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Nokia N95 8GB Review: Connectivity

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The N95 8GB is a powerhouse, its offerings are ahead of many competitors and its specification sheet is one of the most complete ones in the industry.

On the previous chapter we covered the design, now we will see into the N95 8GB connectivity abilities. The connectivity of a device is fundamental to the user because lets the device interact and expand its functionality with other devices, letting the user do more with his device.

The N95 8GB’s connectivity abilities are not poor, in fact, the N95 8GB can connect to multiple accessories and devices such as, Bluetooth enabled devices, TV’s, Computers, headsets, infrared-enabled devices and of course, internet connections such as GSM, UMTS and Wi-Fi. We will review each ability or connection method of the N95 8GB separately with a comparison factor, the E71.

Bluetooth

The Bluetooth became a must-have in smartphones and general electronics, and it is because Bluetooth offers the easiest and most effective way to connect and interact two devices. We will compare the N95 8GB’s Bluetooth to the E71’s Bluetooth. I have designed a simple test, send the exact same file to my PC and count the time to see which one did it faster. The N95 8GB has Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP, the E71 also has Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP, theoretically both devices should send the file in the same amount of time. But lets see what happens.

For my surprise both devices sent the file in 8s.  With my Bluetooth headset they connected in the same amount of time and I could not find quality differences.  While tethering to my PC I found they perform equally fast.

TV-OUT:

The N95 8GB can connect to any TV with AV.  All variants of the N95 8GB included the TV-OUT cable in the box, while other manufacturers sell devices with this capability, but don’t include the cable in the box.  The native resolution of the device is QVGA, therefore it also outputs to TV’s in QVGA resolution, I tried to take pictures of  the outputed  image in a standard LCD TV but is not possible. I can tell you that the image looks slightly pixelated. The only application that outputs  at VGA is the gallery, videos and pictures are outputed  at VGA resolution, the image quality is much better than the QVGA.

I regularly watch full movies from my N95 8GB on the TV, although the resolution is not the best, it is enough to watch a movie and show pictures to friends.  Here I cannot compare the N95 8GB to the E71 because Eseries handsets don’t offer TV-OUT feature.

Headsets and music headphones

The N95 8GB includes a standard non-restriction 3.5mm Jack to plug any pair of headphones the user wishes to. The headphones packed with the N95 8GB are not good quality headphones, they offer a poor sound and let to much outside noise enter. The E71 has a 2.5mm jack, which is a pain to the neck to music lovers, not only the E71, but many handsets don’t offer a 3.5MM support, for example the HTC Dream G1 does not offer a 3.5mm jack, the iPhone offeres a 3.5mm jack but only certain types of headphones would fit in there. The N95 8GB’s 3.5mm jack has no bad aspects, every headphone will fit in with no restrictions.

Infrared

Although the infrared technology is a bit outdated by Bluetooth, it is still added to high end devices. It is useful for applications such as Psiloc IR remote or applications that let R/C cars be controlled by accelerometer based phones.  I did a test, I sent  the same picture from the E71 to the N95 8GB and vice-versa. This is the first time I use the infrared technology on my devices, and I can tell that it is definitively an old and outdated technology. The N95 8GB sent the picture in 4 minutes and 23 seconds and it lost connection once. The E71 took 6 minutes 30 seconds and lost the connection twice. I have to mention that the ports have to be almost one in front of the other and that each time that it looses the connection it sends the file from the start again.  I like to have the IR connection available just in case I need it some day, and for those people that use Remote Controller apps and R/C applications, it is useful.

GSM/Wi-Fi/3G

The internet connection capability of a smartphone is the most important feature, and the N95 8GB has Wi-Fi, 3G and GSM  to offer.  To evaluate the N95 8GB, I conducted a test to compare it to the E71’s results of speed. Here are the results:

Nokia N95 8GB         WiFi _________ 1650 kbits/sec             3G ____________ 675 kbits/sec

Nokia E71                 WiFi _________ 1693kbits/sec              3G ____________ 693kbits/sec

The E71 clearly won both of the tests, it is faster loading over Wi-Fi and 3G than the N95 8GB, although the difference could be seconds when waiting until a page is fully loaded, the E71 wins. They have the same bariers and technologies, but maybe the recency of the E71 is the decisive factor in the match. The N95 8GB comes in two models, one with ASIA/EUROPE 3G and another one with AMERICA 3G.  I would like to know the reason why Nokia does not make a 3G QUAD/BAND phone. It is cheaper for production and better for buyers who are confused and don’t get the same Firmware Upgrades as the the rest of devices.

USB

The Nokia N95 8GB has a built-in memory of 8GB, it is not expandable so the maximum memory the user gets is 8GB. The USB support of the N95 8GB is v2.0 and the E71’s USB is also v2.0.   But it is not possible to compare the E71 to the N95 8GB, theoretically they should get the same speed, but the internal memory from the N95 8GB makes it much slower than the E71 data transfer.

UPnP

The N95 8GB has UPnP which works through Wi-Fi, but it is still ncluded into the connectivity features since it is built-in.  It is a method to connect your phone to your network at home or at work. The objective is to share and stream media computer-device.  The N95 8GB can browse the network and play and stream media files  from your network directly on the device. The network can display and stream files that are on the device.  The N95 8GB is one of the few devices that offer this capability.

Conclusion

The N95 8GB is indeed very well connected, the connectivity possibilities are numerous. The N95 8GB does not lack any of  the connectivity methods that are available.

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By , International Correspondent on Nov 2nd, 2008 GMT +2

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