The N95: the brilliant smartphone that almost brought Nokia to its knees

Back when power was more important than looks

Nokia N95

Farewell old friend

Nokia really knew how to put a phone together and it was built to last. The N95 may have looked a bit like a brick, but it delivered so much.

It was a really versatile phone and it bridged the gap between the clam shell and candy bar form factors. It also pushed the boundaries of what a phone was expected to do and paved the way towards content consumption and creation.

It's just a shame that Nokia had so much invested in the Symbian platform and was so reluctant to let it go in the face of simple touch interfaces. Fans of the Finnish brand decried the new wave of Android and iOS devices as toys, given their relative lack of power, but that overlooked a larger incoming trend towards apps and easy to use touchscreen devices, something Nokia never really managed to make in its Symbian era.

That said, chances are you're reading this article with a nostalgic eye, remembering the power you used to carry in your pocket – power that even later models from HTC and Apple couldn't hope to match.

My N95 8GB served faithfully for five years and it took better photos than the HTC Desire that replaced it. Being able to watch a movie with someone on your phone was impressive at the time (mine came preloaded with Spiderman 3) and nothing else back then could match the GPS navigation.

The fact that it also offered better call quality than any phone I've owned since shows how much our priorities have changed.

When I came to sell them the N95 was actually worth more in the second hand market than the HTC Desire. I like to think it's still in use somewhere in the world today.

Will the N95 be the last truly loved Nokia device? While sales of Lumia devices have overtaken the seven year old device, that's more to do with an explosion in smartphone ownership than proof that Nokia has made something more alluring.

However, we're still stuck in a world of faceless rectangular devices, with more screen than phone. Sometimes, on a wistful lonely night, its pleasant to push the phone back and forth, pretending that it opened up a large and easy to use keypad or dedicated media controls.

The N95 was the last great powerhouse of the phone world, the final point where functionality trumped form, and while we don't want to see the same thing again, it deserves its place in the mobile hall of fame.

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