A phone with such a rich line-up of features will require plenty of memory to make the most of it. Thankfully, Nokia has taken this on board and instead of the 8GB of memory offered on the, the N96 doubles this to a massive 16GB. If this isn't enough, you can always add extra storage via the MicroSD card slot found on the right-hand side of the phone.
One of the N96's key new features is its support for the DVB-H mobile television standard. DVB-H is sort of the mobile equivalent of Freeview. The idea is that operators will broadcast channels over the air and users will tune in via their phones. But no UK operator currently offers this service, and as far as we know, none has any plans to introduce it in the future. As a result, this key extra functionality is all but useless in Blighty.
Another issue is the build quality of the phone. For all its glossy finish there's no getting away from the fact that the N96 feels quite cheap and plasticky. For example, Nokia has added a kick-stand to the rear of the phone just under the lens cover. But it's extremely flimsy and feels like it's going to break at any moment. Additionally, when you pull it out of its recess, sometimes the whole rear of the phone comes off because the plastic backing is only held on by a small catch.
Those who used the iPhone will also be decidedly underwhelmed by the browser that's included here. It does support a wide range of video formats and can also show some flash content. But when it comes to usability it's miles behind the iPhone, especially when you want to zoom in and out of a page to read columns of text.
The biggest issue the N96 faces, however, is that it just doesn't look and feel like it's much of an improvement on the original N95. Essentially, you're getting the same phone with some more memory, a slightly tweaked design and some video acceleration. While all of these additions are welcome, we just wish there were more of them.
The N95 was a truly revolutionary product -- and the N96 is simply a different evolution of the same thing. It's a still a great phone that's bursting at the seams with top-notch features, but it's not a huge update on the original. Most importantly, it doesn't provide anywhere near as good a user experience as the iPhone.
Edited by Marian Smith