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Nokia N95 8GB review

Nokia N95 8GB review
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The Nokia N95, the world's greatest multimedia computer, just got greater - including a 5 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics, built-in A-GPS, WLAN, HSDPA and an innovative 2-way slide, the Nokia N95 8GB now offers up to eight gigabytes of built-in memory.
Review On : Nokia N95 8GB
Review by Spiridonov Anton
Let's clear up some facts concerning the naming of the device. Why should it be Nokia N95 8Gb and not Nokia N95i or N96? The answer is quite simple, the magic sound of N95 is something very familiar to a consumer even faintly acquainted with the mobile telecoms market, it's clearly associated with something that has existed for a certain period of time and is quite successful, so the name is part of the franchise's goodwill and indirectly imposes the idea that the new product is just as good as its predecessor - a fact obvious to some and needing to be injected into the heads of others. The 8GB prefix only boosts the power of the N95 title, acting much more efficiently than the less meaningful "i" letter. Once you hear somebody say 8GB you understand that this stands for a large storage capacity rarely encountered on today's market.
It's too naive to think that the 8Gb of integrated flash storage is the only major improvement introduced in the new version, in fact a number of aspects have seen some serious improvements - both hardware and Software related alike, as well as the exterior Design has been revised. But on the whole the new model doesn't claim to be a totally independent creation, keeping much of the original essense and feel of N95. So we won't be reviewing the part of functionality that was left unchanged since N95, but the article will mainly be focused on the differences and improvements.
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Design and ergonomics
Speaking of design, it's necessary to mention that the 8GB version of N95 retains a lot in common with the original N95 design. The physical dimensions were mostly left unchanged - save for a slight increase in thickness. This is due to a rearrangement of inner parts to provide an even thickness all along the body, while N95 had a protruding piece around the Camera module though the rest of the casing was slimmer. This peculiarity caused increased wearing and scratching to the area around the lens, and this nuisance is at last eliminated in the new version. The product is only issued in black color, though that does have really good looks - more strict and solid than the silver-colored N95. The design is quite neutral and is in keeping with the classic Nokia theme also found in a number of mostly business-oriented models. No designer experiments are observed in the case of N95 8GB, the company can't afford even the least risk of harming the established product image. The device gives the hand a friendly and solid feel, yet it's a bit too big, especially concerning the thickness. It's hard to slim the device up, though, given the amount of features confined within the phone's body. It will take some time for Nokia to develop more compact functional elements, so a slim all-in-one solution is more of a dream today than part of reality.
The double sliding mechanism of Nokia N95 is proven by time. Initially there were certain concerns about the reliability of the double sliding mechanism circulating around, yet time is the best eyewitness - N95 proved to be durable in operation and almost no cases of double slider breakage were recorded. The lack of "one touch, full way" automatic sliding isn't a critical factor for N95, the two parts of the device smoothly slide aside when pressed all the way along manually. Also there's some doubt about the necessity of auto sliding in double sliders: for instance, the double slider Samsung i450 is known to have the auto sliding feature, yet the mechanism is too tight and clumsy to operate. The only drawback about the opening mechanism of N95 is the slight play between the moving parts which was most pronounced in the very first shipments of the product, yet a very few complaints were made about it on the part of the customers, the play didn't exceed any reasonable limits. The new N95 8GB has its play minimized to the maximum possible extreme, the difference can be seen at a glance. The device produces an impression of something like a monolith rather than a wobbly gadget. This owes much to the quality and nature of the materials used for the casing, which were changed.
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The plastic used for the upper part of the device has a glossy surface, though it's not polished - the fingerprints are harder to spot so they're less annoying. The back surface and the side edges sport a soft-touch plastic coating, that's really very useful solution which helps to keep the looks unharmed by time - contrary to Nokia N81, for instance, which has a glossy back which is exposed to scratching. On the whole, the materials are greatly improved, the very feel that you get on touching the soft-touch surface is great.
By increasing the size of the screen, the upper part of the slider got wider - now the handset is equally wide at any point while the original device had a narrower bottom panel and a wider upper part. This fix also helps the device look as if it was imbued with a bit more harmony.
Nokia N95_8GB Photos Nokia N95_8GB Photos

The block of controls was scaled down as well - though if you take a closer look you will see that it's only the menu and Multimedia menu buttons that had been squeezed while the rest of the keys are of the same old size. The numeric keypad went through no changes, it's still easy to operate thanks to the large size of buttons. The backlighting is of an even white color. The multimedia buttons are now embossed, which means a more comfortable handling.
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The rest of the controls are also unchanged: the rocker button acting as the volume control on the right edge and the nearby the camera launch button along with the gallery switch. The left edge got rid of the memory card slot, which is quite natural for a phone that has an integrated 8Gb flash disk storage. The standard 3,5 mm socket for plugging the headset is found just nearby, which also fits the TV-out cable. The stereo speakers are located on both sides of the phone.
Nokia N95_8GB Photos Nokia N95_8GB Photos
Nokia N95_8GB Photos Nokia N95_8GB Photos

