The Nokia N86 8MP: A High Point for Symbian Sliders

In the world of mobile phones, some devices stand out as iconic milestones. The Nokia N86 8MP is one such device, marking the culmination of an era of Symbian sliders. In this retrospective, we will delve into the N86’s fascinating journey and explore why it remains a standout device in the mobile phone landscape.

The N86’s Predecessors

To appreciate the N86’s significance, we must first journey back to the early 2000s. Nokia had already made a mark with the N95 and its improved variant, the N95 8GB. These devices had set the stage for the N86 by introducing innovative features and a dual-slider design.

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The N95 was a breakthrough in its time, featuring a 5MP camera with Carl Zeiss optics, while the N95 8GB boasted 8GB of internal storage. These phones were revolutionary, offering advanced multimedia capabilities and built-in GPS, but they couldn’t match the N86’s prowess.

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The Nokia N81 8GB

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In 2007, Nokia also introduced the N81 8GB, an affordable alternative to the N95 series. While its camera capabilities were lackluster with a 2MP sensor and no autofocus, the device was part of the N-gage family, targeting gamers. However, the N81 8GB’s camera and display were no match for the N95’s superior offerings.

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The Arrival of the Nokia N85

A year later, Nokia released the N85, priced at €450 before taxes. This device was a significant leap forward, featuring an AMOLED display, a 5MP camera with Carl Zeiss optics and autofocus, and proper 480p video capture. It also integrated a GPS receiver, coupled with Nokia Maps for voice-guided navigation.

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The Nokia N85 maintained the dual-slider design, enhancing the user experience with multimedia controls and stereo speakers. The 8GB of internal storage was complemented by a microSD slot for additional capacity.

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The Nokia N96: A Missed Opportunity

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In 2008, Nokia attempted to follow up on the success of the N95 with the N96. However, the delayed release and a steep price of €550 before taxes, or a whopping $900 in the US, led to a lackluster reception. The N96 struggled to compete with the emerging dominance of touch-based smartphones, particularly the iPhone.

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The Arrival of the Nokia N86 8MP

Finally, in 2009, Nokia introduced the Nokia N86 8MP at an attractive price of €375 before taxes. This device marked a turning point for Symbian sliders and delivered impressive features that rivaled the N95.

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The Nokia N86 8MP was named for its groundbreaking 8MP camera, equipped with Carl Zeiss optics, dual-LED flash, variable aperture, and a mechanical shutter. These features made it a formidable competitor in the camera phone arena. The device also offered 480p video recording at 30fps and CD-quality audio capture.

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A Dual-Slider Design with a Kickstand

The Nokia N86 continued the tradition of the dual-slider design, allowing users to reveal either the keypad or multimedia controls. It also featured a built-in kickstand for convenient hands-free viewing. The 2.6-inch AMOLED display, while smaller than its rivals, still provided vivid and vibrant visuals.

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Navigation and Ovi Maps

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Like its predecessors, the N86 was equipped with a GPS receiver, and initially, users had to pay for voice-guided navigation. However, Nokia N86 later made Ovi Maps available for free, making it an attractive option for travelers. The phone also gained the ability to share location information on Facebook, enhancing its utility.

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A Well-Rounded Multimedia Device

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The N86 was not just about photography and navigation. It excelled as a multimedia device, featuring an FM transmitter, a DVB-H TV receiver, and analog video output. It catered to entertainment enthusiasts by offering diverse options for audio and video consumption.

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The End of an Era

The N86 8MP marked the end of the Symbian slider era, a bittersweet farewell to an iconic form factor. While there were rumors of a Nokia N87, it never materialized as Nokia transitioned to touch-based interfaces with Windows Phone. The world had moved on from physical keys and sliders, but the N86 left a lasting legacy as one of the most capable and affordable devices of its time.

In conclusion, the Nokia N86 8MP was a device that defied the changing tides of the mobile industry. Its remarkable camera, multimedia capabilities, and affordable price made it a standout in the world of Symbian sliders. As we look back on this iconic device, it’s clear that the N86’s legacy endures as a testament to Nokia’s innovative spirit and commitment to delivering exceptional mobile experiences.

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