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January 2014

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The N95 is a slider, pretty obviously, with one little twist - the "dual slide" action that reveals the media keys visible in the first image above. The S60 nav cluster is on the face of the device under the display, and the upward slide reveals a standard keypad. On the top of the device there's a little recessed power button, as with most Nokia phones, and on the right side there's the camera button, the gallery button, and a volume/photo zoom rocker.

The device has stereo speakers, located on the side panels near the top of the phone. It's also got the standard orifices you'd expect - a tiny Nokia power receptacle and mini-USB port on the bottom, and a 3.5mm stereo / TV out jack on the left of the device. The rear shows you the exposed camera, a change from the original Euro N95 which had a manual shutter that protected the surface.

The display is huge and awesome. It's only 320x240 resolution, but it's vivid and bright even in daylight. It does pick up "face grease" when you talk on it.

The "innovation" with the N95's slider mechanism is that row of media keys that's exposed when the face is slid down. The media keys seem neat at first - but I've almost never had a use for them. S60 media player apps are designed to function with phones that do not have the dedicated media keys using the standard D-Pad - which means those dedicated keys are essentially redundant and harder to get to.

I have mixed feelings about this design. Nokia seems incapable of making a slider that feels "solid" - when closed, my slider has a few mm of play, and it wiggles up and down with a minimal amount of pressure. When open in either position it locks into place, but the overall impression of the mechanism is that it just feels way too cheap for such a ridiculously costly device. My N800 feels solid as a rock, but the N95 feels cheap and chintzy in comparison - I'm deadly worried that dropping the thing will result in some serious damage.

The lack of the camera lens cover is another thing that makes me obsess a bit over the device's safety. The autofocus lens is recessed behind a plastic window, but that window is exposed to the world - the anti-glare coating on it WILL be scratched, no matter how obsessive you are. I have yet to see this impact image quality, but it's a bit disturbing nonetheless.

All in all, the form factor is a bit underwhelming. Of course, that's probably not why you're buying this phone...

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