Nokia N900

I was lucky enough to be selected as one of the trial users of the N900.  I had long read about the multi-tasking prowess and strong technical specifications of the N900.  Regardless of the technical specifications, I feel that a phone should be judged on its usability and functions.  After all, what good is a mighty processor and RAM if the phone offered few features that require heavy processing?



Apps Enhancement and Customisation

Setting up the phone was easy.  As with all Nokia phones, the N900 is highly customisable.  Users have up to 4 different desktops on which they can add shortcuts, bookmarks and widgets to.   Desktop themes, phone profiles, ringtones, etc, are also easily personalised. 

Opening up the Application Manager, users have a plethora of apps they can choose to download.  The apps are neatly categorised in the following groups: Network, Desktop, Development, Education, Games, Graphics, Location & Navigation, Multimedia and Office.  This is in addition to apps and games available from the Nokia Ovi Store.

Glancing through the available apps, I downloaded Mauku (a micro blogging app), aMSN (what would life be without MSN!), Zoutube (for watching Youtube videos), Mozilla Firefox browser, Documents To Go, ForecaWeather and Witter (a highly recommended Twitter app for the N900).  I also set up my Gmail and Facebook accounts on the phone to ensure that I would never miss another update from my friends.

Powerful Multi-Tasking

That was when the N900 amazed me.  There I was running aMSN, Zoutube, Witter, ForecaWeather, checking my Gmail (and reading a Word attachment via Documents To Go) and the phone did not have any issues with all the multi-tasking.  I decided to challenge it further so I opened up the Ovi Maps, Blocks (more commonly known as Tetris), the File Manager and PDF reader, and the N900 did not have any problem coping!


Tapping the box icon at the top left corner of the screen displayed the thumbnails of all the apps that were opened and I could switch between apps by selecting the relevant thumbnail.  In addition, if I were surfing the Internet and a new e-mail or tweet came in, the N900 would prompt me accordingly.  This was great for getting immediate updates of e-mail and tweets.

Enhanced Internet Experience

I tested both the Mozilla browser and the N900’s default browser and guess what?  Despite being the force behind the highly popular Firefox browser, the Mozilla browser was no match for the N900’s Web browser.  The Web browser worked as good as any computer browser!  Even a flash intensive site like loaded quickly.  The videos also displayed well and the 3.5” screen was big enough for me to watch videos comfortably.  The Mozilla browser, strangely, was unable to play the videos at – it kept prompting me to install Flash.  After this test, I decided to stick to the default Web browser for all my surfing needs.

The Web browser definitely served me well.  I liked how I could zoom in by moving my finger clockwise on the screen, and zoom out by doing the reverse.  I also used it to book tickets from the GV website to watch Prince of Persia.  The GV website loaded fast (no perceivable difference from loading it on a PC) and because the N900 supports Java, I had no problems doing a credit card purchase of the tickets.  The latest firmware of the N900 includes an upgrade to the browser, and users can choose to surf in either the default landscape mode, or in portrait.  This is very practical if you have only one free hand to hold and navigate the phone. 

I’ve tested many phones before – Samsung, Sony Ericsson, HTC, iPhone – and many mobile browsers (such as Opera and Skyfire) but this is my all time favourite browser!

Multimedia Powerhouse

The speakers on the N900 are great.  The speakers of most handphones tend to be lacking in bass, thus producing a sound that is a little sharp and whiny.  The speakers of the N900, however, had a good balance and it was a joy to listen to songs via the loudspeaker.  I was a little disappointed however, that the MP3s I amassed over the years could not be played.  I thought it was strange because these MP3s do not have any Digital Rights Management restrictions. 


Other plus points of the N900 are its 5MP camera with wide screen capture, double LED flash, very decent battery life (I ran it all day in the office with my 3G connection on and it lasted till I got home at night).  I also love how the e-mail interfaces very well with Gmail.  This was the first time I actually enjoyed checking my e-mails on my handphone.  The biggest bug bear (apart from it not being able to play my MP3s), was that it does not support Chinese input.  I sure hope Nokia introduces Chinese input and T9 input soon!  Typing with the tiny QWERTY keyboard is a little slow for my liking.

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June 2010