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N96 and N78 first impression hands on

March 9, 2008 11 comments

As you may or may not know, WOM had a “meet up” in London yesterday. It took place at The Old Crown on New Oxford Street. It was a really nice little old pub in the middle of London. There was about 20 or so people there, including the WOM team which was nice, and it was really nice to meet the faces behind the names at WOM world, as well as some old faces ive met before and completely new people. Thanks WOM, was a really good night.
Now, towards the end of the night, Tim (Sorry I didnt catch his second name), who was the Product manager for the N78 showed up unexpectedly which was a nice surprise. I always like talking to the Product managers, as they are always really down to earth and it gives a much more personal aspect to the phone that your holding in your hand. He had both the N96 and the N78 on him at the time, which he kindly gave me for a few minutes to play around on and take some photos with. Now, you must note that both of these were pre-release phones, and the Software side of the phone wasn’t 100% yet.

Lets start with the N96: 
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I was really surprised at the weight and feel of the handset. It was extremely light and the screen was nice. Now I only had 10 minutes or so to play on it, and there was one thing I really wanted to try and that was the flash. I was pleasantly surprised with the flash on the phone. Im used to the xenon flash on the N82, which I couldn’t be happier with, but this was the closest LED ive seen to the xenon. Although the flash was very bright, it didnt seem to make any difference to the image which remained dark and pretty poor, however this is probably due to the fact that it was a pre-release handset and the software wasnt that stable (it crashed 2 or 3 times in the 10 minutes I was playing with it).

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The small flip down “lip” was a bit fiddly, however once it was down and the N96 was sitting on the table, it was a perfect viewing position to watch movies, videos, or even TV.Now thats the N96. The most surprising thing of the night was the N78, which, despite my negative comments before, I was VERY impressed with.

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When I first held the N78 the first thing Tim (The N78 Product manager) said to me was “Try typing a text and see how easy it is). Now one thing I complained about in the previous post was how small they keypad looked. Oh how wrong I was. The N78 actually had a very very nice keypad which was surprisingly easy to use, much easier then the N82.One thing that I was also impressed with was the camera. I saw the pictures taken on it and they were very bright and vivid, and to be honest, what a 3.2mp camera should have been like in the first place.Now, the last thing I was the most impressed with was the Naviwheel. I had the N81 from WOM for about 2 weeks, and for the life of me I just couldn’t get the Naviwheel working properly. However, on the N78, it just worked as soon as I picked it up! It was very impressive and its the first time ive actually managed to get it working, ever. Its definitely something I can see myself using as well which is good.Now for the confessions. I completely retract everything I said about the N78. I love it. Infact, I can even see myself using one. The N78 definitely felt alot more finished then the N96, but then I suppose thats reflected in the release dates. Like I said, I only had 10 minutes or so to have a play around on them, but I was quite chuffed that I could actually get my hands on them so close after the launch. Ill leave you with some pics of both phones.

Chaslam

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Categories: Nokia, Nseries

The Subtle Changes make all the difference……

February 16, 2008 Leave a comment

As you may or may not know I’ve been using the N95-8GB for a couple of days now from WOM and, although its only been a couple of days, I’ve fallen in love with it. I think, apart from the N96, it would be THE only phone that I would ever seriously consider using instead of the N82. I got to thinking, what is it that makes its such a nicer handset then the N95?
Ok, there are obvious things like the bigger screen, the shiny black finish etc, but, it was more then that. The first thing I noticed was it felt more sturdy then my old N95. I was unfortunate enough to have one of the first N95s with the wobbly  slider, so obviously that makes a huge difference. I also noticed that it felt more square and solid in your hand, simply because they made the slider wider by about 1mm either side. 
As you can see from the picture (its something ive never even noticed or thought about before) but the slider on the front of the N95 is actually slightly smaller then the back, where as on the 8GB, the slider takes up the whole of the front of the device.
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Notice that on the N95 you can see the back of the device from just looking directly at the front, with the sides of the slider being the main body of the device, if you can see what I mean. After noticing this, it actually shows that the N95 feels more solid in your hands, and, you can get a better grip on it.
Another thing is the keys. Now we all notice that the key area on the 8GB is alot smaller then the N95 to accommodate the screen size, however there was something different I couldn’t put my finger on (no pun intended!) After all, its not really something a lot of people take huge notice of. When I actually looked at them, I noticed that the D-pad was slightly more cured and sticking out on the 8GB, where as on the original N95, although still slightly curved, its more flat. As well as that, the D-pad on the 8GB is a shiny finish as opposed to the Matte finish on the N95.
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The Menu button and the interactive menu button on the 8GB are also more rounded then on the original N95, are for some reason, I prefer that. Its probably due to the smaller keys, but its nice.
AS well as these changes, there is also other small changes that have occurred, such as the movement of the main nokia logo, which is now in the centre of the phone, which I think makes it look better.

