Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
- Video camera performance, Features list, Native Wi-Fi, Included 512MB miniSD card, TV-output option, Swivel design
- Size and weight, Slow user interface, Poor still camera performance
The N93 is an excellent phone video recorder, but an average mobile due to its sheer size and slow interface. It's a tradeoff for the extra features, but we're not sure that most users will be able to bear the extra size and weight.
Price$ 1,339.00 (AUD)
The Nokia N93 is a follow up to the previous mobile phone video camera, the N90. Once again, Nokia has created a distinctive, swivelling 3G camera phone that offers reasonable video quality, TV out and an array of wireless connectivity options. Despite this, the sheer size and weight of the N93 is significant and should be seriously considered before purchase.
The N93 has good voice call quality, although the volume could have been louder, especially when calling in a noisy environment. In terms of regular phone features Nokia is generous, offering SMS, MMS and e-mail support and also providing full T9 predictive text input. The N93 runs the Symbian Series 60 interface, so a 1000 entry phone book and regular call logs are included, along with a calendar, alarm, calculator, converter, notes and voice recorder functions.
For connectivity, the N93 is well equipped offering Wi-Fi 802.11b/g, Bluetooth 2.0, infrared and USB 2.0 via a Pop-Port interface. A USB data cable is included in the package, which means users can transmit and synchronise data between the phone and their PC straight out of the box using the supplied Nokia PC suite software.
The N93 is capable of playing MP3, AAC and MPEG4 files thanks to the supplied RealPlayer software and there is also a stereo FM radio with 10 presets. Unfortunately, the included headphones are proprietary and no 3.5mm adapter is provided in the sales package, so you'll have to purchase one separately from Nokia if your heart is set on third party headphones. The sound quality produced is above average for a mobile phone. Users can store their multimedia files on the 50MB of internal memory, and there is also a miniSD card slot for increasing capacity. A 512MB card is included in the sales package, although the N93 can support cards up to 2GB.
Unfortunately, the N93 has a slow interface; it isn't the worst we've seen, but navigating the menu and opening applications is just a little more sluggish than normal. Start-up time is over 20 seconds and changing the swivel of the handset resulted in a couple of seconds delay as the screen orientation realigned.
Imaging and Video
The N93 has a 3.2 megapixel autofocus camera with Carl Zeiss optics. The camera features 3x optical zoom and an integrated flash and can snap photos up to 2048 x 1536 pixels in resolution. For video calls, a secondary VGA camera is located on top of the internal screen and this can also capture images.
For still images, the N93 doesn't live up to expectations, exhibiting the same problems as most mobile phone cameras. Photos suffer from excessive image noise, a lack of sharpness and colour reproduction is below average. The saving grace of the camera is the amount of options available; there is a night mode, the ability to adjust white balance, colour tone and exposure value, all controlled via the convenient camera joystick.
Thankfully, the N93 performs much better when recording video. Although it isn't good enough to replace a standalone video camera, it is more than capable of being used for the occasional party clip. We were particularly impressed with the sound quality of recordings, which are saved in MP4 format and captured at 30fps. Our main complaint is with the location of the record button and zoom ring; they rest at the very top of the device when held on its side, making them too high to access without stretching your thumb. Once again, the camera joystick is used to adjust settings including night mode and colour tone. While recording video, the N93 can be operated with one hand, but Nokia recommends using both hands for optimal stability. Included in the sales package is a copy of Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0 for editing your videos.
A noteworthy feature of the N93 is the TV-output option, which means users can connect the phone to any television with a composite AV input using the supplied TV-out cable. Connecting the N93 to a television also allows navigation of the entire phone, including reading and sending messages, playing games, listening to music and watching video.
The N93 is the largest 3G phone on the market, measuring 118mm x 55.5mm x 28.2mm and weighing 180g. The phone is difficult to even pull out of your pocket and it is heavy enough that you'll feel it, even when stored in a bag.
Like the N90, the N93 flips open and then the screen can be twisted sideways, automatically starting the dedicated camera mode. The design resembles a video camera, with a record button and zoom switch on the right hand side. Below this is a five-way navigational pad and dedicated buttons for flash and switching between still and video photography. The phone can also be opened sideways, ideal for watching video. We quite like the flip mechanism and it is definitely functional, but it still doesn't justify the enormous and rather hefty design.
There is however one advantage to the unit's size; its keyboard is huge, with plenty of space between each key. Users should be able to achieve fast typing speeds when messaging or emailing. The rest of the controls are standard; two selection buttons, a five-way navigational pad, answer and end call keys and dedicated buttons for edit, menu, multimedia and clear.
The N93 has a 256,000 TFT internal screen, with a 240 x 320 pixel resolution. The standout feature of the 2.4in display is the light sensor, which automatically adjusts the screen and keypad brightness depending on lighting conditions. A 65 thousand colour external display on the front of the handset displays caller ID information.
According to Nokia battery life provides up to five hours of talk time and 240 hours of standby time. Although these figures aren't outstanding, they are significant when you consider the video recording capabilities of this phone.
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