7 ways to supercharge your Nokia N95
24th May 2007 | 23:00
How do you make the best mobile phone even better?
The Nokia N95 it not just a great mobile phone. It is undoubtedly the best all-round mobile phone that has yet been launched. It is not just a jack of all trades - it's a master of most of them too.
This 3G smartphone whips would-be rivals thanks to its superb specification sheet. Its camera not only delivers 5-megapixel resolution, it offers you autofocus and flash too. The camcorder provides video footage that is good enough to watch on your telly - and provides you with the leads to do precisely that.
It doesn't just offer the usual mix of third generation services such as mobile TV and video conferencing, it offers lightening 3.5G download speeds thanks to HSDPA. And if you are out of coverage, or simply want to save money, you can get online using the onboard Wi-Fi facility.
And despite just weighing 120g, the N95 adds its killer punch by providing a built-in GPS aerial. Yes, you get sat-nav without having to buy any other accessories - and without having to spend a fortune on maps.
But good as the N95 is undoubtedly is, there are ways in which you can make it even better....
1) More memory
There's a very reasonable 160MB onboard - But you will need a lot more if you are going to make full use of the camera, camcorder or MP3 player. You first expense should be to buy a micro SD card. You could for the biggest the N95 will take - the new Sandisk 4GB micro SDHC card will cost you around £60. But it will be cheaper buying a library of 2GB cards, which can be found for as little as £15 a pop. Ensure your card comes with an SD adaptor - so your card can be used with standard computer card readers.
2) Stereo bluetooth headset
The N95 has a good quality digital music player that will play MP3 tracks, as well as audio in a variety of other formats. The supplied headset does a good job, but you can make it more high fidelity with better headset. We'd recommend going wireless - taking advantage of its A2DP-enabled Bluetooth capability. The Nokia BH-501 cable-free stereo headset costs around £50. Keep the headset you got in the box, though - this is also the aerial for the FM radio.
3) Boom box
Your N95 doesn't just have to be a personal hi-fi, it can be used to provide music for your kitchen, living room or office too. The built-in speakerphone does this for you - but you can boost volume and sound quality by using a compatible boom box. We like the look of the soon-to-be released House Party Blu from Gear4. It looks cool connects to the phone, as it name suggests, using Bluetooth - so no need to even take your N95 out of your pocket.
4) Full satellite navigation service
Thanks to the built-in GPS aerial and Nokia's superb downloadable Maps service, the N95 can tell you exactly where you are and where you need to go. Take the phone outside, or by a window, where it can receive satellite signals, and the local map will come up on screen. But if you want step-by-step instructions delivered in a timely manner as you drive - rather than a simple list of directions - you have to pay extra. You can try it out for a week for just £4.42 - but you get the best value if you take the three year option for £47.68.
Don't forget if you don't like these downloadable maps, for whatever reason, you can buy cartography on a card as used with previous N-Series smartphones - ALK's CoPilot Live , for instance, costs £85.
5) Add widgets
If you're used to getting widgets on your desktop PC or Mac, the idea of getting widgets on your phone will be hugely attractive. These small web-based apps can deliver news, information, blog posts, and virtually anything updates from websites direct to your phone screen. You don't have to log on the web to get it - the latest info is automatically fed to the widget on your phone display.
Nokia has developed a platform for delivering free widgets to a wide range of mobiles. Nokia-owned widget developer WidSets currently has over 1,400 widgets available covering numerous areas, from social networking to sports news.
6) Software update
The beauty of a smartphone is that you can add programs, productivity tools and reference information to suit you. There are masses to choose from (see www.handango.co.uk to look at what you can get for the S60 platform). But here are two that are well worth considering....
First, the N95 has a full complement of utilities to enable you to read documents that come attached to emails, or that you are carrying around with you for reference. But what if you want to actually edit or compose a Microsoft Word document or Excel spreadsheet? In order to do this you will need to download a suitable bit of software. MobiSystems OfficeSuite 3 , costing a very reasonable £15.50.
For those who want to save money on their calls, consider getting VoIP software that allows you to make calls over the internet using a Wi-Fi link. Could save you a packet, particularly if you make a lot of call abroad a lot - or call others users that can use VoIP. Check out Truphone to see what's in it for you.
7) Bluetooth keyboard
The Achilles' Heel of the N95 is that it is not a heavyweight smartphone. It may be billed as a portable computer, but without a touch-sensitive screen or typewriter keyboard this pocketable mobile is not really an alternative to a laptop. However, you can soon make it much more productive - by adding a typewriter console. A Bluetooth keyboard, such as the Nokia SU-8W (£80) - will have you answering those emails and typing reports much faster than you can with the numberpad alone.