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Nokia N-Gage QD

Nokia N-Gage QD
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by Jonathan Cheah

The second edition of Nokia’s game deck design is now here in Malaysia. Let us take a look at what changes were made from the first edition, and see what direction mobile gaming is now taking. In a way, a lot of what future games will be like depends on how successful Nokia’s N-Gage is, as it is a groundbreaking product for mobile gaming.

At A Glance:

Price: RM 1,049
Local Distributor: Nokia (M) Sdn Bhd.
Contact: 1-300-88-1600
Build quality: 9/10
Applications: 9/10
Interface: 9/10
Value-for-money: 8/10
Overall rating: 9/10
+ Plug and play gaming
+ Full Email support
+ Screenshot capability
- No Data cable in the box
- No Infrared
- No camera

Improving the game deck
In what is widely viewed as a repair job on the first N-Gage, the QD has made substantial improvements to a ridiculous phone that was derisively referred to as ‘Elephant Ears’ because of the way it had to be held up to the ear.

Let us quickly go through a list of all the improvements that have been made here. First of all, the QD has a smaller size than its predecessor at 123cc versus the earlier 139cc. The speaker has been relocated to the front of the phone, just beside the number pad, and the MMC game card can now be hot-swapped, or replaced without having to remove the battery. Removing the battery caused something like a 30-second delay to reboot the phone and start the game. The newer versions of the QD have the Arena Launcher application built into the phone, and this will automatically connect you via GPRS to other players around the world who are interested in playing the same game head-to-head.

Game deck operation
The N-Gage QD runs on the Symbian operating system first introduced in the 7650. This version is reportedly Symbian 6.1, which could have been better considering that Symbian 7 is already available in the 6600 and 7610 models.

As usual, the Symbian graphical interface is a joy to use, but the available grey and orange tones for the screen didn’t really appeal to me. It must be mentioned that the 5 and 7 keys on the number pad are specially embedded below a clear surface, so that repeated hammering on those keys during game play would not wear out the printing on both these buttons long before the other buttons.

However, the keys are rather close together, and since they are not laid out in a precise grid, texting will be a little difficult for most users. The directional controller on the left of the screen is only a four-way one, and it cannot be pressed down just like in a regular console controller. There is a small ‘check’ button at the 5 o’clock of the directional button that serves this function, but I found that it took some getting used to.

The shell is a lot better than that of the first N-Gage. One new addition is a rubber strip that runs all around the side of the phone. I think that this is a good idea, as overenthusiastic gaming might result in scratches to the phone, and this rubber strip will go a long way towards eliminating that.

Two games were provided for this review. The Sims: Breaking Out was a joy to play, and resulted in my sacrificing a lot of sleeping time due to being unable to put down the game deck. The Sims is a game where you control an avatar and send him or her running about on missions provided by other non-player characters (NPCs). It is not quite that simple as you have to maintain your Sim’s health along the way by feeding and resting the Sim as required. Your Sim can also work, earning money to pay for everyday things such as food. The money can also be used to purchase equipment from three stores within the given map.

Unfortunately, I did not have another MMC for the Sims, as activating the last part of the mission requires the player to participate in a Bluetooth auction with another N-Gage running the same game. Nokia has taken a page out of the successful Pokemon franchise that ran upon Gameboy machines and required players to link up to be able to get a full collection of Pokemon creatures. This editor will provide gaming tips for ‘The Sims’ for a sufficient amount of beer.

The other game included was Spiderman 2, which was quite interesting as the game had different stages, some of which were rendered in three dimensions, while other parts of the game were rendered in two dimensions. The speed of the graphics for the 3D sections of the game is quite good. This is probably due to the TFT screen. A transflective or TFT screen has a faster response time to imaging instructions from the memory because of the configuration of its transistors.

Editor,s Opinion
Most of the right things have been fixed in the transition from the first N-Gage game deck to the second N-Gage QD game deck. The price is also a lot lower than the first N-Gage, which benefited from a strong branding campaign prior to its launch.

To allow for the lower price, a few things were left out of the product, most noticeably an integrated camera, which has been a mainstay of all Nokia Symbian phones except for both the N-Gage models. However, this is not likely to change as long as the battery is built into the centre of the phone, taking up a lot of valuable space that could be better used for something else.

Again, we have another phone that has Bluetooth but not infrared. I must say that aside from the appeal of having endless hours of gaming fun, this phone has some good abilities such as being compliant with the major email protocols and also being able to surf the Internet via GPRS. The Symbian OS is reliable as always despite requiring the occasional reboot just like MS Windows.

Well, if you can do without the camera and like orange, magenta or grey tones for your screen, then this is the phone for you. I am surprised that only three colours can be used for the display since the games show up on the screen nicely in multicolour. Despite the screen being a 4K one in the age of 65K screens, the gaming is surprisingly clear and smooth. RM 1049 is a fair asking price.

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User Comment
Posted On : November 27, 2011
sapa yg jual n-gage kat kedah.????? aku nk beliiii............
Posted On : October 27, 2011
sell ngage QD..bateri baru , body kilat lg..cuma button pad no xberapa baik just kne cr pad getah yg ori baru bleh tkn..sell only rm150 area Seremban , KL , melaka call 0136404575
mayur patil
Posted On : June 6, 2011
i want to re-enter thise type of mobile.b'coze there are no one produce thise type of moble

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