Probably the most dramatic misses of Nokia 8Gb is the lack of the lens guard - which was a concession to the necessity of a bigger battery that had to be squeezed inside. To launch the camera application, the N95 only required to set aside the lens guard; now you have to stroll through a few menus or keep the camera button pressed for a few moments to do that. The lens itself is sunken into the casing, so the risk of scratching the lens is minimized; though the user is highly advised to clean the lens regularly.
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All in all, the new Nokia N95 primarily is a major fix to all the bad things found in N95, if we might say so. Everything enjoys a better and more reliable implementation - though at the sacrifice of the lens guard. The posh exterior look, a huge screen, brilliant ergonomics - these are just the main points about the novelty that clearly state that the novelty will follow its predecessor's path, winning tremendous success and keeping the flagship status for many months ahead.
Screen
There were many people looking forward to a change in screen matrix type for N95 8GB that would possibly beef the resolution up to the VGA standard, though this was deemed useless by the Nokia engineers - the pixel size would be scaled down to a value at which the browser fonts, for example, would become too small for comfortable readint. Of course, the screen image would turn out smoother and more precise, though there are no practical reasons for implementing that in a device already overloaded with all sorts of advanced features which, naturally, take enough space within the casing to make the existing build of the device a bit too thick. So adding an VGA screen would probably turn the N95 8Gb into a piece the size of one of Darth Vader's life support gadgets that he used to carry on his belt - an apparently failing market solution that would enjoy very little popularity among customers. The Nokia engineers are laying some groundwork to provide for future implementation of VGA screens in models that will follow (probably even for models based off the current hardware platorm) but even the brightest forecasts put the appearance of the first VGA-supplied smartphone no earlier than the final weeks of 2008. Nokia N95 8Gb utilizes the traditional QVGA matrix sporting 42x56 dimensions (2,8'' diagonal). The screen size is the same with Nokia E61, we'd guess that even the same matrix is used in both, for Nokia are known to stick to the same type of details for different models as much as possible. The matrix controller, however, seems to have been improved - the contrast and brightness are visibly better. The pixelization is quite noticeable in comparison to models supplied with 2'-2.4' matrices.
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The screen successfully wards off the sun - the sunlight protection is utterly perfect. The colors fade, yet all the information stays perfectly legible, in this aspect the new model is just as powerful as the precursor.
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The difference lies in the presence of a thick protective glass, while the regular N95 only comes with a thin protective film. So the 8Gb version is much more resistant to physical damage.
Let's compare how well the two models are doing at color rendition (at the minimum brightness level) using special test pictures as test samples:
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N95 8GB / N95
Let's have a quick comparison with the display of Nokia E61i. A comparable image quality can be observed, though the brightness of N95 8GB screen is better:

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N95 8GB / E61i


It's interesting to note that the photos taken with the camera (same module for both phones, yet this is to discussed a bit below) look differently on the different screens - the original N95 renders a more natural picture due to the higher brightness levels of N95 8GB which may cause the colors in the picture to get overexposed or 'flared'.
Battery
The standard battery that comes with the phone sports a capacity of 1200 mAh, which is quite a fair result. As claimed by the manufacturer, the phone is up to 240 minutes of talk time and 280 hours of standby before the battery charge wastes away completely. The battery used in Nokia N95 has a capacity of only 950 mAh, and the short battery life was considered the most critical limitation by the majority of potential buyers. To be supplied with a more capacious battery, the device was deprived of the lens guard. The new BL-6F battery is identical to BL-5F in size save for the increased thickness and would even successfully power a N95 (though the battery cover won't fit, so the idea is generally useless).
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We decided to have a battery life test during a continuous multimedia cycle (video playback, 640x480, 30 fps) with the FM tuner on (GSM network), a medium backlightining level in the player mode. The table below shows the results. Summing things up let's note out that the battery life was severely affected by the video playback mode. The advantage of the 8Gb model over its older cousin is considerable - it managed to stay alive twice as long as N95. Nokia N93, for example, stayed on for 3 hrs. 51 min., N93i that uses a battery very similar to N95 endured 3 hrs. 22 min. of continuous uptime. The player mode didn't reveal a really big difference, yet a certain advantage was on the side of N95. Nokia N95 is capable of roughly a day and a half of moderate duty cycle (up to 1 hour of talk time, 3-5 hours of listening to the music, an hour of working with camera, menus and using the rest of the functions), but a less intensive usage stands for over two days of uptime before the phone cries for recharging. Most active users are advised to recharge the handset at least once a day.
Nokia N95 8GB Battery
ModelNokia N95 8GB Nokia N95
Moderate Duty 1,5 - 2 hours 1 hours
Multimedia cycle, video (3GP) 5:09 2:50
Multimedia cycle, audio (MP3) 10:27 8:10

