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Nokia N-Gage QD

 N-Gage QD Discontinued
14th April 2004

The original N-Gage was an interesting, but flawed attempt to make a mobile phone that also functioned well as a gaming platform. Well, Nokia listed to some of the criticisms and have come up with the N-Gage QD, but crucially this is not the rumoured N-Gage 2 - at the moment it's a companion product with a slightly different specification.

The first thing to notice is that the N-Gage QD has a smoother, less radical design than the original N-Gage - although it's still a highly unusual handset.

It's not just cosmetic though. Nokia have addressed some real issues with the N-Gage QD. Firstly, games can now be hot swapped, rather than having to power off the old unit, the screen is brighter (but not bigger), battery life has been improved, and the control layout has been enhanced to be easier to use.

It's much easier to use as a phone - one of the flaws with the old design was that you had to talk into the phone's side. On the N-Gage QD, the phone is much more like a conventional handset and you talk into the front.

The phone is substantially smaller, but a little heavier than the original N-Gage at 118x68x22 mm and 143 grams (compared with 133x70x20 mm and 137 grams). Talktime is up to 3.5 hours with 10 days standby. It can be used as a games console for between 5-10 hours. This is roughly 50% better than the original. The screen is still a 176 x 208 pixel unit in 4096 colours.

The N-Gage QD is a dual-band GSM device which will be shipped in both European and US configurations. It supports GPRS, and has an XHTML web browser, email client, MMS and instant messaging.

Bluetooth support is included in the N-Gage QD. This can be used for peer-to-peer gaming or for a range of Nokia accessories or PC connectivity.

It's a Symbian Series 60 device, so it has a quite powerful range of personal information management functions, and also supports voice dialling, polyphonic ringtones, Java 2.0 and the usual things you'd expect to find in a high-end handset.

However, the N-Gage actually loses MP3 playback support from the original N-Gage, and we believe that MP3 support is important in a device like this. There's no FM radio either, also removed from the original N-Gage. In addition, there's still no digital camera which would be a useful enhancement to this kind of "fun" handset.

Games support is good, with a growing range of N-Gage titles, plus hardware acceleration for 3D graphics. The screen is still a little small, but it can be forgiven as the size of the handset has shrunk substantially.

So.. the N-Gage QD is an improvement in some respects, but it's not a straight replacement for the N-Gage. The lack of musical capabilities, camera and relatively small screen size mean that it's not the improvement many people were hoping for. So, as far as we're concerned, we're still waiting for the N-Gage 2!

Expected availability is May/June 2004, retailing at around 200/125/$220 without a contract or 100/60/$110 when subsidised with a new contract.

Nokia N-Gage QD At A Glance


Q3 2004


Dual-band GSM




176x208 pixels, 4096 colours




Compact games deck
118x68x22 mm / 143 grams









Battery life:

3.5 hours talk / 10 days standby


Symbian Series 60

 Nokia N-Gage hot swap card

 N-Gage QD closeup 1

 N-Gage closeup




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