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Nokia N95 Review

Nokia N95 Review

Nokia has built a reputation upon producing quality and stylish telecommunication devices. The company does not disappoint with its award winning high-end Nokia N95 smart phone.

Looking at the amount of features the N95 cell phone boasts, it’s not surprising that it has been one of the most coveted smart phones since its first announcement in September 2006. It has class leading 5-megapixel camera, advanced multimedia features, and built-in GPS and wireless connectivity, making the Nokia N95 phone one of the most feature-packed smart phones on the market.
Design

With all the features that are packed into the Nokia N95, you would expect it to be quite hefty, but it’s not. The N95 measures a compact 99 mm (3.8″) long by 53 mm (2.1″) wide by 21 mm (0.8″) thick and weighs in at only 120 g (4.2 ounces). This is largely due to the N95′s innovative two-way slider design, which allows you access to the relatively spacious alphanumeric keypad and the media player controls by sliding the front cover up and down respectively. The N95′s matt silver and plum color scheme is a good match, making the N95 an attractive phone. In addition, the soft-touch finish on the back of the phone also gives it a very pleasant rubber feeling while making it easier to grip and comfortable to hold.

The front of the phone is dominated by a gorgeous 2.6-inch QVGA TFT screen with a 16 million-color output and 320×240 pixel resolution. This huge screen isn’t a touch screen but it does provide exceptional image and text quality, with deep color saturation and sharp definition. An ambient light detector keeps the display readable in various lighting conditions by adjust the backlighting. The display can also be customized. You can change the theme of the home screen, font size and backlighting time. When you slide open the multimedia controls, the screen automatically switches to Landscape mode, though it does not switch back when you close the media controls. Below the screen are the N95′s navigation controls, which consist of two soft keys, Talk and End buttons, Menu and Multimedia buttons, a Clear key, an Edit key, and a four-way toggle with a center select button that are easy to use. Slightly above the screen is a small, secondary camera used for video calls.

I’ve already mentioned that sliding the N95′s front cover up reveals the alphanumeric keypad. The alphanumeric keypad has fairly large, tactile buttons with bright backlighting. The buttons are also raised above the phone’s surface, making it easier to dial by feel. The multimedia controls, which can be accessed by sliding the front cover down are not as tactile and require a bit of pressure. Opening the multimedia controls also switched the screen to Landscape mode and launches Multimedia menu with Music player selected. Sliding the front cover back to its standard position automatically locks the keypad. The movement is quite smooth and is supported by a spring mechanism. However, a locking mechanism to keep the cover in its standard position is missing. This makes it fairly easy for the front cover to slide open in your pocket or your bag. The font cover is also a bit loose and tends to rattle a little but no where near enough to be irritating.

At the back of the phone you’ll find the 5 Megapixel Carl Zeiss Tessar autofocus camera with a built-in LED flash. The N95′s camera lens and flash is protected by a manually controlled cover. Opening the cover automatically launches the camera application. The camera activation button is located on the right side of the phone. This requires that you hold the phone horizontally when using the camera, mimicking the look and feel of a digital camera. Below the camera is the battery cover which houses Nokia’s new BL-5F 950 mAH battery providing 160 to 240 minutes of talk time and 200 to 225 hours of standby, depending on radio access technology used, operator network configuration and usage.

In addition to the camera activation button, you’ll also find a shortcut to your photo gallery and the volume control on the right side of the camera. On the left side you’ll find a 3.5mm headset jack so you can plug in your favorite pair of earbuds or headphones, an infrared port and the microSD expansion slot.

Features

As a multimedia smart phone, the Nokia N95 boasts camera and video, and a music player with radio, as well as built-in GPS and wireless connectivity, not to mention the cell phone features.

Mobile Phone

The Nokia N95 is a quadband GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz), WCDMA 2100 MHz phone first and foremost It includes a speakerphone, speed dial, conference calling, voice-command support, a vibrate mode, and text and multimedia messaging. The N95′s address book is only limited by the available memory, while the SIM card can store an additional 250 contacts. The phone allows for multiple phone numbers, work and home addresses, e-mail addresses, birthday, and other details for each contact. It also allows you to assign each contact a photo, one of 44 ringtones, or a group ID.

Imaging

The Nokia N95 has an impressive 5-megapixel autofocus camera with a Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar optics (f/2.8, 5.6 mm, 10 cm ~ infinity focusing range) and 1/1000 ~ 1/3 s mechanical shutter that makes it one of the best phone camera available. It also has an impressive amount of customization and editing options that allows it to compete with a stand-alone digital camera! The N95 has seven shooting modes and five quality settings that you can choose from, including close-up, sports, and night portrait. You can also adjust the brightness, contrast, white balance, color tone, ISO light sensitivity, and exposure value to get the best picture possible. In addition, the camera also has a red-eye reduction option, a self-timer and a sequence mode for multiple shots. The only thing that’s missing on the N95 is optical zoom!

As you would expect from a 5-megapixel lens, the quality of photos taken with the N95 are superb. The pictures have vibrant colors and sharp lines and edges. The camera phone also does a good job with nighttime photos, though they were still a bit dim. In addition, the N95 doesn’t require you to have a super steady hand to get a clear shot.

