Nokia’s new N95 is a tri-band GSM handset with 3G and HSDPA support. Like others in the N series it makes a big noise with its numerous bells and whistles, not the least of which is built-in GPS and a 5-megapixel camera.
I’ve found phones in the N series to be a bit hit and miss both in terms of design and how all the features are managed. Take the superbly designed N73, for example, and compare it with the over complicated N93.
Yes I know, I know, the Carl Zeiss lens in the latter demanded more space, but was all that tilt and swivel really necessary? Maybe not, as Nokia has managed to drop a 5-megapixel camera with some Zeiss optics into the N95 without all that swivelling malarkey.
The N95 is a slider, a format which can cater for quite small phones, but not in this case. One reason is that the phone has to house a fairly large screen measuring 2.6 inches corner to corner. Sadly, Nokia has not crammed in the pixels – you get a fairly standard 320 x 240 resolution.
Overall, this means that the N95 is chunky at 99mm tall, 53mm wide and 21mm thick. It’s not all that heavy, though at 120g and this is largely down to the plastic casing, which I have to say is a rather poor choice. On such a high end handset Nokia really should have chosen materials with a more substantial feel.
The other reason the N95 is fairly large is that it has two slider mechanisms. Pushing the top section of the phone upwards in the usual slider way reveals the number pad. There’s nothing especially odd about that; its keys are pretty large and I found using them perfectly fine. But you can also pull the upper part of the phone downwards and reveal a separate set of multimedia controls. These are not individual buttons but a flat area marked with forward, back, play/pause and stop icons, which you press to get the desired effect.
Nokia has not done itself justice with the feel of the sliding action. The main slider in particular feels less smooth than it should be, almost as if there was grit in the runners.
When you slide the phone to reveal these keys the screen flips into landscape format and offers a selection of multimedia options – the same selection you get when you press the front facing ‘Multimedia key’ that sits to the left of the navigation button. Use the navigation key to page through and find the feature you want and its centre button to select it. You use the keys to control music or video playback or the built in FM radio. I found that closing this slider was not enough to get the screen to flip back into its ordinary portrait format, you have to slide the number pad into view before that happens.