The Nokia N95 broke down barriers before the iPhone


The year was 2006, almost a full year before the original iPhone was unveiled, and the Nokia N95 was just beginning its journey to stardom. It's sobering to try and fathom how long it's been since that Symbian based smartphone hit the scenes, but for a phone classified as a brick in our day and age, it was a powerhouse like no other during its time. That's probably why, too, it's a phone we feel as being too ahead of its time. Even though it was largely unknown by most consumers here in the US, the Nokia N95 solidified its position in cell phone history.

For a phone released back in 2007, it was simply a beast that was ahead of its time, especially in comparison to the handful of other smartphones fighting for position back then. Even after the original iPhone's announcement and subsequent release, the Nokia N95 was still highly sought out from consumers. It's a testament to say the least, but absolutely warranted for the amount of tech the Finnish company was able to stuff into it.

Let's start off with the design, one that featured an unconventional dual-sliding mechanism where one side accessed the numeric keypad – while the other granted users access to multimedia functions. It's notable, too, for featuring stereo speakers, a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, and an easy to access microSD card slot. The latter was especially useful, seeing that it wasn't hidden in some obscure place, but instead, it was in its own compartment protected by a cover. This allowed users to quickly swap the microSD card.

However, the absolute biggest draw for the Nokia N95 was its camera, a whopping 5-megapixel sensor, which for its time was undeniably unique. Featuring Carl Zeiss optics, along with a handy LED flash, the N95 proved without a doubt that smartphones were just as capable of capturing high-quality images with their cameras – rivaling dedicated point and shoots to an extent. Additionally, the camera interface with the N95 was well advanced than most others, offering access to controls like ISO, white balance, sharpness, contrast, exposure compensation, and much more! Those are settings you typically couldn't adjust with your ordinary cell phone, so it was unbelievable that the N95 offered it.

Moreover, the Nokia N95 was a multimedia behemoth as well! As we've previously mentioned, it offered a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, which was a rare thing to find back then. Over on the audio side of things, it also featured a built-in FM tuner and some of the best sounding integrated speakers in a phone! And lastly, thanks to its integrated GPS chip, owners were able to use the N95 with turn-by-turn navigation. Again, for a phone released in 2007, most of these features were rarely offered.

By the mid 2000s, smartphones were increasingly showing their worth and convenience. With the culmination of the Nokia N95, it seemingly proved the idea that smartphones were more than phones. In fact, the N95's camera performance earned acclaim from critics as being a point-and-shoot replacement. This was the phone that seemingly turned the tides, giving rise to the idea that smartphones could replace several dedicated gadgets. Nowadays, you rarely ever see anyone use a dedicated GPS unit or an entry-level point-and-shoot camera. We owe a lot to the Nokia N95, which was truly ahead of its time.

Related phones

N95
  • Display 2.6" 240 x 320 pixels
  • Camera 5 MP
  • Storage 0.16 GB
  • Battery 950 mAh(2.66h 3G talk time)

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30 Comments

1. nerdmb

Posts: 57; Member since: Nov 11, 2017

Amazing phone... i wish nokia was as quick as other major companies to adopt android instead of sticking to windows mobile and nokia would still be number one...

9. tangbunna

Posts: 480; Member since: Sep 29, 2016

android isnt battery efficient as windows mobile. also reqires more hardware power than wp. as authentic nokia rule is "use the cheapest CPU for high-end phone"

11. yann

Posts: 614; Member since: Jul 15, 2010

Dude, Android was not even born in the time of release of this phone. Even when Apple release first iPhone, Symbian OS was much more powerful. The problem was lazy and haughty CEO of NOKIA, who mock to Apple and touch interface. He even mention that NOKIA will never develop such stupid interface device. Anyway, he was fired and Symbian receive touch interface, but was too late and in that time, the Trojan horse, Steven Elop, abandon Symbian as "burning platform" and tied NOKIA to Windows. That ruin NOKIA and then Microsoft bought mobile division of the company. You know the rest of the story.

2. legiloca

Posts: 1676; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

I so remember how shook my country was to see the N95, it was all over the news and rightfully so. Indeed it comes at a sky high price but the ideology back then was the more you have, the more enticing you are to the consumers. I feel this was Nokia's last hurrah before Apple and the Androids dragged them to shreds and Nokia couldn't rise back up even with their Windows Phone attempt.

3. Zylam

Posts: 1816; Member since: Oct 20, 2010

Oh man the N95 was the pinnacle of Nokia, the moment when it just all came together. I remember the first time I saw one, it was a moment I'll never forget, it was during my final high school exams, this other kid just pulled it out and started recording a video, man everyone around that area was just shocked and Amazed at how this kid got a hold of one. Back then just owning a phone was a big deal, let alone owning a flagship. It's one of the things that's been lost in this era, you don't really notice the difference between peoples phones anymore. It could be anything from an iPhone to a Xiaomi, they're all the same at the end of the day. Ahhh I miss the Nseries days so much, remember how long it took Nokia to release the N96, was something like 9 months! Phones used to get unveiled at MWC and released in August! Apple really changed the game when they started releasing devices within the same month of announcement. I had the N73, N95 8GB, N78 and the N85. I still have the N85 and N73 stuffed in a box in my cupboard, next to the PSP, Garmin GPS (LOL), Lumia 1020 and iPod touch!

7. splus

Posts: 160; Member since: Nov 26, 2011

Me too, I had N73 and then N95 8GB, the best phone ever. But then later I upgraded to N97, which was a total disaster, didn't even have enough memory for its own ROM! I left Nokia train after basically throwing away 500 EUR on such an unusable phone...

