Nokia Summer 2007
Nokia has updated the N95 multimedia computer into several new versions. There is an all-black version that boasts 8GB of internal storage, as well as a new version for the U.S. that includes 3G. Putting them side by side, the differences are quite striking.
The 8GB model is jet black all the way around. In most respects, the form is nearly identical to the original, but the screen is changed. The original N95 (and the U.S. version) have a 2.6-inch screen. The 8GB model has a 2.8-inch screen. This difference may seem minute, but in real life it is huge. Putting them side by side, the screen of the 8GB looks far larger than the standard and U.S. versions.
Also, on the original and U.S. versions, the top sliding mechanism is perhaps a millimeter or two narrower than the body of the phone itself, creating an edge along that seem. On the 8GB model, the width of the sliding portion is even with that of the edges of the body underneath, creating smoother sides. It is still just as fat as the original and U.S. versions, but it feels smoother in your hand because this seam has been made flush. Lastly, to fit the larger screen, the navigation cluster has been squished down a little bit. Even though the size of all the keys was reduced, it was still easy to use. The action of the keys was good, and telling one from the other was a snap.
Unfortunately, on every N95 we picked up, the sliding mechanism felt terrible. In fact, on one of the pre-production units the slider was very loose, got stuck, and was difficult to use. The software was also buggy and slow. Half the time you popped the slider up, the screen would reorient itself to landscape mode, even if you were using the keypad, and not the media keys. Closing the N95 seemed to be the only way to get the screen to go back to standard mode.
The back portion of the N95 has also been revised, both for the 8 GB and U.S. versions. The original featured a raised sliding lens cover that was the cause of a lot of customer complaints. Nokia listened and ditched the sliding lens cover. Instead, the surface of the lens is embedded further into the body of the phone to prevent your fingers from clouding it up with fingerprints.
One complaint we wish Nokia had listened to was about the keypad. Unfortunately it is exactly the same. The squished and tiny keys are rounded with a raised surface, creating "valleys" between the keys. It is very easy for your thumb to slip into a valley and accidentally push the button above or below the one you intended. It is also recessed into the phone, and framed by the high ridges of the sliding grooves. This makes the keypad harder to use than many other keypads on slider phones.
The N95 8GB and U.S. version also have the same 3D multimedia menus. Other than the screen and massive internal memory on the 8GB, it is not much different in the functionality compared to the first version of the N95. The only differences between the U.S. and original versions are the U.S. 3G radio frequencies, and the slightly revised camera housing.
We were also able to shoot a short video with the N95 8GB. You can watch it here:
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