The "n" key does not respond to a single "tap". It responds to either a "touch" (touch it for a couple of seconds), or to a double-tap.
The reason I used the word 'tap' is because that's the word they use in the manual, touching is what I do. Or pressing, if I'm frustrated or forget it isn't helpful.
Thanks for explaining the way it tries to 'phone home' even in airplane mode, Doug. That makes sense.
I exchanged it today and so far the 'n' has been fine; likely I won't have trouble with this one. Fingers crossed.