N95 8GB – The supreme warrior – A Review
Its been close to 2 years since I changed my mobile. I wanted to change it but I was really happy with my Nokia N70. I would not have changed it but for a couple of external factors. I broke my iPod mini and was really lost without it. Also there was a necessity for a digital camera in the family. The initial idea was to get an iPod touch and a Canon Powershot G9. I currently have a Canon Powershot A95 which is really cool and suits my family needs. Then I thought why not get a new music camera mobile and dedicate my A95 for the family use. That sounded like a pretty neat and economical idea. But I didn’t want to get just any mobile and I never wanted to compromise on the specs. I definietly needed a Symbian mobile as I consider myself as a power user. There was not much of a choice for my kinda requirements. Sony Ericsson w960 had 8GB internal memory but it was just 3.15 mega pixel. Apple Iphone had just 2 MP camera. A few models were also promised from Motorolla and Samsung. But I didn’t want to look their way. So naturally zeroed down to Nokia N95 8GB. But I was a considerably skeptical about parting with my N70. It had just about anything I could ask for. Finally I decided to give it away and make way for N95. So then lets just straight away to the UAT (Review) of N95 8GB
The First Look
When you open the box, you don’t get carried away immediately. Instead your heart sinks a bit on seeing the size of it. But you heart will bounce back to cloud 9 once you insert the battery and switch on the power. The bright large brilliant LCD display takes you by surprise and keeps your eyes glued to it. The sleek looking black finish is totally awesome and the dual sliding mechanism is flawless. It weighs just 3 grams more than my N70. I first tested its camera and its was very impressive and then the musical abilities was just right to replace my iPod. Ok, Bill it!
Construction and design
The design is very innovative. Dual slide is something new. But I wouldn’t call it a real dual slide. I would term it as psuedo dual slide. You can slide only one way at a time. The real dual slide would have been possible if the top part of the phone is kept stationary and the bottom is divided into halves to slide up and down. But then that is not going to change some usabily drastically. The material used is high quality plastic with gloss finish on top and matte finish for bottom and sides. The gloss finish is a fingerprint magnet, but can be easily cleaned with a swipe. Matte finish gives an extra grip and a feel of rubber. The lens is not covered but it is inundated so as to avoid scratches and at the same time to enable easy cleaning of lens. The battery cover fits in just right and it doesn’t creak. Its also easy to open or close. The touch and feel of the phone on the whole is elegant and firm. 10/10
The N95 8GB version and the N95 US Version ports a bigger battery compared to the N95 Classic. It has the BL-6C battery with 1200mAH which means that it is 30-40% upgraded compared to BL-5F used in N95 Classic. Well, practically speaking I am able to take 60-75 pictures at 5 MP with mixed combinations of various setting like flash, nighmode, etc… Or I can use the phone to make my regular day calls and occasionally listen to radio or the mp3 loaded on to it in it speakers or earphones plus take 5-10 pictures without charging my phone for 2 days. Thats a whooping increase in capacity compared to the BL-5F which looses its charge in one day no matter what you do. Also regularly switching on the display also charges out your battery. On an optimal usage, the charge must hang for just about 35-48 hours. 9/10
The 3.5mm headset you get with N95 is just awesome. Its not the sound effects but its about the sleek little wired remote you get with it. This tiny piece of marble can attend of cut calls, control music playback, change FM stations and control volume. Also it has this tiny little hold button which when activated, deactivates all other controls, so that you don’t accidentaly change any settings. This is very similar to the hold buttons in the iPod or any mp3 player but differs from that fact that, the controls can still be changed from the mobile phone. Also this tiny remote is detachable from the earphones. So they can be just plugged to the mobile and when music or FM radio is turned on, it automatically plays in the mobile’s speakers and you can still use the remote control. Pretty neat and user friendly. This small remote is a fingerprint magnet as it has gloss finish top. The sound effects are not so brilliant with the earphones, but who cares, when you can plug in your creative, JBL or bosch headsets onto it.
The TV out cable is yet another brilliant accessory. One end of it is plugged to the 3.5mm jack and the other is plugged to the TV. Now you can showoff all the photos and videos you have just captured on a bigger screen. I was stunned to watch the DVD quality video. Its not all, you can also use you TV as a huge 32″ mobile phone. Yes, you can make or take calls with your TV with the mobile plugged on to it. You can send sms or do just about anything you want in the big screen. Ain’t that some slick feature? The USB cable is a good thing to have been included in N95. Its is just the regular USB cable you get with any digital camera or mp3 player. Its not Nokia dependant and it works like a charm. I have already started using my mobile as my USB storage device.
