Product review: Nokia N93i

20 Nov 2007

From the moment you pick up this handset you could be forgiven for mistaking it for a tiny, compact camcorder complete with flip-out LCD screen.

This has both its good and bad points. I want a powerful camera on my mobile, but not when it becomes the dominant feature and compromises the overall size and look.

The Nokia N93i camera phone comes with a 3.2-megapixel Carl Zeiss lens, a brand used in high-quality camcorders as well as compact digital cameras, and it has a 3x optical zoom to boot.

I found it extremely easy to use: just by flipping and twisting the display it automatically goes into camera mode. All I had to do was point and shoot.

The dial on the record button is used to zoom in and out of the scene you are recording, and the N93i automatically adjusts the focus.

There are plenty of settings on the phone. You can switch between still and video, day and night, black and white and colour, as well as video-quality settings.

Footage can be shot in lower resolution for sharing with friends through multimedia text messages or set at a high-quality 30 frames per second, which is ideal for playback on a PC or TV screen.

The display has an attractive mirror finish behind which the date, time and phone status is shown. The face flips up normally for making calls but also twists out for camcorder mode and twists over to sit horizontally on the keypad for viewing mode.

After testing the N93i I realised that I could easily have been looking at a camcorder. It may have a music player and FM tuner, but with its prominent lens, carry strap and protective pouch this phone is not aimed at anyone using it for listening to tunes.

On the internet side of things the N93i is wireless enabled and can pick up your home Wi-Fi connection for surfing the net.

The sticking point for me was that if Nokia created such a video-oriented phone it would seem logical to have a software application sitting on the phone that would upload video straight to YouTube or another widely used video sharing site.

However, it does have Flickr for sharing your photos online and Vox for creating an online diary from your video and pictures but the applications are hard to access and fiddly to use.

I can see what the N93i is trying to achieve, but until it has web friendly applications to help users upload their video creations straight to popular sites like YouTube and make it easier to put photos on Flickr I won’t be buying it.

By Marie Boran

Price: €600 SIM free
Pros: DVD-quality video on your mobile
Cons: Lack of online video sharing functions