Max's Nokia N93 Review - Read It and See It

Regular readers here may know that Max is my 14 year old son, and is quite the techie. I try to feature him when possible for a couple of reasons. First, he's really tech savvy, and has strong, informed views that I think are worth sharing.

Second, he gets the benefit of using all the gadgets that come my way, and I'd say he gets exposed to a lot of stuff that 14 year olds never get to see. How many 14 year olds use Skype (well, a few, I'd say)? But how many of them have figured out how to use a digital camera to make Skype work? And how many 14 year olds have used the Nokia N Series phones in North America? I'd say very few, if any, other than Max.

I've been part of the Nokia N Series blogger program for a while, and Max has been a beneficiary along the way. He recently wrote a review of the Nokia N91, and now he's done one for the N93. He's been using this phone for a while, and finally I can get my shot now that he's reviewed it.

So, in this post, I'm going to share with you two reviews from Max. First is his written review, which you can read down below. Following that, you can watch his videoblog review where he demonstrates some of the cool features. It should be no surprise to readers of this blog that Max did the video review using SightSpeed. You can find the link just after the writeup below.

So, take it away, Max....

I had seen it in magazine articles before, and it was dubbed �the laptop phone� because of its ability to fold open to a 16:9 widescreen view. Having seen the entire previous Nokia �N� series (N70, N90, N91) this phone has at least one feature from each one; the N70's second lens, the N90's ability to flip around like a camcorder (and flash), and the N91's WiFi card. Its physical design (flip phone) is much like that of the N90, with one small exception; rather than being beside the screen and keypad when it is open, it is in between them, and protrudes enough so that making calls is... well... awful! You have to crank up the volume to maximum just to hear the other end, and even then it's not that easy to hear.

Not to mention that its ability to fold around like a video camera is a pain during calls, because the pivot point is only at one side, and makes the screen flip around when you're in motion � which is usually the case with a cell phone. However, a bluetooth headset may solve the problem, because if you're paying for a phone with this many features, you should be advanced enough to be using one.

This phone is also full of �because you can� features. As stated before, there is the laptop unfold feature, which, has no benefit for using the phone, other than looking good. There's also the barcode scanner where you can put a barcode (any barcode, the ones you find on cans of soup, boxes of cereal � even the box of the N93 itself!) up to the main 3.2 megapixel lens, and hold it in place while it obtains information embedded within the barcode. Rather extensive, but if you're the type of person that has showdowns between colleagues during lunch for whose cell phone has the most features, consider this $700.00 investment a free pass to the winners' circle.

Another feature that enhances the versatility of this phone is the Mini SD card slot. The phone is bundled with 128 mb, as the only source for memory (nothing built in!) but can be expanded to any Mini SD card size you can find. Seeing this, you can put MP3s on those cards, which brings me to another point; the phone lacks dedicated MP3 buttons. In this day and age it should be standard for this to be a feature, especially seeing how many other features it has. Even if it DID have such buttons (or you use the built in media player with onscreen buttons) an optical port sure would help! This is unbelievable! MP3 buttons, audio ports, voice quality, built in memory... all basic features NOT INCLUDED! I was greatly disappointed with this phone. Do not get it unless you do not listen to music on the go, and don't make calls.

Rating out of 5: 1.5/5

Wired: Slick laptop-style unfolding point. WiFi, Bluetooth and infrared make this phone a Swiss army knife for wireless data transfer. Expandable memory helps the phone feel more personal. Two lenses for those egomaniacs who take pictures of themselves a lot. Flash really helps out the pictures.

Tired: Poor voice quality when talking in noisy places, awfully laid out (the lens housing juts out too far, making it uncomfortable to talk on the phone), second lens is terrible, no optical port, no built in memory, no MP3 buttons, too many extensive features.

Expired: This entire phone.

Next steps: Place the pivot point of the screen at the center � even if it means that you sacrifice the �laptop feature� which is in no way beneficial, and too difficult to control and type with in that position. Also, the lens should be placed like that of the N90; outside of the phone rather than partially inside of it, so that it can actually be used as a phone.

Bottom line: This is the kind of phone that you see in commercials or being demonstrated somewhere where they only show you the cool features � which, are, indeed, quite appealing; but when you get 15 minutes into trying it out you realize you've wasted your money when you see the pitfalls.

All in all, if you don't listen to music on the go, do a lot of photography, data transfer on the go with bluetooth, infrared and WiFi, have a Bluetooth headset (so you can actually talk) and want to be able to turn heads, this phone is for you. If you do not fit the above bill, do not get this phone. Putting it all in three words: Ewww huuu huuu!

Max Arnold

Thanks son! Pretty candid review, huh? D'ya think Nokia will want to hear from him again? Actually, I'd say YES. He doesn't mince words, and to be market leader, you have to know how to get inside the heads of the youth market. He's all yours if you're game, Nokia.

To me, his review seems a bit harsh, and so far, I have found the voice quality to be fine. And I haven't threatened to send him to his room for being so tough! He's bigger than me, and he never comes out of his room anyway, especially now that he's into building computers. More on that in a moment.

So, it's my turn now to try out the N93 and you can look for my review soon. Now Max will have to go back to the N70, or maybe even my N90 for a while. Poor guy... he's still light years ahead of anyone in his school for having a cool phone....

For what it's worth, here's a photo Max took of our cat with the N93. Looks like something out of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, for any of you silent film buffs like me - if there are any left! I digress, but couldn't resist - that's another blog post altogether, but you'll have to ask me for that one. I'm going to do some N93/N90 photo comparisons in my review, so stay tuned.



If you've made this far, here's your reward. Max did his video-based review/demo using SightSpeed over the weekend - hope you like it!

And finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't put a small, shameless plug in for Max's custom PC business - MACC Canada. Have a look at his website, which of course, he put together himself. So, if you're in the market for a custom-built desktop (can't do laptops...yet) or need troubleshooting help, Max would love to hear from ya...

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