Tag Archives: Nokia N81

Backup Disaster

I thought it was quite sometime since I backed up the memory card on my Nokia N81 phone and decided that I should not delay the backup. So, I pulled the 2 GB Micro SD card out of the phone, inserted it into the adapter and the adapter into a card reader and the card reader itself into a USB port. Mandriva had no problems detecting the card. The card was mounted and a nautilus window opened up.

Problem 1: Copying files from the card to the computer kept failing. I had a look at the folder which was causing the problem. There were a lot of folders with names that could not be read. Either they had ASCII characters beyond the human readable range or just a box. I decided to leave things as they are and copied just the photos and the videos on the card.

Problem 2: The next problem arose when I put the card back into my phone. The card was not even recognised. I tried to restart the phone but in vain. Neither the photos nor the tracks showed up on the phone. To make matters worse, the phone became dead slow and stopped responding in a while.

I was left with no option but to reformat the card. This also helped in clearing out a lot of garbage that came with it when I purchased the phone. I noticed that the filesystem was FAT16. I formatted the card to FAT32 knowing that it would work since my previous Nokia models like 6233 and 6600 supported FAT32. I don’t know why in this day and age, a storage device is formatted as FAT16 by default.

I put the card back into the phone and visited the gallery. The gallery was empty but atleast there were no signs of trouble. I removed the card and put it back into the reader. Now I had the default folders created. I copied the photos, videos and music tracks back and put the card into the phone. It works like a charm now. I ended up formatting the card just because I tried to back it up. Phew, what a day!


My take on Nokia N81

After a lot of deliberation, I bit the bullet and purchased a new Nokia N81 slider phone. I got the one with the memory card since the 8GB version was out of stock in almost all the stores I enquired. It cost me Rs 14,500. I tried getting the grey colour model but ended up with Cobalt Blue since grey was fast running out of stock.

I had a Nokia 6233 prior to this and I loved it for two reasons. First, the music was so good on it and second, it could churn out VGA videos at 640 x 480 resolution at amazing clarity.

I have used my new phone for about three weeks now. So let’s get into the details.

Physical Aspects

The phone is heavier than most phones at 140g. I am OK with it since I like phones that I can hold firmly in my hand. The display is a crisp TFT at 240 x 320 pixels, 2.4 inches supporting 16M colours.

The answer and hang up buttons are placed at the edge making it quite difficult to press them. In fact there are eleven buttons on the top portion of the phone. These include the call and hang up buttons, the four media keys for play/pause, stop, forward and rewind, the D Pad with four buttons and a metallic button that leads right into the gallery.

Call Quality, Messaging and Telephony

As with any Nokia phone, the call quality was good. I had difficulty initially due to the two gaming buttons near the ear piece but have got used to them since.

Messaging was neat and easy as with any S60 series device. There is one catch here. The keypad is extremely flat and takes a lot of time getting used to. Messages can be stored in either phone memory or Mass Memory – the memory card. But I was not able to connect the phone to a PC in Data Transfer mode if I had the messages in the mass storage.

Other telephony apps like Contacts, Logs and the like were as good as one can expect from Nokia


Nokia N81 - with ear piece

Nokia N81

The N81 is being touted as a music and gaming device. So they have it spot on when it comes to the music department. The sound is clear even at higher volumes and with expandable memory it becomes a great device. The music buttons on the top of the phone makes life easy even though they are pretty tightly placed. The greatest advantage this phone has over rivals is it has a standard 3.5 mm jack which would let one use his favourite headphones.

Music management is easy and it is greatly aided by the Navi Wheel which behaves like the scroll wheel on the iPod. The Navi wheel sometimes is way faster as in my phone. But others have complained in a few reviews that it is a pain to use. For me it is just good enough.


The N81 is a n-gage gaming device. It came bundled with three Discover n-gage with three preview games. I had to install the n-gage application to get any full version game.


Battery life is pretty solid even when using the music player, playing games and using the wi-fi. I am able to hold for two days without charging with considerable amount of time spent on all the activities and about an hour of talking.

Camera and Video

The phone has a 2MP camera which is quite low when we account for the price range of this phone. The camera was good in bright daylight but only average indoors. The gallery though is pretty good and navigation is a breeze with the Navi wheel. The gallery is viewed in landscape mode thus making viewing photos and videos a pleasure.

Video is QVGA and 320 x 240 pixels at 15 fps. This is quite low compared to my old model. Also, I was able to play only the videos I had shot with the phone. Videos taken with my old 6233 were not played. I did not try uploading any videos yet.

Other Features

The phone has other standard features calendar, calculator, converter, file manager and advanced like wi-fi and maps. The wi-fi performance is pretty good. I have not got a chance to check out the maps.


I have been using the phone primarily for telephony, messaging, music and games. So far I feel it has been one great device in spite of the little shortcomings.

Nokia N81 - Keypad

Nokia N81 - Keypad