Nokia N93i

Does the N93i have anything new to offer? Find out...


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Nokia N93i

When you think of the amount of money that was once being asked for the older Nokia N93, the ex-flagship N-series model from Nokia, you can’t help but writhe at its look. I mean, Rs. 38,000 for that big black piece of a brick? Come on.

 Nokia N93i

The way it looked wasn’t the end. There were various problems with general ergonomics, side joystick and also some issues with the OS and the camera. Here today, we have the swanky new N93i, the latest, greatest and also the most expensive Nseries phone. Did Nokia consider the users' feedback in the N93i? Let’s find out.

The first thing you can see is that the N93i is totally shiny and swanky, something the original N93 could never win with. The front of the phone is a complete mirror-finish surface, quite like the Sony Ericsson Z610i. However, it isn't 100% mirror-like, in that it still has a bit of warping, so if you look at yourself in it, your face will appear contorted. Below this display, hidden away, is another 65k color sub-display that almost looks like an OLED display found on some other clamshell phones.

The original N93 was huge and heavy. With the new N93i, Nokia has addressed these issues a bit. The result is a phone that's 5mm slimmer and also around 20gms lighter. But even after this trim, the N93i is still a bulky and heavy phone by conventional standards.

The display is one of the biggest improvements as well as the biggest problems in this phone. The new display is still QVGA and the same size, but it's been upgraded to show 16 million colors and believe me when I say that you need to see it to believe it. The display is glossy, but that's the problem right there. It's so reflective, you'll keep turning the phone from side to side to be able to see it. And in sunlight, well, forget it. You can't see anything. This is a huge problem if you're shooting in camcorder mode during the afternoon - like we did for the little short film we made - the display is useless !!!

The keypad is a big problem in the N93i. The older N93 had a very nice, large keypad with big buttons that were very, very easy to use, even for those with large fingers. To shave off a few mm, the N93i has a RAZR-style flat, metallic keypad that's simply uncomfortable. It's not difficult to find the keys, but the tactile feedback it gives is not enough for a phone of this size. The keypad also has visibility issues in sunlight - the letters are just not viewable.

The joypad on the side of the phone that's used in the N93 was very uncomfortable to use. Thankfully, that has been changed to a simple joystick, which is one of the best changes in the phone. This is very, very easy to use with one hand when in camcorder mode.

The phone still opens up in the same manner as the older one: normal clamshell manner, laptop-style and camcorder style for taking video.

The battery compartment on the rear was a pain to open and shut in the N93. This has been replaced with a more normal cover thats easier to deal with.

This is about all the important stuff that's changed in the design and construction of the N93i.

Technically, nothing has changed in the phone. The N93i is also still tri-band GSM/EDGE and UMTS capable. There’s no support for HSDPA, which was the order of the day at 3GSM recently. The phone does WiFi b/g, uPnP, Bluetooth 2.0 (still no A2DP/AVRCP), Infrared/IrDA, USB 2.0 via the Pop-port.The fabulous web browser has been retained, which is a part of the same Series 60 3rd Edition UI.

The phone also does the usual TV output feature that lets you see the entire phone menu features on the TV, not just video or audio.

For storage, the internal memory is still 50MB, and the memory cards used are also still miniSD as opposed to microSD cards in newer phones. The good part about the N93i is that it comes bundled with a 1GB card right out of the box.

Nothing has changed here. You've still got your MP3/AAC player, MPEG4 video player, stereo FM radio, etc. The exclusion of A2DP and AVRCP for Bluetooth is really unnerving. Something this expensive and this recent, should really have those features.

This is what the phone is mainly known for, but alas, there have been no real changes to the camera in the N93i. It is still a 3.2 megapixel camera, with the same Carl Zeiss lens, the same 3x optical zoom. There's a slight difference in the pictures taken with the N93i, but it's barely noticable.

Video capture with the N93i is still the same VGA quality, 30fps video. The quality of the video is still great.

The N93i comes bundled with a free copy of Adobe Premiere Elements 3.0, which lets you easily edit and join videos that you take with the phone (or anything else, for that matter). You can add several transitions, music, and other effects to make a good home movie. The app looks very professional and has a lot of features. You can really do good stuff with it.

Bad news of heavy users - the N93i battery life is a lot less than the N93i. We went all over town taking shots for our film and all we could manage was about 30-40 mins of footage before the battery died on us.

For those who already own the N93 and are looking to upgrade it to the N93i: Don't buy it. There is very little, mostly cosmetic changes that the N93i brings in to the phone, so it would make very little sense for you to sell yours and get this one. The quality of the video is the same, the features are the same, etc. The battery life, on the other hand, is lesser than the N93 and the keypad is a mess. But yes, it is shinier and more expensive looking!

For those who don't have any Nseries phone and are looking to buy a good phone that has a good video/still camera: Don't buy it. Rs. 35,750 is way too much money to plonk down on this phone. If you want a good still camera, try the N73. If you are interested in video recording, you can get a better camera in half the price that gives you higher optical zoom like 10x, 12x even 32x if you put a little more money. Even after all that you'll still be left with enough money to buy a good phone.

There is a third category of people too - those who want a really expensive, flash phone just to show off. What can I say to those? They probably already own it by now!



Nokia N93i
Network GSM 900/1800/1900, GPRS, EDGE, UMTS/3G/WCDMA
Physical 108 x 58 x 25 mm, 163g
Display 320x240 (QVGA), 16 million colors, TFT
UI Symbian OS 9.1 Series 60 3rd Edition
Memory 50mb, miniSD, hotswap
Media MP3, AAC, 3GP, MPEG4
Camera 3.2 megapixel, 3x optical zoom, Carl Zeiss Optics, auto-focus, VGA 30fps video, flash, secondary CIF camera
Connectivity Bluetooth 2.0, Infrared/IrDA, WiFi 802.11b/g, USB 2.0
Battery 280 hours stand by, 3 hours 30 minutes talk
Street Price
Rs. 35,750

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