Nokia 9500 Communicator
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Old school has a habit of becoming new school, and it’s ironic that some of the early adopters of this chunky new Nokia will be the same people who laughed at Gordon Gekko brick phones a few years back.

We have to say, for the record, that despite its great connectivity, the 9500 is very ugly. It’s bulky, corporate looking, and the novelty of the clam-shelled keyboard and screen soon wears off. In Nokia’s defence, the device is primarily aimed at business users, and the look and feel of the Communicator range is well established. Weighing in at over 200g, however, you’d better buy a jacket with reinforced pockets.

As a phone and texting device, the Nokia is great. Powering the 9500 is the Symbian 7 operating system, and as you’d expect of a device of this pedigree, there is full support for GPRS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Not to mention various Microsoft Office compatible applications such as word processor, spreadsheet and internet. There’s even a tool for viewing PDFs. Synchronisation with your main desktop PC is straightforward too, reflecting the Communicator’s strong PDA heritage. All practical stuff, but we’re not quite sure why Nokia felt the need to squeeze in a puny little camera; the inclusion of an MP3 player is also puzzling.

Much more useful is the keyboard. It’s a proper QWERTY number and the keys are beautifully engineered – responsive yet durable – although, only those with Lilliputian hands will be able to touch-type.
The screen can be split into various windows and viewing modes too; this sounds like a minor feature, but it’s a real boon when you’re connected to the net at the same time as using the word processor and spreadsheet.

Despite the dull interface design of the operating system, the screen is great, and offers 65,000 colours (640 x 200 pixels).
Battery life is comparable to earlier Communicators – in other words, up to 20 hours of talk time and about 300 hours on standby with the wireless features turned off. Making use of more processor intensive applications will obviously drain the battery faster, but the Communicator is certainly competitive in this area, with intelligent battery management.

Another great feature is the built-in Wi-Fi finder, which automatically tracks down any public access hotspots in your vicinity. There is also full support for Virtual Private Networks (VPN), the mainstay of any self-respecting road warrior.
The 9500 is now available for under $1500. If you don’t mind the styling and bulk, it’s very tempting. It’s certainly more flexible than the sort of cheap and nasty notebooks you could get for this money, and the 9500 synchronises with your main PC without skipping a beat.

Nokia 9500
Communicator

| $1499 |



MOBILE PHONE

FOR
Well connected; straightforward
synchronisation with desktop PC.

AGAINST 
Bulky at 230g; looks as appealing
as a Monday morning in July.

VERDICT
A solid tool for business people on
the move, but unlikely to appeal
to more casual users.