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Nokia N96 Review

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Nokia N96 Review
The N96 retains the same 128MB RAM/256MB ROM found on the N95 8GB, but upgrades the processor from the 332MHz ARM 11 found on the original to Dual CPU ARM 9 running at just 2x264MHz.

We got rave reviews about how clear we were, with our typical test caller saying we sounded the best we ever had.
Our end was not nearly as good, however. We’re not quite sure how to describe it, because we had no issues understanding the caller and his voice tone was normal, but he sounded distant and for lack of a better word muddled, like there was a handkerchief over the earpiece. Speakerphone performance was admirable as well. Our caller said we sounded more tinny and hollow, but he could still hear us well enough and on our end it was clear and coherent. It’s plenty loud for most settings.

We were not able to run our own tests, but according to Nokia the battery life is actually decreased from 5 hours of talk time on the N95 8GB down to a mere 3.66 hours on the N96. It is listed at 14 hours of music playback or 5 hours of video (4 hours of DVB-H TV.)


Conclusion:

On the whole we are impressed with the N96. It offers noteworthy upgrades to its forerunner, such as the DVB-H tuner (not usable in the States) and 16GB of internal memory with further expansion, and the design is also greatly refined. Running S60 Feature Pack 3 gives the N96 the flexibility to handle most anything the user throws at it. With an overall capacity of 28GB of memory (and theoretical capacity for 48GB) and a large screen it serves as a worthy PMP replacement. The camera and camcorder on the whole was very good, and would do as an everyday point and shoot.

Our real gripe is with the fit and finish of the phone. Though it is improved over the N95, the key layout is still cramped and we’re not a fan of the materials used. The white backlighting seeps out of cracks on the front cluster so much that it resembles a cheap knockoff in the dark. No matter how you spin it the N96 is fat; it’s too wide in our hands and too thick in our pocket and the simple way to remedy this is to remove the slider and keypad.

Nokia is definitely moving in the right design direction and as far as function goes the N96 still on the short list of premium devices, but we’d recommend US users wait until the North American version is released, which will support 3G on this side of the pond. With the likes of Samsung, Apple and HTC nipping at their heels with converged devices that take form just as seriously as function, Nokia seems to have taken more of a lateral step than pushing forward with innovation. Of course, the same could be said of Apple.

Pros

  • One of the best converged devices on the market
  • Music player is well laid out and sounds great
  • Camera and especially video are very good
  • Outgoing sound quality was top notch

Cons

  • Its design is blah; the device is big and the materials are only ok
  • Keypad is pretty lousy
  • Side buttons can be hard to operate
PhoneArena rating:
8.5
User rating:
7.5 9 Reviews
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22 Comments
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posted on 20 Oct 2010, 01:55

1. (unregistered)


so u people decided to use a chinese n96 model to review?i thought all chinese moble phones were dodgy?

posted on 27 Oct 2008, 12:58

12. (unregistered)


What are you talking about? The n96 they used is not a clone, where does it say that? The strokes on the keypad means that it is intended for Chinese input for the Asian market. You do know that there is a huge Asian market that Nokia is targetting right? Millions of Nokia consumers in Hong Kong alone. The best way to tell the difference is that the clloned n96 do not operate under Symbian, and they have a big distorted "Nokia" branding on the front. Are you naive or what?

posted on 19 Sep 2008, 08:01

2. (unregistered)


i remeber ready articles about crap chinese cloned phones saying they were shit,and here they are making a review on using a (possibly)cloned N96 lol

posted on 21 Sep 2008, 07:29

3. (unregistered)


Isn't the processor dual ARM? so the processor isnt actually a downgrade?

posted on 21 Sep 2008, 21:47

4. (unregistered)


the processor of n95 is dual ARM as well...

posted on 22 Sep 2008, 08:07

5. imi (unregistered)


heyyy this phone arena always make mistakee the processor is dual double its not downgrade its upgradeee and also it has Feature PAck 2 nor 3 Feature PAck 3 is not relaease so far

posted on 13 Nov 2008, 11:06

13. Riachu (unregistered)


I agree. Phone arena is crap. Gsmarena.com is better!!!

posted on 22 Sep 2008, 08:38

6. SAYEM (unregistered)


Hey Guys One Question. ... I heard that n96 has DVH-TV... is that gonna work in USA ?

posted on 22 Sep 2008, 19:23

8. (unregistered)


as the review says, no. its not available in north america

posted on 22 Sep 2008, 18:49

7. hmmm (unregistered)


I respect nokia for there amazing camera and great gaming abilities but it just to thick for my taste and not touchscreen.

posted on 13 Nov 2008, 11:07

14. Riachu (unregistered)


Buy the N85. The screen is better, lasts longer and is smaller. It doesn't have TV, but only people with no life watch TV on the go.

posted on 23 Sep 2008, 03:33

9. (unregistered)


almost 18 months, nokia havent released anything great after n95. hope tube will be launched in october n96 is way over prices, n85 is much better than this

posted on 24 Sep 2008, 00:32

10. (unregistered)


come on. n95,n96 is better than d iphone! d only good thing about d iphone is its touchscreen and thats it!

posted on 02 Oct 2008, 00:27

11. RAJHANS (unregistered)


Nokia is always weak on build quality. There is only one an exception and it is E71. In hardware MOTOs are best.

posted on 19 Nov 2008, 10:43

15. (unregistered)


I would like to know why this phone as a better rating than the n85 (8.5 vs 7.5) when the n85 has better results in the individual ratings .

posted on 10 Feb 2009, 17:11

16. kimmyhendrick (Posts: 1; Member since: 10 Feb 2009)


There is a good article review about the Nokia N96 that I find really helpful, it describes the product in a way that is pretty easy to understand. You can check the review here:http://www.articlesbase.com/cell-phones-articles/the-nokia-n96-16gb-751991.html

posted on 01 Jun 2009, 05:10

17. enter.adj (Posts: 3; Member since: 01 Jun 2009)


This is best phone by nokia up to date .. check my review @ http://rockingnokianseries.blogspot.com/2009/04/nokia-n96.html Please leave a comment

posted on 01 Jun 2009, 05:10

18. enter.adj (Posts: 3; Member since: 01 Jun 2009)


This is best phone by nokia up to date ..

posted on 01 Jun 2009, 05:10

19. enter.adj (Posts: 3; Member since: 01 Jun 2009)


This is best phone by nokia up to date ..

posted on 03 May 2010, 16:37

20. phonelover (Posts: 1; Member since: 03 May 2010)


I used to have the N95 - upgraded to the N96 and I have to admin - HUGE improvement !! Got it in december 2009 fromwww.mycellz4less.com

posted on 18 Sep 2011, 08:24

21. netmobileltd (unregistered)


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posted on 18 Sep 2011, 08:25

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Nokia N96

Nokia N96

OS: Symbian 9.3
view full specs
Display2.8 inches, 240 x 320 pixels (143 ppi) TFT
Camera5 megapixels
Hardware
Single core, 264 MHz, ARM9 processor
128 MB RAM
Size4.05 x 2.16 x 0.70 inches
(103 x 55 x 18 mm)
4.40 oz  (125 g)
Battery950 mAh, 3.66 hours talk time

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