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Automatic mode, low outdoor light, automatic flash. This is a great portrait shot, having a great model helps ;) but I'm dead impressed by the quality and detail.
Using the N90 was really enjoyable. It *never* crashed, and with the high level of processor intensive tasks I ask it to do (playing music in the background while shooting pics for example) that's surprising and cool. A lot of people may find the N90 is not for them because of its' size, it *is* bulky, you could carry it in your pocket but you'd know it's there.
For me though, I've always been a fan of slightly chunky phones, somehow it makes them feel more real, more authentic. In terms of design, it is a formidable brick of a phone, with a twist rotate camera that captures 270 degrees in its rotation. You do not have to open the phone at all to access this, simply rotating the camera out to take a shot automatically fires the camera application into use, so you can take a shot just seconds after you've twisted the lens out. This is a great feature I think, completely removing the "3 clicks to camera" button based navigation that almost every other phone requires. You can also flip the view screen out to get a preview of what you're shooting, and navigation keys on that screen allow you to easily change settings. I use the camera in this mode most often, it takes literally 2 seconds to flip the camera up and open to its ready state, and you have full easy access to every option or setting you might want to use. It also looks just like a little handycam in this mode. For me, if the phone was slimmed down a bit, to a half inch width (from its' current 1 and a bit), it would satisfy most peoples desire for a slim device. As it stands it *is* a bit on the chunky side, but its feature set more than makes up for it.
The feature set on the N90 is impressive, and tries to blur the line between a smartphone for the business user, and an entertainment/media phone for the average user. In the office tools there is an xcel and word reader/creator, which worked fine with spreadsheets and documents created in XP office. The N90 ships with a real player as the default media player, allowing you to easily create track lists and use the phone as your going to work walkman. The Real software (and this has always surprised me) does not play rm or rmvb format media files, instead playing MP4 and 3GP. With enough memory, you could also port your favourite shows to the memory card and watch when you've got 10 minutes to kill. The phone ships with headphones (like all handsets Ive used that do, they're really bad and too big and clunky), as well as 64MB of plugin Mini SD format memory.
Phone to PC connectivity is either via serial cable, USB cable (included) or bluetooth. I used bluetooth to synch data most of the time, and it was a revelation. No longer needing to fumble with data cables, my PC finds my phone before I even get into my apartment. I live on the second floor of a block of flats, and as I walk past my window on the street outside I get a synchronisation request. I say yes and by the time Ive walked up the stairs new contacts have been synched, and all the images and video Ive taken have been backed up in a folder on my desktop. For me this is an incredibly helpful, time saving and robust move towards seamless mobility, and the feature that overall I was most impressed with on the Nokia N90. Cable connectivity is as you would expect, much faster, moving images of around 600kfrom the phone to PC taking just seconds.
The camera on the N90 boasts "Carl Zeiss Optics", which apparently means it's got a great lens :) I;m no photographer really, so what this meant to me was translated into "takes good photos". And that's a fair boast; the N90 does take good photos. Not all the time though, and its performace varies depending on conditions. Being able to twist the camera into a photo taking position and saving the shot comes in at around 4 seconds, similiar to the SE W800, which makes this a really great device for mobloggers having only a second or two to get the image before it's gone. Being able to see exactly what you're shooting on either the back cover viewfinder or screen is also a real bonus. The automatic flash can be a bit of a pain though, the camera doesnt save your last used settings for the next shot, so when you really dont need or want a flash, and the camera decides it doesnt have enough light, you end up with some washed out images.
All in all, the Nokia N90 is one of the best cameraphones I've ever used. The phone itself performs well and is robust enough to not crash when I max out the processor, the connectivity features were a real boon and surprise to me, and the camera itself has consistently impressed me. This is I think a taste of what's to come for us mobloggers; we can expect both megapixel size to increase whilst improvements in on board memory and processing power to bring us to an almost multi-media-laptop-like experience in the not too distant future. In summary, if you don't mind a slightly bigger form factor in a phone and go for high end features and seamless connectivity, the N90 is a great phone to have, and well worth shelling out for.
30th Jan 2006, 13:24