It was only last week that I wrote at the end of my review of the Nokia N81 8GB that you should keep an eye open for my take on the N95 8GB. Well, if you waited, you may be pleasantly surprised; because I'd say the N95 8GB is a better device.
When I looked at the original N95 I was not overly impressed. Sure it crammed in the features, but I found the handset large, build quality less than stunning, battery life poor, GPS antenna iffy and general software running a bit slow. Hardly a ringing endorsement.
The original N95 has had several firmware upgrades since my review appeared which I understand have dealt with some of the issues. But the good news is that the N95 8GB is an all round better handset from the start.
It is still a beast of a mobile weighing you down to the tune of 128g and measuring 53mm wide and 21mm thick. It is 99mm tall and when you open the slider to get at the number pad it grows to a staggering 130mm. In terms of its size and shape, then, this mobile is not for those looking for neatness - in fact it feels like a throwback to the clunky phones of yesteryear. It needs to offer a big payoff for requiring you to carry it.
The ‘dual slider' concept remains. The number pad slides out of one end, and out of the other, a bank of four buttons for controlling music playback. I wasn't bowled over by the concept last time round and it doesn't grab me much this time either, but as before, you can use these buttons to control music playback when you are in applications other than the music player, which could be handy.
As a quad-band 3G handset with front facing camera for video calling, the N95 8GB is nothing special. Nor does the 5-megapixel Carl Zeiss optics-toting main camera have the ‘wow' factor it once did as there are plenty of 5-megapixel cameras on phones these days.
But thanks to the huge library of built-in software, 8GB of flash memory (plus another 100MB for messages, ringtones, images, video clips, calendar, to do lists and apps), Wi-Fi and huge screen, the N95 8GB does come the closest I've seen yet to Nokia's aspiration of putting a real computer in your pocket.