Although these changes are all positive, there are a few things, again, subtle things, which I would have quite like to see. For Example, I would have liked to see the headphone jack on the top of the phone as opposed to on the side. It makes it very awkward to chuck the phone in your pocket when your walking along, as it has to constantly be at an angle and adds another 3-4 cm onto the width of the phone when headphones are plugged in. There is also the obvious one of the card slot, but I wont go into that again! Having said that, the N96 seems to have fixed those issues, with the card slot and the headphone jack, which is now on the top! Ive said it before and ill say it again. The 8GB has shown me that its not just an “Updated” N95, but its a whole new phone in itself. It brings a touch of class to the N95, and its what the N95 should have been. I will be disappointed when I will have to part with it.

Chaslam

Categories: Nokia, Nseries, Reviews

N95-8GB – Its what Nokia is all about

February 12, 2008 17 comments

Ok, Now I know it’s not the newest handset in the range, however I received the N95-8GB from WOM today for 2 weeks. At the moment, im currently using a N82. I have to admit, for some reason, I dont get the same “kick” out of the N82 as I do out of the N95-8GB. When I got the package, I opened it , I got a nice warm feeling in my stomach. Its not that I haven’t seen a N95-8GB before, because I have, many times, its just when you get your own to play with for a couple of weeks, its always better. 

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I started using it and I just felt at home. The big screen, the nice keys, the well build casing. I was sat at my desk using it, and I thought to myself, this phone sums up Nokia completely. Its what Nokia do best. Its why I love Nokia phones and why I would never buy a Sony Ericsson or a LG again. Its just a Joy to use. Ok Its not perfect. The transfer speed is slow when using the computer, no MicroSD card slot (I have a 8GB card, so I usually just slot it into the phone and I automatically have all my info on it) and the camera isnt the best due to the poor flash (well compared to the N82 anyway) but I think this is just about as near to perfect as a phone can get. Seriously, so far, I have very very few things to fault about it, and the faults are not really faults, they are just things that could do with improving (eg the card slot issue and the LCD flash). The screen is one of the nicest screens I have seen on a phone, and from using my N82 to the 8GB, its a huge difference in size. Every time I pick up my N82 after using the 8GB for a short time, I feel like im staring into a small hole. Its so dark and, well, lifeless compared to the 8GB.

Now your probably wondering where this is going. Well, for a start its got me ALOT more exited about the N96. I know I said the things below about the N96, but after using the 8GB for only a day, I CANT WAIT to get my hands firmly on the N96 and compare them. Hopefully, if I ask them kind enough, WOM would let me Beta test the N96 if they need some people and I can get my grubby mits on it soon :). In fact, I love the N95-8GB so much, Im starting to think about getting one to replace my N82. I’m very pleasantly surprised with N95-8GB. I didnt think it would be a huge improvement to the original N95. OH how wrong I was….

Also, Im going to try and arrange another podcast with Jay and maybe James Burland from Nokia Creative soon to discuss the new Nokia Launches. Hopefully it will be a bit better and more professional then the last one, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

Christian

Categories: Nokia, Nseries

Nokia Launch N78 and N96: Was it worth the wait?

February 11, 2008 22 comments

Well, im sure your all aware of Nokias recent announcements this morning. If you have been living under a rock and missed it all then they released 2 new Nseries phones, the new flagship N96, and the N73 successor, the N78. 

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Personally, I cant wait to get the N96 in my hands. It looks very similar to the N81 which ive recently had from WOM which I thought was a really nice handset. Hopefully, the N96 will be well built like the N81. The N96 has a 5MP camera with 2 LED lights, a 950mAh battery, GPS and DVB-H.
My main concern is the lack of Xenon flash, which is one of the primary reasons I own a N82. The flash is so useful on it I use it as my main digital camera now. I personally feel that not putting a Xenon flash in it is a bit of a step backwards rather then forwards. In the discussion with the N96 product manager which took part earlier today, the question was raised about the Xenon flash. This was the reply:

It has a dual-LED flash and video light, with auto-focus assist beam.
While the Xenon-flash can output more light over shorter period of time, we felt that the video light for video recording is the better feature for this device.

Now personally, I feel that isn’t good enough. It feels like they are compromising a little when you compare it to other manufacturers, for example Sony Ericsson. When you take the K850, they have managed to put 3 LED lights in for video recording, as well as a Xenon flash, as well as keeping the phone reasonably small. Nokia have seemed to compromise in one or the other, which there is no need to do. They take up such a small space in the phone, there is no need to.

