N-Gage QD

Yep, it's out, and the QD doesn't stand for anything, but now that we've had some time to think about it, we're realizing that the new N-Gage doesn't really add features so much as trim off the fat and fix the mistakes. Sidetalkin': fixed. Buried MMC card slot: fixed. Inserting an MMC didn't start up the game: fixed. No button for game launcher: fixed. Dull screen: fixed. Battery life: fixed.

But now the radio and MP3 player are gone and there's still no camera (despite that leaked screen shot). Nokia has also broken the QD up into 2 dual band models (GSM 850/1900 for the Americas, GSM 900/1800 for everywhere else) instead of a single tri-band model, so it's no longer a "world" phone that you can use anywhere. Oddly enough, there's no EDGE either. We thought Nokia had announced all their GSM phones for 2004 would include EDGE, yet neither this new N-Gage nor the 7610 feature support for the new high-speed data network. Nokia claims to have left all this out in order to cut the price, and you'll be able to get one for about 99 bucks with a contract or $199 without in May (for the GSM 900/1800 version for Europe and Asia) or June (for the GSM 850/1900 version for North America).

Regardless of these omissions, with this redesign Nokia actually responded to most of the complaints about the original N-Gage. They moved the speaker to the face, killing sidetalkin' (for good, we hope). The MMC slot is now on the bottom instead of under the battery, and it's auto-play, so when you insert a game card, it will automatically start up. Games suck up battery life, so they added an extra 200 mAH to the new battery- it should last more than a day now. Finally, though they didn't upgrade the screen to a 65K model, they did spec an improved unit with a brighter backlight.

Taking out the radio and mp3 player aren't that big of a deal, I mean what good 21st century citizen doesn't own an iPod or some type of mp3 player? But leaving out a camera is killing me. Being a fan of series 60, I thought the 7610 would be my next phone. But after getting totally addicted to Splinter Cell Team Stealth Action while playing it at CeBIT, the improvements to the QD make it awfully tempting. Now Nokia has forced me to choose - games or camera.

Upgrades on the cheap