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.
The Nokia N95 set the benchmark with its 5-megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics, making it the most advanced camera phone of its time.
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.
Unlike today's smartphones, the Nokia N95 featured an easy to access microSD card slot.
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.