But the Nokia N95 is not only a great still camera; it’s also a great video recorder. It can record MPEG-4 video at a maximum VGA (640×480) resolution at 30 frames per second. It also records in 3GP for multimedia messages. The video clip length is only limited by the available memory. There aren’t as much editing options as in camera mode, but you do get shooting modes: automatic and night; as well as white balance and color tone settings. In addition, the N95 has a digital video stabilization feature to reduce camera shake while you’re recording video. Video quality was also quite good and does not have any of the graininess that are on some video clips shot by camera phones. You can use Video editor and Movie director to edit and enhance recorded video clips. Again, the only thing that’s missing is optical zoom, although there is a 4x digital zoom at VGA resolution. It’s not surprising then that the Nokia N95 has won the 2007 TIPA Award for Best Mobile Imaging Device in Europe!

Multimedia Palyer

The N95′s integrated video and music player is equally impressive. The video player is a RealPlayer media player with support for mp4 (MPEG-4), H.264/AVC, H.263/3GPP, and RealVideo 8, 9 and 10. The music player has support for MP3, WMA, W4A, AAC, AAC+, and eAAC+ formats, as well as OMA DRM 2.0 and WMDRM protected music files. It also has a built-in equalizer. In addition you can also create playlists on the phone, and can categorize the tracks in the music library by artist, album, genre, or composer. The N95 also has a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, which makes the multimedia experience that much better and a Visual FM radio (87.5-108 MHz), although you have to use the included headset to access the radio as it acts as the tuner. Both audio and video are of very good quality with the N95′s built-in stereo speakers generates high quality stereo sound. The N95 also supports A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile), allowing you to stream stereo music to stereo Bluetooth headphones.

Wireless Connectivity

The N95 features a built-in GPS receiver with a mapping application. The GPS receiver is quite sensitive thought not as sensitive and accurate as SiRF Star III based receivers. Nonetheless, the N95′s GPS receiver will continue working indoors and under heavy foliage once it has obtaining a satellite fix. In addition to the usual Landmarks and Position applications, the N95 also features Smart2Go software that shows you information about the total distance, time, average speed, and so forth. However, navigation and city guides services must be purchased as extra options.

The Nokia N95 also includes integrated Bluetooth 2.0, Wi-Fi, and an infrared port in addition to GPS. The N95 smart phone has support for a number of Bluetooth profiles, including wireless headsets, hands-free kits, wireless keyboards, and A2DP for Bluetooth stereo headsets. On the Wi-Fi side, the N95 is 802.11b/g compatible and has support for Universal Plug and Play, which allows you to connect to a compatible wireless access point, PC, printer, or home entertainment system via Wi-Fi.

Software

The N95 is a Symbian OS 9.2 S60 3.1 (3rd Edition Feature Pack 1) phone and is fully compatible with all existing S60 3rd Edition software. Preinstalled software includes QuickOffice which allows you to view Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents. The application optimizes the pages for the phone’s screen, so you don’t have to scroll left to right to read the text. However, if you want editing capabilities, you have to upgrade the preinstalled copy of QuickOffice. For messaging purposes, the N95 supports IMAP4, POP3, and SMTP e-mail accounts with an attachment viewer. There’s also the new version of Nokia’s excellent OSS web browser, which now supports both WWW and WAP, and includes auto-completion for form data fields, video plug-ins, support for favicons, Flash Lite 2.0, RSS and Atom feeds, password manager, support for landscape orientation, toolbar, background sounds, offline browsing, operator cache, visual windows manager and user agent profile.

Performance

With all the features it needs to support, the N95 is a bit sluggish, but not enough to be annoying. Menu operations, image processing, video recording and playback, 3D graphics in games and web browsing are fast. Music playback through the N95′s stereo speakers is quite good for smart phones, though it still lacks deep bass. Video playback is also smooth with accurate audio and video synchronization. The one area where the Nokia N95 does disappoint is the battery life. The Nokia BL-5F 950 mAH battery is rated for four hours of talk time and up to nine days of standby time but we were able to get eight hours of talk time in our battery tests. However, battery time was reduced to just over a day when using the different features on the N95.

Summary

The Nokia N95 is a great looking multimedia smart phone with decent performance. It has a huge screen with 2D/3D graphics and video acceleration, all connectivity and data transmission options including HSDPA, WLAN b/g, UPnP, USB 2.0 and Bluetooth 2.0 EDR, a fantastic video and still camera, great music and video playback capabilities, TV out connector, built-in GPS receiver and good mapping software. In short everything you would want from a smart phone, multimedia player, and a digital camera!

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3 comments on “Nokia N95 Review

  1. Pingback: Nokia N95 Review | GPSPhoneBlog.info

  2. Definately a great phone but the Camera is very dissapointing. Even with no other applications running it can take 2-5 seconds to take a picture. That’s a long time to be holding down the button!
    There is no manual focus feature making extreme close-up impossible. The auto focus will rarely get it right if not at prefered distances.
    Flash is good but not great, washes all colour out of the pics, also, doesn’t double as a torch light! Grrrr
    Remember to hold down the menu button every now and then to see what applications are still running and have been hidden in the background and will slow performance.

    I wish I had waited for the LG Viewty but this IS a great phone.

  3. You’re absolutely right, Lewis.
    Nokia have updated the N95 with a new version. Bigger screen; faster camera.
    However, it still has the delays between applications and taking pictures.
    Maybe they should look into Sony Ericsson’s cyber-shot phones. Their cameras are pretty impressive for shutter and response speeds….
    DM

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