNCTIONS THAN ANY OTHER MOBILE.

I HAVE AN N-GAGE QD MOBILE AND I AM HAVING FUN WITH IT AND I AM DOWNLOADIND GAMES AND SOFTWARES FROM NET AND ENJOYING MYSELF A LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

user
3
Rating
 

user posted a review   

The Good:A lot of games

The Bad:No FM, mono sound, game gfx not-so-good, bulky, uncomfortable

As a game console 4/10
As a monile phone 2/10

 

"Nokia N Gage is Dead and Buried."

Anonymous posted a comment   

This handheld doesnt even exist for me.Its simply that bad.

 

"if you want play games on a portable system at least buy a proper handheld .Not an N Gage!"

Jill posted a comment   

Ok it costs the same as a PSP,why dont you just buy a PSP instead?I mean the graphics are terrible on this handheld,theres no game variety selection at all.
N Gage is terrible,there was alot of hype when it came out but now its clearly just a dead handheld system! I dont think they even make games for it anymore and the screen is so tiny.Id rather buy a $100 phone and a PSP or DS.Then this piece of junk!

 

"It sucks not worth the money, trust me buy a GBA instead."

Anonymous posted a comment   

Anonymous
1
Rating
 

"excelent"

Anonymous posted a review   


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User Reviews / Comments  Nokia N-Gage QD

  • ravie

    ravie

    Rating9

    "awesome,really gr8 mobile
    evry student will wann 2 buy this 4 gamingwise ,lookwise,nd finally it giv a diffrent look in between others"

  • rohit

    rohit

    Rating10

    "unique handset not for everyone!!!"

  • Serraxor

    Serraxor

    Rating9

    "A great device overall. Games seem tacked on, but I've never dropped a call, making the N-Gage QD the best phone, bar none, that I've used for making a call. Better even than my home phone!"

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