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Drinking in the Police with Nokia’s N95

The Police, with Elvis Costello as the warm-up act last, played Ottawa last night. There will be lots of reviews of the concert, which was fabulous. So, I’m not going to write about that. Instead… well, our seats, 4 rows from center stage, provided the perfect opportunity to play with some advanced telephony products.

So here is a small paean to the versatility of Nokia’s N95 phone, instead. And fellow Canadians, I’ve heard that there’s a press conference happening at Rogers this morning to announce that the N95 will be coming to Canada. This is a taste of what you’ll all be able to do soon.

One of the defining characteristics of the N95 is camera and optics. With its 5 megapixel camera, it can easily produce print quality photographs. Here’s a straight on shot of the band on-stage, unmodified.


Many people have asked me why the 5 megapixel camera in the N95 is necessary. Why not go with 3 megapixels? The simple answer is that with 5 megapixels I have the versatility to edit. This shot of guitarist Andy Summers shows exactly what I mean. Cropped to a square, it still retains enough sharpness and focus to be a good picture.

05012008156 - cropped

The N95 also has a digital zoom feature which was used to capture these two close-ups. Note the noticeable loss of definition (even after digitally sharpening the photograph). While these are not print quality, they’re definitely good enough for sharing with friends on a web site or on the phone itself.



I was also able to stream video from the show last night. These two videos were made with Qik. The first video, of the Police singing Roxanne, was streamed over an open WiFi access point. The second video, of Elvis Costello singing, was streamed over Rogers 3G network. They’re comparable quality, but the Costello video cost me precious data bandwidth, whereas streaming over WiFi didn’t.

Neither video, however, really shows off what the N95 is capable of. For that, you need to record to local storage rather than streaming. Here’s an MP4 file (warning, 109M – QuickTime required to play) created on the phone of Costello singing Peace Love and Understanding. Notice the dramatic improvement in both sound and video quality.

For people interested in quality mobile content creation, Nokia’s N-Series devices really can’t be beat.

More videos available at http://www.qik.com/asaunders. More photographs at http://www.twango.com/channel/asaunders66.public

{ 8 comments… add one }

  • Randy Ksar May 2, 2008, 5:18 am

    Great review and same experience I've had with the Nokia n95. Although I've been having issues with the flash on the camera as the right of the picture is always got a lens flare.

  • Alec May 2, 2008, 5:20 am

    Odd – I haven't seen that Randy. I wonder what's causing it.

  • nicole May 2, 2008, 8:49 am

    those pictures are amazing!!!!! def better than my crummy razorphone.

  • Roland Tanglao May 3, 2008, 2:03 pm

    which Rogers data plan are you using? The Vision plan? The PC Card plan?
    technically the Vision plan charges you an outrageous 5 cents / kilobyte for traffic from 3rd party apps like Qik:

  • Alec May 3, 2008, 4:09 pm

    I bitched to Rogers Roland, and they offered me sort of a data plan. For $65/month I get data with a 1G cap.

  • MatthewS May 3, 2008, 6:54 pm

    Cool! Elvis Costello AND the Police in one night. I am envious.

  • Roland Tanglao May 3, 2008, 11:07 pm

    @Alec ah yeah, now I remember! Great! Ok, you are the 2nd confirmed report of an unlocked phone user (the other was with an unlocked iPhone) using the $65 1Gig plan. $65 is too much I think for the masses but it sure beats $1000 or $2000!

  • JON May 21, 2008, 8:22 pm

    Did you have to signup for the rogers vision plan to use the 3g network?

    I’m trying to get my N95 going on it.

    Hows the speed?

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