Should You Get The N95?

Nokia N95

The N95 has been out for almost 5 months now. The price has fallen considerably from somewhere around 650€ to about 490€ nowadays, sim-free in India. The firmware has matured, AGPS has been added which has improved GPS performance to a large extent, however they are still a few minor bugs with the current v12 firmware but nothing substantial. In this write-up I and Jamal Abid talk about why should you get the N95 or abstain from doing so.

Reasons To Go For It:

01) A great phone at its heart and a relatively light smartphone which is a hard to find combination.

02) Huge store of third party applications that help you that that extra from the phone. The best part is that most of them are freeware too. Look here and here.

03) A large brilliant 16 million colour display measuring 2.6” which is great for games and and as a video player too. Its .1 inch larger than an ipod video, if thats what u’r looking for!

04) A multimedia monster capable of playing most audio/video files and for those that it can’t play there’s software available. Even WMV files will be supported come Wednesday!

05) A phone which you can use completely in landscape mode too! It’s great for quickly reading SMS, as all of the small messages are readable in the preview without even opening them!

06) A 5 megapixel camera that blows the socks off of any camera phone available today. The photos are simply brilliant. I just wish they release some firmware to reduce the compression. Right now most of my images are 700kb to 1000kb. This sucks for 5 megapixels and causes some loss of detail. But have no doubt its miles better than any other phone out there. The customization is great with options for different scenes, exposure compensation, shutter timings, burst photography and still more tweaking options for the pro’s out there. The shoot modes are comprehensive and easy to understand and put to use.

07) A video camera that shoots 640×480 video at 30fps that is remarkably clear, bright and smooth! As far as connectivity goes- Infrared, Bluetooth, UPnP and WiFi 802.11b/g it’s all there. The plug and play mass storage profile is great and so is out of the box syncing with Windows Media Player.

08) 3.5 mm jack makes it a great music player. I used my iPod nano headphones and played the same song at 128 kbps CBR (Constant Bit Rate) on both devices and call me deaf but I couldn’t discern any difference in the sound quality. It might now be as loud as the N91 but still performs well enough for casual listening. There’s stereo bluetooth a.k.a A2DP too!

09) An included TV-out cable! (Plugs into the 3.5mm headphone jack by the way) Which other phone does that?! The photos look great on TV and the video out at VGA resolution also rocks.

10) MicroSD for all your storage needs. 2 & 4 GB cards are already here and an 8GB is in the pipeline. So much for the upcoming Nokia N95 – 8GB!

11) Stereo speakers that are great and according to some reviewers, they even beat the quality of entry level cheap laptops. I won’t go that far, but one thing is certain those are great little speakers. Very clear and pretty loud.

12) Two way slide which in itself is quite cool and unique, the multimedia buttons come in handy while using the phone in the car for example.

13) Finally an s60 device with a decent alarm application! No need to install exrta world clock/alarm applications for multiple alarms now! The alarms application included is quite sophisticated and useful while being easy to use! I just miss one feature from Igor Dontsov’s S60 v2 alarm application that it put the current time in the alarm dialog automatically.

14) 64 MB of RAM with a 332 MHz processor and a dedicated graphics card by Texas Instruments. Nokia said that the N-gage will live on as the N-series and we can see some truth in that statement now. It is certain that the N95 will support the new upcoming NGage platform. However the RAM’s a bone of contention. More on that later.

15) GPS! Great feature! Most functions are free! You only have to pay for voice navigation and city guides (positions of all of the ATMs and small stuff like that). I simply love the GPS in this phone. One of its best features no doubt, for a complete write up on GPS look here.

16) The S60 browser is the best available on mobile phones and is based on WebCore which also powers Safari, the browser that runs on Mac OSX and also the iPhone. Since you cannot install 3rd party apps on the iPhone and can only install Safari applications, this means the N95 can run all of the applications the iPhone can.

The Cons:

1) The build quality is not that great. It creaks a little in some places and at some angles. Backlight is visible through the sidewalls of the top walls and although the phone’s keeping sturdy after months of usage, it doesn’t feel that solid. Nothing very bad but these things are noticeable only by owners and add to the post-expensive-purchase depression! Just turn it around in your hand at the retailer and see if you are happy with the build quality. There have been reports of the paint on the faceplate coming off, the silver peeling off the keys and the volume keys completely loosing its paint.

2) Camera algorithms compress the picture a lot; a little lenient compression would be appreciated. It’s nothing bad but we want perfection, don’t we!

3) GPS lock times and sensitivity are a little shady, however AGPS has indeed helped to a large extent.

4) Screen looks fragile, makes LCD ripples (like laptops) when pressed harshly and attracts a lot of smudges/fingerprints/dust/etc. A screen protector is a must!

