I wrote yesterday about my short-lived affair with a Nexus One, and alluded to the fact that my venerable Nokia N95, which I purchase in the spring of 2008, returns to the fore as my trusty backup device. I thought it a good time to mention a few things that I love about the N95:
- The “macro mode” on its camera, that lets me take in-focus pictures of tiny object close up, is really good and I use it all the time for taking photos of receipts and newspaper clippings and tiny things.
- The Gravity application for Series 60 phones like the N95 is a staggering work of genius: it’s client for Twitter, Foursquare and Google Reader and its brilliantly designed and simple to use.
- The ProfiMail email application is also a brilliant app: it allows me to ditch the native Nokia email app, which is abysmal, and replaces it with a compact, full-featured email client that has no trouble at all working with my IMAP server.
- As much as I’m not a fan of the multi-button Android approach to UI, I really love the dedicated music player buttons on the N95: there’s play, pause, forward and back buttons that slide out if you slide the phone in the opposite way to the way you slide it for the numeric keypad, and I use them all the time for listening to music and podcasts.
- Although it’s inferior in many ways to Google Maps, the fact that I can use Ovi Maps on the device with pre-loaded maps means that I don’t need data connectivity for maps. That said, it’s annoying that Nokia hasn’t released the updated “includes free navigation” app for the N95 that they released months ago for other phones.
- The N95 has SIP deeply integrated into the “telephone” app, meaning that I can make VOIP calls on the phone in exactly the same way that I make cellular calls, with all the same UI, features, etc. I really appreciate having VOIP as a capability rather than an application.
- The Nokia Internet Radio and Podcasting applications, while not perfect, operate as advertised and are perfectly serviceable apps for listening to streaming radio and managing podcasts respectively.
- Although their commitment to Python isn’t perhaps as strong as it once was, the fact that Nokia released and supported Python for S60 makes application development for the N95 drop-dead simple. It’s not easy to make distributable apps in Python, but for hacking together purpose-built personal apps, it’s still the best tool on the market.
Of course there are plenty of things I don’t like about the N95 – it’s wifi handling is fundamentally broken, the hardware is way too sensitive to moisture, the Ovi Store is unwieldy behemoth, the anemic Flickr support for the “share” application – but I’ve learned to live with those and, frustrating as they may be, I’ve been able to work around these limitations.