Nokia N95 full review
During the Photokina 2006 Nokia presented the N95. This caused a lot of commotion in the mobile phone camera world. Now the multimedia giant is also available in the Netherlands, and we have made the first test shots. Judging by its specifications, the Nokia N95 does not currently have an equivalent. The Nokia N95 is everything that the N-series stands for, which is a real multimedia telephone. It has all you could imagine, such as GPS, an MP3 player, a video player or WLAN, you name it. In the next Nokia N95 test you can read if these functions all perform well, if they have any use, and if the built-in 5 Megapixel camera really is as good as Nokia wants us to believe.
Nokia N95 - Design
The first time you hold a Nokia N95 multimedia computer, you might not notice anything strange about the phone. The telephone is made of plastic; it is silver on the front and metallic brown on the back. The only thing that is directly noticeable on the outside is the small Carl Zeiss lens on the back of the Nokia N95. The phone just slides open to the keyboard. What’s special about the Nokia N95 multimedia computer is the double slide mechanism. When you slide the phone down, the multimedia functions appear.
Nokia N95 - Menu
The menu of the Nokia N95 is clear and simple to use. The basic functions that you will need right away are quick and easy to find. The structure of the menu is nice and logical, and all the pictograms clearly show which options it represents. The start-up screen gives you quick access to several Office functions, such as the phone book, the calendar, the web browser, and the inbox for SMS, MMS, and e-mail. Those that have some mobile phone know-how will also be able to find the more advanced functions in the menu.
Nokia N95 - Camera
A much talked about feature of the Nokia N95’s 5 Megapixel camera is the Carl Zeiss lens. And the newly released firmware has improved the quality and precision of the lighting as well as the speed. The results are the best that I have seen up to now from a mobile phone. The colors are clear and the photos have good contrast. You turn on the camera by sliding open the lens cap. Then you hold the phone just as you would a normal digital camera. The Nokia N95 is a bit slower to focus than a compact camera, but the shutter release is not as slow as it used to be. Focusing woks fine and it is quite accurate in combination with the AF light.
Nokia N95 - Delay
Most digital cameras found in mobile phones have a long shutter release delay. With the Nokia N95 you will have to wait a little for the autofocus, but as soon as you press the shutter release down completely, the camera captures a photo immediately. By focusing beforehand, you can even record moving objects with the Nokia N95. Writing the files still takes some time, which can be a bit of a nuisance if you want to take one photo after another. The new firmware has improved this. Noise will be inevitable in a mobile phone camera, but as long as you take the lighting conditions into consideration you will have fine results with the Nokia N95. As far as I am concerned you can consider the Nokia N95 the new standard for mobile imaging.
Nokia N95 - Set up
Despite the fact that the Nokia N95 is a real camera phone, the functions and options are still pretty basic. You can choose from several pre-programmed photo modes. For example, there is macro (which can be used for a distance between 10 and 60 cm), sport, night and night portraits. In the night mode the ISO rate is increased so that shutter speed can be shortened. By the high ISO rate you can see that there is less noise. The most simple to use is the standard mode. Press it and there you are, without having to think about anything a 5 Megapixel shot is written to the memory card. This is undoubtedly the most used function for photographing with the Nokia N95 multimedia computer.
Nokia N95 - Editing photos
After shooting you have several editing possibilities to edit and send your photos. In fact, the editing possibilities are fairly extensive. You can change the photo to black and white or sepia tone, remove red-eye, adjust the brightness and contrast, and you can crop or change the size of the image. You can also add a text or a pictogram, or apply an animation effect, so that the photo looks like a cartoon. You can put a fun frame around your photo; the Nokia N95 multimedia mobile phone has 20 standard frames.
Nokia N95 - microSD Memory Card
It is possible to increase your memory capacity with a microSD flash memory card. Especially considering the resolution of the camera and of course because of the multimedia character of the Nokia N95, increasing the memory is a must. You can use a microSD card of maximum 2GB. I generally use a SanDisk memory card for the tests. SanDisk delivers fast and stable memory solutions and offers the widest selection. You can transfer the files to a computer with a USB cable, Bluetooth or infrared. You could also opt for SanDisk’s Mobile Mate card reader. These card readers are compact and easy to carry so files can be transferred onto a computer with the USB cable everywhere you go.
Nokia N95 - Multimedia Center
The Nokia N95 has an actual multimedia center. You can play all kinds of files with the Nokia N95: music, video, you name it. You slide down the shield to open the directory panel for the multimedia buttons. If you slide the phone down to open it, the multimedia menu is activated automatically. The Nokia N95 phone has an exceptionally good quality stereo speaker. I have not yet heard a phone with a better sound quality than the Nokia N95. The sound is nice and clear and loud enough so that a big group can be provided with a little music.
