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Nokia N96 review

Nokia N96 review
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Retail Price: RM 1,770
AP Price: RM 1,430 - 1,510
The Nokia N96 is a HSDPA/UMTS/Quadband smartphone.The N96 comes with 16GB of internal memory, a full QWERTY keyboard, a 2.8 inch 16 million color display, WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0 connectivity, a 5.0MP camera with Carl Zeiss optics and support optical zoom, FM radio, GPS navigation, DVB-H TV tuner and a motion sensor.
Review On : Nokia N96
Review by Anton Spiridonov (smape.com)
Nokia N85_N96 Photos Nokia N85_N96 Photos
Nokia N96 is the most expensive and powerful model in the whole Nokia portfolio. It canít stand up to the level of popularity that N95 once enjoyed, though, but still serves a formidable expansion of the model range upwards. The device looks interesting in terms of the availability of DVB-H digital TV and strikingly high specifications. It comes with an astonishing 16 Gb of onboard and 8 Gb of replaceable flash storage, and has a pronounced focus on the video aspect. Even the form factor and bundled kick-stand suggest this model being a TV-phone, let alone the numerous hardware specifications specially fitted to this cause. The STMicroelectronics chipset offers its video-relevant powers at a cost, though: it doesnít do as well in the rest of Performance tests. We canít say N96 lags in the menus, yet a certain delay can be felt, itís a bit slower than N78 and N85. A high audio quality, a large screen and a spacious storage make N96 a perfect Multimedia player and a possible replacement for a number of Nokia N96 users. The price is going to be comparable to the starting price of N95 8GB, namely around 550 euros. N95 will slowly phase out of the market, making way for the new flagship (itís currently out of production). Thatís how the company divided the niche originally occupied by N95 8GB in two: one model sticks to the same price bar, the other (N85) sells at a lower price and plays a big part on the mass market, nominally featuring slightly lower specifications.
Nokia N96 is the companyís video flagship. That means that all the optimizations introduced into the model support solely that cause, the accent on mobile TV and video. N85 is more versatile and thus is going to win more popularity, but it canít beat N96 in terms of video recording and playback, as well as in the musical department. Next comes a DVB-H digital TV module, so we get the best multimedia handset on the whole market which is going to stay so for quite a while on.
Design and Ergonomics
The company have been following a very monotonous design template as far as their multimedia smartphones are concerned, yet it canít be called an unsuccessful one. The closest thing in appearance to the N96 is a N81, while N85 looks more elegant due to the rounded angles, a different plastic of a better quality. The overall size of the handset is rather modest, only making 103x55x18 mm, but the handset doesnít give the hand a comfortable feel because of the width and the thickness, N85 openly wins the contest. On the other hand, it isnít even nearly as bulky as Samsung i8510, the Korean flagship handset is really huge in an open state, the size being its chief weakest point.
Nokia N96 Photos Nokia N96 Photos

Nokia N96 Photos Nokia N96 Photos

The handset size was reduced at the price of a reduced keyboard piece length, which made it a bit less comfortable in operation; nevertheless it doesnít raise any negative emotions. N96 is all black save for the silver-colored side pieces. No other colors are available.

Nokia N96 Photos Nokia N96 Photos

Nokia N96 Photos Nokia N96 Photos

Letís make a note about the devicesí design. According to the company representativesí exclusive statements made especially for smape.com, the current design trend visible in N81, N85, N96 is not going to change with the future models, reserving the use of metal to Eseries gadgets only. Itís up to you to see if this is good or badÖ Nokia arenít going to change their ways as long as their current ways bring enough profit.

Nokia N96 Photos Nokia N96 Photos

Nokia N96 Photos Nokia N96 Photos

A two-position volume slider is located on the right edge, neighbored by a camera launch / shoot button. The only detail to be housed on the left edge of the handset is a microSD flash card slot, protected with a flap. The stereo speakers are shifted on one side, just like in Nokia N85. A variety of audio tweaks and special effects are available in the settings. We didnít spot any audible difference no matter what combination of these settings we used.

