Nokia N95 – Martin’s Quick Review

Nokia N95 – All the features under the sun

With a dual-sliding design and a stylish plum-and-silver colour scheme, the Nokia N95 packs a lot of features into a fairly small package. You’d expect it to weigh more than it does – just 120g of phone, measuring 99mm x 53mm x 21mm. Sliding the phone downwards reveals the traditional keypad, whilst sliding in the opposite direction gives you access to the multimedia controls. The alphanumeric keypad is raised slightly, and responsive to light touch. Blue back-lighting means you can easily see what you’re typing. The LCD screen is large, bright and clear and resolves at 240 x 320 pixels. It is easy to view, even in direct sunlight, but you will need the included clear plastic screen protector to avoid scratches and finger marks.

Nokia’s N95 is undoubtedly feature-packed. Much of the hype surrounding it has to do with the included GPS functionality. Two mapping systems are available, both of which are free to view but the GPRS/3G connection needed to access them isn’t. Turn-by-turn navigational guiding also incurs additional charges. Using the phone’s keypad to operate the system proves a little trying and lack of volume is also a problem.

As the first phone to include a five megapixel camera, the N95 commands respect. Image quality is good, as is colour reproduction. As with most phone cameras, image sharpness suffers a little. In particular, the N95 really struggles with night shots, despite having a red-eye reduction flash. There’s an autofocus and macro, portrait, sports, sequence and burst shooting modes, plus the option to manually control white balance, colour tone and exposure. The phone can interface with web-based photo accounts including Flickr, Vox or Lifeblog.

The Nokia N95 functions well as a multi-media device – it includes both video and music players. There’s support for MPC, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, WMA and M4A audio formats, as well as MPEG-4, H.264/AVC, H.263, 3GPP and RealVideo files. The quality of the bundled earphones isn’t poor, but it is an advantage that the phone has a 3.5mm headphone jack so that you can plug in better quality headphones if you’re serious about your music. Here, the multimedia keypad really shines, with the previous, play/pause, stop and next keys offering intuitive control of the device. You can watch videos on the Nokia N95, but the screen is really too small to do the feature justice.

A new feature is the Video Centre – an RSS feeder for video content from Reuters and YouTube. Using this, you can download and stream video clips using Wi-Fi or your provider’s data service. Memory is adequate – with 160MB of internal memory and a microSD slot that supports cards up to 2GB.

Unfortunately, the phone does feel a little cheap, with the sliding mechanism a bit loose and the plastic quality not as good as it should be, given the phone’s price tag. Battery life is another disappointing aspect of the phone, with only 160 hours of talk time and up to 200 hours of standby time. These figures are slightly better if you’re using a traditional GSM network, but are still well below par. Use of the GPS or camera noticeably accelerates battery flattening.

If money isn’t an object, the Nokia N95 offers a feature-packed phone in a light-weight, well-designed package.

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