I really liked the original N95, but a few things left me with a sour taste in my mouth. For the price, the build quality was absolutely appalling, the battery life was pathetic and it constantly ran out of memory. I reviewed the N95 just under 6mths ago, and in that time they have released a new version titled the N95 8GB. While it shares a similar design and innards to the original, it feels like an entirely new animal.
Note: Due to the server crash, the photos no longer have links to large versions. Right-click them and click “View Image” to see the full 800×600 version.
I always thought the N95 was a good looking device, very trendy and high-tech, but the N95 8GB is even better. I am a big fan of black products, and the the N95 it’s a change for the better. The black looks far less glitzy and cheap than silver, giving it a much slicker look. The button cluster has been shrunk to make way for a screen bump from 2.6? to 2.8?, and while that might not sound like much, boy does it make a difference!
As I’m sure you will have picked up, the N95 8GB now has 8GB of flash memory built-in. It no longer relies on microSD cards for memory expansion, in fact the microSD slot has been dropped completely, in favour of the large amount of internal memory. Some may be disappointed that the expansion slot has been dropped, but with 8GB onboard, I don’t think it’s necessary. The phone is supposed to be USB2.0, but to be honest it felt much slower than that, so filling up that 8GB will take a while.
You may notice than the display portion of the slider is now the same width as the keypad portion, removing the “step”. I’d say it was necessary to fit the larger display, but has the added side effect of much cleaner lines along the device.
Side by side, it’s obvious the N95 8GB is just a revision of the original. Photos like this really show that 0.2? difference in the screen sizes, somehow it just looks and feels like a larger increase than it really is. Nokia have taken advantage of the extra physical size and tweaked the interface to fit more onscreen where possible. You’ll notice on the standby screen there are now 7 shortcut icons instead of the 6 on the original. List menus also have an extra item for a total of 6 instead of 5.
The only problem with increasing the screen size without upping the resolution is it’s not quite as pin sharp as before. It looks brilliant, and it is a better display than the one it replaces, but a smaller screen with the same amount of pixels has that extra crispness. Shame they didn’t go with the 416×352 displays they put in a few of their other phones.
The display on the original was great, but next to the new 2.8? display in the 8GB it looks like they pinched it from an iPAQ 4150. At off-angles it turns a shade of yellow, whereas the 8GB stays white and true.
It’s also easier on the eyes, since everything is a little bit bigger while showing the same amount of info.
The yellowing at its worst….
As Judie will attest to, my biggest problem with the original was build quality. Honestly it felt cheaper than some $69 pre-paid phones. The slider rattled, the glue holding the back on wore out and the phone began undressing itself, and the silver plastic just looked a bit, well, cheap. I dropped the N95 once, and this is literally all the bits that fell off.
The E90 that I reviewed a few weeks ago had the best build quality of any phone I have used, so how did they get it so wrong with the N95? Well whatever happened, they’ve fixed it with the 8GB, it now feels like the top-of-the-line flagship phone that Nokia designed it to be
The basic design hasn’t changed, all the ports and buttons are in the same places as before.
The only thing that’s gone missing is the microSD card slot.
Whilst the navigation buttons have shrunk a bit, the numeric pad is identical, and just as responsive as before. I was never much of a T9er, but after spending a few months with the N95, I’ve gotten the hang of it, and whipping up an SMS or quick email isn’t much of a chore. For any longer text entry though, a QWERTY keyboard is the only way to go 😉
The camera lens cover has been removed, which could expose the camera lens to damage, but in the few weeks I’ve had the N95 8GB it hasn’t been scratched. The new camera design looks more refined, in line with the other changes to the 8GB.
The photos produced by both phones look identical using the latest firmware on both.
Nokia N95 – click for original image
Nokia N95 8GB – click for original image
In addition to smoothing the edges, Nokia has made the display on the 8GB almost flush with the face of the phone. THANK YOU NOKIA! The dirt that is forever bordering the displays of my devices is completely eliminated with the flush display, and not only is it practical but it looks better too!
Storage memory isn’t the only thing improved on the inside, memory for running applications has been been doubled, something it sorely needed. Open up the web browser on the original and within a few minutes you’d find all your applications will have been closed in the background. I never had this problem with the N95 8GB, so listening to music while reading the news is now possible.
The Nokia N95 8GB is a fantastic update to the N95, it improves it in many of the areas that I previously found fault with. I never really recommended the N95 to friends and family because of the poor build quality, RAM-deprived operating system and high price tag, but this new version has changed that. This is what the N95 should have been all along, a well built powerful smartphone that can take anything you throw at it. I couldn’t say it is worth the upgrade from a standard N95, as that’s a very expensive proposition, but if you are going out to buy one and have to choose, pickup the N95 8GB, you’ll be glad you did.