Nokia N96 Photos Nokia N96 Photos

The keyboard block slider sits on the top edge. It always jumps back to its initial position after being slid to the side. Thatís a very handy addition to the recent models by the company. The other elements housed on the top edge are a power button and a 3.5 mm standard audio jack. The bottom edge is where a slim charger slot and a microUSB slot find a play to stay. By the way, Nokia n95 doesnít have a separate charger slot.

Nokia N96 Photos Nokia N96 Photos

Nokia N96 Photos Nokia N96 Photos

The back surface of Nokia N96 is smooth and glossy, hence vulnerable to physical damage. Worn spots and scratches are less noticeable against a thin-striped background texture. The camera lens resides on the back panel, neighbored by a double LED flash. The back panel is fully replaceable, just like in N78 and N79, yet there is no option for alternately colored additional panel. You will find a 950 mAh battery resting beneath.

Screen
The screen of Nokia N96 is identical to the screen N96 8GB, featuring the largest diagonal among all Nokias Ė 2.8íí, TFT, some of the best screen quality around. Compare this one to the screen of Nokia N85, powered by the AM-OLED technology. N85 is notable for much more vivid colors, yet the palette is more natural with N96, also the latter seems to display a better behavior in direct sunlight, bringing about less annoying glare. We canít really say that the screen of N96 is worse than the N85 screen, itís just in a way different.

Nokia N85_N96 Photos Nokia N85_N96 Photos

Nokia N85_N96 Photos Nokia N85_N96 Photos

Nokia N85_N96 Photos Nokia N85_N96 Photos

Nokia N85_N96 Photos Nokia N85_N96 Photos

The screen of Samsung i8510 isnít as good, the colors are less natural and itís also less resistant to the sunlight. Traditionally, the model comes with a luminance sensor meant to auto-adjust the brightness levels depending on the environmental lighting. This sensor can be switched off in the settings.

Controls and Keyboard
The block of controls is remarkable for the use of dedicated media buttons, unlike N85 those are operable outside the player mode. You can use them to switch tracks or start/stop playback at any moment in any menu, which is immensely handy. The buttons arenít of the touch kind, they are mechanical and very responsive, bringing no trouble at all.

Nokia N96 Photos Nokia N96 Photos

A Navi Wheel is traditionally available, remaining active in all menus and lists. The sensitive area of the wheel is limited to a thin limbo running along the perimeter of the navigation element. Moving your finger clockwise or counter-clockwise allows for rapid playlist browsing in a corresponding direction. The light indicator sits right in the center of the Navi Wheel and can be easily turned off. It doesnít carry out any special functions like a message or a call reminder, a feature still available on some older Nokia models.

Nokia N85 Screenshots

In addition to the dedicated media buttons located around the navigation button, an extra set of controls are found on the moving aprt of the slider. The functions and corresponding button markings change depending on the current mode: in the player mode, those turn into four rewinding and switch buttons. In games, only two buttons remain active.

Nokia N96 Photos Nokia N96 Photos

Nokia N96 Photos Nokia N96 Photos

The numerical keyboard is made from a solid piece of plastic; the buttons are very flat, yet have a great feedback and pose no practical inconvenience. The large size of the buttons eliminates the possibility of stray keystrokes. The keyboard backlight is of a bright white color, visible in any environment.

Nokia N96 Photos

Battery
Nokia N96 is equipped with a relatively old battery, the same with the original Nokia N95. Itís a BL-5F unit sporting a 950 mAh power output capacity. The choice is easily explainable: no higher capacity batteries were available when the development of N96 started, save for a few samples too big to fit into the battery bay. The existing battery is on a comparable size scale with the newer BL-5K battery (1200 mAh, used by Nokia N85), but is a bit smaller. Neither BL-5K nor BL-6F can fit into the battery bay of N96. Nevertheless, the smartphone can keep running for a long time regardless of the relatively low battery capacity, it can run longer than N95, and makes world records in media recording or playback modes. Not only Feature Pack 2 contributes to this, but mainly the power-saving STMicroelectronics chipset.

