When the Nokia N96 was offered to a bunch of us almost a month ago, I called it N95+1? I thought I was being clever but upon reflection it made no fucking sense. Now let's go back a little and let you know of a little purchase I made called the iPhone. Anyone who has bought one of those knows that the experience of using one can ruin it for other phones. The purpose of the N96 trial period was for us to create content using the video features. I wasn't able to make calls or surf the net with it, so my non-review deserved a slow death.
One cannot expect much of a tech review from me anyway. Michael is a pro at that and he went in-depth. I carried the thing in my pocket for over 3 weeks, recording bits and pieces whenever I could. I never tried out its TV-out feature (didn't care for it), the snanner feature (what would I scan anyway), radio (I don't think so), music (the speakers kick ass though), and movies (screen not big enough anymore).
I'm left with, what, the video recording feature? Enter smile. After a torturous process of sifting through footage upon footage, I'm happy to say that the first video of the series demonstrates what I was able to do with N96 that I couldn't with any other camcorder.
Let me go over what I liked and disliked quickly. I'll let my video and images speak for themselves.
1. Quality of recorded video. Captures and stores as MP4 which needs to be converted to MOV if you want to edit.
2. Shortcut button for recording video. And the ability to Pause or Continue - good for editing on camera.
3. Rename files for better archiving; I didn't do that, which came to haunt me.
4. The speakers are unbelievable.
5. Allowed to shoot almost instantly.
2. Getting to files is a mess.
3. That it came with a plastic screen with Nokia written across. Not cool for playback.
4. Camera click sound bothers me. Couldn't turn it off. Once you take a picture in a fairly dark area, the whole neighborhood knows.
5. ...having to constantly compare it with iPhone.
Let's get to what I do better than tech reviewing: shooting photo and video. I was doing video almost all the time and took very few stills. Liked only a few from the stills. Here's a few.
Finally, the main reason we're here: the video. We were asked to make one short doc about our daily lives. I realized just a couple of days ago that there was no way I could put all that footage together into one doc. I decided, therefore, to have 3 short pieces. The first, the shortest, will be about a typical day of my work life. The second will be about what I do when I'm not at my job. The third, final, will be about my creative process. I needed 3 videos to say what I wanted to and not cram everything into one.
Update: Wanted to come back and say a couple of things. One should look at these posts of mine strictly from a videomaker's perspective. The world does not revolve around the coolest gadget on the planet - that always depends on whom you ask. There are so many things I'd have loved to try out on N96 - Twitter, photo uploads, live-blogging, live video streaming, time-lapse photography etc. The 'qwerty-ness' does not define a phone's user-friendliness. 'Real Player' is perfectly fine, I'm sure, with many users. If I were to summarize: this device is a great tool for image, video, and audio content creators.
Anyway, here's the first video. [for Quicktime version click here]