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Nokia N90 "Transformer" camera phone review

Nokia N90 cell phone review
A couple OF weeks ago we were informed that the Nokia N90 was released AND shipping! There was SOME delay due TO SOME additional quality-assurance WORK. This means that the Nokia N90 could be available FOR sale IN the very near future. It should be available IN US FROM T-Mobile OR Cingular, OR BOTH. Be prepared TO pay MORE than $900 FOR an unlocked model. Speculations about price IN euros IS BETWEEN 600-650. I browsed the top cell phone review sites AND READ a couple OF "offline" magazine reviews about the Nokia N90.

The overall impression IS good OR excellent. Cnet AND gsmarena gives the N90 a 8.3 rating (Excellent). It seems TO be one OF the highest-quality camera phones available today. One could say that the Nokia N90 IS a combination OF image capture, music playback, AND communications capabilities IN a clever but bulky Transformers-LIKE package.

"Bulky Transformers-LIKE package"! Yes, the N90 is not another small pocket toy and it is actually no clamshell because the main display rotates as well. Anyway the quality OF the construction IS superb AND parts rotate smoothly.

InFoSyncworld comments that the N90 IS "a BIT big AND a BIT plasticky, but who cares WHEN it looks TO become the best cameraphone TO grace western shores this YEAR" has reviewed the Nokia N90 AND writes - 'AS FOR the CONNECTION quality the device IS a typical representative OF Nokia smartphones WITH NO serious problems. AS compared WITH the Nokia 6680 the phone gained SOME significant advantages. Particularly, a voice recognition independent FROM the pronunciation appeared, NO preliminary bookmarks ARE necessary. The screen IS one OF the best ON the market AND the best IN its class. The EXTERNAL screen IS the best IN its class considering ALL the characteristics. The camera IS ON the LEVEL OF the best ones though it's hard TO find one TO compare WITH, ONLY the Sony Ericsson K750 that actually belongs TO another class (ALL the photos ARE comparable excluding the macromode, the K750 looses here).'

The N90 Camera
Gsmarena has an excellent review OF the camera functions. "Nokia N90 belongs to the absolute top 10 chart of all photo mobiles. At present, N90's only and most dangerous competitor IS Sony Ericsson K750/W800."

The N90 camera, for the first time in a any smartphone or PDA uses glass optics (Tessar lens, 5.5 mm, f/2.9) FROM the famous Carl Zeiss. You could say it's LIKE IN a REAL digital camera AND you also have advanced control over various exposure parameters. Other options included IS Scene (CLOSE-up mode, Night, Sports, Portrait, Landscape, Automatic AND USER defined), Flash mode (Automatic, Red eye reduction, Forced, Off), White balance (Automatic, Sunny, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent), Exposure correction (-2 TO +2 EV WITH 0.5 EV step) AND Color tone (Normal, Sepia, Black & White, Negative). A self timer (either 2 seconds OR 10 seconds) IS also included.

The camera supports 20x digital zoom, LED flash AND features auto-focus mechanism moving the optical elements inside the lens TO obtain focus depending ON the distance OF the photographed object.

Video recording TIME IS OF course limited by the amount OF free storage SPACE available AND there ARE three video quality settings: 'High', 'Normal' AND 'Sharing'. IN the 'High' quality mode the N90 records videos IN 352 x 288 pixels resolution (MP4 file format / MPEG-4 video codec).

Like WITH still pictures, also IN movie mode users have control over various settings. You can also choose whether TO record audio OR NOT OR which memory TO use (Phone OR MMC).

Some people argue that the 176 × 208 pixels resolution OF CURRENT Symbian Nokia models IS insufficient. They have a surface OF 35 × 41 mm AND a single square centimetre fit IN 2551 pixels. SOME other phones ARE equipped WITH displays, featuring almost twice AS many pixels ON a square cm. The Nokia 6230i has 4807 pixels AND the Sony Ericsson K750 has 3709 pixels ON a sq. cm.

The main OR internal display has the same physical dimensions OF the internal display IS the same AS OF previous

Nokia Series 60 phones. The difference lies IN its resolution, which IS four times higher. The Nokia N90 displays

10204 pixels ON a square cm (262 thousand colors). The display quality IS very good AND fonts, icons AND other UI (USER interface) elements ARE very smooth. I think there ARE NO rivals TO the N90 display among ALL the manufacturers FOR today.