Nokia N96 Photos



Model name Nokia N85 Nokia N95 8GB Nokia N96
Duty cycle 3,5 days 2 days 2,5 days
Multimedia cycle, video (3GP) 5:28 5:09 5:20
Multimedia cycle, audio (MP3) 26:45 10:27 18:45
GPS 4:10 3:41 3:48


Connectivity
The availability of Wi-Fi also means the availability of the WLAN Wizard application, which essentially is a simple program intended to help the user to arrange network connections in a semi-automatic mode. There are but a few options, once a network is detected the user is prompted to submit a number of settings. Network filtering is available, the security standards include WEP, WPA and WPA2. The scanning period during which WLAN networks are searched and detected is also adjustable in the options.


Nokia N85 Screenshots Nokia N85 Screenshots

Nokia N85 Screenshots

The USB version is 2.0, the Mass Storage mode is fully supported, the user is free to choose from Mass Storage, PC Suite, Image Print or Media Player on establishing a phone-to-PC connection. Both the memory card and onboard memory storage are accessible from the PC. During Mass Storage sessions, the phone doesn't go offline, you can still use its potential to the full.

Nokia N85 Screenshots Nokia N85 Screenshots

According to the specifications sheet, the Bluetooth version used by the device is 2.0 + EDR, supporting the following profiles:
? 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


A2DP support allows for a wireless headset to be used with the device; the settings include the network visibility period and the list of blocked devices.

Nokia N85 Screenshots Nokia N85 Screenshots

Nokia N85 Screenshots Nokia N85 Screenshots

The Home Media application allows for interaction between the phone and various devices supporting the UnPNP technology. It has seen some serious improvements from earlier versions used in N95 and N93. If the only option available in the initial version was the one allowing to share content stored on the device, now the smartphone can play content opened from remote source. We tested this functionality both on a phone-to-PC bundle and between two different phones as well (N82-to-N95), and found no problems at all. After adjusting all the necessary settings in the Gallery, the 'broadcast over home network' options became available, letting browse and play the content stored on remote devices.

Nokia N85 Screenshots Nokia N85 Screenshots

Nokia N85 Screenshots Nokia N85 Screenshots

Nokia N85 Screenshots Nokia N85 Screenshots

Nokia N85 Screenshots Nokia N85 Screenshots

Hardware platform
The hardware platform of Nokia N96 is totally different form the chipset used in N85 and other Nokias. The new hardware platform is a Nomadics STn8815 chip by STMicroelectronics. This fact caused a great amount of arguments, for some people had recklessly put an equation mark between N85 and N96, wasting their breath about the same hardware lying in the base of the two handsets. Nokia N85 uses the regular hardware same with N78 and N81. Theoretically possessing better characteristics than TI OMAP 2520, the new chipset pays back with a lower power consumption, high sound quality (out of the box, we donít regard the possible use of additional dedicated sound processing chips) and better video processing algorithms.

The most effort was invested into making the battery life longer. Itís about the time to dismiss the fear that the low-capacity battery used in Nokia N96 (950 mAh) wonít be enough for comfortable operation. Actually, the device can run longer than most TI OMAP solutions, the advantage becoming increasingly obvious during video and music playback. STn8815 is optimized for minimal energy consumption; it will automatically drop the CPU frequency to a level sufficient for normal functioning of an application but not a notch above. It also makes an extensive use of smart accelerators and divided calculation techniques to drop the load on the CPU. Inactive chipset components are automatically powered off until a need arises to put them back online, the CPU stays in a power-saving mode as long as possible. Code execution efficiency was maximized through numerous optimizations as well.

STn8815


STMicroelectronics Nomadics STn8815 specs sheet


STn8815

The tests reveal a frequency of 264 MHz for the CPU, though at times it jumped up to 334 Mhz (ARM926EJ core), being no different form TI solutions. No perceptible difference in performance rates from OMAP 2420 could be detected. The only possible downside is the lack of a 3D graphics accelerator. Nevertheless, 3D acceleration also suffered a minimal support in such models as N95 and N82 (it wasn't even available in the N-Gage games) and Samsung i550 / i560 didn't use 3D acceleration at all, so you can't blame STn8815 for not making use of it.


