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1 April 2005 | 0

The N-Gage was supposed to be a new departure for Nokia. Combining a mobile phone with a games deck, MP3 player and FM radio, it launched a full-force assault on the gadget-loving public.

However, looking around Irish streets, the N-Gage didn’t seem to be as popular as Nokia might have hoped. And just over a year later, an improved version of the games deck is hitting the market — the N-Gage QD.

At first glance, one thing is immediately obvious — the QD is smaller and sleeker than the original N-Gage, but thankfully Nokia hasn’t tampered with the screen size. For those who felt a little foolish using the N-Gage’s phone, the speaker and microphone have both
been moved to the front of the phone — similar to the way the Nokia 3300 works. No more talking into the side of the phone and glancing around to make sure no one’s sniggering at you.

There have been some sacrifices, however. There’s no longer an MP3 player for a start, and the FM radio has also been taken out. But these are probably things that most N-Gage users can live without; besides, the original N-Gage will still be available if you
feel you can’t live without your music.

Other changes become apparent as you use the device. One of the best improvements has been the hot swappable games — instead of having to switch off the phone and remove the battery to change the game, you can just swap the card from a small slot under the
screen. This makes the device much less frustrating to use, and vastly reduces your chances of losing important parts of your N-Gage (batteries down drains is one that springs to mind).

Speaking of batteries and drains, we all know the effect constant game playing can have on power levels — leaving you without a mobile at a crucial moment. The QD has a different battery to its predecessor, and is supposed to have an improved battery life. In
all likelihood, you’ll probably keep playing.

Another improvement is the addition of a proper ‘select’ button, instead of hitting the centre of the direction pad. This comes in handy for using the phone’s other functions, such as text messaging, or even just selecting items from the menu.

The phone also includes a web browser that can be used to access websites, although it will involve a lot of scrolling for large pages.
The QD is a vast improvement on the older N-Gage, and although some functions have been dropped, the enhancements definitely outweigh this loss.

Nokia N-Gage QD
Dimensions: 118mm x 68mm x22mm
Weight: 143g
Battery: Rechargeable Lithium Ion
Features: Hot swappable games; web browser;

Live! Verdict
Rating: four stars
Nokia has produced a usable phone and a good games deck in one package. The QD is a definite improvement on its predecessor.

30/08/04

 

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