Nokia N95 8GB review: Return of the king

GSMArena team, 23 November 2007.
Pages: 1234567

Box of goodies

The retail package of Nokia N95 8GB is brimming with stuff, but well, one gets to expect that with a price tag like this. Starting with the wiring, there are a USB and a TV cable.. The best DC charger produced by Nokia to date - the AC-5 model is also included. The two part music headset consists of a remote adapter and a pair of reasonably attractive headphones. The adapter is far more stylish than what came with Nokia N95 and holds more dedicated music keys. Finally, there is a whole bunch of manuals in the rather large box of N95 8GB. These include a user manual, a quick start guide and a couple of leaflets highlighting some of the handset's content sharing features. Unluckily, a leather case similar to the one we found in the N95-1 was not present with the N95 8GB.

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The retail package contents are on the rich side Some of the items found in the box The new handsfree looks much better and has more dedicated music keys

Black nugget

Nokia N95 8GB measures 99 x 53 x 21 mm, which is exactly the same as Nokia N95-1. The volume is increased from 90 to 95 cc though due to the wider front of the slider. It now covers the rear from edge to edge, in contrast to the previous model. The weight has also been increased by 8 grams to a total of 128. It's not exactly a small and neat handset, but it's still pocketable when closed. You might as well consider purchasing a carrying case anyway. The build quality seems a bit better with the N95 8GB for the short time we spent with it. By the way, we were pleased with the build quality of the original N95 too, except for the paint peeling off on some devices. Anyway, the black paint N95 8GB seems of better quality and we find it very unlikely to cause problems. The slider mechanism is smooth and easily handled, producing satisfying clicks when locking in any of the three positions. An improvement by all means. The only disadvantage we noticed is the fingerprint susceptibility of the shiny black plastic of the front panel. These are not easy to see though, visible only from a certain angle, but still aren't the most pleasant thing to look at.

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The glossy front panel is really nicely looking but susceptible to fingerprints The slider mechanism is smooth yet sturdy enough

The video-call camera, the light sensor and the earpiece are to be found at the top of the front. Right below them is the 2.8" display, which will be described a little later. The keys under the display are a little bit crammed up as compared to N95-1 but still feature the D-pad, two selection keys, Menu key, Multimedia key, Pencil key, Clear key and, finally, the Call and End keys. The Menu and Multimedia keys are almost halved in size compared to the original N95, but this doesn't affect their usability at all. All the keys are large enough and easily distinguishable so wrong presses are unlikely. The D-pad is very comfortable and the confirming center is easy to press.

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The keys are all very comfortable

Moving the slider down reveals the dedicated music keys. They are more comfortable to use in comparison to Nokia N95-1, providing more tactile feedback. When the phone is held horizontally the screen automatically rotates to landscape mode.

Sliding the upper part down no longer starts the multimedia menu automatically, which we find to be a good decision. The other way around was more of a nuisance, honestly.

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The dedicated music keys are now more tactile and user-friendly than the ones on Nokia N95-1

When the phone is slid up the keypad is revealed. It hasn't undergone any changes in the 8GB version and, frankly, it doesn't need them. The keys are placed in slightly arching rows, with enough headroom making the top row no problem to access. Texters probably won't frown at the keypad but still the alphanumeric buttons could've been a little more tactile. The terraced keypad of Nokia 5700 comes to mind immediately but if you're not into writing tons of messages you probably will be perfectly happy with Nokia N95 8GB, too.

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The alphanumeric keys are large enough but fall a little short of offering perfect touch orientation

We move on to the top of the phone to find the Power key. Its metal-like framing is a nice touch in our opinion.

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The Power key at the top with its metallic framing

On the left side of Nokia N95 8GB we find one of the stereo speakers, the 3.5mm audio jack and the Infrared port. Nokia N95-1 used to have a card slot on this side too but, as we already mentioned, the feature is missing in this handset.

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The left side holds the Infrared port, the 3.5mm standard audio jack and a loudspeaker grill

Jumping to the right side, we see the other stereo speaker grill, positioned right above the volume rocker. Near the bottom are the dedicated camera keys: a two-stage capture key and the Review key. The latter is used for accessing the last stored photo or video clip. This basically completes the list of controls on Nokia N95 8GB.

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One of the stereo loudspeakers and the volume rocker on the right The dedicated camera and gallery keys are also found here

At the bottom of the handset we see four apertures - the charger plug and the microphone pinhole are positioned to the right. The miniUSB slot follows dead center and, finally, the neck/wrist strap eyelet.

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Nokia N95 8GB bottom side: DC charger plug, microphone pinhole, USB slot and a lanyard eyelet

"...Nokia N95 8GB measures 99 x 53 x 21 mm. The volume is increased from 90 to 95 cc though due to the wider front of the slider. It now covers the rear from edge to edge, in contrast to N95-1. The weight has also been increased by 8 grams to a total of 128. It's not exactly a small and neat handset, but it's still pocketable when closed..."

As you already know, the lens cover has been removed and the LED flash is now located right under the 5 megapixel camera. The Carl Zeiss Optics label is of course also here.

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The 5 megapixel camera is the highlight of the back panel of the handset

The battery cover is easily opened to reveal the BL-6F Nokia battery. The manufacturer promises up to 280 hours of standby time and up to 6 hours of talk time. In reality, it will last for about 36 to 48 hours under heavy usage - (45 minutes of talking and about 2-3 hours of using the different phone functions a day). Heavy duty usage is what matters here, as being used for occasional calls only is simply not Nokia N95 8GB's cup of tea. If we must compare the battery performance against the original N95, we would call it a 50 to 60 % improvement, even though the nominal capacity has grown by less than a third. Under the battery is the SIM card slot, which has a nice lock mechanism.

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Nokia N95 8GB inside out Battery life has improved over the N95-1 The SIM card slot is just under the battery

Nokia N95 8GB feels great to hold and operating it with one hand is no problem at all. The slider will cause you no trouble, it will move upon but a flip of your thumb. Overall, the handset is a solid and very user-friendly slider.

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Nokia N95 8GB feels great in hand The phone is surely not the slimmest device around

Finally, we get to the backlighting of Nokia N95 8GB. It is just as even as in N95-1 but, this time the keys are illuminated in white instead of blue, which makes the handset easier to operate in the dark. The backlighting is also strong enough to make sure all controls are easy to use.

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The backlighting is strong enough so usability in darker environment isn't damaged at all

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The keys are backlit in white, which seems more eye-friendly than the blue backlighting in N95-1

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