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Nokia N90

 Nokia 90 - Swivelling Discontinued
27th April 2005

The Nokia N90 is one of a new high-end range of Nokia handsets that combine more advanced technologies than you would normally expect from a Nokia.

This particular handset is pitched as a high-end 3G camera phone. The camera is a 2 megapixel device with autofocus, flash and 20X digital zoom, complete with a Carl Zeiss lens combined with some advanced imaging software. Nokia hope that the quality of the lens and the applications will make the N90 a desirable camera phone, but it's worth noting that the N90 doesn't have an optical zoom unlike the Sharp 902.

Inside is a large, high-resolution 352x416 pixel active matrix display in 262,000 colours (better than the Sharp's 240x320 pixel display) and there's a large 128x128 pixel panel on the outside too.

The screen and camera twist around into a variety of configurations, and photographs can be taken with either the internal or external screen as a viewfinder. As you might expect the Nokia N90 also captures video clips (up to 352x288 pixels) and the camera and screen can be contorted to make video calls.

 Nokia N90 This is a very heavy and large handset, at 173 grams and 112x51x24mm, but 3G devices tend to be weighty anyway.. even so, the N90 is one of the heaviest handsets in its class. The Nokia N90 has up to 3 hours talktime and 12 days maximum standby time, which is fairly typical. In network terms, this is a 3G phone with tri-band GSM and GPRS as a backup. It supports Bluetooth and cable connections to a PC or other compatible device, but unlike the Sharp 902 there's no infra-red. The Nokia N90 also comes with expandable memory on MMC cards.

As with a lot of recent high-end Nokias, this is a Symbian Series 60 smartphone, although we suspect that most users will be primarily interested in digital photography rather than loading on new software. There's an embedded XHTML web browser and an email client, and the N90 can view a variety of attachment types including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Adobe Acrobat documents. The operating system The large screen will help a lot with web browsing and working with documents. As with all Nokias handsets, you can synchronise this with a PC either via a USB cable or Bluetooth. There's a variety of multimedia software and other applications preloaded, and the N90 also supports Java so there should be a variety of games and other applications available for it.

At the moment, the Sharp 902 is our benchmark for this class of phone, and the Nokia N90 pretty much directly competes against it. On the plus side, the N90 has better software and the Carl Zeiss lens, on the other hand the Sharp 902 is lighter and has a 2X optical zoom. The Toshiba TS 921 is a very similar handset too. The big advantage that Nokia have is that the Sharp and Toshiba models are exclusive to Vodafone and the Nokia should be more freely available.

This is a good handset, and it's refreshing to see Nokia at the head of the pack in technical terms. Too many times before we've had to say that a handset is good *considering* that it's a Nokia.. in this case we're pleased to say that this is a good handset full stop.

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Nokia N90 at a glance


Q2 2005


UMTS (3G) + Tri-band GSM




352x416 pixels, 262,000 colours (main)
128x128 pixels, 65,000 colours (sub)


2 megapixels


Large clamshell
112 x 51 x 24mm / 173 grams









Battery life:

3 hours talk / 12 days standby


Symbian Series 60


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