About a year ago Nokia released a tech-freak's dream of a handset offering a mouthwatering horde of features in a fairly compact size. The omnipresent N95 spawned a successor and now the question is how much better can it get. Nokia N95 8GB sure has good genes but there still seems to be enough room for improvement. At first glance, Nokia has heeded user complaints with the original and addressed them properly. However, we are yet to see if the enhancements are enough to make the N95 8GB the definitive upgrade from the previous model or is it about laurel-resting mostly.
Only recently did we notice the N95-1 label on our original Nokia N95 box. It seems that Nokia have had plans for expanding the N95 family even in those early days. Now in order to clear up terms here, we are just making a remark that currently the 8GB version of Nokia N95 that we are reviewing here is called N95-2, while the American version supporting the US 3G bands, is known as N95-3.
Reviewing the N95-2 today makes it seem that our task has become a little bit more complicated. In addition to the usual in-depth review, we will try to highlight how Nokia N95 8GB performs in comparison to the original Nokia N95. The differences in specs seem about enough to justify the extra cost, so performance might just push the users' choice this way or the other. Plus, it is quite difficult to compare Nokia N95 8GB to any existing model on the market. After all, there is no other device to even come close to N95 8GB in terms of the features offered and the size of the package they come in. The HTC TyTN II has similar functionality, with a QWERTY keyboard on top, but it weighs the considerable 62g more. The Sony Ericsson W960 is probably the closest competitor, swapping GPS functionality for touchscreen. However, the UIQ interface of the Symbian OS is not even as nearly enjoyable as the Series 60.
So, back to comparing N95 and N95 8GB, we start with the hardware differences of these two handsets. The Nokia N95 8GB has a larger screen, and in reality the 0.2" do make a difference. The display truly looks larger than you might guess. The QVGA resolution stays the same and is adequate for providing great picture quality, especially when combined with the 16.7 million color support. Other benefits of Nokia N95 8GB over its predecessor is the doubled RAM, which makes the phone faster, even with more applications running in background. The card slot however has been ditched and this might seem perfectly coherent with the 8GB of storage space provided. On the other hand, a card slot can be very useful as a file transfer medium. Though not so frequently used, it's worth having data transfer options. Another advantage of Nokia N95 8GB is the notably better battery life. Short battery life was probably the most criticized feature of the original N95, some heavy users reporting to have been forced to recharge a few times a day. Now, with the 1200 mAh and the demand-paging feature enabled, the Nokia N95 8GB is a real step up. The fact that only the most essential parts of the programs are loaded in the RAM memory with the rest remaining on the mass or phone memory until it is needed reduces the memory-needs of the phone and therefore increase the battery life. However, it is not all milk and honey for the Nokia N95-2. The spoon of tar is the removed camera lens cover. The newly released phone relies only on a slight recess for camera lens protection from dirt and smudgy fingers.