Talk The Talk: Rating The Nokia N95
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By Mia Bolaris-Forget
My husband was NOT necessarily a gadget person when I first met him. Not that he didn’t like them, just that he found them a bit too pricey rather than practical and so, he really didn’t own too many.
Fast forward to his current world of cell phone, conference calls and digi-cam, he’s becoming a veritable James Bond of everyday gizmos. But, there’s definitely a “danger” in that. Once you’re hooked, it would appear that standards are not longer sufficient or satisfactory.
Well, techies, the latest in cell-phone sophistication appears to be Nokia’s N95. According to industry pros, this phone is a powerhouse with GPS, a 5-megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, a full-on media player, an Office doc editor, all in one small, but admittedly somewhat cumbersome package. And, all for a “mere’ $750
This modern marvel is almost and inch thick and weights just over 4-ounces, so, according to experts it feels like lugging a small brick around. However, they “do,” note the clarity and sophistication of the 16-million-color display. In addition, this clever communication device features a unique tow-way sliding action, one way for the numeric keypad and the other for a “compact” keypad of music controls. Plus, the back of the phone offers a “plush” rubberized” texture, and that note pros offset by the N95’s protrusive photo lens. They add that finding your way around the Synmbian OS-based menus is easy and the agenda and to-do are displayed conveniently on the main screen.
Plus, with a quadband GSM radio, the dialing dynamo allows you to make calls just about anywhere in the world and generally call were loud and clear. Not to mention that this also included conference calling, voice commands and an audible speakerphone. Battery life was also rated as solid with about 4 hours of talk time before it needs recharging.
Experts also assert that the GPS system is interestingly impressing despite some failures in certain areas, which seem common to many handhelds. Among the pluses, the pros point out the glob that zooms and spins to your exact location. On the other hand, the phone’s GPS system too its time to get a fix in Manhattan, a not so unusual occurrence according to testers. On the positive side, one the connection “was” made, downloading a map (one that fit easily into the 2GB memory card) was relatively easy and the phone did a great job of tracing the uses all while allowing for searches for specific addresses or categories. And, it even has a switch on to navigation made for spoken point-to-pint direction. Still, uses found it more useful for vehicular travel, as the guide did not allow for journey down one-way streets, even by foot, which resulted in routes that were longer and un-necessary.
As far as the camera is concerned, testers found it superior to typical camera phones lauding its 5-megapixel snapper and Carl Zeiss optics. They add that while snapshots looked crisp and clear, there was significant video noise in darker areas of the picture and colours appeared a bit floaty and impressionistic; not to mention that videos are still far from DVD quality, despite advertising claims.
Music features, including the music player were fairly solid, but experts note some difficulty with the slide controls. Still, the aesthetics of the player are lauded, especially with its support for album art, shuffle, and repeat modes, and equalizer featuring five presets, playlist support and some outrageous visualizations. In addition, the player can handle all major files formats, including AAC, AAC+, MP3, and WMA, plus support for subscription music such as Rhapsody.
Testers also boast about the 3.5 mm jack on the left side, giving you the freedom to use it with your own high-end earphones. The only “disadvantage” (with this feature) concerns the flat play/pause, stop, fast-forward and reverse buttons that are noted as difficult to press and needed a few presses before yielding the appropriate response.
Testers also had few complaints concerning messaging, at least as far as a non-business phone was concerned. The phone, in addition to standard SMS/MMS messaging allows users to collect e-mails from POP and IMAP accounts. And, among the favoured features was the setup wizard which madding setting up new accounts from start to finish a matter of just a few minutes.
On the other hand, connectivity got mixed reviews. While it is able to run on 3.5 G HSDPA networks in Europe, it can only operate on EDGE networks in the Unites Stated. The best feature according to testers (in the instance) is the Wi-Fi, which they note as an excellent feature. They herald the merits of the Wi-Fi wizard, as it easily and quickly help configure the phone with home networks. Yet, while the N95 does a good job of revealing available Wi-Fi networks on the main page, it could do better in handing you off to an EDGE network when you wander out of Wi-Fi range, or when you switch back to your home wireless network. In fact, as it currently stands, users have to manually select a new data connection each time they leave the range of the previous one, but that (negative) is offset by the Bluetooth 2.0 and IR ports.
Other features of the phone include plenty of mobile software, including Lifeblog, a blogging tool that allows for posting blog entries, pictures, videos, and voice memos on the go; Video Centre, which allows for downloads of your favorite video blogs; QuickOffice, allowing for viewing and editing Microsoft Office documents; and a PDF reader.
Think you’re getting a lot. You are, but not for free. Remember, the N95 cost $750, making it one of the most expensive phones on the market. And, according to experts, while it’s got lots to offer, it doesn’t really excel in any of the areas it offers. Note, that while it offers and excellent Web browser and mobile camera, the 5-megapixel resolution is compromised by a small lens. Plus, the phone’s GPS navigator, while good, is not really comparable to a dedicated GPS device.
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