8. viandrona

Posts: 19; Member since: Jul 03, 2016

Tell me about it. Got the N97 in August 2009. Switched to the Android powered Xperia X10 less than a year later, in June 2010. And I'm the kind of dude that at least tries to keep a phone for 2 years... :))

20. adibuyono

Posts: 50; Member since: Mar 29, 2017

How is your experience with N97? Mine is superb terrible. Really glad I switch back to Sony Ericsson, Xperia Ray that moment

23. whatev

Posts: 2260; Member since: Oct 28, 2015

I had the N97 and my experience was good, didn’t have any problem with that phone that I can recall, I loved the design and camera, then I upgraded to the N900, that was THE REAL SMARTPHONE, so sad everyone ignored it

18. adibuyono

Posts: 50; Member since: Mar 29, 2017

Sadly, N97 is the device make me switch to Android and leave a bit hatred on Nokia. One of the worst device I ever owned. N78 is the sweetest spot for me before.

25. perry1234

Posts: 646; Member since: Aug 14, 2012

Sometimes , I can’t help but wonder if the iPhone drove smartphone development in a direction that was not necessarily the best. Don’t get me wrong , I use both Android and Apple devices , but like you said, the phones have no individual charactertics these days. Ealier , each company and sometimes each device had its own unique design language that set it apart from the crowd. Now a days, all we have are glass slabs trying to eliminate bezels in ways that are not always agreeable to me. That is why devices like the Priv and the KeyTwo stand out in a crowd (atleast in my humble opinion) just by offering a simple keyboard. Just imagine an alternate universe , where the original iPhone did not reach the height of success that it enjoyed. How would the smartphone market look then ? Alas, we can only imagine.....

4. Pem3108

Posts: 24; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

Only phone I kept for 2 whole years because there just wasn't anything better on the market.

5. Nine1Sickness

Posts: 896; Member since: Jan 30, 2011

If Nokia was smart, they would resurrect the n-gage.

6. splus

Posts: 160; Member since: Nov 26, 2011

I had one! No other phone after it has given me so much enjoyment using it! I guess because it had everything that a modern smarphones have, but at the time when nothing similar existed. The 1st and even the 2nd iPhones were behind it in features! Its slogan was "Everything has come together." Couldn't be more accurate!

10. worldpeace

Posts: 3133; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Just from the title, I know the writer is John V. Be careful dude, tone it down or you'll get kicked (again). /s

12. mootu

Posts: 1517; Member since: Mar 16, 2017

Still have mine in it's original box, tucked away in the attic.

14. SIGPRO

Posts: 2817; Member since: Oct 03, 2012

Every phone broke barriers before the iphones!

24. whatev

Posts: 2260; Member since: Oct 28, 2015

This is not an iPhone article, you’re a broken turd obsessed with Apple

15. BLUEBLASTER

Posts: 930; Member since: Feb 23, 2014

Best phone I had. N95 8GB.

16. monoke

Posts: 1161; Member since: Mar 14, 2015

N95 was awesome for its time. Like a Swiss army knife, it could do anything. It combined multimedia aspect into early smartphones. First iPhone couldn't do mms if I recall correctly. Lol. I give it props tho for being one of the forefathers of touch screen phones.

30. luis.aag90

Posts: 274; Member since: Aug 12, 2014

You're right, the N95 was a true powerhouse worth of its fame. The first iPhone couldn't do MMS, 3G nor video recording

17. aReefer

Posts: 52; Member since: Mar 21, 2015

I still used mine up until about 3 years ago. It was (almost) indestructible. You could find great apps for it also. I even had a Symbian-based version of Waze installed, so I really didn't lack for that much. Even Facebook had a Symbian app for it, and Opera Mini was my browser once the system browser was no longer supported by most modern web standards anymore. "Quality is remembered long after price has been forgotten", as they say.

19. ALMBO6

Posts: 195; Member since: May 28, 2018

Good memories.

22. whatev

Posts: 2260; Member since: Oct 28, 2015

Iconic phone, missing that old Nokia :(

26. sissy246

Posts: 7111; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

It was a great phone. Mine is packed away in the box.

28. Sammy_DEVIL737

Posts: 1529; Member since: Nov 28, 2016

That packaging is total “lit”. Miss that old Nokia NSeries days. Oh time surely flies..........

29. luis.aag90

Posts: 274; Member since: Aug 12, 2014

I loved that phone as well as the N95 8GB version released a year later. Definitely some of the best phones available back then. Too bad I couldn't afford it back then (I was in high school) so I had to settle with a 5700 XpressMusic.

31. SpencerO

Posts: 31; Member since: Nov 29, 2017

"Unlike today's smartphones, the Nokia N95 featured an easy to access microSD card slot." I won't buy a phone without a microSD card slot unless it has at least half a TB of internal storage... most of the phones I've had all had a card slot except my first phone(the Motorola Q) and then when I had the Nexus 4. So by "today's smartphones" I assume they are talking about the two major competitors Samsung and iPhone... since none of the other companies matter.

32. LetThereBeLight

Posts: 113; Member since: Nov 20, 2014

That was one of the most loved and enjoyed phone to me... However I remember when I got it unpacked it and touched it first I was quite disappointed, it felt plastic and lightweight and cheap and this is what SJ felt brilliantly, people needs to be amazed about even the feel of touch. But what Nokia felt right is to put every tech into a phone without hesitation or greedy purpose...

33. nazrae

Posts: 2; Member since: Feb 11, 2016

I once worked for Nokia Customer Service in Malaysia and later bought myself a Nokia N95 8GB.. First time I saw the Nokia N95 which was a prototype then , I was like "Wow!".. All those features packed into this tiny device! But later people started complaining about purchasing Turn-by-Turn Navigation which should be given free for a premium device. Which later Nokia bought over NavTec and gave what the customers wanted!

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