Model Nokia N85 Nokia N82 Nokia N96
Jbenchmark 1.0.1 Score 3232 5311 2796
Text 891 1419 710
2D Shapes 900 1303 682
3D Shapes 562 640 394
Fill Rate 369 336 224
Animation 510 1613 786
Jbenchmark 2.0.1 Score 548 568 358
Image Manipulations 244 410 182
Text 595 710 409
Sprites 470 520 365
3D Transform 1249 817 539
User Interface 576 476 398
Jbenchmark 3D HQ 195 973 155
Jbenchmark 3D LQ 380 1018 283
Triangles ps 43343 48330 34234
KTexels ps 3254 6393 2795
Jbenchmark HD Gaming Score 166 (5.5 fps) 91 (3.0 fps) 127 (4.2 fps)
Smooth triangles 110145 44190 68590
Textured triangles 82240 27310 56325
Fill rate, KTexels 2289 1107 2635


As seen from the test score, N96 displays a lower performance than N85 and a much worse one than N95 basing off OMAP 2420. The lack of a 3D accelerator is blatant in the JBenchmark 3D test. N96 lags behind in other tests as well. The gap may be accounted for by the use of a newly developed platform, while N85 employs a platform which has been through a long evolution of improvements and optimizations shared by Nokia N78 and N81 models.

Regardless of the difference in hardware, N85 and N96 have a comparable audio quality, maybe N96 is but a little notch better. N96 is second in audio quality after Samsung i8510 INNOV8. The difference is very marginal, though, and wonít be spotted by the majority of customers. Combined цшер

The audio quality of N96 has been discussed before, proven to be one of the best among the currently available solution, and absolutely unmatched in the whole range of S60 Nokia phones. The sound is better than with N78 or N79, the handset has a more realistic sounding even in comparison with N85, though the difference is too little to matter for the majority. This combined with a convenient system of controls (two sets of dedicated media buttons, an optimal arrangement of slots) makes N96 one of the best multimedia devices available from todayís market. Nokia N85 only wins in the battery charge contest in playback mode. Samsung i8510 is the ultimate music smartphone, itís audio quality is unchallengeable by any other model so far. Itís going to remain the best solution for a year or so. On the other hand, it doesnít make such a huge gap in quality as to make a critical selling point, and is actually going to be left unnoticed by the majority of people choosing between N96, N85 and i8510. Though the overall usage experience distinctly differs; i8510 has its audio socket located on a side edge, thatís very annoying when youíre about to put it in your pocket with headset plugged in. No dedicated media controls are available, you have always to get back into the player menu to switch tracks. N96 has a whole two set of dedicated media controls. The maximum playback cycle is roughly the same for both Ė about 18 hours.

An accelerometer is available, automatically rotating the desktop depending on the physical position of the smartphone in space, in a manner fully analogous to N85, N82 and similar models. It can be turned off in the options.

Nokia N96 Screenshots

Memory
Once the device has booted, the remaining amount of free memory available to the user is 90 Mb; the total RAM size equals to 128 Mb, which is quite an adequate score for a modern smartphone. Heap Size and Jar Size for Java applications are unlimited.


The onboard storage is divided into two unequal parts: the disk labeled C: is 128 Mb large, of which about 70 are free and the rest occupied by system files, - this is the place where all the contact and PIM records are stored. The disk labeled D: is where the various multimedia files are kept. You can safely format it without causing any damage to the operating system, just take it for a dumb file container. The D: disk is 16 Gb large. With such a huge storage massive onboard, it would be interesting to look at the data transfer speeds:

? from flash card to onboard memory and vice versa: Ė 2,7 Mb/s
? to flash card in the Mass Storage mode: 2,4 Mb/s
? to onboard memory in the Mass Storage mode (write): 2,7 Mb/s
? from onboard memory in the Mass Storage mode (read): 3,9 Mb/s


As you see, the copy/write speeds are pretty high, beating the previous generation solutions like N81 8GB, N95 8GB and other, and stays on a level with Nokia N85 and Samsung i8510.

