posted by Eugenia Loli on Thu 3rd May 2007 19:21 UTC

"N95 review, Page 2/2"
You can capture 5MP (or smaller) pictures using the back camera and QVGA pictures using the front one. You can record videos up to 640x480 in MP4 (sample recorded video) or 176x144 in 3GP format. One thing I did not like was that the phone creates 3-4 hidden thumbnails for each picture or video you take. This means about an extra 20 KBs of space needed for each media you snapshot. Manually deleting these files (while in USB storage mode via Windows XP), it takes suspiciously long time to get rid of them. Deleting your pictures via the file manager or the camera app does NOT delete these thumbnails which means that after a while, your transflash card will be filled up with garbage.

The most involving application in the phone besides the GPS Maps, seems to be the newly redesigned Camera application. There is support to modify zoom, scenes (auto, user defined, portrait, macro, landscape, sports, night, night portrait), flash (red eye reduction, on, off, auto), contrast, exposure, brightness, exposure compensation, self timer, sequence mode, color tone, white balance, light sensitivity and sharpness. We found the quality of the images snapped good-enough for a cellphone, but it can't compete with a real 5MP camera. However, the photos are good enough to print small pictures out of them and to rescale down for web usage.

h.264 support was added in S60 3.1 and indeed it played back perfectly a 230 MB QVGA h.264 file we had around, although the phone seems to reject valid videos that their dimensions are not multiples of 4 or 16 (e.g. a valid mp4 320x181 won't play but chances are that 320x176 will). The good thing is though that there is a proper full screen mode and that the phone can switch all of its UI (not just video) to landscape in less than 1 second (which is significantly faster than E70's 3 second switch delay last year). TV-out was great too, videos looked very impressive in our HDTV.

picture from the video-call camera

We found that the device has an audio hissing problem. If you listen to music with few instruments, or solos, you can clearly listen to all the hhhhhhh in the background. This is very unfortunate for a device which is multimedia through and through. You gotta be listening to lots of heavy metal to not be able to notice the hissing. The hissing is also audible while using the FM Radio (even when reception was perfect) or the video player. I will take a leap of expectation here and say that Apple's iPhone won't have such a problem.

Call quality was excellent, loud and clear, both ways. GSM reception was top notch, always showing 6-7 bars. Battery life is controversial though. We maxed out at 4 hours of talk time, but only 4 days of standby time (the phone supposedly can do 9 days). It seems that if you turn ON GPS or FM or Bluetooth or Wifi during a usage session, the hardware never turns off completely after leaving an application and so there is some "leak" of battery life that way. Possibly this can be fixed in the future via software. Stability-wise the phone is now performing well after we upgraded the firmware. With the original firmware we stumbled into random resets and "out of memory" errors once or twice, but these seem to be things of the past now.

Speaking of GPS, it was a disaster for us. Not once we were able to lock on a satellite. We waited for 10 minutes out in the sun (twice), but the phone's GPS antenna only established connection with 2 satellites (most of the time with only one) and never really got "locked" into them. Hence, we were unable to fully test the GPS application. The GPS app allows you to download maps for any region of the world you want, and also has route planning and city-guide support. Or so they say.

Other problems included WiFi getting disconnected every so often, and so Gizmo VoIP was getting disconnecting too. After upgrading the firmware the situation got a bit better, but not perfect. For example, instead of losing WiFi connection every 10 minutes, we now lose it every 40-45 minutes, again at completely random times, or mostly when using the web browser. Another curious thing was that while Nokia supports the Gizmo network (they test with it), when friends were calling me from the Gizmo Windows client I could not hear them at all (but they could) and only when I was calling them things actually worked both ways. Other than that, the VoIP in-call experience was as good as normal calls (with the phone getting really hot after 20 minutes on a call)...

In our opinion, the N95 is a powerful smartphone released 2 months too early. We are sure that most of the bugs will get ironed out in future firmware releases (there should be at least 2-3 more new firmware versions coming out before the end of the year), which is why we still have hope for this model and we would recommend it to power users. But as it is right now, you might or might not, get annoyed by some of the bugs still found in S60 3.1 and the problematic GPS antenna.

Pros:
* GPS
* FM Radio
* WiFi, VoIP
* Standard USB, audio ports
* Lovely 32bit color screen
* A2DP/AVRCP support
* 3D hardware support
* h.264/AVC support
* 5 MP camera
* VGA video recording
* TV-out

Cons:
* Extremely slow deletion of microSD files in mass storage mode via XP
* WiFi gets disconnected out of the blue (impact on VoIP)
* Incompatibilities with some Bluetooth headsets
* Mediocre build quality
* GPS wouldn't lock-in
* Audio hissing

Rating: 7/10

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  1. "N95 review, Page 1/2"
  2. "N95 review, Page 2/2"
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