To be completely fair, the N93 is more than just a phone, and when used as a camcorder, the N93's size becomes more of a pro than a con. It's easy to travel with and includes a number of design features that mimic the look and feel of a real mini camcorder. First, you can manipulate the screen to act as your viewfinder. Just open the front flap halfway and swivel the screen 90 degrees counterclockwise. This will automatically activate the camera, and you should see the scene of your photo or video splashed across the internal screen/viewfinder. The camera lens and flash are located on the left spine; the former is protected by a plastic cover, but it's not attached to the phone, so take care not to lose it (a lens strap is included in the box). In addition to this lens, there's a secondary VGA camera above the internal screen that you can use for photos and video. On the right side is a zoom in/out slider wheel and a center capture button on the hinge of the phone, while a four-way navigation toggle, a camera/video button (to toggle between the two modes), and a flash key are on the right spine. Overall, most of these buttons are easy to master and use as camcorder controls, although we had a couple of complaints. First, the toggle may be too small for some users, especially those with larger fingers, causing you to accidentally press the keys beneath it. Second, the zoom slider is somewhat difficult to use one-handed; we found it easiest to move by using our index finger instead of our thumb.
After you've captured images, you can take advantage of the N93's swivel design to best view your photo gallery and videos. To do so, start with the phone in its closed state and swing open the front flap to the right (Nokia identifies this as the View mode). From there, you can see all your shots on the N93's sharp, 2.4-inch QVGA internal screen. It displays an eye-popping 262,144 colors at a crisp 320x240-pixel resolution, so not only do images look great, so do text and Web pages. You can change the theme, wallpaper, and backlight time, but you can't change the font size. Below the display is a set of buttons, including two soft keys; the talk and end buttons; a four-way navigation control; a row of shortcut keys to the text editor, main menu, multimedia menu; and a clear button. The numerical dial pad below these controls is spacious and raised above the phone's surface, making it easy to dial by feel.
Other design highlights of the N93 include a 1.1-inch external LCD that shows 65,536 colors at a 128x36-pixel resolution. It displays the standard information, including the time, network strength, battery life, and photo caller ID (where available). Also, if you're using the N93 as a music player, the screen will show you the song title and track time. While this is a nice extra, we were a bit disappointed by the screen's small size, considering that there's plenty of real estate to put in a larger display. In addition to the camera lens and flash, there is a Mini SD expansion slot, a Pop-Port connector (for the USB cable and headset), and a charger connector on the left; the power on/off button is on the top of the device. We wish Nokia had included external volume controls. Instead, you have to remove the phone from your ear and use the navigation toggle on the dial pad to adjust the volume.
Nokia packages the N93 with a nice set of accessories, including an AC adapter, a travel charger, a 128MB Mini SD card, a pair of stereo earbuds, a USB cable, video cables, a protective pouch, a wrist strap, reference material, and a DVD containing the Nokia PC Suite, photo editors, and more. The Nokia N93 has a sizable feature set to match its large form factor. The main attraction, of course, are the camera and camcorder functions. The N93 is equipped with a 3.2-megapixel camera with a Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens and 3X optical zoom. (For those of you who don't know, Carl Zeiss was an optician who first started manufacturing lenses for microscopes, then used his expertise for camera lenses.) The camera options are very similar to those of the other N-series models we've reviewed, including the Nokia N80 and the N73. You get a choice of four image qualities (large, medium, small, and multimedia message) and six shooting modes (automatic, user, close-up, landscape, night, and night portrait). Plus, there are white balance options, exposure values, and color tones so that you can get the best picture possible. There's also a sequence mode for multiple shots and a self-timer. You get four shutter sound options, but no silent mode.
For video, the N93 can record up to one-hour clips with sound at up to 30 frames per second (fps). Options are a little more limited in video mode; you get five quality settings (TV high, TV normal, handset high, handset normal, and sharing) and two shooting modes (automatic and night). You also have access to 3X optical zoom or 8X digital zoom, and there's a video stabilization feature to help reduce camera shake as you're recording video. You can touch up your videos and photos with the included image editors. For example, you can add clip art and reduce red-eye on still images, or cut audio for videos. There's 50MB of internal memory, backed by the Mini SD expandable memory, for saving your photos and videos to the phone. And sharing your memories is also easy with the ability to view them as a slide show, print them using Nokia's Xpress Solutions, upload them to the Web, or transfer them to other devices. Also, Nokia includes video-out cables so that you can hook up your N93 to a TV to view all your media on the big screen.