For 2 years now I’ve been using the Nokia N95. At the time of release it was revolutionary. Even today it holds its weight when compared to the majority of phones on the market. From a top quality camera with a flash and autofocus, a GPS receiver and built in sat-nav, DVD quality video recording, to the more gimmicky 2-way slider, the N95 really is the bee’s knees.
So it was time for an upgrade. I was seriously contemplating sticking with T-Mobile and the N95 and just getting a cheaper tariff. But the N95’s biggest flaw, let me down. Build quality. My first N95 had a loose keypad, and the volume-up button broke. After about 20 months, the volume-up button broke on my second handset. Google it, it’s a common fault. Whereas once a Nokia would have been virtually indestructible (think 3310), the N95 was a fragile ornament. Other aspects of the N95 started to bug me also. The upper keypad is too cramped. It’s too easy to accidently cancel out of an application when trying to hit the ‘C’ key. Application start-up times are also slow, nothing seems seamless. I decided I needed to get a new phone.
I was torn between the iPhone and the N97. After the shocking build quality of the N95, I’d sworn never to go back to Nokia, which is a big thing for me. I’ve owned the 3330, 3510i, 6630, 6100, and 6230i – oh and the N95 of course, since 2001…. I had a play on the N97 and it looks amazing. The camera is top notch, and it feels a lot more solid than the N95. The touch screen however is very poor. A bit like the 5800, it’s resistive, and so works on pressure making it a real chore to use. The UI isn’t designed for touch, rather than adapted, and poorly adapted in my opinion. But the slide-out keyboard, and integrated flash in the browser were still enough to keep my interested. I decided to stick to my guns, and not risk another N95. I went for the iPhone.
I’ve had many iPods before. I hate iTunes – it’s a true example of bloatware. I have used iTunes since 2001 when it was version 1, and came with Mac OS 9 – so I have a lot of experience with using it. From about version 6 onwards, it just got really slow. On Windows it has an annoying bug where it will steal focus every couple of minutes, this can be fixed by setting Windows Live Messenger not to display your song information. I’m sure Apple make iTunes on Windows run a slow as possible to make Microsoft look bad. I mean, why the hell does QuickTime, a crappy media player that no one ever runs (except as a plug-in) need a notification icon? What is it notifying me of exactly? Anyway we all know iTunes sucks, but it for syncing music and downloading podcasts, it does the job OK.
The iPhone, like the N97, looks great. Unlike the N97 it’s not at all obvious where the SIM card goes, so be sure to read the manual, or Google it as I did. The screen in capacitive, which works by conducting electricity from your figure. It’s a lot smoother and more enjoyable to use. The browser and email are great, but I do miss a few things about my N95
- The calendar. An iPhone will only let you set a reminder for 2 days before an event. No good for a car service, or a big birthday present where you might like to be reminded a week or so before. Seems like a pointless limit, or oversight to me.
- Bluetooth. The iPhone might as well not have Bluetooth, since you can’t send photos or contacts using it. I can understand Apple restricting music, but photos, contacts, and calendar entries? These are basics Apple and you’ve got them wrong.
- Apple are in bed with the network operators. You can’t download podcasts over 10MB or use the iPhone has a modem, the N95 could do all of this. It was a phone not a marketing tool for 02.
- 3G reception seems to be bad – when compared to other phones on the same network in the same room.
- The camera is bad. The newer 3GS that I have still is poor and doesn’t have a flash.
I don’t want to be all negative – the iPhone is a worthy upgrade from the N95. Email is much quicker, and supports HTML (although Apple limit you to sending 5 photos as attachments), as well as syncing emails and calendars with exchange. The N95 would take about 30 seconds to ‘think about’ my emails after receiving them, which was just plain annoying. Direct upload the YouTube, along with some great games, and applications put the iPhone ahead of Nokia. Facebook, Twitter, even Windows Live Messenger via push (although the application author writes that the program is under review by Apple, no doubt because it might eat into network revenues) all work seamlessly. The interface is a pleasure to use.
So I’m glad I upgraded – just missing a few key bits of functionality!