Every now and then a product comes along that promises to revolutionise the market. The N95 is such a beast, combining satellite navigation, a cutting-edge 5-megapixel camera, a media player and PDA functions in a handset that somehow isn't the size of a brick.
If you look hard enough (and don't mind an astronomical tariff) you can find the N95 for less than £50 on a monthly contract, but the SIM-free price is an eye-watering £630. There's also an 8GB version of the N95 that has a larger screen and comes in a black casing. For more information read our full Nokia N95 8GB review.
Nokia knows how to put a phone together. Pick up the N95 and you simply won't believe that so much technology has been squeezed into such a light, palm-friendly device.
Nokia has embraced a two-way sliding design that lets you push the screen up and let your fingers roam over a nicely textured keypad, or slide it down to reveal a fashionably touch-sensitive suite of media-player controls. This also switches the N95's stunning 66mm (2.6-inch) screen into landscape mode and activates its new 3D multimedia menu -- more of which later.
An almost-flush control pad beneath the screen lets you access menus and key functions while the phone is closed, and there's the obligatory secondary pinhole camera (352x288 pixels) for video calls. The main camera is around the back, with an LED light and protected by an excellent manual lens cover.
As the N95 is not without an element of chunkiness, there's room on the sides for stereo speakers, volume keys and two very welcome features: a standard 3.5mm headphone socket, and a TransFlash memory card slot behind a flap. Another neat touch is that N95 now uses a standard mini-USB jack instead of Nokia's proprietary Pop-Port, for syncing information with a PC but not charging. While you do get a pair of earbuds with the N95, they're ugly, tinny and should be upgraded immediately if you value either your street cred or your future hearing. The inline remote is worth hanging on to, though, as it doubles as a wired headset.
Nokia's GPS application -- which goes by the rather dull name of 'Maps' -- is very different from other portable navigators, or previous sat-nav phones from Mio and HP. Instead of storing street-level maps of the whole country, the N95 downloads local mini-maps, routes and even voice commands on the fly. Each map covers about 0.5 miles around you, so it's essential that you're on a reasonable mobile Internet tariff, and ideally an all-you-can-surf package such as T-Mobile's Web and Walk or 3's X-Series.
Like Google Earth, Maps opens on an image of our planet from space, swooping smoothly in once the GPS aerial locks on. It's a jaw-dropping animation the first time you see it, but easily skipped if there's no one around to impress. The map download can mean a minute or two's delay before you're up and running initially, but GPS sensitivity is generally good, with the N95 able to locate itself even through windows.
The N95 covers 100 countries -- the idea is that you just get off the plane and download a local map of wherever you've landed. You might want to use Wi-Fi though, to avoid crippling data charges.
The N95 offers virtually all the traditional sat-nav features, including route planning, search and local points of interest (but not speed cameras or traffic jams). Unfortunately, the search struggled to locate postcodes, street names or points of interest in our tests, although as this is all done through an online service, we're expecting this to be fixed soon. Once we'd set the GPS markers manually, however, route planning was more successful, with the N95 calculating a complex cross-country route in seconds, complete with turn-by-turn information.