Nokia N900 Review
The presence of a full QWERTY keyboard means the N900 should be able to offer proper texting functionality. All messages, regardless of whether they are text, multimedia or IM ones are available via a single menu called Conversations. This is where your text correspondence is stored, sorted chronologically and a small icon shows you the relevant service the messages relate to, i.e. SMS, Skype, Google Talk etc. It´s a good thing that they are visualized in threaded style, grouped by contacts, because you can easily take a look at all messages you´ve exchanged with someone from the beginning. As a whole, we do like this particular style of controlling the messaging function and don´t have major gripes about it.
As we already mentioned, the full hardware QWERTY is not the most comfortable we have used. It´s a good thing that you´ve got an alternative option, i.e. the software QWERTY that we have to say feels much easier to type away on, both in terms of overall speed and number of misspelled words. Naturally, this is thanks to both the large size of the screen and its proper sensitivity.
The Nokia N900 is equipped with an email client that automatically finds the relevant settings for major service providers like Yahoo!, Gmail, AOL, Hotmail etc. The only thing you need to do is enter your username, password and account name (not mandatory). If you happen to be registered with Nokia Messaging and have already provided the relevant details about your other email accounts (up to 10), just fill in your username and password with the service and the N900 will set up everything for you automatically.
Messages can be viewed in HTML format and you´ve got the option to search and replace words, mark letters as unread, add senders to your phone contacts etc. There is a special pane at the bottom of the screen that allows you to send a quick reply, forward the email to other people, delete it or just get to the next/previous email. While composing a new message, you are permitted to choose the outgoing email account, which is quite convenient really, because you won´t have to switch between your different accounts just to send an email. As a whole, the client is really capable and offers pretty much everything that´s necessary for easy electronic correspondence, but happens to have one major flaw – you just cannot hot-switch between your email accounts, meaning you will have to log off then sign back into another one.
Now, this is what the Nokia N900 excels in. The device is equipped with own Maemo browser based on the same technology as Mozilla Firefox and sports full Adobe Flash 9.4 support.
Web pages get visualized just like they do on normal computer screens and get automatically resized to fit the screen. If this happens, you will typically need to zoom in to be able to read the text more easily by double tapping the screen or making a circular motion clockwise, with the counter-clockwise gesture assigned to the zoom out function. This reminds of the HTC Touch, because you make the same motions when browsing pictures only. The proper Flash support is the most significant advantage of the browser, because all Flash elements get properly visualized even video players on websites like Viddler.com and Vimeo.com, games on Facebook (say Mafia Wars) and even our own 360-degree views that we must say are heavy indeed. Surfing the Web feels pleasing, because pages load and visualize quickly, while the large screen makes navigation enjoyable and allows you to discern all details easily.
Another major advantage is that you´ve got the option to open a website as a separate process - it becomes visible in the task manager, so you can switch between web pages really fast and close the ones you no longer need with just a few screen taps. As a whole, the application performs amazingly well and we believe the N900 is equipped with the best internet browser to be found on a cell phone today. Imagine how great it would have been if all smartphones were able to deliver such a rich internet experience...
As we mentioned, the Nokia N900 is equipped with a built-in GSM module that´s one of the major weapons the gadget is armed with, because it will allows you to make calls over cellular networks. Among the other things, its presence means carriers will love to sell you the device on a contract at a subsidized price. The N900 connects to the Internet via the built-in Wi-Fi and over 3G. The boxed microUSB cable provides local connectivity at high data transfer speeds. During our tests we achieved average throughput of 8MB/sec. downloading multiple files with a total size of 100MB from the N900 to a desktop computer and the same content got copied from the PC to the N900 at an average speed of 8.2MB/sec.
Aside from incredibly capable browser, the N900 sports a built-in A-GPS that does its job pretty well too. It needs 20 to 40 seconds to pinpoint your exact location after cold start and the speed heavily depends on the weather conditions and the presence of tall buildings nearby. The hot start is, however, almost instantaneous and you get results in just 4-5 seconds, no matter the conditions.
As a Nokia device, the N900 comes with a preinstalled copy of Ovi Maps and the application needs constant internet connection in order to visualize the necessary maps. Its interface is, however, different from the versions found on the cell phones of the manufacturer. It is simplified and properly optimized for bare fingers, something we do like. There are several map zoom presets that show overview of the country, then get you to a state, city and street level, so you won´t have to use the plus and minus icons. Similarly to the versions running on Symbian S60 5th Edition handsets, the relevant coordinates and address you´ve chosen appear at the top of the screen and pressing the tab gives you the option to turn on the navigation assistance and let the software guide you how to get there. Unfortunately, the application seems rather heavy, because the N900 reacts to your commands with annoyingly long delays. The worst part is you´re out of options, because there´s still no alternative app.
1. fortegag (Posts: 1; Member since: 18 Nov 2009)
The flash on Nokia N86 8MP is dual led. Good review as always.
2. LA6507 (Posts: 2; Member since: 15 May 2008)
This was an excellent review! Great works, guys! I am looking for a succesor for my E71, but it looks like I am going to have to wait for Exchange Support! I'd also like to see better performance in the Maps program, as well. Everything else sounds like it's pretty much the perfect device. I don't see portrait mode as a drawback, for the type of device it is, although with all that power under the hood, I would expect most of the applications and OS to work in some capacity in either orientation.
4. hisham2k (Posts: 1; Member since: 19 Nov 2009)
From what I have read, the N900 supports exchange.
3. DontHateOnS60 (Posts: 791; Member since: 20 Apr 2009)
Really disappointing to see all the things missing from the software. I have come to expect Nokia to include lots of options for things like the camera and video recording, and to see half of that stuff missing is just sad. I really do hope that if Nokia plans on using this in other Nseries devices in the future, not internet tablets, they add all the things that are missing, and fix that maps program. Hey PhoneArena, you never said what the stereo speakers sounded like. How do they compare to the N95, N97, and 5800?
5. chocolatebear (Posts: 4; Member since: 06 Oct 2009)
apart from the ovi maps not as good as google's,i recommend this phone to any one that want to take their laptop with them 24/7,you will be entertain,cos just bought my n900 since then it has put smile all over my face,thank's NOKIA N GREAT JOB,phonearena points review did not do N900 any justice,sad!