The EXTERNAL display (128 x 128 pixels, 65k colors) provides quick access TO the most important information AND IS comparable WITH the Nokia 6230 display. IN standby mode it shows a standby screen WITH the information about CURRENT network, signal AND battery indicators, active profile, CURRENT TIME, Bluetooth AND GPRS/3G status, etc. It can also show the caller ID AND picture FROM the phonebook AND lets you pick up / reject the call OR mute the ringtone.

Some reviews about the display I FOUND point out that its readable IN the sun which IS an advantage compared TO other displays. AND the N90 can use traditional themes but it also supports new, enhanced themes including support FOR the EXTERNAL display (wallpapers AND screensavers).

Everything cant be perfect! The clear disadvantage IS the battery life. A standard Li-Ion BL-5B battery capacious OF 760 mAh IS used (its sligtly smaller than the BL-5C used IN 6680 OR 6630). FOR comparison, the majority OF today smartphones have a BL-5C capacious OF 900 mAh. People who know MORE about battery issues told me that there ARE NO expanded capacity batteries FOR the N90 AND they ARE unlikely TO be provided. Ok, can we live WITH that Nokia says standby TIME FOR the N90 IS 240 hours AND up TO 4.5 HOUR OF talking. IN reality, this could mean a DAY OR a little MORE if you use ALL the functions actively. Taking photos AND recording videos also reduces a lot OF the battery life.

Operating system, memory, processor & Software
Based ON Symbian OS 8.1a, Series 60 2.8 (SECOND Edition Feature Pack 3), the N90 IS equipped WITH 220 MHz ARM9 based CPU, the same AS the one FOUND IN Nokia 6630 AND 6680. Applications WORK quite fast, but selecting options AND switching BETWEEN screens seem TO be a BIT slow sometimes. WITH the Feature Pack 3 comes the presence OF a scalable interface AND fonts WITH changeable SIZE. AND unfortunately also the software incompatibility WITH the previous Series 60 models. This means Nokia N90 fails TO run many OF the applications made FOR previous Nokia smartphones.

The N90 has 48 MB total RAM memory (about 20 MB RAM IS free FOR the USER). This IS almost three times MORE than IN the 6630 OR 6680 (ONLY about 8 MB free RAM). This will allow developers TO CREATE much MORE advanced software FOR the phone. The phone also has 30 MB OF built-IN Flash memory FOR storing USER DATA AND applications (internal disk C:) AND supports storage memory expansion WITH hot-swappable Dual Voltage RS-MMC memory cards (64 MB card comes WITH the device). N90 offers the Active standby screen also available IN the Nokia 6680. This screen menu supports 5 icons providing quick access TO frequently used applications AND displaying information, about CURRENT Calendar entries AND TO-Dos.

Connections AND DATA transmission
The N90 IS equipped WITH FULL-speed USB 2.0 Pop-Port AND Bluetooth 1.2. DATA transmission speed reaches up TO 286.8 kbps IN EGPRS (EDGE) networks AND up TO 384 kbps IN 3G networks. Doesnt have an IR-port. The phone supports two-way video calls AND video sharing.

Though the N90 generates high quality stereo sound, I still wouldnt sell my iPod! The built-IN music player supports MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, MIDI (64 voices polyphony), AMR, RealAudio, TRUE Tones AND WAV. Music can be played back through stereo headset (OR ANY other audio terminals connected TO the Pop-Port) OR via the loudspeaker. The EXTERNAL screen shows CURRENT song's NAME AND allows changing the volume USING joystick. P.S. the standard headphones arent that good AND it has NO industry standard audio mini-jack connector AND you cannot easily use high quality headphones.

Well a multifunctional device, which serves AS a phone, a communicator, a MP3 player, a digital camera AND a video camera cannot be lightweight (173 g). The N90 IS actually one OF the biggest AND the heaviest Series 60 smartphones.

The dimensions (112 x 51 x 24 mm) ARE identical TO Nokia 7650 AND Sony Ericsson P910. FOR comparison the Ericsson P910i IS 155 g AND the Nokia 9300 IS 167 g.

Keypad AND buttons
The keypad seems TO be OF good quality. The phone has a similar 5-way control KEY / navigation button that many other Nokia phones use. According TO many other reviews I READ the navigation IS precise AND quite easy TO use - the central button IS clearly separated FROM the direction buttons.

KEY features & Summary

  • The amount OF free RAM

  • Works without the simcard *

  • Excellent main display

  • EXTERNAL display

  • The camera quality AND functions

  • Slot FOR the RS-MMC memory cards (3V AND 1.8V)

  • Stereo MP3 player

* Use it ON a airplain!

  • Expensive

  • SIZE AND weight

  • Battery durability

  • NO vibration

Other alternatives: Sharp 902, Sony Ericsson K750i

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