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Review: Nokia's N95 Dual-Sliding Powerhouse Smartphone

Review by Michael Oryl on Friday April 06, 2007.

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While it shares much with the Nokia N80 in terms of both design and functionality, Nokia's N95, the subject of this review, takes the capabilities of a mobile phone to a new level. On paper, at least, there appears to be little that this Finnish wonder can't do. It has quad-band GSM/EDGE support and 2100MHz UMTS as well as a 5 megapixel autofocus camera, a built-in GPS receiver, Bluetooth stereo support, and 802.11b/g WLAN support.

This is not your generic slider handset.

Physical Aspects

The Nokia N95 is a somewhat large slider form factor handset. It measures 100mm x 53mm x 20mm (3.9" x 2.1" x .8") in size and weighs 121g (4.3oz), which is to say it is by no means in the running for the thinnest and lightest handset on the market. The front of the N95 has a normal looking silver paint finish, but the sides and back of the device make use of a soft touch style deep burgundy color paint that has a very nice feel to it. Nokia has done a far better job with the slider mechanism on the N95 than it did on the N80. The slider in the N95 relies on a spring loaded mechanism instead of the friction based design used in the N80, which tended to slide open on its own. On top of that, the slider on the N95 moves in two directions, exposing the keypad when slid one way, and a series of 4 dedicated media playback keys when slid the other way.

The media keys don't have the best feel to them, and can not be located by touch alone since they consist of only markings on a plastic strip. Still, they are fine for their intended purpose. The regular alphanumeric keypad has its own issues, though. The keys are very stiff and located even lower on the slider than on the N80, which makes them a bit of a tough reach for somebody with large hands. The keys are also a fair bit smaller than those on the N80, making things all the more difficult. For their part, the d-pad and its dedicated center select button work very well, as do the rest of the dedicated keys that surround them.

On the right side of the device a dedicated two-stage camera shutter button can be found (half press to focus, full press to snap the photo) and a photo playback/gallery button that is similar to what one would expect to find on a dedicated digital camera. Pressing the button once will display the last photo on the screen, pressing it again will bring up the photo gallery. Also located on the right side of the N95 are the volume rocker switch and one of the two stereo speakers. The other speaker is located on the left side of the phone, along with the 3.5mm stereo headset jack, the Infrared port, and the covered microSD memory card slot.

The N95 gives up the Nokia proprietary pop-port and instead has a miniUSB connector located on its bottom edge. The miniUSB port can not be used for charging, though, a task that is handled by a new style mini Nokia power connector. The top edge of the N95 is home to the power switch, which is also handy for changing profiles when pressed briefly. Out back one finds the 5 megapixel autofocus camera and its flash. The camera lens is protected by a cover that is opened and closed with a slider switch. Opening and closing the cover activates and deactivates the camera. A secondary, QVGA resolution camera is located on the front of the device, just above the display, and is intended for 3G video calling.

Overall, I believe Nokia did a fine job on the physical design of the N95. The keypad design is the only aspect that I can find fault with, and given the constraints Nokia was working within, I think it is still quite acceptable.

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zain @ 9:18:51AM EDT on Thursday April 16, 2009

i habe been using the N95 for a year now.....i also upgraded the firmware to version 31.0.017. this review is quite old and the battery life has also improved considerably. also the new version of the firmware offers automatic rotation of the screen. please revise this review and with the new firmware, you will see the difference.

buggy @ 9:48:52PM EDT on Saturday July 18, 2009

cannot turn on my phone

Mark Smith @ 8:07:17PM EDT on Monday May 9, 2011

Awesome cell phone.

About the author

Michael Oryl
Michael is the Philadelphia based owner and former editor-in-chief of MobileBurn.com. You can follow him on Twitter as @MichaelOryl

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