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The Nokia N90, $900 Camera Phone Reviewed 212

Lord_of_Tech writes " has reviewed Nokia's N90 cell phones that comes with 2 megapixel camera and a host of other features, and it costs a solid $900 per unit. "The minute you set your eyes on the N90, the first thing that springs to your mind is 'it looks a lot slimmer in photos...' but as you take it out of the packaging, you realize the heaviness of it. To be very clear at the outset though, this is not Nokia's attempt to produce as sleek a phone as the Motorola Razr. What it is designed to be is a feature packed phone that doesn't mind compromising on the ergonomics to pack in every last bit of functionality you could ever want on a camera phone."
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The Nokia N90, $900 Camera Phone Reviewed

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  • by novus ordo ( 843883 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @09:03AM (#13879825) Journal
    "My god...$900"
  • N91 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pr0nbot ( 313417 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @09:06AM (#13879844)
    Not sure why this was posted to slashdot... it's just another phone.

    The one you want is the N91, which has 802.11g wi-fi.
  • by Nichotin ( 794369 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @09:12AM (#13879876)
    As usual, there will be a lot of posts about "I just want the damn thing to be able to do calls, nothing more". Aside from killing the market (if every vendor had done so), I just think you haven't really considered the possibilities. I travel one hour per day, and since my SE K750i is so powerful, I watch re-encoded episodes of American Dad and Family Guy to kill some time. The quality is acceptable. I basically see the phone as a cool gadget to kill some time while travelling or attending a very boring class.
  • $900 now... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by squison ( 546401 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @09:17AM (#13879914) in 1-2 years with contract.
  • No thanks. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by rindeee ( 530084 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @09:18AM (#13879926)
    I believe one could get a very nice phone and a separate 4-5MP camera with a large memory card and still have some spending money left. Yeah, I get that this is an "all-in-one" device, but they've made the classic mistake that has torpedoed so many others in the past. They compromised on the camera (it's only 2MP and has very little storage capacity) and on the phone (it's big/bulky) in order to combine them. Even with the end product, $900 just seems a stupidly high price to charge.
  • by salimfadhley ( 565599 ) <> on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @09:32AM (#13880017) Homepage Journal
    1 x Nikon D70s - Ths award winning machine does nothing other than take photographs very well. Dispite not having the highest megapixel count, this SLR comes with great optics and a sensor that delivers vivid colour and gret low-light sensitivity.

    1 x Nokia Series-6 phone; This award winning range of Symbian phones comes with SDKs in Python, Java and C++; Possibly the most extendable range of phones ever built. You can still buy phones without cameras in them, but snap them up while you get a chance.

    Result: A smaller, more OSS friendly phone, A bigger but much better camera... one that's likely to teach you a few things about photography. :-)
  • by IANAAC ( 692242 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @09:32AM (#13880018)
    So although every time a cam-phone is mentioned on Slashdot someone brings up the 'mic and antenna' issue and how a 'phone should be just a phone', I really don't think these newer phones have a problem in that area any more.

    I think the poster's point was that it was a camera/vidcam review, not a phone review. He's right. The review is all about the camera functions and not much else.

  • Re:oblig (Score:2, Insightful)

    by scovetta ( 632629 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @09:47AM (#13880096) Homepage
    Who cares? It'll take 2 megapixel PICTURES that you can e-mail to yourself. For an extra $199, you can do text messaging to other Nokia N90 customers.

    Seriously folks, when was the last time you heard yourself say, "It's a good thing I had that camera in my phone, or I would have missed that!".

    I'd expect some *useful* features in a $900 phone (universal remote control, PDA-like features, wi-fi, laser pointer, [a phone that you can make calls on]!!, maybe something cool like goggles or a tv-out that you can pipe internet access through your phone to a screen that you can actually see something on. Why not treat the phone as a thin client and have your "computer" be your phone.

    Sorry, my phone just finished making me french toast, I've got to run.
  • by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @09:50AM (#13880117) Journal
    " For one, compromising ergonomics for everyone for features that only a subset of owners might use isn't a good idea."

    Compromising a couple characteristics in order to create the perception of increased functionality works well. SUVs come to mind.

    The mobile phone market is becoming like the automobile market is.

    Sensible people will buy sensible phones. Other people will buy the 'SUV' of phones, not because it is better, but because they can brag to their buddies/coworkers/business contacts that they have the newest greatest most expensive phone.

    I see it every day at my office, when the ad sales reps bitch and moan that the company won't pay for their new Dongle. And when, three months later, they've replaced that Dongle with a newer, more prestigious one. iPods, cell phones, PDAs, etc.

  • by lidocaineus ( 661282 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @09:51AM (#13880123)
    Where are the hordes of people that are going to proclaim, "All I want is a phone that makes phone calls!!! No one else can possibly want more than I want!"

    Of course almost all phone companies provide barebones phones (usually free with a service contract. And of course, this IS a frankenmonster of a phone and even gadget hounds would have a hard time justifying this one for the price. But don't let that stop any of you luddites out there from making it clear, once again, why YOU are right and everyone else is not entitled to have a slightly different view.
  • by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @09:51AM (#13880130) Homepage Journal
    With the lens it comes with, your pictures are still probably going to look like crap, no matter how many pixels you use. A better lens however would make the phone bulkier and more expensive....Camera phones are great for those "slice of life" moments(example, here in Germany I saw a grifter with a live alpaca, but alas I had no camera to share the moment with everyone!) when you don't have a camera, but even then, do you really need 2 megapixels? Esp. for something you are probably just going to throw up on the web...
  • Prosumer options? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by necro81 ( 917438 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @09:52AM (#13880131) Journal
    The settings you have on the N90 are nothing less than what you will find on most prosumer digital cameras today. You can adjust the white-balance, contrast, color saturation, color effects and what have you. In our tests, we found that for the White Balance mode, the automatic worked best and we recommend that you don't play around much with this setting, as we feel the sensor adjusts a lot better if you simply set it to auto.

