Sunday, October 16, 2011

[Nokia N9 Review] Preview and Hands On !

Posted on 2:48 PM by SlipKoRnSaad

For the first time as a blogger and a reviewer, i feel that i have no time to do a "good" review and to cover all device features because people want to know everything about a phone before they buy it, and seeing as it’s being released already in many countries, there isn’t really the luxury of taking my time to do this, as this is not a phone you'll see everyday or could buy easily, but it's the N9 ! A device that (it seems) Nokia will produce in a limited quantities (92000 units?), the First Qt device and the last MeeGo device from Nokia  !

So, i'll keep this preview short and sweet :

Many readers will remember Nokia as a phone powerhouse, constantly innovating and always the mobile of choice, it’s an odd sensation using the Nokia N9, a handset that’s remarkably unlike anything Nokia has done in recent years. It's an impressive and accomplished device.

When i say impressive, i'm talking about the whole and general feeling in hardware software wise ! Nokia PERFECTION in its best days !

In terms of raw industrial design, it’s a superbly beautiful and sexy polycarbonate unibody device ! it feels just, oh i don't have exact words describing this feeling... even Apple's iPhone loyal users (i don't want to say Fanboys) and customers say : "Uh this is beautiful !" In fact, the N9 is hitting 12.1mm at its thickest point and getting to just under 116.5mm long.

The hardware design is minimalistic, the only hardware buttons are the volume control and the power. Everything else is controlled via the touchscreen (Hey, Windows Phone, IOS and Android, Symbian, did you read that?) as on the Maemo5 but Nokia take it to another level !

The software design is minimalistic too as the N9 has only three screens :

- an Events screen that updates with notifications from email, messaging, social media etc;
- an Application screen where one can choose the desired app;
- an Open Applications (Multitasking view) screen, which displays every currently running app

When multitasking the N9 flies along and the no-buttons approach is easy to use once you get the timing for swipes down pat. If you want a phone that impresses people just by showing it to them, this is it., To move a running application to the Open Application screen you swipe upwards from the edge of the bezel. To close the app directly swipe down, again from the edge of the bezel – this distinguishes it from a standard in-app finger swipe. It takes a little getting used to, but quickly feels natural.

All gestures and animations on Harmattan UI are super slick and quick (60fps), Android users (Galaxy S2 users mainly) don't believe that's running on a single 1GHZ processor ! Once you hold it, you'll be totally addicted to the Swipe gesture on the N9 : I found myself trying to swipe the screen on my iPad, iPhone and N8 a couple times by mistake too, i've even installed "GoToMenu" on my N8 :p

The 3.9 Inch AMOLED ClearBlack curved display is gorgeous. I put it right up next to a Galaxy S2 and the N9 beat it in sunlight, and was almost little better (or the same) quality indoor ! Viewing angles? with the curved coated 2.5D screen you'll believe that icons and contents are floating and want to get out to you !

The size is perfect too, your finger can reach the top of the screen with ease (I'm talking to you Android and WP +4.3" oversized screen)

- The lockscreen gives you iOS5-like slide-to-unlock gestures for new messages, or voicemails that pop up on the screen and this makes it very usable for everyday use and quick basic tasks, like reply, call back etc.

- Nokia Maps with free turn-by-turn navigation never been smoother or slicker than on the N9 ! And oh it supports two finger rotation ! Do you know what this mean? Video after the break !

- The onscreen keyboard is finally something that actually competes with the iPhone’s one ! I can easily use it in one hand...

- The social networking and sharing services are deeply integrated to the OS (like one the N900) so you can basically ‘add‘ almost any kind of account to the N9. From Mail for Exchange for email, to Skype, Google, Facebook for chat, or Twitter (in upcoming update), Flickr for Images, YouTube for video uploads, SIP and even the ol’ Nokia Account...

- The web browser is a strong part of the N9 too (see here and here), but it lacks flash and it's frustrating, no matter what, unless all websites switch to full HTML5 protocol...

- Like the iPhone, the N9 has no slots for upgrading memory (it instead comes in 16GB or 64GB formats) and it actually uses micro SIM cards.

- Email client finally support a true Push notifications (i haven't see this on a Nokia device since my E90 wow)

- NFC functionality, is mainly used for device pairing and will probably support transactions or payments in future updates.

As you know, nowadays, for many users, the judge of a phone is the quality and number of its apps. While there’s nothing wrong with the quality, the number of MeeGo apps is relatively small and unlikely to receive any significant boosts without more phones entering the OS ecosystem – and certainly Nokia’s high profile commitment to Windows Phone isn’t likely to help with this :-(

Bottom line :

It’s been a while since people have shown that much interest in a phone and when you see people talking about how beautiful the N9 is on twitter, or facebook or even in person, trust me they’re not lieing.

If anything, the overwhelming sense using the Nokia N9 is one of melancholy - why, oh why didn’t Nokia release something this good earlier? Why didn’t Nokia stick with this in favour of Windows Mobile? This is a superb piece of hardware and the MeeGo/Harmattan OS is simple and elegant, sure, Nokia’s going to make some pretty kickass hardware running on Windows Phone soon enough but what about the UI, can we hope for some swipes on the top of WP UI ?

What i didn't like :

- The lack of apps on MeeGo. Had to be said.
- Battery life isn't bad. You’ll probably need to charge the N9 every night, i reach 12 - 17hours with mine with active constant use, but wait until the final review to get more accurate results :)
- The built-in Twitter app cant twitpic images right now. Software update coming up though.
- No FM Radio, no HDMI-Out, No FM-Transmitter.
- No USB-On-The-Go
- No Flash support in browser
- No office document editing
- Loudspeaker isn't loud really, i missed a lot of calls in louder environments, this apply to the vibrations as well...
- Music quality isn't that great, i mean there's no equalizer and the lack of bass keep me away from using as a music player, not an easy task, given that i own the N91, N96 and N8...
- Email client is among the best but as the N900's one, it can't recognize or handle phone numbers in the core of the email...symbian Anna has this...

So, should you get it? if all you do is Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare, if you want a deep integration of social networking services, strong and fast web browser, smooth operations and UI, a true multitasking device, all in all with a good camera performance and a hell sexy looking body (which will help you grab attention of any girl around :p) and If you don't want to be one of the gazillion people out there with an iPhone, or the increasing number of Galaxy S2 users, or the Android army, and the lack of thousand of applications doesn't bother you, this is the phone to get.

This is a very well made smartphone that feels great in the hand, responds with a surprising turn of speed and covers the majority of smartphone basics very well indeed.

Don't forget my mini head to head pictures shots against the N8 to see how the N9 performs against the N8, even if the N8 remains the king of cameraphones till date :)

My advice? Wait till NokiaWorld 2011 announcements on 26 October and till the full review as i'll compare it to the N900 and N8 mainly as which is the most productive OS/device if nothing interest you from Nokia (i doubt about that, i'm sure we'all gonna be amazed) then hurry up and get this "Nokia limited edition" :)

(Video hands on was filmed with an N8, pictures too, the light on the video is powered by the flash of the N900 ^^) 

2 Response to "[Nokia N9 Review] Preview and Hands On !"

Et3rnal m!nd Says....

2nd advice, if you not sure the next software update will bring 3500+ feature/fix :D. apps will come like crazy coz this is Qt! :D

btw the current software still beta and its great!

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