Software
Nokia N96 bases off the S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 2 platform. A comprehensive review of the base functionality provided by the said platform is already available in a separate article on our site, so thereís no sense in duplicating the sentences in this one. The preinstalled service clients include an online music store, Share on OVI and so on Ė nothing overly surprising at all.

Nokia N96 Screenshots Nokia N96 Screenshots

Nokia N96 Screenshots Nokia N96 Screenshots

Nokia N96 Screenshots Nokia N96 Screenshots

Nokia N96 Screenshots Nokia N96 Screenshots

The only profile feature to be given special attention in this article section is the digital TV. The model supports the DVB-H standard and offers an exhaustive channel list; an alarm clock can be set beforehand to make you aware of a favorite show starting. Fragments of shows can be automatically saved in the MPEG4 format; certain channels can be optionally locked with a password, - a parental control option is in. As claimed by the manufacturer, Nokia N96 can stand a five hoursí continuous cycle until a full battery charge is drowned to zero, but we werenít able to prove that fact, for DVB-H broadcasting is something currently unavailable in Russia.

Nokia N96 Screenshots Nokia N96 Screenshots

Nokia N96 Screenshots Nokia N96 Screenshots

Nokia N96 Screenshots Nokia N96 Screenshots

Nokia N96 Screenshots Nokia N96 Screenshots

The Video Center application has preserved its default functionality, serving as an efficient search, access, download and playback mobile engine. Up to 15 various video services are currently available on the model, including Reuters, Unicef and Stupid Video feeds. In the upcoming weeks, YouTube video downloading is going to be made possible (a beta version is currently available). A Wi-Fi connection provides maximum comfort for using this services, unfortunately there are no 3G networks currently available in Russia. A certain degree of usability is still there even if you got only a GPRS/EDGE connection. Partial download is supported.

Nokia N96 Screenshots Nokia N96 Screenshots

Nokia N96 Screenshots Nokia N96 Screenshots

A variety of options are available, including file protection from accidental deletion, parental lock for inappropriate content, thumbnails for video files and so on. The service is a success, sporting an intuitive and easy interface. Every detail was thoroughly worked out: e.g. if you open a clip which you have been previously watching but didnít finish, you will be prompted either to go on watching from the place where you stopped or start watching from the very beginning again. The list of services is going to expand soon, since the device supports literally anything compatible with RSS video 2.0.

Nokia N96 Screenshots Nokia N96 Screenshots

Nokia N96 Screenshots Nokia N96 Screenshots

Nokia N96 Screenshots

Nokia N96 Screenshots

Multimedia
The player interface looks quite standard, exposing almost no difference from Nokia N85 or N78; the same interface is used by all latest devices basing off S60v3 Feature Pack 3. The extra controls come in handy, both the buttons around the navigation button and the extra buttons on the upper half of the slider are used for rewinding, playing and pausing. Here we have a huge advantage over Samsung i8510 which isn't equipped with any extra player buttons, a flaw which is hardly compensated by the unmatched audio quality provided by this model.

Nokia N85 Screenshots Nokia N85 Screenshots

Nokia N85 Screenshots Nokia N85 Screenshots

Nokia N85 Screenshots Nokia N85 Screenshots

The player settings include five equalizer presets with the opportunity of creating an unlimited number of user profiles. Also there are settings allowing to tweak balance, enhanced stereo sound, bass boost, reverberation. Different miscellaneous options are available: sorting by performer, album, genre and so on, as well as auto repeat and play random. The Album Arts feature is present, meaning that you can associate an album cover artwork with the selected tracks. Similar to Nokia N95, the playback can be accompanied with visualization FX though it degrades the battery charge. The Music menu item now has a brand new sub-item titled Nokia Music Store which will be discussed further.

