To be honest with you, i never thought i could be a ninja unless i had a pair of ninja socks but since Nokia sent me this Nokia N96 ninja costume package (where is the ninja hat?) i thought to give it a try. The idea is dead simple: Bloggers from around the globe compete in a 4 week challenge doing crazy ninja stuff and not only. The winner goes home with a big Ego and 5 Nokia N96 for his/her readers to trial! Now, how cool is that?
Using the Nokia N96 for almost a week i came up with a single impression: love the phone, hate the build quality.
The N96 is supposed to be Nokia’s flagship Nseries mobile computer with Carl Zeiss optics, dual LEDs and a crappy camera button. Frankly speaking, i have no idea why the engineers decided to implement such a solution. The camera button needs to be pressed all the way inside the N96’s body in order to take a picture. Button needs to be pressed annoyingly deep to take a picture. Where is the 2 stages (focus – take a picture) soft button like the N82 has?
Front media keys (around the D pad / scroll key) is another mess. It just doesn’t feel right to use these keys. Hard to push, no tactility. Same feeling with the dedicated media / gaming keys in the 2-way slider the N96 has. Again, keys need to be pushed hard and only part of the keys’ surface responds to commands, that is the surface closer to the N96 body and speaker. Not very cool and certainly not very convenient for gaming longer than 5 minutes.
Trying to open the microSD memory card slot scared the crap out of me. I thought i would injure or break my nail doing so. I quit trying after a while and used my Swiss Army knife. Again not cool for this extra 8GB that take the N96 up to a whooping 24GB of storage.
OK, enough with the hating, it’s time for the love part. N96 includes pretty much all radio you could ever dream except WiMAX. This beast does WCDMA2100/900 (HSDPA) / EGSM900, GSM850/1800/1900 MHz (EGPRS), DVB-H 470-750 MHz, A-GPS, Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP stereo audio and Enhanced Data Rates (EDR), WiFi 802.11 g/b with UPnP support. I hear you saying YaY baby!
The 2.8″ QVGA screen in full brightness is absolutely marvelous. 240 x 320 pixels of resolution is not enough these days but watching a movie or a slideshow from every single angle is a non issue.
The OS is vanilla S60 3rd edition, feature pack 2. Pretty much what you’d expect from S60 plus Nokia viNe, SkyeQuiKey, Adv, Call Mgr, We:Offset, Sports Tracker. Nokia did the right thing sending me the Greek keypad N96-1 (RM-247, Global) but in simple terms means that i’m not yet able to install the new v11 firmware. Still using the v10 firmware with all the glitches and slowness it has to offer.
I promised myself not to forget to mention this. N96 is a N-Gage enabled phone and Nokia offers a game for FREE (as in beer). The box included an activation code for the classic smash hit, Tetris. Time to get some TV-out love and watch Transformers, loaded in the phone too.
Kudos to my pal Nasos Efstathiadis for spending a few Saturday morning hours taking the flying ninja pics. All ninja pics are available in high resolution, under Creative Commons License here: Titanas Nokia N96 Ninja. More to come soon, in the meantime check the official Nokia N96 site here