The Nokia N95 was considered a powerhouse and one of the best smartphones on the market for its time. Nokia has taken the N95 and decided to improve on the legendary phone with the release of the N96, however will the N9....
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The Nokia N95 was considered a powerhouse and one of the best smartphones on the market for its time. Nokia has taken the N95 and decided to improve on the legendary phone with the release of the N96, however will the N96 live up to the expectations laid down by its predecessor, and bring something new and innovative to the market?
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Nokia went all out with the N96, putting just about everything you could possible think of into its case, including a 5 mega pixel camera, 16 GB of internal storage, a 2.8 inch display, landscape-oriented speakers , and even a kickstand to allow you to stand the phone on your desk while you watch mobile TV.
In summary, Nokia took everything that was great about the N95 and improved it. However, despite these developments, with the almost day-to-day advances in mobile technology we believe improvements to the core fundamentals might not be enough to keep the phone competitive in today’s changing marketplace. But, despite its lack of innovation, the N96 is still a nice phone and a great addition to the Nokia N-series line-up.
The design of the N96 is indisputably inspired by the duel sliding N95, however the N96 is a curvier, sleek and smaller phone than its predecessor. All the keys, with the exception of the navigational direction pad and the multimedia key, have now been made to sit flush with the body. The overall result from these minor design alterations, is that the N96 looks particularly more modern and sleek, than any N-Series phone to date. The phone now weighs only 125 grams and measures 103 x 55 x 18 mm.
The N96’s front panel is dominated by a 2.8in display which produces extremely vivid and colourful images, and stays readable regardless of the light conditions, which is a quality that is surprisingly hard to find.
The build quality of the phone is something left to be desired. The phones casing is constructed out of a glossy black and grey plastic and incorporates a few metal components, but unfortunately the plastic components look and feel cheap and is a magnet for fingerprints. For a phone of such calibre and price, it’s really disappointing that Nokia decided to go with the plastic finish, as it really takes away from the phone.
Finally, while we are still on aesthetics, the back of the phone houses the 5 mega pixel camera and a trippy kickstand that can be used to stand the phone on its own.
Nokia is known for producing good sounding phones, and the N96 is no exception. The call quality of the N96 is amazing; it’s probably one of the best on the market. People on the other end of our calls were surprised at the brilliant sound.
Messaging is relativity straight forward and easy to perform using the T9 numeric keyboard. Navigation is a breeze with the directional pad and the menu layout is easy to follow.
When it comes to battery life the N96 has an estimated talk time of around 3.66 hours this is slightly lower than the N95 which had an estimated battery life of up to 5 hours. Standby time is more or less the same as the N95, offering around 200 hours, overall battery life is still relatively good.
Finally the N96 has an integrated DVB-H tuner for mobile TV, although regrettably, Australia is still playing catch up in the mobile TV technologies field, and mobile TV services are still unavailable or very limited. However Nokia was kind enough to include one complete BBC TV series with the purchase of the N96 to keep you entertained for a while.
As previously mentioned the Nokia N96 houses a 5 megapixel camera, which has a Carl Zeiss Lens, auto-focus, auto-exposure, a video light, recording indicator and a dual-LED camera flash. While using the camera in good lighting conditions, the camera takes some really crisp photos, comparable to digital cameras, however in poor light environment, such as indoors, the quality of the images decreased drastically.
Despite its restricted photo capturing abilities, the N96’s camera has the undeniably cool ability to geo-tag photos. Geo-tagging allows for the embedding of latitude and longitude coordinates into each photo, so that information can be reviewed at a later date.
When it comes to music, the N96 has a well designed and easy to use music player. It had no issues playing any music file formats that we loaded onto the phone, nor did it have any problems recognising album or artist names of the said files. Audio quality was above average, taking full advantage of the two loudspeakers situated at both ends of the phone.
For the business-savvy, Nokia has included Quick Office which allows for the editing and viewing of Excel, Word , and PowerPoint files , in addition Nokia has also included an Adobe PDF viewer application.
Despite its lack of innovation, the N96 is still an excellent phone. Whatever it attempts to do, it does it well, resulting in a worthy addition to the N-series. The inclusion of 16 GB of internal memory is great, the sound quality is super and there are plenty of connectivity options. However the DVB-H tuner does not work in Australia and the price tag on the phone is steep to say the least. The average price for the handset is around $900. Nevertheless, if you are a Nokia N-series fanatic or if you can pick up the phone on a great plan (check out our website), then give the phone a go. However, if you are not overly worried about such things as brand names, then there are similarly priced smartphones on the market which offer many more features for the same price.