Apart from that its quite disappointing to find that you don’t get pouch, swipes, loop or extra scratch card. Its even more disappointing to find that the panels are irreplaceable. Once you get some scratch on it, its bound to be permanent. So I have to be very careful (extra careful) in handling my N95. 8/10
Keypad and other controls
Sliding the phone upwards, reveals a neat and well placed keypad. It is evenly lit in dark conditions and the lighting comes up automatically if required by sensing the ambiance with help of the sensor. The keypad is very comfortable to type and navigate. But Nokia could have got ridden with this “tuk duk” sound which was noted in N95 Classic as well. Sliding the phone downwards reveals the music playback control. This is quite useful when you are watching videos in landscape mode. On the top you find a simple power button which can also be used to toggle between different profiles. The right side of the mobile ports a camera click button, gallery view button and volume keys. Camera click button is a two stage press button, when pressed slightly, it auto focuses 10/10
There is no words to describe the display’s brilliance. Its a TFT screen and supports 16 Million colors. The display size diagonally is 2.8 inches and has 240 x 320 pixels. It can be viewed in both landscape and portrait mode. Landscape mode is useful to review pictures and to browse the web. The mobile comes with a scratch resistant sticker but its quite disappointing to find that Nokia has no heart to give it a scratch proof crystal glass like in 8800. High end phones like this must definitely have scratch proff glasses. A single scratch can burn the owner’s heart to ashes. Its like painting a Ferrari’s body with Maruthi 800’s paint. 8/10
Connectivity and Internet
Internet can be connected to via GPRS(Class 32, 107 / 64.2 kbps) or WiFi(Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, UPnP technology). The package also comes with an offer to buy Linksys wiFi Router at an discounted price. But I wouldn’t bother as my home and office are both WiFi spots already. The GPRS speed is very good while the WiFi is a little sluggish. The all new Nokia browser is really cool as it has a cursor and also a page lens with tabbed browsing support. Connecting to WiFi is very simple process. Detect and Connect.. thats it … no frills just thrills. N95 also supports bluetooth with A2DP which means you can stream music to wireless BT Headsets. Surprisingly the extinct IR in Nokia lineup is back on. And then we have USB data cable to transfer files and music and also the TV out cable to view files on a bigger screen. The speed of data transfer is very good with both vista and XP (~500-700 kbps). You need not install the PC suite, instead the phone can be used just for data trasfer like in a USB Storage device.It has EDGE (Class 32, 296 kbps; DTM Class 11, 177 kbps), HSCSD and 3G capability. 10/10
User interface is of Symbian OS Version 9.2. The S60V3 feature pack 1 is an spectacular improvement over the previous version. Speed has increased tremendously and the response time for each action performed has been improved a lot. The menu is has 3 x 4 large icons in the grid view and it can also be changed to list view. User can choose to animate the menu icons if required. The standby screen has the “Today” bar, WiFi bar, Search bar and 7 pre set shortcuts to any 7 apps you want. The 5 way navigation button is user friendly to access all the menu and its items. I would have been extra thrilled if the 5 way navigation button had been replaced by touch sensitive navigation control like the N81. But even for non-power users and symbian debutants, the user interface would not be a challenge. Everything is self explanatory and also Help is available. Switching between applications is each with the prolonged pressing of the menu button which brings out a list of applications open. Also the themes, wallpapers, icons can be customized. It comes with 4 themes and additional themes can be downloaded of the net. There are plenty of user-configurable functions. This makes this fone highly user-friendly. 10/10
Telephony – ringtones. messages, phonebook
Signal reception is pretty good and clear which is a trademark of Nokia. It supports Polyphonic (64 channels), Monophonic, True Tones, MP3, AAC, AMR, RealAudio, and WAV format ringtones. Typing and sending messages is pretty fast and it has practically unlimited storage for phonebook entries and messages. The ringtones are loud and can be distinclty heard even on the busiest streets. Vibration is strong enough to sense it even while on a touch Indian Auto ride. The stereo speakers creates miracles for ringtones. You can set the tone to ring in a trajectory format or fly by or ring in cirlces around you and also its speed can be customized. I found this feature to be very interesting. 10/10
Camera / Video capture
The camera has a capability to capture photos up to 5 megapixel (2592 x 1944 pixels) with its Carl Zeiss Optics, Tessar™ lens. It can also record videos at MPEG-4 VGA video capture of up to 30 fps. The Front camera is a CIF (352 x 288) sensor camera whose main purpose is for video calls in 3 G networks. The main camera can zoom upto 6x in 5MP. The photographic presets are automatic, user, close-up, portrait, landscape, sports, night, night portrait. The close up mode or the Macro mode is very impressive. Check out the sample photography as the picture speaks more than my words. 10/10
Music / Video playback
The Digital music player -supports MP3/AAC/AAC+/eAAC/eAAC+/WMA/M4A with playlists and equalizer. The 3D ring tone is very innovative and also not much battery is consumed during music playback. Options like stereo widening, bass booster, loundness are debutantes in Nokia phones. The visualizer is just an eye candy. But for otherwise the player is not so different to previous edition symbian music players. The video playback software is the Realplayer. With the stunning display, Realplayer does justice to the hardware. Supported video formats are MPEG-4, H.264, H.263/3GPP, RealVideo 8/9/10. 9/10
Probably “the best phone ever in the market”, would land my review in controversy because I am a hardcore Nokian. But provided the features and the way Nokia has handled them, this phone is by far the benchmark of Multimedia phones. Retailing at 29,000 currently, this could burn a big hole in your pocket, but if you haven’t upgraded your phone in past 2 years and don’t plan to upgrade for the next 3 years or so, then probably this is the phone you must consider. 9.5/10
A few Screenshots
Well, what could make the Nokia N95 feel historic in your hands? Probably….
DVD Player / Set Top Box connectivity (Wired /Wireless)
True Dual slide
Ultra slim (Less than 10 mm) and Ultra light weight (Less than 70 gms)
Touch Screen with QWERTY Keyboard
Optical Zoom lens with ability to support external lens attachment.
Wide / Telefocus lens attachments