I promised a review for the Nokia N95, a device I’ve received through the TheseDays agency a while ago which I could keep for three weeks to test it and experience its options. I must say the mini-pc looks very cool and is very ok to take it with you everywhere you go. It weighs only 120 grams, which is not at all that much. I mostly used it as a camera to take pictures while I was in Las Vegas, and with its 5 MegaPixels it rendered 2592 x 1944 pixel images that really stood out to any pictures I’ve ever taken with my mobiles. The Carl Zeiss optics and autofocus made it possible to photograph items really sharp, even though they were hundreds of meters away.
The videos you shoot with it are of good quality and the sound of the things you record is too. With 30fps, it’s a nice experience to play back your adventures. I didn’t use the secondary CIF videocall camera because I didn’t quite know who to call :-)
Scanning for wireless networks, connecting to them and uploading goes very fast. I have nothing to say about that. Holding on to the network has proven to be a little more difficult, I had to reconnect at least once every 10 minutes when I was uploading pictures to Flickr. Once the connection is there, it’s almost as fast as broadband. I like this feature the most. It is, however, VERY battery-consuming.
A few downsides to the device though:
Even though it has up to 220 hours of stand-by time and up to 6.5 hours of calling time, I ran out of power quite a lot when I used the wi-fi feature to upload images to Flickr or to browse sites or make videos. I realize that for regular use this power supply is really good, but if you deliver a mobile multimedia pc and show off with its features, I think there needs to be some more power to it to cover all the fun. If you play some movies you’ve put on the little 1 Gigabyte memory card, you can see the battery power bar shrink almost in real time. That’s a bummer.
The mobile GPS works fine when you’re on foot and you could download maps for free from the website to cover more than 100 countries. The service becomes paid as soon as you want voice guidance added to the road descriptions of your travel route. Here’s something I don’t understand either. It takes a really long time to locate the 5 needed satellites when you’re in the middle of the city. You need to find an open spot to get a signal (took quite some time) and from then on it’s pretty smooth, but it’s only good when you’re on foot. I tried it on a bike and that was about as fast as the thing could go. For usage in a car, it simply is too inaccurate and sometimes it loses contact with the satellites, leaving you stranded and waiting for a signal to continue the quest. Then comes my question: why would you need voice guidance? If you go slow enough to read the map I don’t see a need/market for it, unless the receiver becomes stronger and the service improves.
I’m very satisfied about the speed of the browser and the fact it has RSS built in. It’s also remarkable that it’s not an ordinary WAP browser, but a full browser ‘as is’. It’s the same sort of browser you’d use on your regular pc. That’s pretty cool.
What I don’t like, or rather, what I miss, is the touch-screen functionality. I’ve been using the HTC TyTN (and still do) and it’s really a super thing that you can navigate with touch. Switching back to a device that needs confirmation keys and has keys that require multiple touch for a character or action is very challenging. I kept pressing the screen, expecting something to happen out of habbit. Sending text messages or answering email is far more time-consuming compared to when you have a sliding keyboard.
If Nokia was keen enough to have a slider in two ways, it would even be so much more cooler if there was a three-way slider or if the regular phone keyboard could be replaced with a small keyboard similar to the one you use on a pc. If they aim to be the leading mobile multimedia device, they need to let go of the old mobile phone functionality and approach pc users with an environment they are more familiar with.
Closing remarks are the items I already mentioned in my first review:
- Have the phone remember the location of the images, it saves about 4 clicks I think, per image (+ moving the cursor to the right link every time). The images are stored on a micro SD card, so navigating to that time and again… that’s just way too hard.
- Need more battery power, for real
- Have the phone remember password settings in the browser. If you have a strong password like $TR0ngPaSSw0rd!, typing it again and again every time your wireless connection drops… Awch
- Need more battery power, for real
* Full phone specs
* Nseries product site