Nokia N95 Mobile Phone - Review

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Well, after my bad experience with Chinese, Dual Sim, mobile phones, I decided to treat myself. I've had this phone for about 6 weeks now.

Currently, the N95 is one of the most expensive mobiles out there at the time of writing, but is it worth it?

Well, let's have a look at what sets this phone apart from the norm:

1. 5MP Camera with Carl Zeiss Lens
2. In built GPS receiver
3. Mp3 & MP4 playback with hidden "media buttons"
4. WLan

The phone runs the Symbian Operating System. I also looked at a Nokia 6300, which isn't Symbian based, but both have similar menus and operation. I imagine this will be the same across the Nokia range for now.

The camera is great in well lit outdoors. But don't replace your digital camera yet. Indoors, the flash is a bit weak, pictures take 4-5 seconds (less if you get V20 software) to process and there's no optical zoom. Don't get me wrong, it a great camera for a phone, but I still don't think it's as good as the Sony Ericsson K800i's camera (which is a 3mp Cybershot), but it's a lot better than the Samsung D900i's (3MP). The video is really good too, again, for a phone.

The GPS works great, but there are some caveats. Firstly, you need to update your phone to the latest version, pre V12, GPS took a while to lock on to the satellites, but with the latest software (V20) it takes 30 seconds to a minute. The GPS receiver is built into the keypad of the phone.
Unless the phone is "sim free" updating can't always be done, so beware.
Then you need to get the latest version of  Maps software and install it on the phone. If you don't want the software to keep downloading the maps via your data connection, you need to buy a bigger MicroSD card (I bought a 6gb one) and then you need to install "Nokia Maps Loader" onto your PC. This will allow you to download an install maps for an entire area onto the phone, so it doesn't need to get them via the data connection. Europe, for example, is 1.5gb in size. Once that's working you can use the maps. A great feature is that you can set it to "walk" mode, so that if you're on foot, it doesn't try to divert you via motorways!
But then here's the biggie. For a phone which sets it's high price and itself apart through the inclusion of GPS, if you actually want to use it for navigation, a-la TomTom, you have to pay extra to a subscription service. I think this is outrageous, it is something like £45 for 1 year. It should have been free on a phone at this price Nokia!

Speaking of software, you get the Nokia suite. I have to say that the suite is excellent, installation of extra apps etc and Java apps is a breeze with it. As it backing up / managing contacts and Nokia Music Manager is great for moving music to / from the phone.
The updater software is also well done and easy to use. This suite is also compatible with a 6300 at the same time, its very good. Samsung should take note.

The media player does what it does. But I like the way that if you slide the screen to reveal the media buttons the screen rotates into "landscape" mode. Music is stored in Albums and the Music Manager Software helps convert the music into a format with higher compression than MP3, so you can fit more on.

You get a TV out cable too, and this allows you to view videos etc on a regular screen. People talk about being able to show PowerPoint & Word etc on the screen, but its resolution remains the same as the phones screen, so it isn't really that useful.

Setting up WLAN points so you can use them to surf instead of using your expensive GPRS data connection is easy to set up and works well, even though it does drain battery life.

Now the bad, and to be honest there are only 3 things that niggle me:

1. The button you use to delete a character, say in a text message, is right next to the "close everything and return to the main screen" button. It's easy to hit it by accident and return you to the main screen whilst yoou were in the middle of something. Grrr.
2. It is a slide phone, and indeed, when you slide the phone up, you answer a call. But if you slide it down when you're finished, it doesn't automatically end the call, you still have to manually end it by pressing the appropriate button. Stupid!
3. The screen has no protection at all on it, so make sure you buy a screen protector.

But bottom line, this is the best and most feature packed mobile I've ever owned. It's got all the features, is a joy to use and it's so good I bought 2! But, remember, out of the box it may need updating before everything runs smoothly. Earlier versions of the software don't always work as well as mine does at the moment.

So, just make sure when you're buying:

1. If the phone isn't stated as being on your network, buy an unlocked / sim free one. Also, the 2 x 02 branded ones I bought both came with a 1gb MicroSD card. My friends T-Mobile one, didn't.
2. Get a big memory card (microSD) for storing MAPS and music on.
3. Buy a screen protector.
4. Regularly update the software (don't forget to backup 1st though!)

Hope this helps you in your buying descision. If it does, please vote for this article.

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