You might recall that we had the opportunity to spend a little time with a pre-production N81 back in August. We liked what Nokia had done for several reasons: one, we thought it was the most attractive Nokia we'd ever seen thanks to a glossy, metal flake shell and really tastefully done faux titanium accents. Two, even in prototype form, the slider was absolutely rock solid; no one would accuse the average Nokia of being shoddily constructed, but there's typically a little play in the hinges and doors. Not so with the N81, though -- it really does feel Vertu solid. It's a bit on the heavy side, yeah, but we'd gladly trade a little extra weight for the feeling that we're operating a meticulously crafted device in our hand. Three, the N81 offers a couple innovative controls that give it a little street cred for music and gaming -- a touch-sensitive ring that doubles as a traditional four-point directional pad (Nokia calls it the "Navi wheel") and buttons atop the display that make landscape N-Gage gaming a reality. Well, we're happy to report that everything that made the prototype great is still great in the retail version. Read on for our quick impressions.
Thanks to the good folks at Wireless Imports for the hookup!