Nokia N77: Digital TV in your Pocket
When I was offered to get my hands on an N77, I was excited to finally be able to try Smart myTV and see if it lives up to the hype. Like any of the new N-Series phones, the Nokia N77 runs on the improved S60 3rd Edition platform — clean, fast and feature-packed.
Of course, the main feature that makes this model different from most Nokia handheld units is the mobile TV feature. Only this one and the N92 are able to receive digital TV signals over the air which is being widely marketed by Smart for their myTV service.
Since it’s 3G capable, the large screen makes for better mobile browsing. You can likewise switch the viewing from vertical to horizontal (wide screen). At the right hand side, there’s a dedicated TV button beside the camera button. If not for the size, the N77 is almost a half-brother to the N73. Perhaps, the extra girth (18.8mm) is due to the added digital TV functionality. Which brings me to the only biggest drawback — the size makes it a little harder to handle the phone that sometimes texting can be a little bit awkward. It would really have been a killer if a slimmer version of this comes out in the next iteration.
Nevertheless, the screen is big (2.4″, QVGA, 16M colors) and bright. Display quality is excellent as well as TV reception. Response is a little slow when turning on the TV and changing channels. Sometimes, it feels like contents are streamed (much like IPTV, Joost, etc.); moreso that it launches Real Player to display the programming. I guess that’s how digital TV (DVB-H) really works (haven’t compared it to regular digital TVs).
Viewing experience is great if you have good signal in your location (at least 40% signal strength) but when moving around (commuting or driving) the signal is choppy and which can be frustrating especially when you are in a middle of a game or a punchline. However, this could be attributed more to the coverage of Smart myTV rather than the phone itself.
I know, watching TV while driving can be hazardous especially when you’re driving 80km/hr in EDSA but I just had to try if that’s possible. Effective viewing distance is about 2 feet. Anything farther than that and you’re just like listening to radio.
Sound quality is great and loud (read somewhere it’s 3 watts, rms). The headphone that comes with it uses a 3.5mm stereo jack which comes with an attached TV remote control. That also mean you can hook it up to external speakers.
By the way, Smart myTV is still free until today. This has got to do with the lack of NTC guidelines and approval for digital TV broadcast. You can grab an N77 for about Php18k but Smart gives it away for free with Plan1800.
Thanks to WOMWorld UK for lending me the unit.