Nokia N96 16GB smartphone
Heavyweight upgrade packs in a hefty multimedia punch
Review As the muscular successor to the N95, it’s no surprise that the N96 packs in a flagship set of high-end features.
It's beefed-up spec list pushes up the on-board storage capacity to 16GB and adds Micro SDHC expansion to a formidable spread of functionality that includes Wi-Fi and HSDPA high-speed connectivity, A-GPS satnav technology, a five-megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics, and a top-line set of Symbian S60 smartphone applications.
Nokia's N96: substantial
Although it has ratcheted up the feature count from the already well-endowed N95, the N96 has more heavyweight phone competition than the original N95 had when launched. With the likes of the eight-megapixel Samsung i8510 and LG Renoir, plus the iPhone 3G, it’s got its work cut out to be a first-choice top-ender.
Sadly, one feature that differentiates it in some other markets – a DVB-H digital TV receiver – is redundant in the UK, as there are no commercial DVB-H broadcasts now or on the horizon. Instead, the N96 is one of the first N-series devices to arrive with BBC iPlayer pre-loaded.
With a 2.8in, 240 x 320, 16m-colour display dominating the front, the N96 is well set up for a decent video viewing experience.
Packing its meaty gadgetry in a two-way slider design that follows the N95’s template, the N96 is a substantial handset. It’s got a marginally broader footprint than its predecessor, measuring a chunky 103 x 55 x 18-20mm, but is a fraction lighter, at 125g. This reflects the lighter plastic used on the bodywork, which is more like the glossy black plastic look and feel of the N81 than the N95 8GB. The shiny front panel attracts finger smudges, and there’s a slightly creakier feel to the buttons.
Not a helpful review.
I got lumbered with one of these recently.
Poor battery life.
Unstable - lost count of how many times I had to remove the battery!
Too big and heavy.
Screen and lens way too vulnerable for my taste.
EVERY time I used it to access a given wi-fi it asked for the wi-fi system password??? (even Windoze can handle THAT automatically!)
Lock/unlock for no good reason whenever it feels like it.
I'm not a regular Nokia user, though I have used and liked the ones I've used previously.
I gave it to a friend who is a Nokia fan - they were horrified.
It seems to me, and them, that Nokia have abandoned a reasonably user-friendly interface and replaced it with a Geekoid nightmare. Attempting to use this phone you get the distinct impression you are fighting the system!
A phone is a phone is a phone. It probably doesn't need all the gimmicks and gizmos - which other manufacturers do rather better - but if you must have an 'all singing, all dancing' multimedia gadget that also happens to make phone calls, look elsewhere.
Oh, and, did I mention? The battery life is crap.
@ JS Greenwood...
N85 long-term review of N85 is coming up in installments on AllAboutSymbian.