Nokia N95 multimedia slider phone
Yes, it does everything - but is it any good?
Nokia includes an adequate pair of 'phones in the box which can connect direct to the N95 or via the bundled remote control. The earphones have a 3.5mm jack, so you can swap them for another pair with ease. The N95's 3D Tones feature works best with 'phones too - it dynamically mixes a ringtone two swoop around from left to right and back round again. Cute, but impractical when the phone's in your pocket with no earphones attached.
The N95 supports Bluetooth's wireless stereo protocol, A2DP, and pairing a pair of Logitech wireless headphones was straightforward. And better than using wired 'phones. With the socket on the side of the handset, earphone plugs poke out an inch or so, getting in the way of sliding the handset into your pocket. The earphone socket really should have been on the top or bottom of the phone.
Transferring tracks is straightforward for PC users, less so for the rest of us. The N95 will sync with Windows Media Player via USB, but the phone will also operate as a USB Mass Storage device. Well, almost - it will if and only if it has a MicroSD card plugged. Instead, I sent a heap of songs over from my MacBook Pro by Bluetooth 2.0's Extended Data Rate technology, zapping the tracks through the ether at a very respectable 100Kbps on average.
The only thing I didn't like about the music playback was that, in landscape orientation, the volume buttons work the opposite way you expect them to: left for up, right for down, rather than the other way round. At least that's how I expect them to work...
Video playback impressed me almost as much as music did, with easy access to online content providers and fast downloads via my home 802.11g Wi-Fi network. Downloads were typical 320 x 240 MPEG 4s, so they can be played on the handset - nicely, I might add, thanks to that 16m colour screen - or Bluetoothed over to your computer, or sent the other way.
The N95's 3.5mm earphone socket is also capable of passing a composite video signal, and there's a suitable cable in the box to allow you to hook the phone up to your TV. The picture quality depends entirely on how the source material is encoded, but said 320 x 240 H.264 files were entirely watchable on my 28in widescreen CRT. Folk with fancy HD rigs may be less impressed, of course, but it is nice being able to view movies and photos on the big screen.