We've been waiting for the N96 for a good while. Have we been waiting too long?
The N96 sits firmly in the big and proud camp. At 125g with vital statistics weighing in at 1.5 x 5.5 x 10.3 cm (WDH), this phone won't give you a hernia lifting it up to put in your pocket, though it does possess a pleasing heft. The materials the phone's made out of give it a fairly classy look and provide that all-important reassuringly sturdy feel to the N96 when it's in your hand.
Those who are a bit clumsy will also be pleased to hear that we also tried the bang and drop test on this device and it passed with flying colours. That said, the 2.8in screen does become a bit grubby after a while, so it may be worth investing in a cover if you need to pay attention to screen detail on a regular basis and are likely to get frustrated by finger marks.
Talking of the display, this QVGA (320 x 240) screen - while not as generous pixel wise as what Apple has to offer - is more than ample for the average business and consumer. It's certainly reasonable for those who need to email and view documents on the move though to avoid repetitive strain injury a wireless keyboard might be a good buy if you're planning on using the N96 as your primary method of data input on the move and your appetite is bigger than the average user.
We found the keypad and navigational keys quite stubborn and hard to use initially, but after a couple of days' use they soon softened up slightly. The keys are well positioned and nicely space, which is a key consideration for those who need the device to text and email as well as call. In terms of call quality, we found the device to be of a high standard.
The user interface and Symbian S60 OS is a doddle for those well-versed with Nokia's way and easy to get used to for complete novices. On the apps menu, you'll find the usual suspects in terms of business and consumer wants. As with the N95, there's also TV-out so you can hook up your device to bigger screens for presentations or just a bit of fun.
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