So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Nokia N95 8GB
- Feature packed, 5-megapixel camera, 3.5mm headphone jack, solid 2.8in display, TV-out
- A little on the costly side, slightly bulky, no car mount for GPS use
The Nokia N95 8GB has taken most of the things we like about the N95 and carefully refined them. While some flaws remain, it is a handsomely crafted device packed with plenty of wonderful features.
Price$ 1,349.00 (AUD)
As its name rather heavily implies, the Nokia N95 8GB is a nominal upgrade to the N95, sporting 8GB of internal memory rather than the 160MB found in the original. Filling the role of an HSDPA capable mobile phone, a 5-megapixel digital camera, GPS, MP3 and video player, it remains one of the most feature-packed handsets on the market. While the substantial memory boost is a definite plus, several notable flaws -- including its chunky size and unwieldy GPS -- have been left unchecked. Nevertheless, it remains a worthy successor to the original N95 and is unquestionably a superior product.
While it retains the same shape and dimensions as its previous iteration, the N95 8GB has been gussied-up with a sexy new paint job; ditching the boring silver aesthetic for a sleek black finish. Other significant changes include a slightly enlarged screen, a roomier interface, and a simplified lens arrangement. At 99x53x21mm, it remains a fearsomely hefty device, with the slide-out keypad and multimedia buttons bolstering its size even further. One change that we're less enthused about is the omission of a MicroSD card slot, though 8GB should be enough memory for almost anybody.
Overall, we were quite impressed with the build quality of the N95 8GB. The raised keypad is spacious and comfortable to type on, while the blue backlighting adds an elegant touch. The two-way slider feels a lot sturdier this time around, and the glossy black finish lends it a more professional appearance. With that being said, fans of super-slim handsets are unlikely to be bowled over by this redesign, which if anything, feels slightly heavier. Another quibble that remains unchanged is the sluggish screen orientation -- switching to multimedia mode often takes a few seconds, and the screen does not flip back to vertical mode after you return the slider. It's a small issue, but annoying nonetheless.
Perhaps the biggest talking point of the original N95 was its GPS functionality. Once again, a built-in antenna has been included with the N95 8GB, along with Google Maps and Nokia Maps applications. Unfortunately, users are required to pay for the GPRS/3G connection for retrieving data from the server, which means turn-by-turn navigation can be quite costly (although to be fair, Wi-Fi can also be used for retrieving data). Meanwhile, previewing your current location, locating nearby points of interest and browsing maps are all free services.
If you're used to standard in-car GPS units, using the N95 8GB can be quite a steep learning curve, especially as there is no touch screen. Voice guidance was also an issue, with the small, side mounted speakers failing to provide adequate volume. Annoyingly, Nokia has once again failed to include a window mount in the sales package, forcing GPS users to fork out extra cash.
On its initial release, the N95 was the only 5-megapixel camera phone available in Australia. Since then, most major vendors have joined the party, taking some of the shine off this once-unique selling point. Nevertheless, it remains one of the best camera phones on the market, with impressive colour reproduction and adequate noise levels. The handset's 2.8in LCD screen -- capable of displaying 16 million colours -- does a great job of displaying your captured photos, not to mention Web sites and videos.
The camera has plenty of advanced features to play around with, including a close-up mode, a flash with red-eye reduction, self-timer, burst shooting mode, and the ability to adjust white balance, colour tone, ISO and exposure settings. There are also some basic editing options, along with the ability to create slideshows and albums.
The N95 8GB includes both music and video players, supporting a multitude of file formats. A 3.5mm headphone jack is also included, which is a huge plus for serious music fans. In addition to music and video, the N95 8GB has an FM radio, but like all mobile phones, you'll need to use the included headphones, which double as an FM antenna.
The N95 8GB runs the Symbian OS (version 9.2) operating system. Integrated Wi-Fi (802.11b/g), Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP, infrared and a standard mini-USB port means the N95 8GB has a full array of connectivity options. Being a smartphone, the Quickoffice application is also included, allowing users to read and edit Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents and read PDF files.
For battery life, the N95 8GB is rated at 3.5 hours talk time on a HSDPA network and up to 276 hours of standby time; up from 2.6 hours talk time and 200 hours standby time on the regular N95.
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