For music, the Nokia N90's RealPlayer media player can handle both MP3 and iPod-compatible AAC files ripped from CDs but unfortunately not protected AAC tracks bought from iTunes. Tracks can be transferred via USB or by dropping and dragging files to the RS-MMC card. You can assign a song as your ring tone, choose from 41 polyphonic tones, or, of course, download a ring tone from a compatible carrier's online store. Sounds play out of a small mono speaker next to the power key on top of the lens assembly.
Nonmultimedia features include Symbian Series 60 PDA applications and text, enhanced and multimedia messaging, and both IMAP4 and POP3 e-mail. Each phone-book entry can hold five numbers as well as images, specific ring tones, and voice tags for voice-dialing commands. You also get a speakerphone, instant-messaging support, PC syncing, Java (J2ME) support, and a WAP 2.0 wireless Web browser.
Considering the phone's considerable multimedia capture and playback capabilities, the 31MB of internal storage seems a bit low; many less capable phones have twice as much internal storage. At the time of this writing, the box was scheduled to include a 64MB RS-MMC card.Unfortunately, our test Nokia N90 did not always connect to an available network. However, the mobile is a triband (GSM 900/1800/1900) world phone that also includes support for GPRS and EDGE networks. While we were unable to access the Web or send messages, voice-call tones were soft and smooth--much closer in tone to those of a landline connection.
Digital still-picture quality was exceptional for a camera phone. The large images exhibited deep color saturation and unusual detail sharpness. Video clips, however, were choppy, like stop-motion photography, probably due to their limited 15fps frame rate.
Given the phone's MP3/ACC capabilities, we were surprised Nokia didn't equip it with stereo speakers. However, the tiny mono speaker produced far more volume than we anticipated. Our test unit did not include headphones of any type, mono or stereo. But be warned that the jack is proprietary to Nokia.
Battery life was rated at a rather short 4.5 hours of talk time--somewhat expected, given the two large LCD screens--and a more robust 240 hours of standby time. According to FCC radiation tests, the N90 has a digital SAR rating of 0.22 watts per kilogram.
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