While it shares much with the Nokia N80 in terms of both design andfunctionality, Nokia's N95, the subject of this review, takes thecapabilities of a mobile phone to a new level. On paper, at least,there appears to be little that this Finnish wonder can't do. It hasquad-band GSM/EDGE support and 2100MHz UMTS as well as a 5 megapixelautofocus camera, a built-in GPS receiver, Bluetooth stereo support,and 802.11b/g WLAN support.
The Nokia N95 is a somewhat large slider form factor handset. Itmeasures 100mm x 53mm x 20mm (3.9" x 2.1" x .8") in size and weighs121g (4.3oz), which is to say it is by no means in the running for thethinnest and lightest handset on the market. The front of the N95 has a normal looking silver paint finish, but thesides and back of the device make use of a soft touch style deepburgundy color paint that has a very nice feel to it. Nokia has done afar better job with the slider mechanism on the N95 than it did on theN80. The slider in the N95 relies on a spring loaded mechanism insteadof the friction based design used in the N80, which tended to slideopen on its own. On top of that, the slider on the N95 moves in twodirections, exposing the keypad when slid one way, and a series of 4dedicated media playback keys when slid the other way.
The media keys don't have the best feel to them, and can not be locatedby touch alone since they consist of only markings on a plastic strip.Still, they are fine for their intended purpose. The regularalphanumeric keypad has its own issues, though. The keys are very stiffand located even lower on the slider than on the N80, which makes thema bit of a tough reach for somebody with large hands. The keys are alsoa fair bit smaller than those on the N80, making things all the moredifficult. For their part, the d-pad and its dedicated center selectbutton work very well, as do the rest of the dedicated keys thatsurround them.
On the right side of the device a dedicated two-stage camera shutterbutton can be found (half press to focus, full press to snap the photo)and a photo playback/gallery button that is similar to what one wouldexpect to find on a dedicated digital camera. Pressing the button oncewill display the last photo on the screen, pressing it again will bringup the photo gallery. Also located on the right side of the N95 are thevolume rocker switch and one of the two stereo speakers. The otherspeaker is located on the left side of the phone, along with the 3.5mmstereo headset jack, the Infrared port, and the covered microSD memorycard slot.
The N95 gives up the Nokia proprietary pop-port and instead has aminiUSB connector located on its bottom edge. The miniUSB port can notbe used for charging, though, a task that is handled by a new stylemini Nokia power connector. The top edge of the N95 is home to thepower switch, which is also handy for changing profiles when pressedbriefly. Out back one finds the 5 megapixel autofocus camera and itsflash. The camera lens is protected by a cover that is opened andclosed with a slider switch. Opening and closing the cover activatesand deactivates the camera. A secondary, QVGA resolution camera islocated on the front of the device, just above the display, and isintended for 3G video calling.
Overall, I believe Nokia did a fine job on the physical design of theN95. The keypad design is the only aspect that I can find fault with,and given the constraints Nokia was working within, I think it is stillquite acceptable.
The fact that the N95 makes use of a QVGA (240x320 pixel) displayinstead of the higher resolution 352x416 displays found on earlierNseries devices like the N80 and N90 shows that Nokia is willing to gowith the flow sometimes. While the higher resolution displays certainlyhad their benefits, especially when it came to web browsing, the mobilephone industry as a whole has pretty much settled on QVGA displays forhigh end devices at this time. I'm not saying this is a good thing,just that it's worth noting. But in any event, the N95's display islarge, at 2.8" diagonal, and capable of brightly displaying over 16million different color shades. It has a reflective backing that makesit very easy to read in direct sunlight when the front mounted sensorhas turned off the backlight completely (to save power).
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