Nokia N95 review: Nokia’s crown jewel

Crown jewel

David Polesný, 01 May 2007.

Keypad, control, and display

Pros: intelligent keypad lock • the functional part of the keypad is comfortable • good numerical keypad • large display • brightness control through a light sensor • brightness can be set up manually

Cons: numeric keys could have been made bigger • uneven backlighting under the music player controls • lower display resolution • small font size in the clock on stand-by • no information LED

Keypad lock is especially interesting. Once closed Nokia N95 will not bother you asking whether it should lock the keypad or not, like Nokia N80, for example. It locks it straight away, instead. Locking takes approximately 2 seconds, which allows you to go on working with the closed phone; a brilliant solution, indeed. The lock gets automatically released when the phone is open. Locking and unlocking as described above work reliably no matter in which direction the device is slid out; it is also applied when the camera lens cover is removed - the keypad is unlocked and you can start shooting; you close back the cover and the keypad gets locked again. Of course, the lock can be deactivated through sequential presses on the corresponding context keys without opening the phone. A standard automatic lock with user-configurable idle time is available too.

The functional part is very well elaborated. The navigation key is precise and confirms presses confidently; the glossy keys form an elevated frame facilitating touch orientation. Plenty of space has been conferred to the main and multimedia menus access keys, which is admirable. The C key and the Pencil are somewhat difficult to reach when N95 is closed, but they will be rarely used in closed mode, anyway.

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Comfortable, practical, no unnecessary design elements

The keys located on the right side of Nokia N95 deserve a compliment, too. They are big enough and a bit elevated, therefore easy to find by touch. The switch-off button on the top of the device is also useful, even though it is imbedded to prevent unintentional presses.

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The keys mounted on the right side are elevated and thus practical • no keys on the left side • switch-off button on the top of the device

The numeric keypad consists of waves: each line represents one wave. Keys are spacey, but we expected them to be even more spacey with respect to the phone size since there is sufficient area for enlargement. When you type messages you might find uncomfortable the fact that the elevated bottom edge of the phone touches your thumb when you press particular keys. Nevertheless, we like this keypad a lot and we give it a high mark.

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Imagine the sea – each line of the numerical keypad of Nokia N95 has the form of a wave

Numeric keypad backlighting is blue; the functional part glimmers with more colors. Backlighting is automatically activated when light intensity drops under a certain level. Light intensity is controlled by an ambient light sensor located above the display.

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Keypad backlighting is controlled through a light sensor

The keys on the opposite side revealed by sliding the phone are black and completely flat; there are no touch orientation markers, but it is not a big deal since there are only four such keys. They might seem touch-sensitive, but they are not; they are mechanical, their plastic surface flats out slightly when pressed. Backlighting is blue and - quite surprisingly - very even.

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Music player controllers feature no orientation markers

Large-screen show

We like the size of Nokia N95’s display a lot. The display has a diagonal of 2.6 inches, which is equivalent to a rectangle of 40 x 53 mm.

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The largest display a Nokia NSeries phone has ever had

Resolution has not been modified: it is a standard QVGA one offering 240 x 320 pixels. Whoever is used to Nokia N80?s extremely fine display, whose pixels are virtually invisible, may be disappointed with the display of Nokia N95, which is rather „rough“ and its pixels are clearly visible if inspected in detail. Yet this fact will hardly have any importance in daily use. The display is quite neat; font is slick and polished and masks lower resolution quite successfully. Perhaps, we would have hardly been speaking about roughness in the case of Nokia N95?s display if it had not been for N80. As a matter of fact, most PocketPCs which have really large touchscreen displays feature the same resolution as Nokia N95. Nokia has already proven that it knows how to produce fine displays. With applying a standard QVGA resolution it probably aimed at 100% compatibility with all applications.

Display comparison
phone dimensions resolution density
Nokia N95 40 x 53 mm 240 x 320 pixels 3,623 pixels/cm 2
Nokia N73 37 x 49 mm 240 x 320 pixels 4,236 pixels/cm 2
Nokia N80 35 x 41 mm 352 x 416 pixels 10,204 pixels/cm 2
Nokia N93 37 x 44 mm 240 x 320 pixels 4,717 pixels/cm 2
Sony Ericsson P990i 42 x 56 mm 240 x 320 pixels 3,265 pixels/cm 2
HTC P4350 (Herald) 43 x 57 mm 240 x 320 pixels 3,133 pixels/cm 2

The display shows 16 millions of colors; legibility under direct sunlight is brilliant. Backlighting is controlled through a light sensor, but at the same time you can set up brightness levels from the menu. Bear in mind that the brighter the display the more energy it uses. Default settings are optimal.

The menu offers a idle-time setup option for the backlighting (5 to 60 seconds) as well as a idle-time for the activation of the screen-saver (1 to 30 min.). In result, backlighting is off in saving mode, while the phone displays a bar with clock, date, name of active ringing profile and - if needed- icons of missed events. In screensaver mode the display is hard to see due to the lack of backlighting. Nokia N95 lacks an information LED that would twinkle when an event is missed such as the one in Nokia 6300.

