Review: Long term battle: Nokia N95, N95 8GB and N82


The N95 has been out for over a year. The N95 8GB for over four months. The N82 for about three months. All three have very similar spec sheets. But, away from the raw figures, there are numerous small differences. How do these stack up, qualitatively? Which, overall, really is the best smartphone in the world?

N95 8GB, N95 and N82

The baseline of each of the top Nokia Nseries smartphones is more or less identical, of course, with:

  • S60 3rd Edition, FP1 with media pack/extras
  • 5 megapixel stills camera with Carl Zeiss optics
  • VGA video recording
  • TV out
  • Wi-Fi
  • GPS
  • Stereo speakers
  • 3.5mm audio out
  • Flash Lite 3 (video etc.)

Plus the same processor, same screen resolution, same telephony/data spec. And so on. But, away from the similarities, for the true Nseries connoisseur, the differences also start to add up. From the N82's dimmer and smaller screen, to its better GPS and more robust form factor, to the N95 8GB's larger and brighter screen but greater size and weight, to the N95's protected camera lens, it's interesting to balance things out and calculate which of Nokia's 'top three' is best overall.

In this case, I've used each model for at least three weeks of non-stop day-to-day action - in the case of the two N95s, several months each, so my scores below are very much based on real world impressions and not just on specs and a quick play. With the baseline spec established, I was interested in all the small differences, many of which would not necessarily be covered by review in other blogs, sites and magazines. Here we go...


Nokia (scores out of 10) N95 N95 8GB N82
Price (UKP, inc VAT)
280 445 345
Cost 9 5 6
Display size 8 10 6
Display brightness 8 10 6
Robustness/longevity 6 7 10
GPS sensitivity 6 6 8
Battery life 5 8 7
RAM/performance 6 9 9
Photo quality/sharpness (related to condition of lens glass and camera firmware) 10 7 9
Video audio track quality 7 7 5
LED flash brightness 6 6 9
Memory card/Mass memory speed 8 4 8
D-pad usability 8 9 6
Keypad usability 8 8 5
Overall size and weight 8 6 7
Display contrast outdoors 8 7 6
Grand total 111 109 107

A three way tie? Or a slight win for the ageing N95?

For more detail on each Nseries flagship, of course, you could do a lot worse than go and read our detailed reviews, here on All About Symbian. See the links below.

The conclusion may surprise you. It certainly surprised me and I've gone back to the original N95 with a renewed respect. It's worth noting that the above scores were all based on latest firmware for each device - the recent v20 and v21 updates for the N95 made a huge difference in terms of capabilities and performance - the original firmware for the N95 would have scored the device quite a bit lower!

Although this is a 'win' for the Nokia N95 classic, despite now being 18 months old (and in the real world for well over a year - an eternity in the smartphone ecosystem), you should note that I've factored cost into the reckoning. Take out the score for 'cost' and all three devices score more or less identically. In fact, the scores are outstandingly close, considering the variations for the individual attributes.

So close, in fact, that I'm going to declare the result a three way tie. Any new smartphone purchaser would be very happy with any of the three. My advice, in terms of which to actually plump for? I'd go with the N95 or N82, depending on form factor preference. And then consider the N95 8GB if price wasn't an issue and if absolute photo quality wasn't critical.

It's a tough call though. What do you think? Would your scorings vary for the detailed attributes above?

Steve Litchfield, All About Symbian, 21 Apr 2008

Related Reviews and Features

Nokia N95 Reviews - Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 (reviews date from before major firmware updates), US Version

Nokia N95 8GB Review

Nokia N82 Reviews - Part 1, Part 2

TV Out feature article series

Nokia N95 vs Sony Ericsson P1i vs Nokia E65

The Nokia N95 - More Converged and more Convenient?

A Personal Review: 7 Days With An Nokia N95

The Black Beauties Christmas Showdown - Nokia N95 8GB versus the Apple iPhone

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