Nokia N95 launch round-up

Take my hand and join me as I scamper through the muck-tinged streets screaming "it's here! it's here!" at the top of my shrill voice; that's right, wealthy cellphone-lovers, the Nokia N95 has finally hit the shelves.  Reviews, hands-on first opinions, galleries and general vox-pop link baiting is sprouting up all over the blogosphere, and I'd be a bad parent and an even worse lover if I didn't offer to guide you through it.


First off, you succulent little monkeys, is the mighty Gizmodo's multiple galleries: first off a general tour around the N95's stubby body, followed by screenshot heaven as they take you through the major functionality via fifty shots of the damn thing in action.  Honestly, I've a good mind to just print off the pictures and stick them to a bar of soap – who needs a $750 handset!

Thing is, it's here that the first cracks start to show up: fitting a 5-megapixel camera, GPS, WiFi in b and g flavours, 2.6-inch screen, loudspeaker and HSDPA means it's a pretty chubby little bugger, 21mm at its thickest point, and to keep the weight down they've had to use a plastic casing which feels cheap compared to the metal favoured by Motorola or Sony Ericsson.  Initial battery life tests by the Giz boys aren't hot either; one day of standby with sporadic use.


It's a concern shared by Michael Oryl in his review over at MobileBurn; he found that, despite a decent talk-time result of 5.25hrs, the N95 couldn't manage a full day away from the charger. 

"The reality of the situation is that the N95 is a brilliantly conceived mobile phone that is nearly crippled by its battery life. A device such as this begs to be used, but the battery is not even remotely close to being up to the task" MobileBurn

You can tell it pains him, too, as the handset scores major kudos for the implementation of the S60 OS, media facilities that he rates as "legendary" and finally the wireless capabilities to let that superb Nokia web browser really shine.

Others share his admiration, too; in an act of shameless link-baiting (and oh damn, I fell for it) Wired News list their top five reasons why the N95 tips Apple's iPhone into a cocked-hat.  Not so much groundbreaking stuff – okay, so HSDPA is a major score, but as Gizmodo notes it's Euro-spec 2100MHz which means US users are stuck with EDGE – and we'll have to wait to play with the iPhone ourselves to find out if the much-vaunted touchscreen is prone to accidental taps.

Far more useful is All About Symbian's ongoing N95 coverage, taking a really in-depth look at navigation, music and visual capabilities.  They're able to quote a worrying battery statistic: 45 minutes recording video and the N95 will be pretty much out of charge.  Quality-wise, aside from some erratic audio issues it's better than the N93 by virtue of being smaller, more unobtrusive and having a broader selection of light conditions and sound levels.  A double-edged sword, then, for video blogging; being able to whip out a capable camcorder to catch impromptu footage, then edit it on-device, is very tempting I would imagine; problem is, that battery life issue could easily put a dampener on your mobile fun.

Om Malik is equally cautious, running down the 12 things you should know before you buy an N95.  His major hurdle – juice aside – is the paucity of push-email support, the on-board client not being to his liking and the best alternative (Dataviz's RoadSync) costs an extra $49.  The support for VOIP gets his thumbs-up, but all in all it's not a good report:

"A 2 GB micro SD card, $99 [sic] for RoadSync, a couple of extra batteries and chargers – you are looking at $1000 in total spend. A four-figure phone... That's too much for a gadget freak like me" Om Malik

Then of course there are the crazy people who see a new gadget as an excuse to take a good look at some electronic guts.  A flickr user by the name of DevilsRejection has opened up his N95 and posted some photos of what's going on inside.  Perhaps he could fit a small nuclear power station while he's in there?

Darla Mack is a happy bunny right now, seeing as she's found out that the N95 is one of a small number of Nokia handsets which can sync with the Rhapsody music service.  While I was reading that, however, I came across the unhappy news that UK buyers of the handset have found that certain network operators (so far Orange and Vodafone) have removed the VOIP functionality.  Looks like SIM-free is the only guaranteed way to make sure you have every last one of the features Nokia intended.

There's more information sprouting up all the time, and soon we'll be bringing you our own thoughts on the flawed but fulsome little marvel, so keep reading SlashGear for the highlights!