Nokia N93i Review
Nokia N93i is intended as an upper-scale cameraphone and camcorder with a rotating display and interesting form-factor. As well as its predecessor, N93, this is one of the few phones, featuring a real optical zoom, which in this case is 3x. This is neither too much nor too little, actually this is the most frequently used zooming factor for the pocket cameras and the down-market ones. Just like with the camera’s resolution, the rule here is „the more the better”, but Nokia have not made an effort to surprise us with an improvement compared with N93.
To use the camera, you have to turn the display in “camcorder mode”, because otherwise, even if you turn on the software, only the small 0.1 megapixels self-recording camera (the one for video conversations) will be switched on. Naturally, you’ll have to remove the black lid if it covers the lenses, because otherwise you will only see blackness. However, the software will not warn you of this, like in the case of active lens phones with cover like that of Sony Ericsson K800, for example. The landscape display is used as a viewfinder, showing the most important information (flash mode, resolution and number of photos left) and shortcuts to the settings.
Compared to N95, the settings here are nothing special! This is again entirely due to the outdated operating system. The flash settings are adjusted by a button, but options like „Self-Timer”, “Sequence mode”, “Light Sensitivity” (ISO), “Contrast”, and “Brightness” are simply non-existent. Shooting Modes, White Balance, Exposure Value Compensation and Color tones are available on the phone. Just like N93 and unlike N95, in close-up mode the autofocus is switched off and you have to work with a fixed focus which results in a poor quality of the pictures.
The quality of the pictures is average for a 3-mega pixel device and it does not live up to the advertisements for a ‘high-quality camera with Carl Zeiss optics’, just like N93, which performs even worse than N73, K800 and D900. Unlike N93, the i-version has a stronger noise reduction system and when viewing images at 100% you can see that the details are blurred, which is typical for most phones. Most of the pictures have good contrast and vivid colors and are well-exposed. When taking pictures of close-by objects, the lack of autofocus is noticed only when the pictures are viewed in large size.
Without Zoom 3x Optical zoom Macro
Videoing is really at a high level and sets a benchmark for other manufacturers. Just like N93 and N95, the video has a 640 x 480 pixels resolution with 30 frames per second, which allows for moving objects not to be choppy, which happens when you video with 15 frames. Only the digital zoom can be used when videoing, which has again a very negative impact on the quality of the image and therefore we recommend that you do not use it. Without the zoom, the quality is very good for a phone and quite similar to that of a pocket camera, although the quality of the detail is lower due to the compression.
gallery. It displays a single image at the centre of the display, which is surrounded by small thumbnails of the other images in the phone. Navigating left-to-right the images move at the centre position to be displayed in bigger size. It's nice that the phone caches different sizes of every image, so they load pretty fast once you've previewed them in the gallery.
The Multimedia key opens a dedicated menu, which has shortcuts to various applications, with the Music, Radio, Web and Slide Show by default (they can be defined by the user). On N73 it pops up with animation which was boring to wait, and now N93i fixes this issue with NO animation at all.
The phone comes with headphones in the box, but can also play the music through its single mono speaker, which should be cool for the incoming ringing alert but actually isn’t. The sound through it cannot be compared to N95’s as it is not detailed and pretty weak. If you put your hand over the openings, the sound will almost mute. The interface of the music player is the same as those used in other Symbian S60 9.1 phones (N93, N73, E50). It's not quite comfortable – moving through the options can only be done with up and down directions and the buttons are so small that you have to stare at the display if you want to see what each of them does which is a total waste of space and resolution.
Music Library menu allows you to sort the songs by Artist, Album, Genre, Composer, and we find the Track Lists option to be an interesting idea as it allows you to select the most played songs for example. The music player works fine in background mode thanks to the multitask capabilities of the smartphone, while the beautiful homescreen displays the songs that's played and the time elapsed – by pointing at it you are allowed to adjust the sound volume of the player without even opening it but you can not pause it or change to the next track. When you close the phone you can control the music player by the joystick on the right side.
The sound quality of the music player is not the one we'd like to hear in a high-end multimedia phone … neither from the phone's speaker(it sounds awful), nor from the stereo headphones, which also produced almost no bass and had low quality of middle and high frequencies – unfortunately it is hard to connect decent hi-fi headphones to the phone, and you have to search for Nokia adaptor (Pop-up Port to 3.5mm jack). It's sad that it is not in the box, as it is with Sony Ericsson Walkman phones and LG Chocolate KG800. As you can expect, the built-in equalizers don't help for the sound quality at all but if you are fan of them, you can even add your preset one.
The FM Radio (and Visual Radio) comes as a bonus. It has a standard Nokia interface: you wouldn’t call it beautiful, but it is convenient. It can memorize up 20 stations with their names.
The phone can use applications based both on the Java platform and Symbian S60, which provides wide 3rd party software compatibility like any other smartphone. Installation is a piece of cake, while additional programs increase the software's capabilities very much and thus it can be personalized to better suit you. The phone comes with several applications, as well as a game, called Snakes, which is a 3D version of the well known from other Nokia phones game. The other game is just DEMO and is 3D racing game called SRE but the demo doesn’t allow you to play even one stage.
N93i has 50MB of internal memory and you must expand it with a miniSD card to take advantage of the phone's functionality.