Communications
The model bears a standard set of communication features, the close-range data transfer functions include a USB 2.0 support. There are three interface slots in this model: the miniUSB slot for plugging the data cable, a 3.5 mm headset jack and a slim charger slot. MiniUSB accessories enjoy a considerably larger popularity among the customers, unlike the microUSB ones, so that's another dime in the bucket. There are three four interaction modes available for the USB connection - Mass Storage, PC Suite, Image Print and Media Player. Both the flash disk memory and the phone memory can be accessed in any of the modes (just like with Nokia N81 8GB). While used as a mass storage device, the phone retains its full telecom functionality instead of engaging the offline profile. Nokia N95 8GB is designed to operate in EGSM 850/900/1800/1900 networks as well as in WCDMA 850/2100 ones, no unexpected features on this front. HSDPA support is fully present, as well as in the original N95. The telecom capabilities of the device are extremely high, the user is granted access to almost anything imaginable from this domain, including an IrDA port. As stated in the specs chart, the Bluetooth protocol version is 2.0 + EDR, all of the main profiles are supported:
  • A2DP
  • Audio/Video Remote Control
  • Basic Imaging
  • Dial-up Networking
  • File Transfer
  • Generic Access
  • Generic Object Exchange
  • Handsfree
  • Headset
  • HID
  • Object Push
  • SIM Access
  • Serial Port
    The support for A2DP profiles allows to use a wireless stereo headset with the device, that works without any problems.
    The Bluetooth data transfer speed approaches 130 Kb/sec. The Bluetooth visibility status is now adjustable - the visibility period can be set anywhere between a second and an hour.
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    The TV out is in (cable is bundled), the phone can be plugged into a TV set or a stereo system, which is a very tempting opportunity due to the integrated N-Gage support - the smartphone makes a decent handheld gaming console. Unfortunately this sin't supported by N81. In addition to the games, the TV screen can be used for watching films downloaded to the smartphone, e.g. the Spiderman III movie included into the sales package.
    Similar to the rest of multimedia smartphones, the model comes with an integrated b/g Wi-Fi module, a WLAN wizard helping you to configure net connections. The security protocols are WEP, WPA and WPA 2.
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    The Home Media application allows to interact with various devices utilizing the UnPNP technology - this feature was massively improved in the new 8Gb model as compared to earlier models (N95, N93). The only function available to those was sharing content from the device's storage, N95 8Gb is now capable of reading and playing media content from other devices. We ran a few tests of this feature both in a phone&PC tandem or N95-to-another-N95 connection, and discovered no problems in the process. Once you set everything up, the Gallery menu receives the "broadcast over the home network" menu item, which allows for content broadcasting as described above.

    Nokia N95_8GB Screenshots Nokia N95_8GB Screenshots
    Nokia N95_8GB Screenshots Nokia N95_8GB Screenshots
    Nokia N95_8GB Screenshots Nokia N95_8GB Screenshots

    Peformance and RAM
    The Performance level of Nokia N95 8Gb is the same with the classic version, there are virtually no changes, save for a number of minor stutters and lags eliminated. The camera functioning is optimized, and so is the gallery - a certain boost in the animation and graphics rendering speed is felt here. Thanks to the presence of a hardware 2D/3D accelerator the device comes winner in the corresponding tests. As compared to Nokia N81, the new N95 is maybe a bit slower in standard applications (mp3 player, message manager), but the difference is really hard to feel unless you spend a good deal of time tinkering with both models at hand.
    ModelNokia N81 8GB Nokia N95 8GBNokia N95Sony Ericsson W910i
    Jbenchmark 1.0.1 Score 5618 4804 5311 7222
    Text 1583 1311 1419 1964
    2D Shapes 1451 1186 1303 1983
    3D Shapes 697559 640 873
    Fill Rate 373 292 336 667
    Animation 1514 1456 1613 1735
    Jbenchmark 2.0.1 Score 595 532 568 978
    Image Manipulations 379 385 410 321
    Text 718 598 710 657
    Sprites 535 485 520 505
    3D Transform 906 810 817 662
    User Interface 594 468 476 12617
    Jbenchmark 3D HQ 203 839 973 371
    Jbenchmark 3D LQ 376 876 1018 424
    Triangles ps 52067 39296 48330 30619
    KTexels ps 3452 5290 6393 1517
    Jbenchmark HD Gaming Score 162 (5.4 fps) 609 (20.3 fps) 649 (21.6 fps) 151 (5.0 fps)
    Smooth triangles 104296 286639 319569 28641
    Textured triangles 83570 273788 288952 24299
    Fill rate, KTexels 2189 10891 13322 1972

    The model is operating under control of one of the latest revisions of the Symbian OS, namely v9.2, S60v3 FP1. There's no support for the Fast Boot feature, though the device takes only about 20 seconds to boot up.
    The amount of free memory accessible to the user is about 86 Mb, the total RAM size equals to 128 Mb. The same numbers are observed with Nokia E90, the increase in RAM size is among the most improvements of the N95 8GB model. The original N95 hardly endured the launching of a few power-hungry applications, memory stack overflow caused one of the launched applications was randomly terminated which put the user at the risk of data loss. Nothing of the kind is observed in the case of Nokia N95 8 Gb, even if the number of applications launched exceeds 30 (including such apps as SmartMovie, HandyWeather, Office, Qreader and a number of simultaneously launched games). We experienced no lags or stuttering during such an intensive multitasking job, about 50 Mb of RAM was kept free during the process. We can't say that such an amount of RAM is redundant in the very essense of this word, but most users will probably find it to be such. Nokia E51 supplied with about 48 Mb of RAM doesn't experience any problems during intensive multitasking either. The memory dedicated to a particular running process (Heap size) and the maximum size of a Java executive (Jar size) are unlimited.