5) The resolution of the screen is not that high, 240×320. It is enough for most users but the N80 had a 352×416 screen that was simply beautiful. I wish they used at least that here. No big problem though, most people won’t even notice!

6) The battery is not strong enough for this phone. For me, under moderate to heavy usage it gets through 1.5 days.

Vaibhav: As for me, I’ve managed getting 24 hrs for a few days only in close to 5 months time! Web Browsing via EDGE really takes its toll on the phone and so does video recording. I’ve managed to kill the battery in 7-8 hrs too! But over a period of time with moderate usage I get a day’s juice out of it easily.

7) RAM: The RAM has been severely criticized in this phone. With only about 19MB of RAM available on boot up it doesn’t do justice a phone as capable as the N95. People who are coming from S60 2nd (Expect the N70) and most S60 v3 users are used to this though. Light multitasking is never a problem.

N95 8GB Later or get the N95 Classic Now?

Well the obvious reasons to wait are:

1) A bigger screen, rumoured to be 2.8 inches.

2) 8 GB of storage space.

3) A bigger battery. (1200 mAh)

4) 128 MB of RAM.

5) The Black colour for some.

However, since the phone is expected to be announced on the 29th of this month, it won’t be available anytime soon! December most likely, are you willing to wait that long? Secondly, as far as the storage space is concerned we should be starting to see 8GB flash cards appearing in the market for our existing N95 Classic around that time, so that’s not really an advantage. The 8GB variant will be much more expensive too!

Third, I’d sure love the more free Ram however is it worth the wait? The N95 would be a comparatively old phone by then and people will be looking towards the next N9x! 

The battery is a great add, however to accommodate it, out went the camera lens’ cover. That’s not really comforting. I personally don’t like the black variant much as far as the looks go, the smaller menu/multimedia keys are bit of an eye sore!

The facts are before you, what are you going to do? Do drop a comment and let us know!

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40 thoughts on “Should You Get The N95?”

  1. I’m an E70 user, and i wish i could get as much as N95 has in my device (plus amount of free RAM after boot from N76 😉 ). But i’m a qwerty-lover so i’ll stick with E70 for now.

  2. I couldn’t agree more with your review of all the wonderful features in the N95.
    For me, the only thing I would like to change is for a better battery and probably buy a new 8Gb storage card. For all the rest, I would stay with the current N95.
    Problem is the new battery won’t fit in my current model… maybe they release one that would be in the middle (That fits, has more power but not so powerful as 1200 mAh)

  3. informale, U could also consider a bluetooth keyboard then! 😉

    Cap, U hit the nail on the head, however i doubt if they’ll ever release a bigger ‘official’ battery for the N95. Don’t see that happening due to marketing issues with the N95 8GB.
    Chinese variants are available now too, however, i’d stay clear of them definately!

  4. I bought and returned two N95s. Both of them made a buzzing sound when the screen is on. A friend returned his because of the many software glitches.

    I hope the 8GB N95 has better build quality because I still want to replace my N80 with a N95.

  5. I’m pleased with my N95. Netherless, multimedia keys are unusable to my opinion and GPS is far too long to fix (even using AGPS) but I can live with that.

    My *real* concern is about battery life and THAT could drive me to buy a new N95 8Gb: if you need to travel and want to listen to MP3, you’d better dont need to call or be called since you cannot be sure to have enough battery!

  6. Ahmad, As far as the buzzing sound is concerned, i’ve faced this issue with my 6681 and a few other phones too. Specially the MotoRazr v3i. Fortunately, this has not bothered me with the N95! But one thing is almost certain, all phones have the sound, some more pronounced!

    I completely agree about the build quality lacking, the slider i hope is metal rather that the plastic as in the N95 classic.

  7. and it wld b costlier thn d classic by almost 10k at d time of launch,black wil make it cheap like d n73me.n95 classic, nice name givn bro! shld b recommended!

  8. I also hope we get the new multimedia menu in the next firmware upgrade (I dont think its likely though). That way I’ll press the multimedia key atleast sometimes 😛

  9. Guys since you know the N95 a lot better than I do
    Should I wait for E90 or just get the N95 now?

    My network said that E90 won’t be available until october or november but the N95 is already available…. should I wait for the E90 in oct. or nov.? or should I get the N95 now?

    I’ve heard of horror stories about the E90, some people have been waiting for E90 for a long time (which is like my case) and were disappointed and sold it after a month! There are also a lot of “horror” stories about the N95, I don’t know what to do now!

    Guys help please! Should I wait for E90 or just get the N95 now? Or is there another or a better choice for a new phone?


  10. There are horror stories about every phone but believe me the N95 is the least buggiest phone I have ever had since the Nokia 2100.

