The N96 – Positioning In The Nseries


It has been a few days since I got back from Barcelona and the N96 product launch and I have been thinking about it more and more. Will it work? Won’t it? What might be the reasons for its failure or success? In this post I will try and give a run down of all of that and compare it to some of the Nseries devices already in the market.

The N96 is expected to be out in Q3 at about 550€ unsubsidised. Now what that means is that the price of the current crop of Nseries will continue to fall till then on launch the N96 will be at least 100€ more expensive than any other Nseries on the market. Does it have enough to get the consumer to spent that little more? Lets have a look:

Vis-a-Vis the N95 8GB


– The first obvious benefit is the 16 GB. I personally will be happy with 8GB itself as I am not much of a storage person, but what the N96 is also bringing is upto 5 times faster data transfer. Thats very tempting.

– Next on the list is DVB-H, at least for the regions where it is available. For the rest of us pretty much useless.

– The jump to the N91 music quality or probably better is huge. If I’m in the market, it’ll be a big factor for me personally.

– While the form factor is similar the placement of the multimedia keys on the D pad in addition to the slide out section is a neat addition. Some people would hate it, but I see no wrong in giving the consumer choices, the more the merrier!
As far as looks are concerned, I quite like it. It is not subtle class but pure flash which will be a good for a change. Hardware wise, the slide is also better.

– Dual LED usable while video recording.


– No 3D Acceleration, but then the current crop of Ngage games arn’t utilising it. But still it would have nice to have it.

– A smaller battery. I have no clue how big the benefits of software optimisations will be, eager to test it out.

– Price.

Apart from the N95 series, the N82 is the phone to beat.

Vis-a-Vis the N82

– 16GB is not a big factor as micro SD cards that size have been announced and should be available by the time the N96 comes out.

– Having light while video recording is a plus but the xenon flash on the N82 makes up for it while taking images.

– What the N82 cannot match is the screen size (2.8″) and the music quality. Two essentials for me. As much as I would like the flash the screen and music are far more important considerations.

Who will get the N96?

That’s a tough question to answer specially when the device is not even out yet. Perhaps it may even be absurd to even try and characterise its prospective buyers but here’s my prespective nevertheless. The first catagory will be the people who have been waiting to get an Nseries flagship and have given the N95 series a skip. Second would be people owning the N95 claasic but they would face a dilema because of the battery and lack of 3D acceleration. Few N95 8GB owners would want to get the upgrade unless they are hardcore music freaks. If web browsing is important then the N96 will face the heat again as according to the product manager it will only do about 4hrs on wifi!

The bottomline is that the battery has to deliver, otherwise it will be just another handset that came and went.


19 thoughts on “The N96 – Positioning In The Nseries”

  1. Another advantage over for the N82 is that the keyboard doesn’t have to be open to get better GPS reception. unlike the N95 also.
    This is big possible disadvantage for me.

  2. I was initially impressed. Now I think that the N96 can be skipped. From the specs, the only thing going for it is the storage. Why would you want 16 GB of storage on a mobile phone? Isn’t 8 GB good? Live TV too seems luxury to me. When you’ve got N95 8 GB, which has got almost everything you’d want in a mobile phone, except may be live TV, touch screen, and a QWERTY keypad, N96 isn’t much of an upgrade. N95 is cheaper too.

  3. Dave, The GPS antena on the N96 is better located than the N95 and AFAIK opening the slide isn’t required anymore.

    Kay, My thoughts exactly, but what the N96 offers and tempts is great audio quality. But it will be tough for Nokia to convince a N95 8GB owner to upgrade.

  4. Personally I think this will tempt new users rather than existing owners of the N95 or the N82. Personally I can’t see why anyone who owns an N95 / 8GB or N82 would even consider this model.
    Seems like to me as usual, Nokia are filling the gaps with models again. Shame as I expected something more from them.

  5. The coming months would be the best time to buy N95/N95 8GB/N82 as N96 will bring down their prices. I’m going to buy N95 8GB next month. For music, instead of an expensive N96, an N73/N70 ME would do!

  6. I would also be tempted to get an N95 8GB but the N73/N70 won’t even come close to the N96’s quality. It will be a huge difference. I think I will only be able to make up mind once I actually get my hands on the device once more and this time for much longer!

  7. I really like my N95 8GB,it looks nice and comes with all the features that the N96 has to offer….of course the N96 has an upper hand here with its 16 gig+micro SD slot,DVB-H tuner,alleged sound quality improvements…here’s why i think the N95 8GB users would not wanna upgrade:(opinions may differ of course)
    1. N95 8GB has a more tactile keypad,grip….i dint find the N81 very comfortable…
    2. N95 8GB has a matte finish opposed to the glossy finish of the N96 which can collect a lotta fingerprints…
    3. The menu key and its colleagues looked kinda crammed in there…
    4. The N96 has no 3D acceleration(not an issue as of yet)…

  8. Bery, I asked the product manager as to what audio quality can we expect from the phone, the N91 level? He said may be even better!! So thats how. 🙂

    Ali, as far as being cramped is concerned, the bigger size of the N96 v/s the N81 does help sort that issue out.

  9. Interesting opinions Vaibhav, and I hope you had fun at MWC.

    I believe the worst parts of the phone are indeed the lack of Xenon flash and 3D accelerator.

    I’m expecting for the device to actually be a success, as the specifications are enough for most users. I set up a blog not long ago, and hopefuly will turn the ones who don’t appreciate the N96, into people who are happy with it,

  10. Meraj, Actually even I think it will do well. It has cutting edge specs which attract most consumers, it is only some of us who expected ‘more’ and were somewhat dissappointed.
    And MWC was a Blast!

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