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Another thing that i’m slightly disappointed about is the design. I was hoping for something breathtaking, unique and original. When I first saw the leaked pictures of it, I was very disappointed. I was kind of hoping they had been faked. Ok fair enough its a very nice design, but it seems like Nokia couldn’t be bothered and just got the same team of designers who designed the N81, and they just made it a bit more rounded. Its a nice design, its just that now, since the N81 has been out for a fair while, I associate the look of the N81/N96 with a lower end device, not their flagship phone. If you think in the past Nokia have been very creative with their designs. The N95 with the duel slide, the N90/N93 with its twist screen. It just seems like they have got the N95, tweaked a few things, and stuck a new cover with a new name on it. Heck, it could even be called the N95-16gb, because essentially thats what it is!

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His reply when asked about the low power battery was:
Instead of putting in a bigger battery than the N95, we optimized power usage of key functions, in particular those related to multimedia and entertainment. For example, video playback time is up to 5 hours and music playback time is up to 14 hours, which we achieved through hardware accelerators and other optimizations.

Now I guess thats a little better, but it will be very hard to judge until we actually get out hands on the N96, but will be interesting to actually compare the difference in battery life between the N95 and N96, and also the N95-8gb. Again, it seems like a step backwards after bringing out an updated N95, and then the successor to the N95 goes back to the poor battery everyone moaned about!

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As for the N78, again, it seems like the N73 with a new cover on, however this one was a little more unexpected. I mean its got a similar camera, still no 30 fps video, . It seems like its a N73 with a new cover and HSDPA/wifi/GPS built in. Although it seems more of an improvement then the N96 does against the N95, in my else, I would have liked to see a better camera and at least 30 fps video. One thing that worries me about it is the keypad. It looks awfully fiddly and, well, small and cheap. Havent said that I thought the same with the N82, but I love that.

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Having had a small moan about both handsets, the story will hopefully change once I get one in my hands. Its always the same when your just looking at a picture of one and reading specs off the screen, however with the N95, I knew it would be my next handset, but with the N96, it just doesnt feel the same. I cant wait to hold one and see how it feels in my hand and get a chance to use it, but for now, to say the least, im pretty disappointed. Chaslam 

Categories: News, Nokia, Rant

My Nokia Blogs first podcast!

February 4, 2008 5 comments

I would like to introduce My Nokia Blogs FIRST EVER podcast. I write that in bold letters just so you know, this was our first attempt, so sorry if some bits are a bit amateurish. Its quite hard when you are speaking over skype from halfway across the word and with no Script. This was recorded about a week ago, I just didnt have enough time to get it up as my internet connection died so I was using my 3 modem for a couple of days, and with an upload speed of 56k its not the best way to upload a 20mb file! Again sorry if its a little long and boring, but I promise we will have a plan for the next one :).Anyway, if you have any suggestions or would like to make a guest appearance in the podcast (Cough Cough Mr James Burland hehe) then please email me at chaslam500 @yahoo.co.uk. [blip.tv ?posts_id=652359&dest=-1]

Categories: Music, Nokia, Nseries, Rant, Urbanista

Jay has Landed!

January 26, 2008 5 comments

Jay has landed in singapore! Speaking to him now and he had a good flight over. Here are some videos of his journey so far.At Terminal 4, Heathrow.At the airport, checking in, boarding etc.  Problems with the plane! Touchdown!On the way to hotel.In hotel Room.Going up lift to room.Devin and Jay at Shiraz restaurant. Devin and Jay, no where open! Me and Jay speaking over skype! Thats all the videos for now, but there should be more coming soon! If there is anything you want to ask Jay let me know. Ill be speaking to him over skype daily while he is over there and we are planning on doing a podcast tomorrow evening, so look out for it! If anyone wants to speak to Jay, hes using Skype over his N800 with N82 as a modem, his Skype is jaymontano so feel free to add him and have a chat!

Categories: Nokia, Urbanista

N82 vs N95 camera face off

December 15, 2007 12 comments

Since ive come back from Amsterdam, ive decided to take the plunge and buy an N82. I loved the camera on it so much, but I didnt realise how much better then camera actually was. So, I decided to take a few pictures. Here is only 2 of them, but I will post some more as the days go by. First lets start with a past moving picture. These pictures were taken in a reasonably well lit room, and the fan was on full speed.N95 is the top photo, N82 underneath. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketYou dont have to be a photography expert to notice the difference. The N82 camera is far better at handling the lighting, shutter speed and general quality of the image.Next is a colour test. This was taken off my macbook pro during a freeze-frame of Family Guy. Again, N95 on top, N82 underneath.Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketAgain, it looks as if the N82 has beaten the N95 in the change of colour on the screen. The blacks are blacker, the reds are reder, and its just an overall better picture to look at.I will post some more pictures as I take them, so keep watching this post.

Categories: Nokia, Nseries