Nokia N95 8GB review: Return of the king

GSMArena team, 23 November 2007.
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N-gage reloaded

Nokia N95 8GB comes with two preinstalled games. Both of them are based on the new N-gage platform and even though they are demo versions, playing them is a nice experience. In all fairness, we faced some difficulties with the controls of FIFA 2007, which didn't seem properly chosen. We do miss the two dedicated gaming keys of Nokia N81 but anyway, let's wait for the official launch of the N-gage gaming site. There surely will be a larger number of games to choose from in place of the FIFA 2007 and Asphalt 3 Street rules. If you miss the games played on the old N95 you can always go to Nokia download center and get them for free. Neither the Snake, nor the System Rush game differ from the versions we saw in N95-1.

Finding your way around

Nokia N95 8GB, like the original N95, has a built-in GPS receiver. There is no official info regarding the chipset used, but rumor has it it's a SiRF Star II. Pity kind of, as the more capable SiRF Star III would have suited Nokia's top performer better. The SiRF Star II chipset is still able to cater to the usual user needs, providing information so precise that you won't notice the difference on most occasions. Unluckily, the problem with the slow initial satellite lock is still pending. The phone needs quite some time to find you initial position, especially if you start it when you are in a moving vehicle.

The built-in GPS receiver works with the Nokia Maps application, which is one of the software applications to offer the most detailed maps. Furthermore, it is free and relatively easy to use. Well, at least the basic information is free, because charges apply to the voice guidance and turn-by-turn navigation. You only get a three-day trial that goes with the new version of the Nokia Maps application, so you can see if the voice navigation is worth the extra dime. Regardless of whether you do or don't have voice navigation, Nokia Maps has support for Assisted GPS, which facilitates and speeds up the initial satellite lock.

The main downside of the GPS receiver however has nothing to do with its sensitivity. It lays in its incompatibility with 3rd party applications. In other words: if you want to make use of the built-in receiver you have to rely on Nokia maps. In case you want to go for another software solution you will have to purchase an external Bluetooth GPS receiver. This is not a very customer-friendly solution by Nokia at all. After all, the owners of Nokia N95 8GB paid good money for their phones and it would be nice if they can make full use of their capabilities instead of being limited to Nokia-developed software only.

So, leaving our frustration aside, we have to admit that the application itself is not that bad and has very decent looks. Furthermore, its route planning algorithm can be easily customized according to the user's preferences. Toll roads and motorways can be avoided and so can be tunnels and ferries. The route selection can be set to either fastest or shortest. The program can also be used for pedestrian navigation or you can switch the GPS receiver off to use as a substitute for your paper map.

Nokia N95 8GB Nokia N95 8GB Nokia N95 8GB Nokia N95 8GB
Nokia Maps is a nice application but we would've been much happier if the GPS receiver worked with third party software

The overall impression of using the Nokia N95 8GB as a GPS navigation system is positive but we would once again point out that putting in a better GPS chipset and making it available for 3rd party applications would have made it perfect. Still, if you don't have your expectations too high you might find Nokia N95 8GB's GPS just right for your needs.

"...If you think you can live without a camera lens cover and want to own a real all-in-one device - Nokia N95 8GB is your obvious choice. The N95 is also the cameraphone lovers stuff for matching superb photo/video quality with heaps of storage space..."

Final words

Sounds like it's the time for the scale-like motion with a N95 handset in each hand? After digging deep in that comparison, it now seems that an upgrade from N95 to N95 8GB is a really viable option. The 8GB is by all means no revolution, it's not like the original N95 owners will wake up to a brave new world. However, some of the most common (and probably most annoying) issues of Nokia N95-1 have been addressed and it's a real step forward for Nokia. So, if you have an original N95 and some of its flaws are really getting on you, look no further - N95 8GB is the cure. As for the other mobile phone owners, we would say that buying a Nokia N95 8GB is a decision you are very unlikely to regret. After all, there is hardly any feature that this handset doesn't have. If you think you can live without a camera lens cover and want to own a real all-in-one device - Nokia N95 8GB is your obvious choice. The N95 is also the cameraphone lovers stuff for matching superb photo/video quality with heaps of storage space.

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