For the past couple of months, I've wanted a new mobile phone that really addresses my personal requirements for a mobile device - a great camera, excellent web capabilities, and good phone quality. GPS is a good bonus but not a showstopper if the device doesn't have it. I've been eyeing the Nokia N95 for a while now, and as is my wont when Apple makes an announcement regarding the iPhone, I bought one last night. (I bought my current phone, the BlackBerry Pearl, the day the iPhone came out. What? I like to defy Steve Jobs, or as Warren Ellis called him, Bay Area Moses.)
I went to the Nokia flagship store in midtown Manhattan last night with the ol' ball and chain and we manhandled both the regular N95 and the 8GB model. I read a bunch of reviews before going there, and was prepared for the feel of the device - the build quality feels a little flimsy, not how I'd expect a high-end phone to feel. But the features fit my requirements, and we took home an N95 8GB model. However, after playing with the setup last night, it is going back to the store today.
My main problem with the device is volume control. The N95 has powerful speakers for playing music. When we were in the store, Atom stumbled across a video that was on the demo phone and it started playing very loudly. He pressed the volume control buttons and nothing happened. Thinking it was just a problem with the demo model, we moved on. However, when I got it home and began changing ringtones, I noticed the same problem - as I scrolled through each ringtone, I was unable to change the volume on them using the volume buttons. After checking some Nokia user forums, I discovered that this is a known problem with some applications and games - if the game does not have built-in volume controls, you either have to play it on full volume or mute, because the volume buttons have no effect. This strikes me as odd since volume control is very, very basic functionality and I know that past Nokia models have had the ability to control volume no matter what application you are using. My roommate, who knows stuff about things, says that the ability to control volume no matter what you're doing is native in the Symbian OS, so I don't really understand why it works this way. I'd assume I got a dud device, but since the one in the store also does this, I have to assume that this is how it works on this phone, and that's the main reason why it's going back. The other major reasons are mostly usability and build quality issues, the biggest of which is the lack of lens cover for the camera.
I've been doing some more research today and may get an N82 instead - it has the same 5MP camera, but with a Xenon flash instead of the N95's weak LED flash, as well as most of the features of the N95 that I like. According to reviews, its build quality feels more solid as well. And it has a lens cover. We're going to the Nokia store tonight to test it out - and we'll pay much closer attention to those volume controls this time.