    Storage
    The device sports an integrated flash disk with a capacity of 8Gb (7672 Mb available to the user) but no memory card slot is provided for. The read and write speeds are around the 900 Kb/sec value which isn't too fast, especially considering that you can't take the flash disk out and connect it to your PC via a card reader or anything providing for a faster data transfer rate. The only option is to use the data cable. No noticeable difference in data transfer speeds is seen in this case as compared to Nokia N81 8Gb. Activating the Mass Storage mode forces the integrated flash disk to be recognized by your PC's operating system as a removable disk, no problems arise here. A total storage amount of 8Gb is something standard for a phone planned to be extensively sold all through 2008, there's no practical need for any further increase in storage capacity as of today.
    N-Gage
    Nokia N95 8Gb comes with a preinstalled N-Gage application - actually one of the very first devices with full integrated support for the new gaming platform. All of the gaming functionalities of the N95 8GB model fully coincide with the same functionality found in Nokia N81, so to avoid annoying repetition, we better advise you to look for the N81 review to find out more detail on this feature, for that article features an extremely thorough analysis of the N-Gage service and its capabilities.
    Nokia N81 Review: The comeback of N-Gage
    The only thing that we'll mention here in particular is the unfortunate lack of the dedicated gaming controls in the model we're currently talking about, so the gaming ergonomics is by all means higher in Nokia N81. Both landscape and portrait orientations are available to game applications on Nokia N95. However the multimedia buttons can't be used as game controls, so the landscape orientation is something too clumsy to be used for playing on this phone. There are a number of possible explanations to such limitations: first of all, the N-Gage platform is a universal one and isn't designed to meet every model's specific features like the presence or absence of multimedia buttons and so on. So you could hardly expect the dedicated multimedia buttons of N95 8GB to become operative in N-gage games.



    A quick gaming demo on Nokia N95 8GB


    The preinstalled game demos are just the same with Nokia N81: FIFA07, Asphalt 3, though the Space Impact Light game is missing. Playing games on this phone exposed no serious problems with ergonomics and neither we were able to identify any lags or other uncomfortable side effects. There's no difference in this aspect in comparison with the Nokia N81 model based off the Freescale hardware platform, the universal 2D/3D graphics accelerator integrated in N95 8GB can be used in a large number of games.
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    Interface
    The peculiarities of software interface of Nokia N95 8Gb consist in the slight change in functionality of a few applications only, but on the whole everything stays the same way with Nokia N95. So we won't be describing all the basic features, shifting the focus more on the innovative side of the product.
    Let's note that the applications are now operating a bit faster, this is especially true about the Gallery - all the small stutters and lags are now gone, even if you're browsing through a thousand of files, the images and text is rendered quickly enough not to trouble the user. Photos and videos can be also browsed through with the quick browse feature. The screen orientation has its impact upon the mode in which all the conent is viewed, in the landscape orientation all the photos are automatically shown full-sized.



    Nokia N95 8GB Slide Show demonstration


    Similar to numerous other smartphones based off TI OMAP 2420, Nokia N95 8Gb lack the opportunity to display the menus using 3D profiles (Horsehoe and V-Shaped), however the menus can be animated by introducing SVGT icons (vector graphics). In devices built on the Freescale platform (e.g. N81, N76) the things are quite on the contrary - the 3D profiles are in and animated icons are out. These nuances also greatly depend on the device's posittioning, for example Nokia E51 has its multimedia funcitons implemented on a level more typical for the previous generation of such devices.
    The completely reworked multimedia menu is the next point on the list of things to speak about. Now the multimedia looks as if it were taken right from a Nokia N81. (The original Nokia N95 used a circular menu and was accesed either by pressing the multimedia button or by opening the slider downwards. It's possible to customize the menu by specified which items to display, add a number of custom menu items, select the five images used for the menu background.) The new look of the menu is more ascetic, there's no support for custom background images, but at the same time it's significantly more comfortable and informative. Seven items are listed:
  • Music
  • Videos
  • Gallery
  • Games
  • Contacts
  • Internet
  • Maps
    The list can't be customized, there's no way to add user items - the only option is to change the order in which the follow. Every item lists a few subitems, i.e. quick shorcuts. The Contacts tab lists the frequently called persons and acts as the speed dial list - you no longer have to look those up in the contacts book. The rest of tabs contain the corresponding submenus, each item comes with a specific assoicated icon (the thumbnail of the last gallery image or the cover of the currently selected album in the music player and so on). In general, the new multimedia meny is considerably more comfortable now as offers more information. To a certain extent, it substitutes the main menu.
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    Nokia N95_8GB Screenshots Nokia N95_8GB Screenshots
    Nokia N95_8GB Screenshots Nokia N95_8GB Screenshots

