screenshot0090This is the final part of the review of Nokia’s flagship device, the N96. Over the course of last few weeks, I have had a chance to play with this handset and get a feeling of what the N96 is all about. I have posted a look at the device from 4 angles.

  1. Design
  2. Lighting
  3. Software, music, battery, screen orientation
  4. Camera & accessories

Today I shall review the phone on the following parameters – Maps, Internet and N-Gage.

screenshot0073

Maps:

I have found the Maps feature to be very helpful to me at many a times. On the N96, the screen’s size is one of its biggest assets. Also the GPS chip on the N96 is very quick to grab a fix on the location. I tried the Maps V2.0 and it performed really well. But by the time I could write something on it, Nokia Beta labs outed the Maps V3.0 beta. I downloaded it to see how much had changed in the new Maps. Well, a lot has changed. Maps V3.0 is definitely faster than the old one, the menu has changed a lot, there are quite a few interesting add ons to the the new Maps. I thought that the application was a little zippier compared to the older Maps. But going away from the software and taking a look at the hardware, The N96’s GPS hardware is definitely a generation ahead of the ones found on the N82 and N95. This thing gets a location fix faster, what that means is that now you can see where your on the map faster. I did not have to wait for 10-20 minutes to get a location fix on the N96.

screenshot0074screenshot0075Probably the only thing that really kind of upset me is that the software has no way to change the direction of the Map. Imagine if you were taking a left turn and the map on the phone showed you going in the exact opposite direction. Or if you were driving straight and the application was showing you to be driving reverse. It is extremely irritating to see that on the phone, I used to just switch of the Maps application at such points. I understand this happens because of a lack of a compass, but atleast allow the user to manually change the direction of the map on the screen. I’m sure that can be done.

screenshot0084Just for this irritating niggle, the N96 gets a 6/10. I knows that it’s abit harsh, but just think how irritating a dangerous it could be for a perso using it when he or she is driving?

screenshot0098

Internet:

The internet, one of the most important  ‘things’ to have on the phone. Now there is little that I can say about the web browser as it is the same as one would expect to find on any S60 device, this one has one additional feature – the N96 allows you to change the font size. This is a nifty and good feature. The huge also screen plays a very important role in increasing the UI’s functionality. Let’s face it, a bigger screen is always going to make a person want to surf the internet than a small one.

screenshot0100

The web browser is the same that has been on all the S60 devices I have reviewed so far, so othing new to tell you. It does not have tabbed browsing, which according to me is a very bad thing. I don’t know if other browsers and platforms have such a feature, but the need of the hour is tabbed browsing.

For everyday browsing and other things the browser is more than adept. I would give it a 8.9/10.

screenshot0085

N-Gage:

The N-Gage application on the N96 is a second generation iteration of the N-Gage gaming platform developed by Nokia. Since this is not a review of the N-Gage, I will only be writing about my experience of the N-Gage application.

screenshot0091

The N-Gage performs really well on the N96. The games have good graphics and seeing them being rendered on the N96’s huge screen really provides a good experience. The two gaming keys on music player keys are good, but could have been made more clearly identifiable. Another thing that is slightly weird is that the horizontal orientation for the N-Gage is such that one cannot use the stand. I know the stand is of no use, but why is the orientation so different for the N-Gage? One type of orientation would have been better, don’t you think Nokia? plus I don’t think one should burden the consumer by making remember the orientations for various applications on his device.

screenshot0087screenshot0089

The N-Gage application is really looking good on the N96. A lot of people might complain that the 2.8″ screen is not a VGA screen, when it could have been. Well I agree that a VGA screen would have looked killer, but it would have also made things a lot smaller to read and see. The N-Gage games would have looked a little dull and I’m sure that rendering would have eaten up a lot of processing power and battery too.

On the whole I would give the N-Gage feature on the N96, a solid 9/10. A good platform that looks great on the N96 and that also has been executed well.

This brings us to an end with the N96. With all its shortcomings, the N96 still has a few good things about it. This device can no doubt be improved. What it needs is few software tweaks along with a hardware revision. A faster processor, more RAM, a dedicated graphics chip, xenon flash and a bigger battery.

The positives of the phone are the speakers that are absolutely loud!, the huge screen, the very good slider action and S60 FP2.

What do you like or dislike about the N96. do drop in a comment and let us at Adityasphones know.

Advertisements