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Nokia N900 review

Bulky and blocky – yet could this be one of the phones of the year?

Our Verdict

A good phone that shows Nokia has more strings to its smartphone bow than just Symbian

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 32 GB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 5 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 9 Hour
  • Screen Resolution : 800 x 480

View full specification

For

  • A great internet experience
  • Slick UI
  • Intuitive Maemo OS
  • Vast array of integrated social network services
  • Great multi-tasking

Against

  • Poor battery life
  • Prone to freezing
  • Resistive screen
  • Juddering maps application

Maemo 5 on the N900 is a whole new ball game when it comes to mobile operating systems - at least that's how it will feel for most people when they get their hands on the N900. However, what many will fail to realise is that the likes of the N810 internet tablet range from Nokia have been around for aeons (in technology terms) and have been the plaything of scores of developers in the past.

It appears Nokia has combined this with the usability of Symbian to create a hybrid system that works well for both the power and casual user, if you're prepared to spend a few minutes getting to grips with it.

Nokia n900

And here's the very good news - it just works. We're talking Android levels of integration and usability, rather than just a simple Symbian touchscreen phone. The reason for this is twofold - the new operating system is built on a simple system of single menus and wide, icon-filled home screens, which means no more drilling down through countless menus simply to set an alarm.

The second advantage is under the chassis - the ARM Cortex A8 600MHz processor might not sound like it has the jazzy specs of the Qualcomm Snapdragon, but believe us it rarely fails to deliver when you're trying to move between applications and work the N900 heavily.

Nokia n900

Power VR graphics are also included too, meaning a very eyeball friendly screen set as well. We mentioned how wide the N900's screen is earlier, but there is a downside - it's a resistive, rather than the more responsive capacitive, screen. This usually means slightly longer to register inputs and inaccurate touching.

However, this is one of the better resistive options we've seen on a phone, and if we didn't know from the start that this was such a screen on the N900 then there's a chance we wouldn't have worked it out. And while the screen's tech might not be the most advanced, it does have a glorious widescreen VGA resolution to cushion the blow - 800 x 480 pixels mean content looks amazing on the N900.

The main focus of the N900 is the simple to use screen. We're talking a wide home screen (three home pages and a separate extra screen for further customisation) with a wide variety of places to put your favoured icons. There's a choice between widgets and simple icons, with the former offering larger icons for applications like the calendar and RSS reader so you can interact with the phone's core functionality without having to open up the program.

Nokia n900

While on Android you've got the helpful physical menu key, on the N900 we're not so lucky, with a drop-down menu at the top to guide you through the different applications' settings and extra functionality.

This is not always available in every application either, with often only minimal menu options offered when clicking it, whereas we'd like to be able to alter the setting and options for more applications within the N900.

Another weird navigation point is when you want to exit a pop up box. The N900 works by bringing the relevant window into focus and then blurring out the rest of the screen. This is cool, but the only way to move back is to strike that blurry section. It makes sense, but just feels a little amateur when we're merrily tapping on any part of the display.

Nokia n900

But the thing we like the most is the multi-tasking screen. Not only is it nearly always accessible through the double-rectangle symbol in the top right-hand corner, but it also allows you to see thumbnail panes of each of your open applications. Shutting them down is as simple as hitting the cross on the window in its top right-hand corner, and the whole system works very, very smoothly.

Nokia n900

In fact, we had to open nearly nine windows before the phone began to slow down, which was an excellent result. Should you want to go further, tap the same button in the top left of the N900's screen again and you're taken to the full menu screen, when you can begin your navigation quest again.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Built-in Memory32 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA
GPS ReceiverYes
Product FamilyN
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1700, WCDMA 2100
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Front CameraYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleSlider
ColourBlack
Operating SystemMaemo
Brand NameNokia
Battery Talk Time9 Hour
Product ModelN900
Screen Size8.9 cm (3.5")
Screen Resolution800 x 480
Weight (Approximate)181 g
Maximum Video Resolution800 x 480
Processor ManufacturerARM
Operating System VersionMaemo 5
Messaging TypeEmail, SMS (Short Message Service), Instant Messaging, MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service)
RealtoneYes
Radio Tuner TypeFM
Call FeaturesCall Divert, Call Holding, Call Log, Call Timer, Call Waiting, Caller ID
Height110.9 mm
Width59.8 mm
Depth18 mm
Radio TunerYes
Product SeriesN
ManufacturerNokia
Product NameN900 Smartphone
Processor Speed600 MHz
Processor TypeCortex
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Ambient Light Sensor
Manufacturer Part Number002M177
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.nokia.co.uk
Marketing Information

Get the powerful Nokia N900 Smartphone with touch screen and excellent communications capabilities. Run applications faster and enjoy the full internet with the Maemo browser Send rich email and make voice calls Take great photos and wide screen video with the 5 megapixel camera Find your way with Ovi Maps.

Package Contents
  • N900 Smartphone
  • Nokia Battery (BL-5J)
  • Nokia High Efficiency Charger (AC-10)
  • Nokia Stereo Headset (WH-205)
  • Video Out Cable (CA-75U)
  • Nokia Charger Adaptor (CA-146C)
  • Cleaning Cloth
Limited Warranty2 Year
Standard Memory1 GB