Networks, data transfers, connectivity, and VoIP

Pros: GPRS and EDGE • UMTS and instant data transfers HSDPA • Wi-Fi • Bluetooth 2.0 including A2DP profile • Infrared port • miniUSB connector • USB Mass Storage • direct VoIP support • automatic setup of data profiles

Cons: data profiles cannot be automatically selected by priority • internal memory does not appear as USB Mass Storage • charging via USB is not possible

Nokia N95 is a quad-band phone, which means that it works in all four standard GSM frequency bands – 850, 900, 1800, and 1900 MHz. Here it offers data transfers via GPRS or EDGE. The phone also works with 3G UMTS networks. Apart from video calls you can also enjoy instant data transfers as fast as 3.6 MB/s thanks to the HSDPA support. The latter is already on the market in some countries, but there aren’t many networks with speeds above 1.8 MB/s.

Data transfers can be used for numerous applications straight in the phone no matter if you only browse the Internet, send images to your blog, download maps, or watch streamed video. If you like to use Nokia N95 as a computer modem, simply connect it and it will start working. The old famous much verified and constantly improved service program Nokia PC Suite creates all necessary settings on its own and when the phone is connected to a computer, all you need to do is click on the icon "Connect to Internet". Connecting takes a few seconds.

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A single click on Nokia N95 connects PC to the Internet

Using the details stored on the SIM card the phone recognizes the name of the active mobile operator and subsequently sets up all necessary data profiles - APN internet, WAP, and MMS – in accordance with this operator. If an application requiring connection to Internet is being run, Nokia N95 always asks for your preferred access point. In many cases the phone allows for presetting of a default access point that is subsequently selected automatically. Unfortunately, access points cannot be organized by priority or automatically selected according to their accessibility. To see how such options work, have a look at Sony Ericsson P990.

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Manager of access points for data connection • menu • editing the parameters of the access point • you can also assign different access points to various applications in the same directory

We tested the speed of HSDPA connection repeatedly in a city of half a million inhabitants. In the center of the city it was about 800 kb/s, while in the outskirts it would frequently reach 900 kb/s and even more. Apparently, connection speed depends to a great extent on how busy the respective network is.

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The phone offers an almost entire megabyte; upload is good

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More results measured by

One of Nokia N95’s greatest assets is Wi-Fi support. There is an option for quick search of available WI-Fi networks straight on the stand-by display. It is especially useful in case that you often need to connect via Wi-Fi out of your home, in a restaurant, for example. You don’t need to search any settings in the menu; all you have to do is select a network and connect directly, without any complicated setup. Nokia N95 searches for available networks on its own and if it finds a known network, it connects to it automatically. Of course, you could deactivate the automatic network search option and save a little bit of energy.

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Searching for available networks • connected to the network DAP • active stand-by mode menu • selecting another available network

If you are connected to a Wi-Fi network, connection appears on the stand-by display; if you select the connection icon, you can either search for other Wi-Fi networks, or select the option “Start web browsing”.

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Scanning can be enabled or disabled

In the settings of Wi-Fi connection you will find an option for mode selection (infrastructure/Ad-hoc) or even a security option (WEP, WPA/WPA2).

Calls via Internet

Nokia N95 has inherited Internet calling from its „siblings“ from the E-Series. This service is preset in the phone so it works without any need for additional applications. All you need is Wi-Fi and a corresponding setup.

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Setting up the internet phone is easy

Once you have set a SIP profile and an Internet phone account, when you dial a number, a new item called “Internet calls” will appear under the item “Video calls” in the context menu. This is how an Internet call is executed. However, if you want to not only make calls via Internet, but also to receive such, you should select the option “Permanent network registration” in the SIP profile settings. You can also set your preference call type from the call settings. If you go for Internet calls, Nokia N95 will dial all numbers via Internet. To restore GSM network connection, you will have to select it from context menu. As soon as Wi-Fi signals disappear, the phone will automatically give priority to GSM.

If you prefer to execute calls in Internet via Skype, install the freeware application Fring instead of setting up SIP profiles. As a result you may not have Internet telephony built straight in your phone system, but you will surely have Skype including all its extras. What’s more, this way you will even get along without Wi-Fi because Fring can also be used while the phone provides data connections to mobile network.

Stereo Bluetooth

Nokia has apparently „lost all love“ for Pop-Port, most new Nokia models feature a standard miniUSB connector instead. Nokia N95 is no exception to this rule. When you plug the cable into a PC, the phone will offer you four mode options: PC Suite, USB, Image print, and Media player. If you select USB, phone’s memory card will appear in the computer as a common removable drive. Unfortunately, Nokia N95 is not able to make its internal memory also appear in a computer as a new drive like LG Shine can, for example. Nevertheless, the fact that the phone does not go into Offline mode while it is connected to a computer through a cable, allowing user to freely make calls, is praiseworthy.

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Once the cable is connected, the phone asks you to select a connection mode • permanent setup of a particular connection is possible though

Nokia N95 uses two other wireless technologies to communicate with close range devices – Bluetooth and Infrared. Nokia motivates the presence of Infrared ports in all newly launched phones from the N-Series with the possibility to use phones as remote controllers. The pity is that there is no special application in Nokia N95 that would serve this purpose.

Bluetooth works reliably. Nokia N95 supports A2DP stereo profile. You can connect more than one device to the phone simultaneously – for example, Bluetooth headset for listening to music along with a computer for synchronization.

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Data connections setup menu • Bluetooth settings

Reader comments

Poor battery life indeed...

  • shivaa
  • 04 Jul 2021
  • fxH

N series phone is best quality on nokia world!! Plz again launch this phn!!

  • Aleksej
  • 21 Mar 2020
  • d%{

5MP GPS HSDPA Very handy 3.5mm jack