    The Go-To active standby mode is standard, very few changes can be observed in comparison with the classic version of N95. The number of application shortcuts displayed in standby mode is now seven regardless of the screen orientation. The rest of the options work as they used to. One of the lines shown during standby is the Search function comprising local search and web search srvices. The application interface was slightly revamped as compared to the rest of latest Nokias, but the essence is virtually the same. Searching by a number of categories is possible, for instance in web / in local content / in messages / in calendar events and so on, to a certain degree the application is analogous to the Smart Search service implemented in Samsung phones. This is a rather useful feature which is now integrated into the active standby mode and is always at hand.
    The GPS navigator interface was slightly improved and now sports better looks, the maps are now displayed in a more convenient fashion, the following photo is quite a good illustration:
    Nokia N95_8GB Photos

    The Smart2Go application was announced by Nokia by the title of Nokia Maps on February 8, 2007 - this application is utilized both in devices supplied with a GPS module (N95, E90 and so on) and phones deprived of one (for example, N81, E51, etc.) but in the latter case the option allowing to learn of your current location on the map is excluded. Nokia N95 8Gb supports the A-GPS standard (though the original N95 came to support it after the 12th firmware update) which allows the device to lock on the satellites and do positioning tasks faster, in places outside the reach of the satellites navigation can be performed by engaging the local operator's cellular network. The acquisition of coordinates works a bit different in the latter case. First the signal reaches the mobile phone then it is redirected to the base station which calculates the device's physical coordinates and then forwards them back. The accuracy of calculation varies from 5 to 50 meters while the regular GPS service offers a more precise positioning ranging from 0.1 to 30 meters.
    Similar to the original version, the application is totally free and so are the maps, it means that you can install the Smart2Go program on any compatible smartphone. The application will be preinstalled on all the upcoming models by the company in a long-term outlook. As you know, the Nokia company is now in the process of purchasing NavTeq, the American company focusing efforts on producing high-quality maps, but the current models like Nokia N95 8Gb, N82 and similar ones the TeleAtlas maps are used. It's interesting to know that the same company was offered a deal of 2,3 billion dollars by the TomTom satellite navigation manufacturer, but Nokia are willing to purchase the company for a much greater sum - about 8,1 billion dollars.
    All the standard functionality provided by the Nokia Maps (Smart2Go) service is fully preserved in Nokia N95 8Gb, the only change being a slightly improved interface.
    The accelerometer
    As you know, the latest Nokia models such as N95, N95 8GB, N82 are supplied with an accelerometer but until recently all of its functionality was nothing but the automatical screen aspect adjustment in the camera mode, it just rotated the image when necessary. Presently Nokia published a plugin allowing to include full functionality provided by the accelerometer in third- party applications and a set of documents describing how to implement different functions of that feature. So a large number of applications utilizing that functionality are expected to appear soon. This is especially important because the deal isn't only about such applications as the Passometer or the trivial screen orientation switch, but a full-scale support advanced control options. In other words, by declining the device at different angles, you will be able to navigate in menus, browse through the image gallery, play various games. The video clip below is a good illustration of this expanded functionality. The Nokmote software offering such possibilities is totally free and will be released in this December.

    Multimedia Features
    The multimedia features of Nokia N95 8GB went through no changes as compared to the predecessor, and this is perfectly true about the player interface, the sound quality and so on. The standard 3.5 mm socket allows for any standard headset to be used with the phone, but the bundled brand adaptor fully supports the original Nokia headset. The adaptor features an AD-54 remote control which is also found in the sales package of Nokia N81. The control has glossy smooth buttons with rounded corners - but here it comes clear that this is a sacrifice of ergonomics in favour of design. The remote control that ships with Nokia N91 or 3250 sports better ergonomics due to larger, traditionally positioned buttons, and the non-standard button layout of AD-54 is a bit annoying, making you glance at the buttons every time you want to press something. The headset included into the sales package is of a rather mediocre quality, it's the same one that ships with Nokia N81.
    The interface is just the same with Nokia N81, such an arrangement of elements can be seen in all the recent devices based off the S60v3 platform Feature Pack 1 (e.g. Nokia N95, 6290), the only difference being the order in which the elements are shown on the screen. The controls are quite comfortable, the dedicated multimedia buttons are used for rewinding/play/pause and the navigation button also duplicates some of these functions. The name of the performer and track title are shown on the screen during standby, the side buttons are used for setting the sound volume.
    Nokia N95_8GB Screenshots Nokia N95_8GB Screenshots
    Nokia N95_8GB Screenshots Nokia N95_8GB Screenshots

    Player settings include five presets of the eight-band equalizer and an opportunity to create as many user presets as you like. The rest of options are: balance adjustments, enhanced stereo playback, bass boost, reverberation, sorting tracks by performer, album, genre and so on, track repeat and random playback. The Album Arts feature allows you to associate an image file with any music album, so each track from that album will be accompanied by the album cover shown on the screen during playback. Similar to Nokia N95, the visualisation enjoys an excellent implementation, the visuals look great yet drain some extra battery charge while playing. Either the phone itself or the Home Media Server can be selected as the source for audio files.
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    Nokia N95_8GB Screenshots Nokia N95_8GB Screenshots
    Nokia N95_8GB Screenshots Nokia N95_8GB Screenshots
    Nokia N95_8GB Screenshots Nokia N95_8GB Screenshots
    Nokia N95_8GB Screenshots Nokia N95_8GB Screenshots