Nokia N95 - Wi-Fi Connection
More and more phones offer WLAN, and the possibilities to use it are becoming more and more extensive. There are already cities where you can constantly make a WLAN connection. The advantage of this is that you can use, for example, the mobile version of Skype, so that you can call other Skype users or even to regular phones at a very low cost. The advantage of this is that you always pay the same rate with Skype. The Nokia N95’s WLAN connection works fast, good and it its stable.
Nokia N95 - GPS
The Nokia N95 has a built-in GPS antennae, which is very convenient if you do not want to carry a navigation system along as well. The reception is not always very good, but that is not because of the phone itself, but because the satellites for the Netherlands (where we have tested the N95 cell phone) are not exactly at optimum level yet. This is evident because even in a city such as Amsterdam, you cannot even determine a balanced GPS position very often. You only notice this while walking; as soon as you are moving faster you will not notice the inaccuracy. When you wish to use all the functions and possibilities offered, you will have to subscribe to the software. Nokia offers several options and installment possibilities. This subscription is confined to the phone itself.
Nokia N95 - Office functions
The Nokia N95 offers you the possibility to view at all your office documents. Nokia uses Quickoffice. With Quickword you can view word documents, with Quicksheet you can view excel documents and with Quickpoint you can even view your PowerPoint presentations on the go. With the Adobe Reader you can also view PDF files. With the barcode reader you can read product barcodes, and sometimes these include telephone numbers and e-mail addresses. With the calculator you can also calculate the exchange rates and other measurements. If you do not want to forget something while you are on the go, you can record your own voice with the Dictaphone.
Nokia N95 - Battery
The Nokia N95’s battery is a 3.7 Volt 950mAh Nokia BL-5F battery. According to Nokia this battery can be used for 6.5 hours of calling, and 9 days stand-by time. The actual time that you can use the phone will be a bit shorter than the time that Nokia indicates. After about 8 days without using the phone, I had to recharge the Nokia N95, which is an excellent achievement. For an entire evening I played with the phone, listening to music, watching movies and trying out the navigation system before the battery had to be recharged. During that time the monitor was activated and combined with diverse functions the battery capacity was diminished quite a bit.
Nokia N95 - Monitor
The Nokia N95’s LCD screen is a 2.6-inch TFT monitor, with a maximum of 16 million colors and a surrounding light detector. This means that the Nokia N95 adjusts the brightness of the screen to accommodate to the lighting conditions outside. In the dark the screen becomes less bright and in light the brightness is a bit higher, so that you can clearly see it even if you use the telephone in direct sunlight. You can also choose from several options for the screen display. For example, the Nokia N95 has a save modus, so that the monitor lighting goes out after a certain amount of time, and you can adjust the sensitivity of the light sensor.
Nokia Headset BH-501
Nokia offers a selection of fun accessories. One of those is the Nokia BH-501 Bluetooth headset. The combination of this headset with the Bluetooth 1.2 version, guarantees listening pleasure. The headphones fit perfectly and stay on your ears with a special brace. The Nokia BH-501 has its own volume buttons so that you don’t have to pick up the phone each time you want to adjust the volume. The Nokia BH-501 also acts as a hands-free set. When you receive a call, the music will cut out automatically, and will resume after the call is completed. Listening to music with the Nokia BH-501 is a real pleasure, and you will sure be impressed by the sound quality. Once installed, the Nokia BH-501 will automatically connect with the Nokia N95. In any case, the Nokia BH-501 is surely recommended as an add-on for the Nokia N95, but it is also a good addition to any other telephone with a type 1.2 Bluetooth connection.
Nokia N95 Conclusion
I can conclude that the Nokia N95 is a real multimedia machine. There is of course still a bit of room for improvement, but we should keep in my mind that the Nokia N95 has everything your little heart desires: a navigation system, a 5 Megapixel digital camera, and not to mention a complete multimedia centre, and of course you can call with it too. The Nokia N95’s camera works great and the firmware update will be a valuable addition. Purist photographers that usually reject mobile imaging will be impressed by the maturity of this Nokia. I am convinced that this is just the beginning of what Nokia is capable of. The industry is constantly trying to find new solutions and applications and to integrate the small mobile device. And the moment Nokia will specialize in photography lighting and editing software for the telephone, digital compact cameras will be faced with some fierce competition…