Nokia 9500 review: Communication expert

Marek Lutonský, 26 November 2004. Read the original review at MobilMania.cz
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Tags: Nokia

So far perfectly firm

As well as all older communicators the new one could be used as a telephone when closed. In order to get to the big display and the full-functional keypad it is necessary to open it. The first innovation could be seen right away - with the 9500 model one can make phone calls just like with any usual mobile phone; the old model had to be put to the ear with its opposite side, i.e. with the display turned outside. Moreover the phone is tri-band.

One of the disadvantages of the old communicator was the joint connecting its two parts. Not to undo it, but I have to stress the fact that the new model's joint does not creak at all. One of my colleagues was surprised to find out that it is relatively elastic and can be taken down nearly to the keyboard level by a slight pressure only. I guess the purpose of this constructional solution is to prevent the joint from getting out of its socket. A strip with contacts connects both parts of the communicator. The touched up stability deserves an honorable mention as well. Nokia does not outbalance as easily as it used to.

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Nokia 9210 used to creak a lot when fold open. Let's hope we will not have that difficulty with the new communicator.

Close once again: let us call

Nokia 9500's front side looks like and also behaves like a usual phone of Series 40. It has a small asymmetrically placed display - just the same as in Nokia 6230. It is an active matrix with 65 thousand colors. It is good quality and allows a background picture setup. There is a huge keyboard with classic managing panels below the display. You will find a four-way scroll key with confirming functions as well as operating keys. The keyboard is good quality but unfortunately any fingerprint left on its surface can be paid heed - the situation with the display is the same.

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Cover display • background lights • details of the cover display

When closed the phone disposes of limited number of functions. The small key in the right upper corner starts the communicator. It also elects the ringer profiles. When closed you can use the communicator for calling, searching in the address book (by consecutive writing). Nokia 9500 does not offer a T9 dictionary. That is why when writing messages you would do better if you open the communicator and use the big keyboard. Only received SMS and a list of the e-mails are possible to view. To read the message bodies it is once again necessary to move to the internal display. (Correction - Actually you can use the outer display to read, write and send SMS also.)

With Nokia fold closed you will also manage to view the lists of all dialed, received and missed calls, operate with the SIM Toolkit and do basic settings as well as work with the integrated camera., whose resolution is a standard one: 640 x 480 pixels. I am not going to describe the camera in details for it does not bring anything new.

Photos taken with Nokia 9500

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When used as a phone the communicator has a strong tendency to wear out. That is why I would recommend using a handsfree set when working in the office for example. A cable one is to be found in the delivery packet, a Bluetooth one has to be bought additionally. The sound coming from the headphones is average - just opposite to the perfect sound performed by the loud handsfree set activated by fold open the communicator.

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The communicator is sold with extras as a data cable and handsfree

I will not talk about the phoning process any longer, so I would like to mention the fact that the communicator does not have vibration. The rest of the operations though meet the usual requirements for a modern mobile phone, including the usage of MP3 files as ringtone.

What is to be seen on the cover display?


Main display • three items from the main menu


Address book • name details • writing a message • user's menu


Ringer profiles • menu color set-ups • camera • camera setup fotoaparátu

Battery and accessories

There are no buttons on the sides of the phone. Behind the small front platform under the grating there is a hidden loudspeaker. At the bottom a Pop-Port connector and the battery charger socket are placed. On the backside you will find the camera lens and the battery cover. The latter is very difficult to open, but much more important is its stability.

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Loudspeaker grating • Pop-Port, in a narrow stripe just above is the infrared port, a little upper is the exchangeable cover lock • camera's lens • back cover lock

The enormous battery has a capacity of 1300 mAh. Its duration depends to a great extent on whether the communicator's Wi-Fi is active or not. When activated Nokia is officially given 240 hours, after switching off up to 300 hours. My first tests with the communicator have shown though that it cannot manage for more than two days, sometimes only one without a recharge.

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Communicator without a back cover

Before placing the SIM card into the socket it is necessary to take the battery out. The slot for the memory card is located separately. It fits in MMC cards of the usual size, which can be hot swapped while the communicator is on. At the beginning the communicator is going to be sold without a memory card, but in a short period a model with a card enclosed should appear on the market.

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You will reach to the SIM card after taking the battery away only • the memory card is also accessible when the phone is on

There are two aerials installed in Nokia 9500. One is on the backside next to the camera; the other one is placed sideways. I spent a long time looking for infrared port, but did not manage to find it and had to look it up in the manual - so the narrow black stripe above the system connector - that is it!

A few words regarding the keyboard

Starting the communicator is a 2-step process. After inserting the battery the inner part gets started immediately and the internal display lights up. The booting does not start straight away though. It is necessary to wait for approximately one minute. Pressing the button on the front area can turn on the telephone itself. After being started Nokia recognizes the mobile operator and automatically sets up multimedia transfers and GPRS networks, which is quite comfortable.

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A switch for the phone part

I am opening the communicator and I can see a fully functional keyboard spread all over its bottom part. In contrast to the last model, whose keys were separated, this time the keyboard is compact. It has evidently been touched up: the keys do not move sideways, when pressed they are more reliable. A colleague drew my attention to the fact that he did not really feel comfortable with the key of the old communicator being placed in the form of a nut - not as on a computer's keyboard, where the rows fit together. The key order in the new model is just the same as in the old one. I do not really mind that fact, but I would rather mention it for it could be a problem for some users.

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Some details about the interior keyboard

Having on mind the keyboard size it is quite evident that the ten-finger writing system is just not possible. Holding the communicator in your hands, you would do best if writing with your thumbs only. If it is placed on a desk you may use any two fingers of each hand. The keyboard is one of the main pluses of the communicator. Anyone of you who needs a mobile device for more complicated activities than just viewing data will definitely appreciate it. There is no problem working with e-mail. I even used to write articles on the old communicator.

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A hand laid on the communicator objectively shows that the ten-finger writing system just cannot work

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