    The Music menu subitem now has a new subitem - Nokia Music Store, granting access to a database of more than million music tracks by all sorts of performers. The price of one track is 1 euro, an album costs 10 euros, a montly subscription for synchronizing the downloaded content with yout PC - 10 euro. The price is standard for this kind of offers by European operators, and time will tell how successful this project is. The 'Go to the Music Store' option was added to the playback screen, which upon activation redirects you to www.music.nokia.com. The Music Store offers a wide range of possibilities inlcuding full-fledged music track searching, access to top charts, statistics, the list of planned downloads, introductory listening, phone-to-PC synchronization via Windows Media Player. The service is already functioning now, though is temporarily limited to the territory of Great Britain only. All the tracks are downloaded in the .wma format. A track lost but already paid for can be downloaded again for any number of times free of charge.
    The following media formats are supported by the device: MP3, WMA, Polyphonic 64 voices, XMF, AMR (Voice Tag), AAC, AAC+, e- AAC+, Midi (SMF), SP-Midi, RealAudio (7,8,10), True tones, and WAV.
    During the MP3 playback cycle the device was able to stay up for more than 10 hours without recharging - a result quite expected for a Symbian-based smartphone, that's quite enough for most users. As compared to the original N95, the N95 8GB is a significant improvement in this field, though the boost isn't that critical as the one experienced during the video playback cycle. Let's pass to the sound quality now. Nokia N95, despite the presence of the standard headset socket, isn't positioned as a music-oriented model. The audio quality is fair enough yet inferior to that of core music phones by Nokia and other manufacturers. N95 8Gb is comparable in this parameter with its predecessor, this aspect experienced almost no changes, so we can state that Nokia N81 is still superior. The maximum sound volume is roughly equal in both cases. Comparing the device to a music smartphone by another brand, Samsung i450, we'd like to note out the slight advantage of the latter. The i450 model is based off the TI OMAP 2431 (the only difference from the base model 2430 consists in the lack of a hardware 2D/3D graphics accelerator), and the sound amplifier solution is a IcePower Mobile chip designed by Bang&Olufsen. The amplifier, quite expectedly, amplifies the power of the audio singal, leaving aside such procedures as tuning the dynamic range (the capability to transmit both high- and low-volume sound with an equal efficiency), the frequency range, the noise level, the nonlinear distortions and so on. But the maximum audio volume turns out to be nearly equal with Nokia N95 8Gb when you plug the wire headset via the standard 3.5 mm headset socket. The audio quality of i450 is superior, a certain lack of bass can be felt while listening to the music played on a Nokia N95 8Gb, just like with N95 and N82 models. If we add N81 to the competition, N95 8Gb turns out to lag behind the both, on the other hand N81 and i450 can't be called impecable music players either - all the three are in a way comparable when it comes to the quality of sound output, the real difference in quality isn't going to be noticed by the consumer majority. We'd rather advise you to try listening to each of the three before deciding on your pick since audio quality is a very ambiguous and personal category.
    A large amount of RAM doesn't turn the device into a music solution by itself, which is obvious. Only Nokia N81 has grounds to claim itself to be one within the whole product line.
    Camer?
    The camera module used in the new Nokia N95 stays virtually the same, nothing has been changed in the hardware part save for the missing lens guard which allowed to launch the camera quickly just by moving it aside. Nothing gravely dangerous, just a bit more vulnerability to scratching and dirt. On the other hand, the camera application went through a series of minor improvements, so launching it takes less time (about 2-3 secionds), focusing is also done quicker. The difference from the original N95 can be easily felt, in a number of environments it proves critical at taking pictures. In addition to the increased performance, a new option allowing to display the viewfinder grid was added. The rest of the optiohns stay the same.



    Camera performance test for Nokia N95 8GB


    The settings include:
  • switching to video mode
  • selecting the shooting mode (auto, custom, macro, portrait, nighttime, nighttime portrait, landscape, sports (for moving objects)
  • flashlight controls (auto, on/off, the red eye filter)
  • timer (2, 10, 20 seconds)
  • multi shot ( 10, 20, 30 seconds between shots, 1, 5, 10, 30 minutes)
  • exposure meter (from -2.0 to 2.0)
  • white balance setting (auto, sunny, cloudy, , ????????, ???????, ????? ???????????, glow lamp, fluorescent lamp)
  • special FX (sepia, negative, black and white, increased transparence)
  • ISO settings
  • Smoothing out (three options, if set to Hard makes the object edges unnaturally sharpened)
  • Contrast (a scale of 20 points)
    Nokia N95_8GB 

