To get live voice guidance from a very well-spoken young lady, you need to pay extra. It's currently £5.44 a month, or £47.68 for three years and includes recalculations for missed turns. You can also download a wide variety of local guides (available in 100 cities worldwide) for £5.44 each.
The N95 is also home to the full suite of N-series applications, so you've got an excellent Web browser (with Wi-Fi support), useful email and office software, a couple of games and full PDA functionality.
As good as the Maps application is, Nokia has been lax in integrating it with the rest of the phone. You can't navigate to a contact stored in your phone automatically by clicking the postcode, for example, nor can you tag camera snaps with GPS location data. It also has a tendency to crash the phone when you exit and re-enter the application.
Talking of the camera, 5 megapixels represents a real step up, even from Nokia's snap-happy N93i handset. The Carl Zeiss lens has autofocus but is less than sharp, although extreme JPEG compression has to share the blame for the N95's somewhat smeary detail. But colours are strong, exposure is even and night-time shots are admirably low on noise. The LED flash can't rival Sony Ericsson's Cyber-shot handsets (which have real flash units), but it's not bad for night portraits.
MPEG-4 video clips are smooth, colourful and detailed -- these really are as good as those from most digital cameras. Slide the N95 down to access the media player and the new 3D media menu is a joy to look at, if a touch sluggish to use.
Video clips look wonderful in full-screen landscape mode, but music playback disappoints. In fact, it's pretty dire, with MP3s and FM radio sounding muffled and indistinct even through high-quality headphones.
Voice calls are clear and distinct, however. Messaging is straightforward, plus you can use MMS to send your current location to other N95s. For the phone geeks out there, the file you send includes the exact longitude and longitude and can be opened by text readers -- although simply attaching a JPEG of your local map would have been much more useful.
As you might expect, using the sat-nav seriously affects battery life. In fact, leave Maps running and the N95 gets worryingly warm. Expect to have to charge it every night.
The sat-nav is better for walking than driving -- if you cover a lot of miles in the car, a dedicated sat-nav unit like the TomTom One still makes the most sense. It'll be louder, faster, able to access speed-camera info and should actually be able to search for destinations. Similarly, a neat little Fujifilm Z5 camera offers image quality and flexibility that the N95 simply can't match.
But in the realms of pure portability and ease of communication, the N95 is in a league of its own. It represents the very pinnacle of technological miniaturisation, without sacrificing usability, flexibility or style. Hopefully, the few bugs and general sluggishness will soon be ironed out, as this is a truly astonishing -- if truly expensive -- handset.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Nick Hide