Camera:

One of the main features of N95 is its megapixel camera, with the main idea to replace your pocket camera so you would be able to carry one device less. Because phones are something we have with us almost all the time, with N95 you would always have a five-megapixels camera with you.

Located just around the lens is the Carl Zeiss Tessar sign, guaranteeing that it's manufactured under license from the legendary brand, and it's only Nokia that currently uses it in their mobile phones (N95, N73, N90, N93(i) up to now). Turning it on is accomplished by opening the slider on the back of the phone but the camera loading takes the annoying four seconds which may cost you if you instantly want to take a picture of something. Just after it's started you can half-press the shoot button (its movement is more precise than it was with the N73) in order to focus on the object you want to take a picture of and it takes 2-3 seconds even in poor lighting conditions, as it's aided by a blink of the flash.

As already pointed, the length of time for which the camera interface started was very similar to the one of the N73, which is actually slow for a top-notch model. But the real disappointment comes when you take a picture at a maximal size and it starts to get recorded. Because this is a five-megapixels photo its size is comparatively large in MB and its recording takes about 6-7 seconds. After the image is saved, you have the options to send it, delete or take a new one which additionally increases the time before you can take a new picture with a few seconds. In total, about 10 seconds are needed before a new picture can be taken.We hope that future updates of firmware will fix this as we think it is way too long.

Depending on the object you take photo of, the images can be as small as half megabyte (MB) but most are with size around 1MB. Some images of course exceeded that and had size of 1.5MB. This means that on 1GB microSD card you will be able to store about a thousand photos.

The camera interface is displayed in landscape mode and we think the phone is intended to be held with both hands. The right one is used for pressing the shoot button and the left one for zooming, which unfortunately is only digital, unlike the N93(i) which has an optical one. The various options are displayed in small icons arranged vertically to the right of the screen, so that there's as much space left on the display as possible for the viewfinder. The Symbian 9.2 offers better interface and options than the 9.1 version. Interesting options are a few scene modes including night photo, night portrait, Sports, Close-up. There's an option for more than one color scenes and white balance, but the latter still lacks manual tuning.

We can very well say that Nokia N95 one of the best or maybe the best cameraphone, available on the market (*in Europe and N. America).
Compared to a Canon pocket digital camera, the camera of N95 performs quite well (although not as good as the former), keeping in mind that it is a phone, after all (all-in-one device).



When taking pictures in the open and in daylight, the pictures are very good and their only shortcoming is a slight noise, which is reduced (smothered) by its “Noise Reduction” system.

For photographing macro objects, the phone avails of a Close Up mode, allowing you to focus at a distance 10 - 60 cm (4 – 25’’). We were thus able to take some very good macro pictures of flowers. We would have appreciated it if we were able to approach the flowers more with the phone and to achieve more detail in the pictures, as well as a less focused background, which is important for this type of pictures.
When taking pictures in poor light indoors, the flash (LED) is not comparable to that of a camera and the noise level rises considerably, the colors are lost and the details are lacking.

In the case of brightly lit objects in the dark, Nokia N95 is able to slow down the speed of the shutter, thus letting more light to its sensor. In most cases our pocket camera was mislead and, switching on its flash, lit the close-by objects, while all the other objects (which were actually the target of the picture), remained dark.

The results that we achieved when we switched on the night mode of N95 and of our pocket camera were rather similar, as far as lighting and colors were concerned. The difference was the noise that N95 produced, though smothered by its Noise Reduction System.

As a whole, the performance of N95 is more than satisfactory for a mobile phone. When taking pictures in broad daylight there is little noise and a lot of detail, the pictures are very well exposed with authentic balanced colors. Taking pictures indoors with moderate light generates more noise, but the pictures are still one of the best we’ve seen from a cameraphone. Using the phone in dark, poorly lit premises increases the camera’s sensitivity level up to 800 ISO (in case it is on automatic level, which results in quite a lot of noise in pictures. These do not look particularly good, but anyway this is a difficult task for low- to mid-amateur class digital cameras as well.



It is apparent that the phone greatest problem is when taking pictures of dark objects in poor light. To improve this, two things have to be done: on the one hand, to use real Xenon flashes, like what Sony Ericsson did with its K800; on the other hand, to start using bigger and more advanced sensors, which perform better in poor light without generating much noise, which the software ‘cleans’, at the same time washing away most of the details.

Nokia N95 has inherited from N93 its strong potential for recording video clips. The powerful smartphone takes not only 5-megapixel pictures, but also videos with great resolution and "TV quality". The actual resolution is 640х480 pixels at 30 frames per second, which ensures that moving objects are not “chopped” or blurred. Watch the linked video of moving people. The high frames per second deliver smooth video and the high resolution ensures a size, which is a please to view even on a computer screen. A 20-seconds video takes 8MB of memory, which means that on an empty 1GB microSD card you will be able to record about 40 minutes of video in high quality.

Sample: Nokia N95 Video Clip. ~8MB. Click to download.
Sample: Canon SD630 Ixus Video Clip. ~20MB. Click to download.

The pictures taken can be viewed from the Gallery. It displays a single image at the center 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 center 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 shortcut opens the menu, which pops up also when the slider is open downwards. It contains shortcuts to different applications (Camera, Videos, Gallery, Games) and has an animated interface, different from that of the main menu. The idea is to make the use of the phone’s different multimedia features easily, without having to search the different option in the main menu or in the sub-menus.

Music:

The phone comes with headphones in the box, but can also play the music through the stereo speakers, which is very cool for the incoming ringing alert. As it was already mentioned, the sound coming from these loudspeakers is very strong and clear. The N95 over performs many other phones, even top models Sony Ericsson’s Walkmans. The musical player’s interface is new and is much more convenient than before. The functionality has been preserved, but the navigation is more rational. The interface has been optimized for landscape, but it can also be used in portrait orientation without problems. The navigation is assigned to the d-pad directions and therefore you don’t have to shift through the small icons as was the case with N73, for example.

The Music Library menu allows you to sort the songs by Artist, Album, Genre, Composer. You can also create playlists.
The music player works fine in background mode thanks to the multitasking capabilities of the smartphone, while the homescreen displays the songs that are playing 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. In order to do this, use the music keyboard on the top.



In addition to the Music Player comes the built in FM tuner. It is nothing extraordinary but allows you to listen to local FM stations, delivering music or audio information (news for example) over the air. The interface is standard and allows for saving of a few stations to your "favorite" list. As always, wired headphones should be attached in order to be used as an antenna for the phone.

The viewing of video files is a real pleasure on the phone’s display. The processor does a very good job and we monitored no delay with an encoded 320x240 pixels video clip, as was the case with some other smartphones.

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