On the other hand, the quality of video output to a TV using the provided cables is great. There are added bonuses as far as this is concerned as when you attach the N93 to your TV you can send anything you like to it. That means things like Web viewing, photos and other content.
The N93 runs Symbian S60 v3, making it a capable smartphone with core applications like contacts, calendar, tasks manager built in. There’s an Office group of applications that includes a sound recorder, unit converter, calculator, note taker, the Adobe PDF reader and QuickOffice for viewing PowerPoint, Excel and Microsoft Word documents. Though as ever looking at documents on the 320 x 240 pixel main screen is going to be a bit of a challenge, albeit that the screen is among the brightest, sharpest and best I’ve seen on a Nokia handset. At 36 x 49mm it’s one of the largest too.
The Office group also sports a barcode reader. You can use this with the camera to extract information like URLs and phone numbers from barcodes. I can vouch that it works, but also that not all barcodes offer such information, and frankly, I think it’s of dubious utility. Still, if you want to go mad scanning barcodes, I guess you can do so.
An FM radio and music playback are both on board, as is Nokia’s LifeBlog software. The Web browser worked fine both over 3G and Wi-Fi, which is here alongside Bluetooth and infrared.
Music playback was loud and of listenable-to quality through the speaker, and fine through Nokia’s provided headset, but why-oh-why didn’t Nokia provide a converter from Pop-Port to 3.5mm. The box includes a protective pouch, USB cable and TV cables, so why not the oh-so-cheap Pop-Port to USB converter?
There is an absolutely tiny front screen which looks lost in the front fascia, but despite its mere 128 x 36 pixels it has some useful functions. It shows the current time and signal strength, and will tell you who is calling and whether the incoming call is a video call. If you happen to be playing music through the handset, the right side-mounted mini navigation pad can be used to control playback.
The N93 has 50MB of internal memory, which frankly, just isn’t going to be enough. Never mind carrying music around to play back, you are going to need some serious storage for video footage. Nokia includes a 128MB mini SD, but again this is paltry. It would have been nice to see Nokia cross a line and ship a 1GB card with the N93.
When it came to testing the camera both stills and video shooting were impressive. Indoor still shots in low light conditions were the most disappointing, but the sample image below, shot indoors by a window into which autumn sunlight was streaming shows the lens’s ability to cope with fine detail and also the capabilities of the auto focus at close range – the image was shot very close to the subject so that focus is lost out to the left side, but the fine detail is striking.
I got a mere five and a half hours of continuous music playback through the N93’s loudspeaker, playing music from a miniSD card. In general use I found myself charging every two days just to be on the safe side. Given all the potential in this handset, from Wi-Fi to movie shooting, 3G video calls to TV-out potential, it is a shame the battery didn’t perform better.
Video and stills shooting are clearly the N93’s main selling points, but there is a lot more going on here thanks to Symbian S60 v3. It is a great shame the N93 is such a beast for the pocket and has so little internal and provided memory. If Nokia could squeeze the overall hardware size down, the N93 would be very desirable indeed. As it is, it is just too bulky to be a main handset and too expensive to be a second one.
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