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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 I am a fan in general of navigation abilities in a mobile phone, I was not totally impressed by N95's Maps application. The version that ships with the phone is capable of mapping and basic route planning, but not turn-by-turn navigation. The navigation feature can be easily purchased through a web page launched from the application, though. I found that the system works well once it gets going, but that it suffers from a rather disorganized menu system and some less than intuitive controls. The GPS itself takes quite some time to latch on to the needed satellites, but worked quite well beyond that. I was always able to find my location with decent accuracy, and enjoyed the compass and other positioning data offered up by the companion GPS application. Doing local searches in order to find ATMs or gas stations worked perfectly, and the routes offered by the system seemed to be well chosen. The problem is that it's all just a bit too confusing at times. Once you get used to it, it can be a nice tool to have, but there is certainly a learning curve. Also, a car charger is a must have as the N95 only can run for perhaps 3 or 4 hours when the GPS active.

A more in-depth look at the Maps application can be found in the Nokia 6110 Navigation Test-Drive story.

Conclusion

Let's ignore the N95's abysmal battery life for a moment and talk about the positives. And by positives, I mean virtually every aspect of the N95. The N95 has a beautiful physical design that is rock solid in construction. The alphanumeric keypad might not be the best on the planet, but it is still quite usable. The rest of the keys and controls that adorn the device are top notch. The massive QVGA display is also worthy of praise, and the way it reorients itself depending on how the user positions the N95's slider mechanism is wonderful.

In terms of software, the N95 once again comes up tops. The version of the Nokia S60 user interface on the N95 is very mature, and very easy to use as far as smartphone platforms go. There is a wide variety of applications that run on it, and a decent selection of such are pre-loaded in the device or made freely available from the Download application.

Our N95 was running firmware v10.0.0.16 dated March 13, 2007The N95's multimedia capabilities are almost legendary at this point. Its 5 megapixel autofocus camera captures lovely still photos as well as high-res 30fps video clips that can be displayed directly on a television. The music player application is very fully featured and is compatible with most major music file formats. The picture and video gallery is quick and very easy to use. Thanks to a dedicated button that is located next to the camera shutter button, it is also very convenient.

But the reality of the situation is that the N95 is a brilliantly conceived mobile phone that is nearly crippled by its battery life. A device such as this begs to be used, but the battery is not even remotely close to being up to the task. If it weren't for the fact that the N95 does almost everything not only well, but superbly, the battery life would be an instant deal breaker. But due to its near other-worldly capabilities, I feel it deserves some leeway, and as such I still give it a "Recommended" rating. If the battery issue didn't exist, I would probably have considered the N95 to be the best non-QWERTY smart phone ever developed to date.

Recommended (explanation)
Amazing feature set, great camera, WiFi, good browser
Horrible standby battery life
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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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