Nokia N95: is it better than a stick in the eye?
December 20, 2007 12:17 PM   Subscribe

I have serious tech lust. I think I want to get the American version of the Nokia N95. Please help me decide if this is the phone for me.

Pros: combines several functions (mp3 player, 5 megapixel camera, 30 fps video, gps, FM stereo, some great applications, pocket version of a VOIP client, web browser, works on 3G on AT&T, bluetooth, micro SD, 1 gig.

Cons: Cost! ($619-$699), have to get an AT&T plan, have to use a sim card from the AT&T plan

I am uncertain about how the phone will function in the states. Nokia has released an American Version (N95-3) which has some nice (extended battery life) features and has done some things that seem not so nice (gotten rid of the sliding lens cover for the camera).

So, if any of you have this phone, would you buy it again? What do you like best? What is a pain? Any support issues on using it in America? Any apps that are "must have"?
posted by zerobyproxy to Technology (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: If you want the N95 - you definitely want the American version. The other versions (vanilla, 8gb) do not function on America's 3G HSDPA frequency which keeps you at 2G/EDGE... severely limiting the usefulness of all those flashy multimedia features!

I had the option of getting an N95, price wasn't really an issue as it was being paid for by my company. However, I ended up getting an E65 - less flashy but a lot nicer looking, lighter, smaller and fits my needs fine (mobile email, web, average camera, S60 platform, wi-fi, voip).

Are you sure it costs $699 w/ AT&T plan? I'm fairly sure it's $699 unlocked which means you can use a prepaid SIM from any provider (but obviously you'd want one that supports HSDPA!).
posted by puddpunk at 12:40 PM on December 20, 2007

Best answer: I've been using an N95 for many months (first the EU version then the initial US version and then the 3G/8GB version).

I like it very much. It has the US radio bands, notably 850, and I find it to be a great phone. Better as a phone than iPhone for sure. Great speaker phone.

The camera is fantastic, if a bit on the pokey side. I noticed that the lens cover went away but the latest version as the lens recessed a bit so that works well.

I like browsing with it too--3G speeds (or WiFi) and browser built on Safari (not widely known).

Now, like most smartphones (and yes, I've had this happen with my iPhone) it's running a ton of software and will crash once in awhile.

All in all, I love this phone--best S60 phone I've had (and I've had many).
posted by donovan at 12:40 PM on December 20, 2007

i have the n82 and love it.

same as the n95-3 but with xenon flash and lens cover and no silly slider...

comes with 2gb micro sd, i just got a 6gb micro sd for it.

only no 3g. but i use wifi everywhere...
posted by dawdle at 12:54 PM on December 20, 2007

Best answer: I too think the N95 is an excellent phone. As you said, the camera is nice, the GPS is cool and wi-fi is excellent. The Gmail and Google Maps apps are pretty slick. Browser works well enough too. What really sealed it for me was it's a audio player good enough that I no longer carry a single-purpose .mp3 player. The actual media player is nothing impressive, but it has a standard 3.5mm audio jack and that was huge for me. I can plug in just about any pair of headphones and don't need to keep track of one of those tiny, annoying adapter cords.

In short, this is the first phone that really got device convergence right in my eyes.

If you've got the money for it, go for it. It's not cheap, for sure, but I imagine it will keep you happy for quite some time. Do *not* buy it on contract. Getting a plan is fine, but don't let anyone at AT&T (or any other carrier w/ 3G) convince you that it has to be contractual. I was on a non-contractual Fido plan with my N95 and had no problems. I just bought a SIM from them for $25 or so, popped it in the phone and was good to go.

On other downside is the Nokia PC Suite is nothing to write home about. Their media management software especially is pretty awful. There are alternatives of course, but that's just something else to be aware of.
posted by Nelsormensch at 12:58 PM on December 20, 2007

A couple other things that occur to me . . . first, I like the slider form factor if for no other reason than the keypad locks automatically so I no longer pocket-dial people. Also--and I don't know if this applies to you--there is a Nokia client for Exchange so I get my work email and calendar synched over the air. It's great and I don't have to use the PC Suite, which sucks (and given that I use a Mac is not an option).
posted by donovan at 1:06 PM on December 20, 2007

Response by poster: Fantastic advice, thank you.

Nelsormensch--could you explain to me getting a sim card but no plan? I googled fido + cell and really didn't find anything. I would love not having a contract.
posted by zerobyproxy at 1:14 PM on December 20, 2007

You can certainly pop any GSM SIM into your unlocked N95 *however* if you want to get 3G data speeds you're going to need to go with AT&T since they have the only 3G GSM network in the US.
posted by donovan at 1:29 PM on December 20, 2007

Best answer: FYI, is selling the unlocked N95-3 US version for $559.99.
posted by SteveInMaine at 1:42 PM on December 20, 2007

Jack_mo has the N95, and is unimpressed at its inability to work as an actual phone, iirc. I had the N80, and loathed the bloody thing. It's all very well saying it "has a web browser, camera" etc, but that's meaningless when the camera takes an age to start and the web browser is a Hunk Of Junk (despite still being the best pre-iPhone browser out there).

Just as a warning to look beyond the actual checkbox "it has X" thing.
posted by bonaldi at 4:02 PM on December 20, 2007

(Oh and the radio headphones make you look like you're wearing some 1980's hearing aid)
posted by bonaldi at 4:03 PM on December 20, 2007

Camera gives poor results in anything less than ideal lighting. Wifi plus opera mobile browser work quite well together. I also like it has a standard USB connection so you don't need a custom cable. Keypad very nice, can't put it in words but best phone keypad I've used.
posted by londongeezer at 5:47 PM on December 20, 2007

Be aware that Engadget features some photos of the 'N96'... looks pretty sweet.

posted by tomw at 2:08 AM on December 21, 2007

sorry here is the link:
posted by tomw at 2:09 AM on December 21, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks so much. I will be diving into the n95 over the weekend. Some of the applications for the phone look really cool. Perhaps I will end up on the Projects page later, attempting to use my phone to control a roomba. Happy holidays!
posted by zerobyproxy at 5:20 AM on December 21, 2007

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