    The E90 is available here for OMR 370, I don’t know how much that would be for you. As for the horror stories you have to try both devices. They cater to different types of people. The N95 is a complete multimedia device with a 5 mpix camera and all. The E90 is more of a business type device with a high resolution screen with an aspect ratio suited to working on documents on a mobile device along with a QWERTY keyboard. What you pick is upto your personal style. 5 mpx vs 3.2? QWERTY vs T9? Portrait screen (while typing) vs landscape. Light vs heavy. Stylish vs bulky. Slider vs clamshell? I hope these questions helped you decide.

  11. Thanks Jamal, I read somewhere that nokia has stopped E90 production for the moment, maybe this is why our network will not have it until november? A lot of problems I think….

    I want a phone with simple business type features, like word, excel, notes and possibly e-mail, but I think both N95 and E90 can do it, its just more convenient with E90 because of wide screen and qwerty, and I think N95 only has a “read only” office and to be able to edit and create word documents I have to get or buy another software feature (freeware available already?)

    I am coming from an O2 xda mini and I enjoy the functions it has but it is getting outdated already….If the N95 can give me what the O2 mini gives, I have no problems with that!
    of course the 5mpx camera, gps, 3.5G connection are all pluses….If I get the basic office set up with the N95 I am happy!

    Jamal , do you think N95 can give me O2 office features?
    Thanks again!

  12. I have an N95 for about 4 months now. I agree with the main comments. My view is forget the GPS – I paid for the voice commands and they are rubbish compared with TomTom. The other problem is just in taking pictures – you take 1 picture then you have to press about 3 buttons to cancel uploads etc before you can take the next one! Why?


  13. Tony, half press the shutter button again after taking a photo. Viewfinder will be ready!

    Maop: I think you should hold out for the E90. The N95 will frustrate you as its not what you want. A Porsche Cayman S and the Mustang have about the same horsepower but one won’t fit the other. The Cayman is a refined sports car that takes turn with insane grip BUT it loses to Mustangs on the straight most of the time which cost a lot less. The glove must fit the hand no matter how nice it looks!

  14. Thanks Jamal, very good advice, I was kinda hoping that N95 will be able to give me some quickoffice functions like the O2, I really want the 5mpx and the tv out…
    i’ve read a lot of reports that the E90 has a lot of problems….I don’t know when Nokia will be able to fix them

  15. i love my N95 classic….but the N95 8gb is too good to resist . The extra .2 inches , 8gigs , more juice n the black colour make a world of difference …no to mention the revamped icons and UI.

  16. maop, The N95 can do office well. Combine it with a bluetoth keyboard and TV out and u’r good to go. The N95 8GB with its slightly bigger screen will be better for on screen editing.
    Nokia plans to release it by October! (or so i read!)

  17. Vaibhav, Thanks for the input, I read that quick office for the N95 is just a read only software? Is this true? or do i need to buy the whole software for me to be able to do “office work” like word and excel? or is there freeware available?
    Thanks so much!

  18. Yep, u’ll need to buy the editing features. That’ll give you excel, powerpoint and word. Another option is the suite from mobile systems, which also does the same things. However i think quick office is better.

  19. I postponed my purchase for a few months, decided to wait for the N95 8GB its very tempting, I’ve read that this new N95 is the “real” N95, this is what the original N95 should have been…

  20. Now I think my dilemma would be choosing between the classic and the new is, what would be more important for me an expandable memory slot or more RAM…oooh tough call…what do you guys think?

  21. The RAM cannot be expanded in any phone.. Sadly! N as for memory is concerned the N95 accepts 6GB cards too… Higher capacity cards that may come out in the future should also work!
    N as far as i know there’s no N95i… 🙂 Are u reffering to the N95 8GB?

  22. thanks VS,
    i heard that the ” N95 version 3 ” has a lot better upgraded features in comparison to the first N95…
    is it true?
    while buying the mobile how should i know whether the model i m buying is the
    N95 classic (orignal) or N95 ver.3 (new) …
    also do u think this would be the right time to go for N95 or should i wait n watch to see price drop post-DIWALI ?
    n yeah …. wish ya all a “HAPPY NAVRATRI MAHOTSAV”

  23. and yeah … right now i’m google-ing a survey … so guess dat N95i might just be a rumour 😉

    …. is ” N95 ver3 ” true?
    whats ” firmware upgrade v12 ” ?
    how do I know if its there in the N95 i plan to purchase ??

  24. The N95 8GB will be out soon. It has a bigger screen, more RAM, greater memory.. So if you can wait for it and have the cash.. go for the N95 8GB! The diff is plainly visible.. The N95 8GB is all black..

    There is no n95i. Another N95 version is the US 3G version which shouldnt concern you. N a happy festive season to you too!

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