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10 Annoyances of the Nokia N81

January 14, 2008 in Nokia Phone Reviews

While using my Nokia N81, I’ve come across a number of bugs, oddities, and general annoyances that make using this slider a less than pleasant experience. Here’s hoping that some of these get addressed someday.

Nokia N81

Bugs, annoyances, and other “features” while using Nokia’s N81.

1. Thanks to what I’ve deemed a firmware bug, the N81′s sleep mode cannot actually be toggled on and off despite the option being present in Settings. Regardless of what you choose, sleep mode automatically kicks in after a minute or two of inactivity. Sure, this forces you to save battery life, but it didn’t help me much when trying to run a stuck-pixel fixing Java app: sleep mode kept turning the darn thing off. Ugh.

2. The N81 uses a non-standard USB connector. I guess this saves space but non-standard is never cool. Don’t lose that cable!

3. You can type in a number followed by the pound (#) sign to insert a contact’s phone number. So if you happened to know that Person X was in position number 32 in your Contacts list, you could enter 32# which would automatically insert that person’s primary phone number. Really not very useful unless you like memorizing people’s position numbers.

4. The directional arrow keys are too hard. To press, that is. While it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference in every day usage, playing games with the arrow keys becomes that much harder.

5. When I first got my N81, the N-gage demos were installed but would not load. I found this rather amusing. (solved by reinstalling with the help of the Download! application)

6. Sometimes the # key lets me switch between General and Silent profiles, and sometimes it doesn’t. I cannot for the life of me figure out why this is. Along the same lines, occasionally I’m able to hold down the left softkey to automatically read (using the text-to-speech built-in software) my latest text messages, but most of the time I can’t.Why?! Meanwhile, useless shortcuts like the right “voice commands” softkey work perfectly.

7. There should be a keypad lock section in General Settings. You can probably figure out quite easily how to change whether the phone locks when the slide is closed (Settings->General->Slide Handling), but did you know that you can have your N81 automatically lock itself after a specified period of time? Hint: it’s in Settings->General->Security->Phone and SIM Card->Keypad Autolock Period. It’s a welcome feature, but how many people would seriously dig this deep to find it?

8. There isn’t any easy way to add a new wi-fi access point, especially if your router does not broadcasts SSIDs. I still don’t know how. I had to modify an existing access point to get it working. The “WLAN Wizard” is completely useless.

9. Navi-wheel: great idea, lousy execution. Having a navi-wheel is awesome. Having a navi-wheel that doesn’t scroll through items consistently and/or quickly is not. Going through lists of songs in the Music Player ends up being a chore rather than the speedy experience it was supposed to be.

10. There are no games. The N81 is meant to be used in landscape mode with the hidden A & B gaming buttons, yet this presents a two-pronged problem: 1) most games do not let you change the screen orientation, and 2) most games do not support user-defined keys. As if!


6:26 pm

I dont like how the music is organized in this phone. SE phone is better.

Stefan Constantinescu
5:32 am

microUSB is a standard, sigh.

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