This highly anticipated successor to the Nokia N95 is packed with features but is it what we've been waiting for? Some of the improvements look great on paper but we were keen to get our hands on it to see if it delivered a better experience than the N95.
What we like
If you like the N95 then you'll like the N96 because it's practically the same phone. There's HSDPA (3.5G), Wi-Fi, GPS and a 5-megapixel camera that takes as good pictures as the N95's. Unlike the N95, there's a whopping 16GB of internal memory and you can expand that up to 32GB via the microSD slot.
The N96's screen is great for viewing YouTube videos on and there's an iPlayer client for it so you can catch up with all the latest BBC content. In a very clever move, Nokia added a small stand at the back so that you can rest the N96 on a table and hold it up when you're watching a video. Another noteworthy feature is that Nokia placed a standard 3.5mm headphone jack at the top.
What we don’t like
We waited patiently for the N96 and although it offers a lot we don't think it delivers a much superior experience to its predecessor. Yes, there's more memory, a better placed headphone jack and a clever stand but that's not the huge leap we expected. The worst thing about the N96 though, is that it feels less well made than the N95, it feels flimsy and the keypad isn't as good in our opinion.
If you own an N95 then we wouldn’t bother getting an N96 as there’s not much more to see here. If you don't own an N95 and like the sound of the N96 then we still wouldn't advise you to buy it as Nokia is bound to come up with something much better in the near future. We're just not sure why Nokia bothered to call it the N96 when it really isn’t that much of an improvement.
Nokia N96 User Reviews
"I been looking for a phone which has decent games on it, think I found it. Should keep me entertained when I'm on my way to work. Not too fussed about all the other features - I have a digital camera and an MP3 player so don't need it for that. Still, if you want one thing for all your games and music and stuff this is good."
"Wow just took my new N96 out of the box! Looks great! Bought it mainly for the music since 16GB memory is nearly the same as my MP3 player. So now I only have one bit of techie gadgetry to carry around. Seems a lot cooler than an iPhone to me - everyone's got those now. Bit sick of them already, myself. Anyway I've always had Nokias and they seem good, my friend says the battery life doesn't last long on his iPhone. And it got a crack down it after about a month, so hopefully I'll have more luck."
"It's about time Nokia put out something to take on Apple and all. The N95 looked ok, but this is a step up. The phone looks great, sounds great, it's as good as a proper camera, not too expensive, all good really. They say you could put a 48GB memory card in it, which is much more music than I've even got on CD, so that's excellent. Guess they'll probably charge you a fortune for it when it comes out. Great phone though. Only thing for me it could be a bit lighter, but I suppose you can't have everything."
"This the first phone I got since my Nokia 6210 so quite a big improvement. It was still working fine just people laughed at me a bit in the pub, don't think they will anymore. Be nice to take some decent photos for a change, but it could be my photography skills that aren't too good. Still I think I still just use it for calling people mainly. Don't really understand most of the other features."
"I always get the new phone when I get offered it on my contract, so I'm used to having the best mobile around. This looks nice, like the slide on it, feels a lot less flimsy than other mobiles I've had. The screen's a lot better as well and bigger. Could maybe watch a film on this - my other mobile was no good for that. Definitely looks good, but you have to wait and see after a few months whether it still looks so shiny."
"Well it looks like there's a new phone on the block. Wasn't expecting too much improvement since I had an N95 but this is much better. The screen quality's the main thing it looks so much clearer and actually the phone sounds better as well I think. I got some really nice headphones to go with it sounds really bassy more than I thought it would. So yeah, lets hope it doesn't get nicked like the other one."
"Me and my mates always have Moto's but the contract people said I could have this one. It's got loads of features like video calling and stuff, but don't think I'll be using that - seems a bit weird! Anyway think your friend has to have the same phone, not sure. But all things considered this is a really good phone."
"5 Megapixel camera with flash, nearly 50GB memory, fast internet, seems like they've fitted a lot into the N96. I read its got the same battery as N95 so I hope it won't keep running out when I need it. I love new gadgets so maybe I'm not the best judge but at first glance it looks way better than the competition."
"I only just bought a new phone because the ringtone was annoying me on my old one! This one should be much better, you can just put any music you want on it. I've got Ting Tings on there now! Sounds really good and it was easy to put on. No more Nokia tune for me, which is a relief."
"Cool phone but it looks a bit like it might break too easily, but I don't know. Won't be trying it but if you do let me know. Normally Nokias are pretty hard - you can drop them and they're fine - but wouldn't want to drop this. Maybe it needs a protective case, think I'll get one for mine."
"After a couple of days use I think the N96 is much better thought out than other similar phones. One thing its actually easy to lock and unlock it - for some reason a lot of these new phones don't lock easily and they're always switching themselves on in your pocket. So that's a good start. Doesn't look too bad either."
"I've been looking for a phone which has decent games on it, think I found it. Should keep me entertained when I'm on my way to work. Not too fussed about all the other features - I have a digital camera and an MP3 player so don't need it for that. Still, if you want one thing for all your games and music and stuff this is good."
"Can't believe they've got a phone out with Carl Zeiss lenses. And its got really good flash and zoom as well so it's as good as a digital camera really. Which makes it a bargain I reckon. Soon we'll just have one tiny little phone that does everything, and not a day too soon. It's really a drag carrying round about 5 different gadgets."
"Dude this phone is the bomb. Can't believe I been wasting my time with that Samsung I had for years. Really all my friends are well jealous. Looks cool, sounds cool, good features, even took some good quality video on it. Got it plugged into my amp and speakers at home, so I hardly use CDs at all now. Nice."
"Good looks but poor battery life tends 2 crash at times excellent memory n music quality."