August 20th, 2008
Here’s my review of the Nokia n95 8GB.
Here’s a funny tidbit. I use a regular Nokia n95 sometimes. When I found out that Rogers was going to carry the Nokia n95 8GB) I was a little peeved ‘regular’ people on Rogers could have a cooler phone than me.
The n95 8GB is quite similar to the original n95′s. Compared with the n95-1, the n95 8GB has more memory, a bigger screen, revised (smaller) front navigation pads, no camera cover and no SDHC slot. Compared to the n95-3 it’s the same thing though the n95-3 has no camera cover either.
The screen slides up to reveal the keypad or down to reveal some multimedia keys.
The navigation keys on the front are now smaller to make room for the larger screen. I found the 2 softkeys are harder to press because they’re flush.
The display has a thicker screen compared to my n95-3. I can tell because when you touch the display it won’t cause ‘waves’ on the screen like it does on the n95-3.
Like I mentioned earlier, the screen is a little bit bigger (2.8″ vs 2.6″) though it has the same 240×320 resolution as previous n95′s. I wish the n95 had a higher resolution screen.
Build quality is good. The sliding action is solid.
There are stereo speakers; one on each side. They’re extremely loud.
There’s a 3.5mm stereo headphone jack on the left side – you can use regular headphones with it.
The right side has a camera, gallery and volume buttons.
At the bottom is a mini USB plus a Nokia charging port. You can’t charge the n95 via the mini USB port (boo!).
Connectivity wise you get Bluetooth, HSDPA, WiFi, IrDA and GPS.
The n95 8GB runs Nokia’s S60 software. I’ve reviewed a bunch of other S60 phones in the past so I’ll only talk about it briefly.
S60 multitasks and switches between tasks really well, it lets you cut and paste and it has a lot of 3rd party software available for it. You can switch tasks by pressing the menu button to the left of the navigation pad.
When you slide the screen down (as opposed to up like on most phones) the n95 will switch to landscape mode. This is useful for when you’re viewing webpages or watching video.
As far as phone related stuff goes, you get a nice phonebook which syncs up with your computer. The messaging app handles SMS, MMS and email (POP3 and IMAP). There is a detailed call log which includes info on your data connections. There is also support for internet calling and video calling.
The gallery lets you view your pictures and videos in a stylish sort of wheel. While my first impression was that it was kind of slow it’s actually pretty fast when you consider that it’s handling pictures that are 5 megapixel images. When you first view your images it thumbnails them. After that it’s faster. You can access the gallery by using the gallery button on the right side above the camera button.
One of n95′s best feature is it’s web browser. It’s about as good as it gets on a non touch screen device. It renders pages like they’d look on your computer but fits passages of text so that it can be viewed without having to scroll sideways. Pages render very quickly and there is this nifty feature which shows you a thumbnail of the page while you scroll which helps give you an idea of where you are on a page.
There is support for tabbed browsing (up to 5 tabs) but I can’t figure out a way to open a new tab. You kind of have to get a page to pop up and then you can use that new page as a tab. My solution was to create a webpage which has links that pop up a new page and then browse to it. Just use this when you’re writing a page:
<a href=”http://wap.howardforums.com” target=”blank”>HowardForums</a>
Replace wap.howardforums.com with whatever site you want (keep the http://) and replace HowardForums with the link text.
The music player is pretty standard; it lets you sort your music by artist, album, etc. You can control the player using the media keys which you can access by sliding the screen down – neat. There’s a 3.5mm stereo headphone jack on the left side so you can use the regular sized headphones with the n95 8GB.
There are is a speaker on both sides of the n95 8GB. They sound decent and are ridiculously loud.
You get a 5 megapixel autofocus camera. As far as camera phones goes, the n95 8GB’s is right up there with the best. It takes great pictures outdoors and decent ones indoors. Low light performance is good.
There are tons of camera related features. My only complaint with the camera (and it’s a pretty big one) is that it takes a while to launch and takes a second to autofocus. Maybe I’m used to something faster but I find the wait sucks a lot of the fun out of using the camera.
Video quality is also quite good. It can capture video with a resolution of 640×480 which is similar to what you get with DVD’s.
When you’re using apps that access the internet, it treats your HSDPA/EDGE connections and WiFi connections the same way. A pop up comes up asking you to choose how you want to connect (network or WiFi APN). It’s a good solution. You can tell individual apps that you want to only use one connection if you don’t want to be bugged each time.
You can view Microsoft Office documents using QuickOffice (Word, Excel, Powerpoint). If you want to create or edit them then you’ll have to pay extra. You can also view PDF files though PDF’s are pretty useless on the n95 8GB’s small display.
The best thing about the built-in Maps program is that you can connect your n95 8GB to your computer to download maps to the n95 8GB. It’s good if you don’t have a big data plan (maps can consume a lot of data) or if you travel a lot (data roaming can be expensive).
If you’re used to most nav systems (like a TomTom, Garmin, or one that’s built into your car) you might find the Maps program to be a different paradigm. It’s hard to explain but I just never found it to be that intuitive to use. It’s not to say that I couldn’t use it but it required more thought to use.
It does have guidance though it’s not very useful plus it can have spoken word directions (you have to pay extra for it).
You also get a built-in radio (didn’t use it), Podcasting app, calendar (the to do list is located inside it, both sync with your computer), calculator, alarm clock, bar code decoder, notes, etc. A converter program is also included (useful if you travel a lot).
Sound quality is excellent, both incoming and outgoing. Maximum ear piece volume is pretty good.
RF performance is very good and the speakerphone volume is very loud.
It’s hard to fault the n95 8GB. Of course if you message a lot you’ll probably want a phone with a QWERTY keyboard. Besides needing a higher resolution display and being a little on the thick side, there isn’t much to complain about.
About the only thing that really stuck out in my mind while is that some may find it to have too many features. Don’t get me wrong, someone like me loves a phone with a million features but there were times when even I felt overwhelmed having to write about all of them.
Still, the n95 8GB is surprisingly easy to use. If you’re someone who doesn’t use phones that much you’ll find the n95 8GB will grow with you as you learn to do more with your phone.
Ratings (out of 5)
|Phone Related Features||4.5|
|Ease of Use||4|
|Degree of Customizability||4|
|Overall (not an average)||4.5|
|*Please note these ratings are temporal and are really only valid for the date they were assigned. A phone which receives a rating of 5 a year ago will probably get a lower rating today.|
- lots of built in memory
- loud speakers
- free maps
- screen resolution could be higher
Discuss at HowardForums
Entry Filed under: Phones