You can use the front mounted navigation button for music playback control too, but it can’t mange playback while you are in another application. Use the slider buttons when in another app and you get a little window on screen showing the name of the track you have just jumped forward or back to, or restarted after a pause.
Twin speakers sit on the upper left and right of the casing and apparently provide stereo output with 3D sound effect. Frankly, they are so close together that this isn’t noticeable. They do, though produce a lot of volume and quality isn’t bad.
The provided headset is better than many in quality terms. If you want to use your own headphones instead of Nokia’s in-ear buds there is a 3.5mm jack just past the in-line controller. You did read that right. There is no Pop-Port connector. Nokia has finally seen the light and along with the 3.5mm connector is a mini USB connector for a PC link (a cable is provided) and a mini jack for mains power. The 3.5mm connector can be used with the provided AV cables to send the screen’s content to a TV. Beware though that the handset connecting section contains the antenna for the Visual Radio equipped FM radio.
The N95 has a GPS antenna built into it. I suspect this is the start of something big for Nokia. Its presence is part of an attempt to sell Sat Nav via its Smart2Go system launched in January.
The idea is that you can use maps for free and purchase a license to use the navigation side of things for limited periods. Payment is via the handset. A year’s UK and Ireland navigation costs £47.68, a 7-day license £4.42 and there are other fees in between. You can add this to your phone bill or pay by credit card.
The antenna is in the underside of the N95. Nokia doesn’t say what make it is, but it needs a little more TLC than usual. For it to have a clear view of the sky you need to have the bottom slider opened and the numberpad visible, and Nokia suggests you tilt the N95 at an angle of 45 degrees. All of which is a bit of a pain.
You need to download maps to the N95 and I’d suggest using the phone’s built in Wi-Fi or a PC to do this for free over your broadband connection rather than paying your network operator as you are talking about a lot of data. I don’t have space for a full review of the navigation software here, but on the few trips I tried it was OK but not outstanding.