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Monday, October 16, 2006

The Nokia N95 could be a mobile rocket

Using the N95 in one hand mode
Using the N95 in one hand mode
The N95 in multimedia mode; Music, Images and Video
The N95 in multimedia mode; Music, Images and Video

The USB port for first time.
The USB port for first time.
Finally a proper headset jack in non music device.
Finally a proper headset jack in non music device.


Nokia has really leaped ahead with its latest NSeries the N95. This is the first time one can make parallels to the Audi RS series or BMW M series or the Mercedes AMG series in a credible way. The N95 is stunning technology statement, and it still looks cool. It is small enough to not be a joke.

I had an opportunity to play with a prototype and I was really pleased with the design choices. I like the fact that they made it a bit wider and put in a bigger screen. The 240x320 (QVGA) resolution is not grainy. It is of course not as crisp as the N80 352x416 screen. I liked the fact that it has a 3,5mm headset jack. I welcome the standard USB. As an avid liferecorder I love the fact that it packs a 5MP camera and shoots VGA video at 30fps. Finally not visible was the GPS, WiFi, HSDPA all should add real value.

When you put it next to a N70 which in many respects was the first mass market Series 60 device the N70 fades grey, when you put it next to N90, a longtime favourite, it makes the N90 sink into gadget sediment. When I put it next to the N93, I am really sad on behalf of anyone who has bought one. When I compare it to the N73 and k800i I still think they are great and will continue to sell a lot. I really have to go back to the 7650 to find a worthy benchmark. For me the 7650 was iconic, it was the first cameraphone. At the time I thought it was so important that I donated one on behalf of Nokia to the George Eastman house, a wonderful place for camera enthusiasts. Its archive holds all important cameras in the past century. I suspect the N95 could again qualify, they are nicely 5 years apart, a meaningful time in a larger scheme of things.

The device raises two concerns. First will the battery be sufficient, like in the N73 or disastrous like in the N80. It was a new battery which I had not seen before, so it is hard to judge. The second thought is around SW quality. To date the Nokia S60 3.0 have not impressed me with SW quality. Nokia claimed that this was going to be launched in Q1 and looking at the maturity now, I am carefully optimistic.

The Nokia N95 is according to my definition a transformer, a device which by user action can be transformed to three or more optimal states. The N95 can be compact for transport, expanded for input and voice ergonomics and lightly expanded for multimedia control. With Simple mechanical camera control this is not a lowest common denominator tool, but a true transformer. I still cannot qualify the N95 or any of the NSeries devices as Multimedia Computer, because of poor text input. The E61 is the closest thing to a multimedia computer, but it does not have a good camera.

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