Nokia may be on a remarkable run of form with its Nseries phones – the N97, N96 and N85 are all tasty smarties – but it’s not immune to the odd faux pas. Just look at the N78.

With its feeble 3.2MP snapper and numerous design flaws, it was the black sheep of the Nokia’s world-beating family. So it’s no surprise to see its successor, the N79, arrive barely six months after its birth.

Candybar N85

Judging by its feature set, normal NSeries service has been resumed. In short, the N79 is a candybar version of the N85.

Sadly, it doesn’t share its sister slider’s vivid OLED display and dedicated N-Gage controls, but its new look blond opaque design is very swish.

Keen phone spotters will know the N79 shows more than a passing resemblance to the N82 and N78, but it’s far lighter and sleeker than its peers. Rather than that pair’s awkward keypads, it’s been given a less awkward flatbed layout, making it far easier to handle.

Colour me bad

This Symbian S60 smartie is also one of the first Nseries phones to shed its austere image and flirt with bolder colour finishes. If you’re daring enough, a range of tasteful Xpress rear covers spice up proceedings, with the built-in sensor to automatically colour match the phone’s theme.

Unsurprisingly, the N79’s camera set-up doesn’t quite reach the N82’s lofty Xenon heights, but it certainly readdresses the N78’s glaring megapixel shortfall.

An active sliding lens cover protects a five-megapixel Carl Zeiss lens that, while failing to match the N95 8GB’s sharp detail, still delivers impressive brightly coloured snaps.

No Xenon flash

Above the lens sits a dual LED flash that’s just about bright enough to illuminate low lighting environments, while a light-assisted autofocus is quick to find its range. And with a set-up and menu system identical to previous Nseries camphone, the N79 proves to be an accomplished snapper.

The N79’s video capturing chops are equally impressive with slick VGA quality footage at 30fps keeping up the Nseries’ rep as the best mobile filmers around.

Speedy web browser

With HSDPA and Wi-Fi onboard web browsing is quick out of the block. The 2.4-inch display is a good size to view web pages, and Nokia’s Mini Map zoom function and virtual mouse point fine-tune the experience.

Elsewhere, the quick-witted built-in accelerometers neatly auto rotate the screen so you can peruse the internet in landscape mode.

Navigation via Nokia Maps is also well oiled, especially allied with the free three-month voice guidance trial and A-GPS to sharpen the satellite fix.

Similarly, the music player is highly listenable and easy on the ear, with an integrated 3.5mm headphone jack to plug in your quality earphones and capable FM transmitter to stream your tunes to a car radio.

Nokia is slowly replacing its clunky Nseries old guard with more refined, younger looking models. Along with the N85, the N79 is part of this new breed and shows Nokia’s Nseries to be in rude health going into 2009.

Stuff says... 

Nokia N79 review

Not exactly innovative, but another vintage mid-range Nseries