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Nokia N95 8GB Review: Design

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The NSeries line of devices has been always criticized by their plastic-like and cheap build quality, while the ESeries range has enjoyed of higher quality materials and an overall excellent build quality.

ESeries devices often include some metal component on their exterior, NSeries usually don’t and the reason for that is still unknown. The metal components is not the only bad point, the adjustment of the device and the build quality is more solid on the ESeries range than on the NSeries range.  I had a E90 few months ago, even with that complex form factor, the device is solid and there is no such thing as creaky panels, wobbly parts, and so on.

The entire N95 family has a common problem, it is very famous among N95 users: the ”Wobbly Slider” build defect.  The N95 family is very expensive, and finding this problem after paying a high price is anything but unpleasant. This common problem consists in that the screen is loose from the body of the device, the screen is ”wobbly” it goes a few milimetres back when you push it and then it returns to its position. While playing N-Gage it is an awful sensation, you feel like that the N95 is falling apart and the screen will come off. But the worse part is when the slider is closed and you feel there is a gap between the two layers. That problem was registered in some N95s, not all of them have the problem. I strongly believe Nokia fixed the problem soon after the first complains were filed, as at least recently produced N95s don’t have the problem.

Independently from the wobbly slider problem, the N95 8GB has a great design, it has a very characteristical Nokia design. The back part is rubberised and the front part has a relative good quality plastic. As I previously mentioned, NSeries devices usually don’t include metal, and the N95 8GB is not an exception. It is all black with chromed parts, the audio jack is located in the left side which is an inconvenient position, especially when the device is inside a pocket and you want to listen to music. The speakers are correctly positioned in both upper sides, and I mean ”correctly” because, for example, the speakers in the N82 are not well positioned, they are both in the right side, one in the top and other in the bottom ,and for right handed people it is an inconvenience, as the hand is over the speaker.

The design of the device does not necessary involve the hardware, the appearance of the screen is also included here. The S60 themes comprise of many designs that completely change the front face of the device and the user experience. There are millions of them and come in many colours and formats. The 4 pre-installed themes in the N95 8GB are very modern and go along with the device and the NSeries range. S60 themes is the way to show your personality in your phone: if you like cars there are many car themes ;or if you like the nature or animals, there are also many related themes.

I use Dr Jukka’s Theme Scheduler to program the “Nseries1”, which is an all black theme for the night and the “Nseries4” theme, which is basically the same theme but much lighter for the day. Themes bring many possibilities to the user and they play an important role in the S60 OS.

The N95 8GB has 34 buttons, all keys are large enough and responsive. The camera button has a good feedback when auto-focusing and when taking the picture. The keys on the N95 8GB don’t have problems and I have not heard complains about them.

The N95 8GB is very well designed, the anti-slippery back part proved to be very convenient while in a rush, it also “de-scratches” easily with a rubber. The device is comfortable in both landscape and portrait modes and although it could have included metal parts, even though its plastic performs above average plastics.

The N95 8GB has a brilliant design, the only thing Nokia could have done better is adding metal parts and other high end materials.

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By , International Correspondent on Oct 23rd, 2008 GMT +2

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