Nokia N85 Screenshots Nokia N85 Screenshots

Nokia N85 Screenshots Nokia N85 Screenshots

The audio quality of N96 has been discussed before, proven to be one of the best among the currently available solution, and absolutely unmatched in the whole range of S60 Nokia phones. The sound is better than with N78 or N79, the handset has a more realistic sounding even in comparison with N85, though the difference is too little to matter for the majority. This combined with a convenient system of controls (two sets of dedicated media buttons, an optimal arrangement of slots) makes N96 one of the best multimedia devices available from todayís market. Nokia N85 only wins in the battery charge contest in playback mode. Samsung i8510 is the ultimate music smartphone, itís audio quality is unchallengeable by any other model so far. Itís going to remain the best solution for a year or so. On the other hand, it doesnít make such a huge gap in quality as to make a critical selling point, and is actually going to be left unnoticed by the majority of people choosing between N96, N85 and i8510. Though the overall usage experience distinctly differs; i8510 has its audio socket located on a side edge, thatís very annoying when youíre about to put it in your pocket with headset plugged in. No dedicated media controls are available, you have always to get back into the player menu to switch tracks. N96 has a whole two set of dedicated media controls. The maximum playback cycle is roughly the same for both Ė about 18 hours.

Nokia N96 employs two radio services, Visual Radio and Internat Radio, Visual Radio supports certain visual features like Album Arts, while Internet Radio is what you would want to use to listen to the radio through the web, as the names imply. The latter service is widely used in regions with developed Wi-Fi and 3G networks.

Similar to the majority of upcoming multimedia solutions by Nokia, a full Nokia Music Store support is included in this one. Simultaneously with the N-Gage announce, Nokia have presented an web service devoted to downloadable mp3 content dubbed Nokia Music Store, its base containing over 1 000 000 tracks by different performers, the price of a track is Ä1 , the price of an album Ė starting from Ä10 , a monthly subscription to downloadable content PC synchronization Ė Ä10. The price is quite standard for most European offers of such kind, time will tell how successful the project will be. The menu was expanded with an item titled "Pass to the music store", that automatically redirecting you to the corresponding address www.music.nokia.com. The list of offered features is extensive, including a full-blown song search, access to ratings and statistics, planned downloads list, sample listening, PC synchronization via Windows Media Player.

Nokia N85 Screenshots Nokia N85 Screenshots

Nokia N85 Screenshots Nokia N85 Screenshots

Camera
The handset is equipped with a camera powered by Carl Zeiss optics, the flash is a double LED unit, slightly weaker than most xenon flashes in terms of quality and reach range, e.g. in comparison with N82. Also the flash acts as a backlight to back up auto-focusing, allowing to focus on an object even in darkness.

The N96 camera characteristics are as follows: lens aperture 1:2.8; focal distance 5.2 (vs. a 5.6 in Nokia N9). The latter parameter doesnít affect the actual photo quality, the difference entirely depends on the firmware used to control the shooting routine.

Nokia N96 Photos Nokia N96 Photos

N96 is the Finnsí flagship model, offering the highest functionality around. In this way or another, it will inevitable end up in a comparison to Samsung i8510 INNOV8. The characteristics of the two are comparable in all departmentsÖ save for camera Ė Samsung comes with a 8 Mp unit. We have already made a number of techy comparisons pitting i8510 against other handsets, and it proved that the Samsung model has the best camera on the market for the time being. The following photo samples look more convincing than bare words, just see how INNO8 beats anything else:

Macro shooting samples:


Nokia N96 camera shots Nokia N96 camera shots

Nokia N96 camera shots Nokia N96 camera shots

Nokia N96 camera shots Nokia N96 camera shots

Nokia N96 camera shots Nokia N96 camera shots

Nokia N96 camera shots Nokia N96 camera shots

Nokia N96 camera shots Nokia N96 camera shots

Nokia N96 camera shots Nokia N96 camera shots
Nokia N96 / Samsung i8510 INNOV8


Ultramacro shooting photo samples:


Nokia N96 camera shots Nokia N96 camera shots

Nokia N96 camera shots Nokia N96 camera shots
Nokia N96 / Samsung i8510 INNOV8


Landscape shooting photo samples:


Nokia N96 camera shots Nokia N96 camera shots

Nokia N96 camera shots Nokia N96 camera shots

Nokia N96 camera shots Nokia N96 camera shots

Nokia N96 camera shots Nokia N96 camera shots

Nokia N96 camera shots Nokia N96 camera shots

Nokia N96 camera shots Nokia N96 camera shots

Nokia N96 camera shots Nokia N96 camera shots

Nokia N96 camera shots Nokia N96 camera shots

Nokia N96 camera shots Nokia N96 camera shots
Nokia N96 / Samsung i8510 INNOV8

In the shooting mode, the volume controls act as zoom controls (a 20x digital zoom is available). The camera application takes but a few seconds to launch, a few status indicators are shown in the viewfinder window (current resolution, remaining number of shots, storage location), neighboring a quick settings bar (which can be optionally hidden; you can also rearrange its elements in a custom order)

The main settings include:

The picture size is selectable from a following list:

? 0,3М (640x480),
? 0,8М (800x600),
? 1,3М (1280x960),
? 2М (1600x1200),
? 3М (2048x1536),
? 5М (2592x1944)


In the same menu, you can switch on and off the geo tagging feature which adds a time and location stamp to a picture when itís taken. Thatís a very handy feature allowing to sort your photos in geographical or chronological order, which makes sorting many times easier.

Nokia N96 Screenshots Nokia N96 Screenshots

Nokia N96 Screenshots Nokia N96 Screenshots

The other parameters are the default photo/video filename, the add to album option, the customizable shutter sound (4 variants) and the storage location (you canít set a specific folder though, basically choosing between the onboard and flash card storage spaces; Series 40 phones let you specify a folder and itís hardly explainable why this was disabled in an all-in-one smartphone).

Nokia N96 Screenshots Nokia N96 Screenshots

Videos also support geo tags, the maximum resolution for a video is 640x480 but a couple of lower resolutions are also available; the videos are recorded at 30 fps. Image stabilization is supported; itís also possible to turn off sound recording. The video quality is almost identical for N96, N95, N82 and similar models, actually one of the best camera implementations on the market.


Imaging settings come in a larger variety, the model is actually one of the best around in this aspect. A list follows:

? Switch to video mode
? Shooting mode selection (auto, custom, macro, portrait, nighttime, nighttime portrait, landscape, sports)
? Flash controls (auto, on/off, red eye filter)
? Timer (2, 10, 20 seconds)
? Multiple shot (a shot per 10, 30 seconds, 1, 5, 10, 30 minute)
? Exposure correction (from -2.0 to 2.0)
? White balance (auto, sunny, cloudy, glowlamp, fluorescent lamp)
? Effects (sepia, negative, black and white, increased transparency)
? ISO setting
? Sharpness level (Hard results in an unnaturally crisp image)
? Contrast level (20-notch scale)
? Brightness level (10-notch scale)


Nokia N96 Screenshots Nokia N96 Screenshots

Nokia N96 Screenshots Nokia N96 Screenshots

Nokia N96 Screenshots Nokia N96 Screenshots

Drawing a final line, weíd like to mention that Nokia N96 comes with a fairly good come, no worse than N95 and that makes a neat feature for an all-in-one solution with a special focus on multimedia capabilities.

Editor's opinion




The Conclusion on Nokia N96 is actually very simple. Thatís not the best solution around as far as the price/functionality ration is concerned. N96 is obviously an all-in-one solution, but doesnít stand up to the level of N95 or N85. Nokia N96 concentrates on a narrow circle of typical tasks: video playback and recording, mobile TV and music. In the rest of the aspects, the device isnít as advanced or balanced as Nokia N85, a fact not to be neglected.

On the other hand, itís hard to look up a better solution for performing the tasks that N96 has a focus on. The model has already started selling for 550 euros(RM3,338), and makes a better deal in comparison with N98 8GB (which costs but a bit less). A higher niche is occupied by Samsungís i8510 INNOV8 flagship. The price gap between i8510 and N96 isnít big enough to matter for a person with enough money and determination to buy an expensive and maximally functional smartphone. An ultra high quality 8 Mp camera is its only, yet a formidable, advantage making it a benchmark to the future phones. N96 on the other hand offers advanced digital TV capabilities, but we are inclined to view i8510 as a better deal.

A price difference of one hundred euros makes the choice less obvious, so if Nokia manage to bring the price down to this or even a lower level, N96 has all chances for becoming a mass product of sorts, until the next multimedia flagship arrives in mid-2009.



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