Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Nokia N96


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Product Price : 35,000

Unlike the N95, the overpriced Nokia N96 is not revolutionary and its much touted DVB-H feature is currently useless in India.

Nokia’s most anticipated release of 2008, the N96 is a multimedia beast boasting almost every feature under the sun. This is a fair handset on the whole and is priced in the range of iPhone 3G. But we wanted to see if this flagship model from the Finnish manufacturer justified the budget denting price-tag.

Aesthetically, the N96 looks and feels more polished and smoother than the N95 8GB. The screen remains the same size at 2.8-inches and is non-touch sensitive. Though this is a tad smaller than the iPhone’s 3.5-inch multitouch screen, both basic text and multimedia content were displayed with good clarity and enough brightness. Employing the dual-slider design here again, sliding up reveals the keypad, while sliding down reveals four multimedia keys which morph depending on the application being used. The keys in both instances are flat and glossy, but they provide reasonable tactility and are comfortable to use. We liked the keypad lock slider at the top of the unit; and the handset also boasts an accelerometer.

The N96 has a largely plastic build and the phone doesn’t feel as solid as we would have liked. The slider is an improvement over its predecessor, but this just doesn’t feel like a Rs. 35khandset should. In addition, the rear battery cover feels flimsy, especially when removed. Apart from all this, Nokia has upgraded the internal flash memory to a whopping 16GB plus a microSD card support of up to 8GB. Meaning a total memory of upto 24GB! Though its symbian s60 interface may not be as sleek as the apple iPhone’s Os, using the handset is generally a hassle-free experience.

The phone does lag at times, but this will most likely be improved by future software updates. And its built-in GPs chip with a-GPs support is completed by the Nokia Maps application that has support for three coutries (India, Singapore and UAE). It comes with three months free trial turnby- turn navigation for 8 Indian cities. This is superior to the maps found on the iPhone 3G. Conveniently, an in-car charger is also included in the package.a 5-MP camera with Carl Zeiss optics is once again present, but its dual LED flash instead of Xenon flash is a letdown. Regardless, photos are reasonable. It’s not without its issues — including color reproduction, image noise and a general lack of sharpness; photos taken at night are passable, however. The multimedia capabilities of the N96 are excellent.

The external speakers produce reasonable sound, and a 3.5mm headphone jack lets you connect any set of headphones. There is also an FM radio. a particularly clever feature is the built-in kickstand: flip it out and the N96 can be rested upright on a desk or table, making it ideal for watching video content. The handset is DVB-h capable, meaning it is theoretically capable of receiving live television broadcasts but only Delhi Doordarshan has this service currently. Nokia also bundled a full length Bollywood super blockbuster Om shanti Om, 50 music videos, a mix of evergreen hindi and english soundtracks. We liked the Indis Ms that features messaging in 8 different Indian languages, we are expecting to see more applications like this in the future. and for security concern, there is a very useful Wavsecure program. Users can secure everything on the device wirelessly over the internet incase the phone is lost or stolen. Or it will let them wipe every personal data from the device.

Connectivity is excellent, with the N96 boasting Wi-Fi 802.11g/b, Bluetooth with a2DP, USB with a standard micro-USB interface and HSDPA capabilities. Call quality is excellent and the hands-free speakerphone is also loud And clear, though the handset’s battery life is questionable. We found ourselves charging the handset every night to ensure a full day’s use The Nokia N96 did not bring anything revolutionary over the N95 8GB apart from the upgraded memory and a TV tuner function. And for its price tag of Rs 35k against the Rs 25k for N95 8GB, we don’t really see why we should go for it.


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Hi, I am Hua, a chinese expat residing in India excited about windows, linux and all things tech

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