The N76 has been a product of mixed reactions, and I've heard of stories from both sides before I finally purchase the product. When I bought it, it was when the N95 has just came out, and so I was almost considering getting that instead, because I wanted a phone that looked cool and played great stereo music. In the end I went with the N76.
Now, for those who haven't heard yet, this phone has a few complains from those who reportedly bought the first batch that came out. In layman terms, it seems that the chrome paint job actually comes off after "extended use", which in extreme cases was one week. But I have already used it for over 4 months so far and I can report that this phone has not fail my expectations yet. But then, the reports I heard were of the black N76, while I have the red colour version. I'm not sure if the colours would make a difference but I guess I should state it just in case. Therefore, in terms of its physical aspects, the N76 looked cool and sleak in both black and red, though the chrome surface might be prone to fingerprints, which isn't really that much of a deal.
Next, I have to say that I'm not a business man or social freak, and so my call limit is very low. But the few times that I actually use it as a communication device, I have not much to complain about. The sound that comes through the speaker is quite clear, unless you're in a club, in which case you should keep your headphones handy. And since the mouth piece is located at the bottom, your sweet voice will be received on the other end clearly.
The keyboard represent a slight discomfort to me, as all the buttons are flat, making it hard to press. Especially when you're typing a long message or when you have long fingernails. It made me feel like rubbing my fingernails across a file.
Now, on to the main seller of the device, the music player. Right there on the cover is a screen, which actually doubles as a mirror sometimes. When you close the cover of the phone, the screen would display the time and various customisable features, which you can select with the volume button on the side and the 3 additional button on the bottom of the screen. These 3 buttons; the rewind button, the play button, and the fast forward button, are actually used for... you guessed it, playing music. With one push of the button, you can open the music player and do all sorts of things with it. It's really user friendly, so I won't touch on that. The songs will appear on the screen, and you can select the song by the 2 buttons on the side as up and down, and the play button to play.
One problem I have encountered before is the sudden crashing of the phone, much like what you see on a PC. It happened when I was installing some symbian application on the phone. The phone just hanged to a white screen and then restarted itself. I suspect it to be an inherent problem, but it didn't happen to me again, and I don't install programs that much, so I ignored it.
I hope that this review will help you decide on whether or not to get a N76 as a phone. It costed 350 for me with a trade in, but I believe the price would have already dropped somewhat by now, which makes this a pretty good bargain for a stylish phone with such a innovative built in music player.