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    The number of settings is impressive and is quite up to the standards that are demanded from a photo solution. The secondary camera used for making video calls is located on the front panel and is capable of transmitting video signal at the one and only resolution of 320x240, which is quite enough for broadcasting a moving picture of yourself during a video call. The frontal camera can also act as the self-portrait mirror. On the whole, the features of the original N95 were preserved, so we won't be repeating the facts that were already been spoken on. Let's pass to the photo quality comparison.
    Nokia N95 / N95 8GB
    Nokia N95_8GB Camera photo comparison Nokia N95_8GB Camera photo comparison
    Nokia N95_8GB Camera photo comparison Nokia N95_8GB Camera photo comparison
    Nokia N95_8GB Camera photo comparison Nokia N95_8GB Camera photo comparison
    Nokia N95_8GB Camera photo comparison Nokia N95_8GB Camera photo comparison
    Nokia N95_8GB Camera photo comparison Nokia N95_8GB Camera photo comparison
    Nokia N95_8GB Camera photo comparison Nokia N95_8GB Camera photo comparison
    Nokia N95_8GB Camera photo comparison Nokia N95_8GB Camera photo comparison
    Nokia N95_8GB Camera photo comparison Nokia N95_8GB Camera photo comparison
    Nokia N95_8GB Camera photo comparison Nokia N95_8GB Camera photo comparison
    Nokia N95_8GB Camera photo comparison Nokia N95_8GB Camera photo comparison
    Nokia N95_8GB Camera photo comparison Nokia N95_8GB Camera photo comparison
    Nokia N95_8GB Camera photo comparison Nokia N95_8GB Camera photo comparison
    Nokia N95_8GB Camera photo comparison Nokia N95_8GB Camera photo comparison
    Nokia N95_8GB Camera photo comparison Nokia N95_8GB Camera photo comparison
    Nokia N95_8GB Camera photo comparison Nokia N95_8GB Camera photo comparison
    Nokia N95_8GB Camera photo comparison Nokia N95_8GB Camera photo comparison
    Nokia N95_8GB Camera photo comparison Nokia N95_8GB Camera photo comparison
    Nokia N95_8GB Camera photo comparison Nokia N95_8GB Camera photo comparison
    Nokia N95_8GB Camera photo comparison Nokia N95_8GB Camera photo comparison

    Not much of a surprise, the photos are of an almost identical quality, we had a hard time finding a difference and found none. The only illusionary difference is the way the photos are displayed on the screen of the phone, due to the higher brightness levels of Nokia N95 8Gb, on which the photos may appear overexposed, a bit dull or watered down. But that doesn't mean that the photos will look the same on PC - the actual quality of the picture file is just the same with photos taken with a regular N95, as mentioned above. Nokia N95 in its 8Gb incarnation is still one of the best camera solutions on the market, both the hardware and the software parts of the camera module sport high quality and level of implementation. Comparison of the image quality with the same aspect of competitive products (Samsung G600, Samsung G800, SonyEricsson K850i) has been considered in a number of articles already available on the site. The video recording quality was left untouched, so there's litte worth paying it any attention.
    The gallery application is the standard means for browsing user data, the application interface coincides with that of Nokia N95, the circular item browsing is supported. The rendering of graphical elements and animations has been significantly sped up, even the minor lags found with the old N95 are now gone for good. Unlike Nokia N81, the gallery utilizes the portrait orientation of the screen; once you press the navigation button up or down, fast browsing of gallery pages goes in the specified direction. The visual effects accompanying gallery actions are remarkable for their excellent graphics and animations. The gallery options include sorting by date, name, size and file format. An unlimited number of custom folders can be created by user in the phone memory or on the flash disk. The printing settings are also specified in this menu.
    Any number of custom albums can be created by the user, each used for placing any number of image files inside. You can display a selected number of images or the whole lot of them in a configurable slide show with user-set background music selected from available audio files.
    The Nokia Video centre application has the same functionality as in the classic model - it's a search engine coupled with access / download / playback manager for video files. So far up to fifteen different services dealing with video content are available through this feature, including a number of news sources like Reuters, official video feeds by organizations (e.g. Unicef), a Stupid Video channel and so on. In the foreseeable future an opportunity to download clips from the YouTube portal will be added (as of today the service is available in a beta stage). The Wi-Fi connection makes this service truly comfortable, also you can use that through GPRS or EDGE, all the videofiles are optimized for the device's screen resolution. Continued downloading of partially downloaded files is supported.
    Nokia N95_8GB Screenshots Nokia N95_8GB Screenshots
    Nokia N95_8GB Screenshots Nokia N95_8GB Screenshots
    Nokia N95_8GB Screenshots Nokia N95_8GB Screenshots