    All those kinds of camera settings are things that professional (or at least, experienced amateurs) use to adjust the photo quality when they are taking stills, in a studio, and have the time to actually adjust the settings and do some experimenting. When using a cellphone camera, how much time are you going to spend tinkering with these various settings before taking a candid shot in a dark nightclub of you and some hot chick that you'll never have a chance of seeing again? And would she stick around long enough for you to do so?

    My point here is that the presence of these features, while quite a feat considering the size of the phone compared to a pro camera, is just plain superfluous, because no one who uses this phone's camera is going to spend the time messing around with them on the fly.
  • I will not pay... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ari_j ( 90255 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @09:57AM (#13880162)
    I will not now nor ever in the future pay 8 times the going price for sacrifices. If I am paying 8 times what I normally would for something, it's because there are absolutely no sacrifices whatsoever. No sacrificed battery life, no sacrificed ergonomics, no sacrificed ease of use, no sacrificed antenna reception, no sacrificed looks. No sacrifices whatsoever.
  • I'm old fashioned (Score:2, Insightful)

    by faloi ( 738831 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @09:58AM (#13880166)
    What it is designed to be is a feature packed phone that doesn't mind compromising on the ergonomics to pack in every last bit of functionality you could ever want on a camera phone."

    The only functionality I want in my cell phone is that it make and receive calls fairly reliably. I don't want a camera, PDA, games, personal theme music...none of that. I'd rather have individual devices that do all these things well, rather than one device that doesn't really do justice to any of the features.
  • by zippthorne ( 748122 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @11:07AM (#13880615) Journal
    Ok. all i want is a phone that makes phone calls. and doesn't look and feel like it belongs in the 'barbie keeps in touch' playset.

    they make the "just phones" chincy so you won't like them and spend the extra dough on a 300 mhz datacenter photo phone.
  • by yagu ( 721525 ) * <> on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @11:45AM (#13881158) Journal

    I'm seeing standard and predictable fare (not necessarily a bad thing) in posts for this article. There are basically two camps; those who just want a cell phone that sends and receives calls reliably (that's where I am); and those who love the extra features and want the coolest gadgetry they can blend with their cell phones.

    My thoughts:

    • reliable calls. Please fix cell phone technology before you add cameras and video to my phone! I've heard the argument it's the manufacturers of the phones doing this, not the providers. I don't care! Clearly the phone manufacturers and providers talk (unless, maybe they're using cell phones), and collaborate on what goes into new cell phone designs.

      There has been a recent emergency in my family and I was totally frustrated by the number of dropped calls, unintelligible conversations, etc. I endured with people on the other end using cell phones.

    • it isn't the cell phones that are the problem, it's the implementation of the networks. I don't care! If I'm buying cell phone service, I assume it's an end-to-end solution. If you want to know more about how cell phones work, look here []. It's an interesting read, you'll learn a lot about how cell phone technology works, but you won't find out why or how they would fix quality problems with the technology.

    • combining is just a bad idea. I remember one time combo TV-VCRs on the market. I asked a friend why he'd bought it. He shrugged, said it just seemed cool, and more convenient. But what happens if the VCR breaks? (It did, btw). Same for combo-cell phones. More stuff in one device means more opportunity for some piece to break, leaving you with awkward devices that don't do everything you bought it for.

    • related to point previous, there's the compromise in quality of added functionality. If I'm dishing out $900 for a do-all gadget and it takes pictures, it'd better be at least 4Mpixel with a Leica lens and variable focus (I don't want infinite depth of field in all of my pictures).

    • for the total cost of this new gadget (I'm loathe to call it a phone) I could buy: a very good 4M pixel camera; an iPod; and a cell phone. I know people argue for the convenience of them all in one. I don't buy that. The all-in-one invariably compromises in form factor. It's not an ideal form factor for a phone, it's not an ideal form factor for a camera, and it's not for an mp3 player.

      Yeah, it's not as convenient to carry multiple gadgets around, but it's not nearly as inconvenient as people want to make it out to be to strengthen their all-in-one argument.

    • pay-for services. I didn't even know about this one until recently, but lots of these combo gadgets are designed to suck more money out of you. For example, the ads show people sharing pictures and videos with their camera phones, but it turns out that's not part of the basic service, you pay as you go to send pictures. What a ripoff (why isn't that just part of the service minutes?)!

    • I keep hearing the argument that we can just buy a phone if that's all we want. But, I'm not finding that to be true. I've been to kiosks where they don't offer any non-enhanced phones. They may be out there, but they're not easy to find -- and the sales force out there isn't inclined to be helpful around this, they're making their big bucks by selling the bling.

    Bottom line: (at least for me) I just want a phone that does a very good job of being a phone.

  • by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Wednesday October 26, 2005 @01:14PM (#13882184) Journal
    They make humongous lenses because (1) not all imaging areas are the size of a pinhead (eg: 35mm, 6cm) and (2) the larger the lens, the greater light collecting ability. While it is certainly true that you can cure certain quality ills with a larger lens, the principal reason is light gathering, with the size of the image being a factor in the light gathering equation. (a third is focal length, but that's another argument altogether, and tied up in the first two).

    Zeiss makes good, small lenses, the Tessar in the old Yashica T4 coems to mind - every bit as sharp as lenses many times its size. Nonetheless, your point is valid that just saying it has a zeiss lens does not necessarily make it good.

"We don't care. We don't have to. We're the Phone Company."