The N95 8GB or the N95-2 is the successor to the N95 Classic (N95-1). A lot has been already said about the device both positive and negative; it has generally been dubbed as Nokia’s answer to the loads of complaints people have had with the original. Now being a device which benefited from public feedback, Nokia had to get this right. This post investigates how successful has it been in the endeavour.
(Before you get started here, if you already have not, I’d recommend reading my N82 v N95 8GB post as it covers a lot of what the 8GB can and cannot do.)
There isn’t much separating the two N95’s with both boasting similar specifications in terms of the Camera, GPS or Music. However there are differences although subtle at times which in the end matter to a great degree. It will be prudent to summarise the basic differences and their impact.
The black colour and the screen are probably the most discernable differences between the two. The increase in size is just .2″ however in practicality it looks huge. The screen looks just splendid. There has been a lot of criticism heaped on Nokia for not increasing the resolution of the screen along with the physical size, but in reality it is not an issue at all. The screen looks nice and crisp and unless you are used to a higher resolution, it won’t even be a factor that comes to your mind.
This till date remains one of the biggest follies of the N95 Classic. To correct this, the 8GB came with a 1200 mAh battery, a full 150 mAh more than its predecessor. The bigger battery has made quite a difference and made me consider getting the 8GB for this reason only. On average usage the battery lasts about 1.5 days and if you press it, on a full recharge it will at least get you through the day without the dreaded low battery warning. Heavy video watching will bring the average lower though.
On specifications both devices have the same camera, however practically the N95 Classic is much better. For one it has a cover to protect the lens from accidental and incidental scratches and second there is no tinge to the photos as there is in the 8GB owing to the lens being made a little differently perhaps.
When it came to video recording my unit running v15 firmware disappointed me no end. There is a lag after every 3 seconds or so while recording video and it makes video capture pointless. I hope this is not a case of slow internal memory and the latest v20 firmware does something to help. This could have been a case of my own unit being faulty, but I have seen others users have this problem too. However, there are people who do not have this issue. The only work around there is to this issue is to use the internal memory for storage and keep taking short 4-5 minute clips, transfer them to the memory card and then shoot again.
This is probably the best change with the N95 8GB benefitting immensely. The slide on it is nothing short of beautiful and gives the phone a very nice feel. It is way better than the N95 and glides effortlessly and seems much more durable; if my N95’s slide could and is still surviving for more than a year, this will too, easily. There is one thing I must point out though, like the N95 usually collected scratches under the numeric ‘3′ key – so does the 8GB but because it’s black the scratches are not that visible.
The complete D pad structure has also become narrower in order to accommodate the bigger screen. Does it make a difference? Absolutely not, in fact I like this one better. The buttons have been given a much more of a distinct feel and incline which make for great comfort. Current N95 owners might feel that it might be an issue or that it makes the phone look bad, I did before I actually played with the phone, but believe me you’ll gradually, if not upfront, like this setup better.
Is it a pain or is it a pain? My experience with it is bad, right from it not being useful for video capture to making mass memory not an option for message storage because of how slow it makes accessing messages. I have not even talked about transferring data via the super slow USB connection. On most days transferring video/music would be a job that would take hours, the average transfer rate I would get is 750kb a second! I really missed the ability to swap out the card and user my laptop’s card reader for filling it up. However since the video playback on the screen looked so great the device makes one put up with it without flinching much.
There have been quite a few other minor changes too. The multimedia keys are have been remodelled a little and are now much more useable with the buttons protruding a little. On the software side, the old multimedia menu has made way for the new one, which I must say I’m not too fond of. That being said, Mark over at the Nokia Blog has found that it is at least useful for multitasking in the web browser.
IS THE N95 8GB FUTURE PROOF?
I will resist the temptation to compare it to the N96 and we’r not quite sure what the N96 will finally be with there even being a xenon flash addition rumour and also because I only played with a proto running development stage firmware on launch at the Mobile World Congerss. So we’ll take that debate up when the N96 actually arrives. However we can dwell on what we can expect generally. The 8GB has almost everything the N96 has, the same screen, camera, GPS and form factor. However what it doesn’t have is 16GB internal storage at 5 times faster data transfer and an additional card slot. It also doesn’t have DVB-H and Feature pack 2. But what it has is 3D acceleration and a bigger battery. If we come to think of it there is nothing substantial that the N96 is getting and the faster data transfer might just be bartered off against better battery life. As we know today none of these devices has a xenon flash and to my mind that is the future. So if I were to label any device as future proof at least for the next year it would be the N82!
That apart, my current device of choice would be the N95 8GB, however if I already own an N95, would I buy it? The answer is yes and I almost did. However since I decided too keep my N95 in addition to getting that one more device, the N95 8GB did not cut it for me. For anyone else without an N95 or looking to discard the N95 for a newer phone – this can be that phone. When I first held the N95 8GB and played with it a little I thought to myself ‘this thing is miles ahead of the N95’ and if Nokia can fix the video recording bug, it truly will be!
In the next post, in this series, the N95 8GB will take on a very unlikely competitor!