I have to say that my initial good first impressions of the new Nokia N78 handset are starting to turn to frustration. I have been using the handset in anger for the last few days.. and I am getting so annoyed with the keypad design.
As you can see from the photos below, the keypad is ridiculously small on the Nokia N78. If you thought that the keys on the N82 were tiny you haven’t seen anything till you try the N78!
The Nokia N78 sports a new keypad design, joining the 4 traditional rows of buttons into just 4 ridged keys – pressing the left, middle or right of the ridge for the appropriate key is a neat concept, and I think that it works well. My concern is that the buttons are just far too cramped together to be usable.
Can you believe that the distance between the start of ‘1′ and the end of ‘3′ is just 2.8cm!! Get a ruler out and see just how small that is! In contrast the width of the keypad on a Nokia N95 is 4cm.
I think that I am pretty fast texter and can bang out a message in seconds using two thumbs with predictive text on. Not so on the N78 – My thumbs just keep getting in the way of each other.
People struggled to two-thumb text, what I can do perfectly well on an N80, N95, N73 and even the relatively small keys of N82. Somebody with fat fingers, really won’t like this handset at all!
Unfortunately it’s not just the main keypad that I have been having issues with..
The rest of the keys (pickup/hang-up/Applications/Left & Right Soft Keys & C) on the N78 are flush with the plastic case, which on first impression looks really neat, but I have problems here too.
1. When you read a text message and hit the left soft key for Options, to then click reply, your thumb covers both the white key and green pickup.. quite often when I press the handset here, I inadvertently push the green pick-up which starts to call the person that sent you the text!
2. Because the numeric/alpha keypad is so small, I am forever making mistakes when typing.. On previous Nseries handsets, I could easily just move my right thumb up and hit the ‘C’ button to correct. But for some reason, they have decided to relocate the ‘C’ button to the bottom right of the handset. (see the top image to see where the ‘C’ button is located on the N78 & N82). It’s just not easy to get to, as you have to awkwardly pull you thumb back, and down. I actually find it quite uncomfortable to use.
3. I have had issues, when pressing some of these flush keys, in them not being responsive.. and have had to re-press it 2 or 3 times to get it to carry out the appropriate action.
It would see that looks are not everything, when it comes to a handset. I love the look of the Nokia N78, more so over the similarly looking N82, but when it comes to being functional – thats another matter.
The next part of my Nokia N78 review will cover the build quality, check it out in the next couple of days.
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