I'm Finally Working with the Nokia N95

I'm pleased to report that I'm finally putting the Nokia N95 through its paces. The Nokia Blogger Relations program sent me an N95 several weeks ago. I had just started a major new project at work, so I wasn't able to do much with it. Then I found I needed a MicroSD memory card and a firmware upgrade before the phone would do very much, and that delayed things even further.

I love the feel of this phone in my hand. It reminds me of an analog Nokia handset I had years ago that was a predecessor to the Nokia 8801. I loved that old phone for the clean, minimalist look. It was a great little phone with excellent reception in its time. The N95 has a similar look, but the entire front of the handset is taken up by a large color screen and a virtual compass rose of navigation buttons.

The best features I've found so far in the N95 are the 5 Megapixel digital camera that also shoots video at 30 frames per second, and the high quality sound that it produces. Music played over the stereo speakers on the N95 sounds great.

I'm just getting into testing this phone, but I already see some stability issues with Nokia Maps, the application that Nokia includes on the N95 so you can use its built-in GPS features. Even after I did a firmware upgrade on my N95 handset, Maps crashed the phone repeatedly. I'll have to talk to some people at Nokia to find out if I'm doing something wrong that's making this happen.

When Nokia Maps works for me, it works well. I used it to generate driving directions between my home and an office in Jamesburg, NJ. The directions it produced were accurate, but the distances were expressed in meters and kilometers. I was able to use the GPS to display my current location on the phone's gorgeous color screen as I drove through Friday morning traffic for about 45 minutes.

I downloaded Nokia's Podcasting application which actually allows you to listen to podcasts rather than produce them. I think the name of the program is a bit confusing in that respect. The phone has had a few issues when trying to download entire podcasts over the Cingular / AT&T wireless data network called MEdiaNet.

The podcasting application worked infinitely better when it was downloading content over the WiFi network at The Home Office. So, there's my first recommendation-- use WiFi for data intensive tasks on the N95 if data-driven apps are flaky on wireless data networks.

I'm sure I'll have more to say about the N95 in the near future. I'm doing my best to use the heck out of it.