    Quite a number of options are available here, including file protection from accidental deletion, parental control lock, enabling thumbnails for video clips and so on. The service turned out to be an efficient feature and easy to use. A lot of attention was paid to details, for example if you close the video player while watching a video, upon the next launch the player will prompt you either to start the same clip from the place where you stopped last time or to play it from the beginning again. The list of services is going to expand, almost any video feed site compatible with RSS video 2.0 has a chance of joining this mobile network.
    Differences from Nokia N95
    At the end of the article we'd like to list the main differences between the N95 8GB modification and the classic N95 variant.
  • Screen diagonal boosted from 2,6 to 2,8 inches
  • High quality
  • The screen matrix is now covered with a protective glass
  • Integrated flash disk storage amounting to 8 Gb
  • Lack of memory card slot
  • Increased battery capacity (1200 mAh, used to be 950 mAh )
  • Lack of camera lens guard
  • Increased RAM size (128 Mb, ~90 Mb available after bootup)
  • Integrated N-Gage support
  • Revamped multimedia menu
  • More application shortucts for the Go-To active standby mode
  • updated Search feature now integrated into the active standby mode
  • New camera interface options
  • Integrated A-GPS, revamped interface, support for TeleAtlas maps
  • Gallery and Camera performance boost
  • Additional options for the Home Media application (home network)
    Judging by the changelog, it's easy to deduce that the we are offered a new model with an improved functionality as compared to its predecessor. Instead of expanding the model range with by cloning an existing phone and altering its design and form factor (the same model with new design and model index), the new N95 8Gb offers a significant number of important improvements and at the same time keeps the convenient form-factor and the rest of time-proven features inherited from the N95 classic model.
    Impressions
    Nokia N95 8Gb, as we have already said, may appear as an update of the existing N95 model, but if we look at the situation from another angle - it's actually a new model which is just in a very close keeping with all the good features of the original N95. The number of differences and improvements, at the same time, is too big for N95 8Gb to be considered just another embodiment of N95. Curiously enough, N95 8Gb isn't meant to act on the market as a brand new model, instead it will gradually substitute the classic N95 after it begins phasing out, making use of the renowned N95 brand. No extra shipments of N95 are expected and the device is out of production as of today, so soon it will give way to its enhanced version. It's intereting to note that the American version of N95 was sold slightly modified - the differences included an improved battery, a bigger RAM size and a number of software modifications. Probably that was one of the experimental steps on the path to creating N95 8Gb, which is now to take the place of the flagship model in the hi-tech market segment. Nokia manage to keep development costs as low as possible, at the same time getting more money for each sold copy of the new model which will naturally bring more profit because of a higher price and the same old production cost.
    The simultaneous release of Nokia N82 leads to a very intriguing situation where the company for the first time in history shapes a full-blown line of hi-end produts. At the same time the market receives shipments of such products as N81 8Gb, N82 and N95 8Gb, which are respectively the music and imaging flaghips, and the throne is occupied by the ultimate all-in-one solution. As seen by Nokia themselves, the N82 model is a sequel to Nokia N95 more focused on the imaging aspect, the camera part is given even more power: it comes with a mechanized lens guard, a powerful xenon flash, the shooting algorithm optimizations, making the ultimate camera phone. Talking in advance, let's check out the fact that N82 features a better photo quality than N95 regardless of the same camera module due to the intensive software optimizations that allow for a better picture, especially in poorl lit environments. The N95 8Gb has a huge focus on the device's versatility, it dominates the premium class of smartphones, which is "justified" by its price of 570 euro.
    We can hardly expect any serious cuts in price in the foreseeable future, both Nokia N81 8Gb and N82 are destined to become mass products, while N95 8Gb will stay a privileged offering. The market success of Nokia N95 wasn't due purely to the functionality doped up that much, but mostly due to the lack of competitive products both among the Nokia products and the portfolios of rival brands. Now the rest of the companies are pulling up to the leader and a number of 5 Mpix camera smartphones are just about to emerge which will naturally eat up some of the target audience of the N95 model, but the N81 8Gb (a best choice for the music lovers) and N82 (the ultimate camera phone) are meant to act as customer traps, keeping the target audience loyal to the same brand, at the same time promoting the all-in-one solution by offering a close functionality, yet more strictly specialized.
    Once the Nseries product line is reorganized and each of the products is given a more pronounced and independent market niche, none of those will be crossing their areas of influence with each other. The announce of the S60 Touch platform, however, doesn't mean that anything based off this platform will ever be designed with a functionality comparable to N95. The very first devices on that platform are going to have a more modest set of features, and only in the far future the touchscreen-based all-in-one solution will probably be introduced to cover the small and elitarian target audience who highly prize the touchscreen support along with the rest of functions. The N95 and N95 8Gb were sort of ideal artificially crafted by Nokia, so every upcoming flagship should keep close to the ideal. It won't be earlier than the second half of 2008 that N95 8Gb meets its successor - as long as there are no competitive products, such a step is a very wasteful decision both in terms of time and money.
    SMAPE's opinion
    Nokia N95 8GB íV is the most perfect all-in-one solution up to date, the device offers an incredibly advanced functionality inside a relatively compact casing, but the price is pretty sky high, which is justified by its status.
    + Increased screen diagonal
    + More capacious battery
    + Lots of integrated storage space
    + Increased RAM size
    - Lack of lens guard
    - Lack of control over the multimedia buttons when playing games
    - Low read and write speed when accessing the integrated flash disk

    Originally posted at Smape.com


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