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A Week With the Nokia N95

Now that I’ve had a week with the Nokia N95, I have some more fully formed thoughts about this device. Various observations if you will.

The first thing I noticed about this device was the speed. Everything about the device was snappier. It is a lot faster than my other S60 device in many respects, but it definitely can use more horsepower for some of the multimedia tasks. And yes, the device also needs more RAM to work with programs. And better memory management. It still kills programs without asking.

The Media Player is vastly improved in the Nokia N95. I noticed that with the Nokia Podcasting application that album art now shows up when I play a podcast (or any other music file for that matter). The UI is also a bit better on the player as well.

Something I’ve noticed when powering on the Nokia N95, it vibrates a little bit. I actually think that’s a nice touch since you have to hold the button for a couple of seconds to get the device to start the boot process.

I did get to play with the GPS on the Nokia N95. It seems the GPS wants to see five satellites before it gets a fix on your position. It does a fairly good job of following you once it goes get a fix. I did notice the Smart2Go mapping application seemed to, as I came to an offramp, think I was going down the offramp for a brief moment as I passed it. That could be within the GPS margin of error, though.

One thing of note: the Smart2Go web site offers a map downloader for those of you who either don’t want to use GPRS to download maps or would rather have the maps for most places pre-fetched. You must use the Smart2Go mapping application at least once before using this downloader. The application lets you pick the maps you want by region. For the US, you can download maps by state. I am in the process of downloading the maps for Washington state. If the process didn’t take so long, I’d also get the maps for California as well as that’s the other place I happen to be more than occasionally.

Battery life, let’s not go there, especially if I use anything beyond the basic phone functionality. Let’s just say I keep battery chargers in both my cars and keep topping off the battery throughout the day. I hope Nokia finds a way to make a higher capacity battery for this phone.

The phone feels light given the functionality built into it. There is a small amount of “flex” between the slider/screen and the keypad. A small worry to say the least, but otherwise the build quality of the phone is excellent, as I expect it to be. The slider has a very satifying thunk when I open the phone to the keypad.

The external speakers are suberb. The included headphones aren’t bad, either. You can also use your own headphones if you prefer. If a call comes in while you are listening on your own headphones and they are plugged directly into the phone, the mic built into the phone will be used. If you plug your headphones into the little control unit, you can control tracks, and volume. There’s also a little “switch” that you can throw to lock the buttons. Nice.

Something about the built-in FM radio that is worth noting. Of course, you need headphones plugged in to use it since they serve as the FM antenna. When I first fired up the FM radio, I was asked what my location was. I was able to find my area and a fairly accurate station listing populated my presets. You have to have data service in order for this feature to work, but I think it’s very cool.

WiFi reception on this phone is better than my other WiFi-enabled Nokia phones, at least in the one spot in my house where it is frequently unreliable.

When you are using the phone as a USB drive, instead of putting the phone in offline mode as is done for every other phone that supports this feature, you are simply forbidden from actually using the MicroSD card while in this mode. Better than offline, but it’s still annoying. I know why they do it, but it’d be nice if they could work out concurrent access to the MicroSD card.

Using this phone to download podcasts with the Nokia Podcasting application is finally something approaching the same as downloading them on a computer in terms of speed. I don’t know what the bottleneck is on my other S60 phones, but on this N95, they download fast over my WiFi. That is a huge bonus, particularly when I want to do a last-minute update of my podcasts before I leave the house.

The camera. I haven’t done much with the camera yet. I’ve taken a few pictures. For one picture, I rotated the camera 90 degrees to get a long, skinny picture. When I snapped the photo, it was automatically saved rotated. This saved a step of me having to rotate the photo later. I guess that means there some sensor in there to notice that. That is very cool.

I wish the phone came with a wrist strap. I used the wrist strap that came with the Nokia N73, which of course worked just fine.

The audio recorder built into the phone will record in WAV files now and will record for longer than 1 minute. I’m sure when Ken Camp gets around to playing with that, he will like that.

I have to say that, on the balance, I like the phone a lot better than the other Nseries phones I’ve had, but the biggest flaw compared to the others is the battery life. I would have happily taken on an extra ounce or two of weight for a battery that can do a better job.


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Parent, Writer, Podcaster, Coffee Achiever, VoIP/Telco Curious, C-List Information Security Celebrity, and Mobile Phone Connoisseur residing in Gig Harbor WA US. Sometimes NSFW, always a 49ers fan.