Nokia did a little magic with the N96 by cramming all radio possible (GSM, Bluetooth, WLAN, GPS, DVB-H) into the phone and by “outsourcing” the antennas to the back cover. Simply put, if you remove the back cover of the phone or you buy an incompatible one you’re holding a brick. According to the N96 manual “Note that the Bluetooth, WLAN, GPS and DVB-H anetnnas are located in the back cover of your device. If you change the back cover, check that the new cover includes these antennas, otherwise these connections stop working”.
Notice the gold pin on the upper right corner of the N96. This is the phone’s connection to all radio, the voice enabled, data driven internet world out there. Nokia decision to built the cellular antenna and the antenna for Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS and DVB-H on the back cover is brilliant but possibly a reason for concern among the clumsy users.
On the bright side, you don’t have to worry when dropping the phone and possibly damaging the antenna. Poor reception and bad signal can immediately tested against a new back cover from a store or a friend. On the other hand, if you’re the type of guy throwing the phone on the table and messing around with the back cover all the time, your chances to harm the antennas are greater.
In any case, be aware of the antenna pin and the antennas built in the back cover. N96 certainly wins here for the testing and repair convenience of the end users. Manual picture following after the jump.