(Continuing my review from my original N95-3 Review Part I)
Verdict: Nokia N95-3is a powerful, handsome, yet, secretive smartphone with a lot of shortcuts hidden (copy & paste, web browsing) but not as intuitive). On paper and in concept, this phone is the king. While some of its features are superb, the usability falls a little short when compared to an iPhone or WM powered devices due to the lack of touchscreen interaction. I am still happy with the purchase, but I can't crown this phone the king of smartphones until I see some firmware improvement. Perhaps the S60 3rd Edition Feat Pack 2 upgrade can change my experience.
Internet (4 out of 5) - My internet experience on the N95-3 has been good. The Opera powered browser works flawlessly. Although the shortcuts took me a while to remember (zoom in/out, mini map, URL bar, etc.), the experience is stable. I've even installed Opera Mini and barely notice the minor difference. Where the N95-3 falls a little short is in the area of touchscreen interaction and lack of foreign language support like the iPhone such as reading Chinese or Japanese. Unless I am willing to flash my firmware to Asian OS, I won't be able to read foreign language. 3G data support is fast, every bit as I expected.
GPS (5 out of 5) - This is by far the coolest feature on my phone. I used it on a recent business trip to Boston. We used it to navigate our way to a cool Mexican Restaurant MASA in the downtown area. With 3G data keeping up with the Google Maps download on the fly, I am very happy with its performance. Feels like something straight out of a James Bond movie. Nokia Maps is great. I am able to download the US maps along with some big cities world wide that I would potentially visit in the future. All of which are supplied free of charge from Nokia. Very cool!
Phone (4.5 out of 5) - The N95-3 is obviously a phone at its core. Unlike some poorer experiences I've had with some early BlackBerry devices where the phone reception and clarity was horrible, this is a great communication device with voice. I also missed having the numeric keypad allowing me to call 800 numbers with a fancy words (ie. 800-mattress), this can't be done using a Blackberry 8700c. My only complaint with the phone experience is the phonebook/contact display. When I check missed calls or incoming call log, the phone only display name of the caller, but not the device. Sometimes I would be interested to know if a caller is using mobile or home number (which is specified in my contact book).
Email/Messaging (4 out of 5) - I don't have too much to complaint about the messaging. It is what it is. As mentioned, GMAIL IMAP works much better here, compared to my original experience with WM6. If I have one complaint, it would be that SMS text should be in a conversational format, like the iPhone. It would be nice to read through the SMS threads, especially if your friend text you back a few days after your original text.
Camera/Photo (1 out of 5) - N95's camera sucks! The 5MP Carl Zeiss Lens camera is the worst I've used. The side button is hard to use when taking a portrait picture. Only if they programmed the center button on the Dpad to take pictures (like the secondary camera function), it would make picture taking slightly easier. It takes forever for the lens to focus and shutter to close. Most of the time, by the time a picture is taken, the moment is gone. By default, you can't just set the flash to stay off. This is an area where iPhone just kicks everyone's butt. iPhone camera takes fast, bright and high quality images. I really hate the N95-3's camera.
The pictures can be used as wallpaper, but with very minimal flexibility to adjust how it should be placed on the wallpaper (alignment, size, etc.). To take the perfect wallpaper, I often have to take up to 10 images to get the perfect shot. This is something even WM5/6 device can out perform.
Keyboard/Input (3.5 out of 5) - There is nothing wrong here. I wished the phone had a full keypad but this is something I am willing to live with. Again, the device is a true phone at heart, so I will just leave it at that.
LCD (5 out of 5) - The LCD is vivid and displays a sharp image. Absolutely love it. The graphics engine is nice as well. Using YouTube app or Yahoo Go 3.0, the animation and transition of widgets look like a full desktop ajax.
Final words: S60 vs WM6 - Believe it or not, I kind of miss my WM6-powered AT&T 8525. Maybe its because I am so used to its touchscreen allowing me to jump right to where I want to or maybe its because of its basic Microsoft functionality that is remarkably similiar to windows PCs. Everything from setting up alarm clock, taking notes, adding tasks, to setting appointments just seemed easier on the WM6 platform.
I am still happy with my purchase. Nokia makes great devices and somehow they always make their phone very gadgety and special. Until the iPhone is in 3G and provides GPS, I still cannot think of another phone on the market today that I would prefer.