You may have noticed that I’ve dropped off the side of the Internet somewhat. Life can get busy at times, especially for someone who sometimes gets muddled up with time management and priorities. Another compelling reason for this is that I recently bought a Nokia N900. And I’m still getting used to incorporating it into my day to day activities.
Getting It Home
Unfortunately, Nokia does not sell the N900 in Canada. In theory it might eventually. But I wasn’t going until the Canadian duopoly of Rogers and Bell along with the CRTC got around to doing so. So much for Canada being a leader in telecommunications technology. Instead I bought my N900 through Amazon and used Shipito to forward my parcel. Later I found out that buying from Dell may have been a cheaper and faster alternative. It took about three weeks but I eventually got my toy.
I must congratulate the engineers at Nokia for coming up with solid feel to the N900. I would of preferred a metal body like my old N810. But the N900 is definitely not as flimsy and plasticky like my Nokia 5800 XpressMusic phone. The touchscreen is quite sensitive and responsive much like the iPhone’s. The sliding keyboard also feels great. Each key nicely rounded, depresses in a solid quiet manner and gets illuminated in low light conditions. The 5 Megapixel Carl Zeiss camera takes great pictures with good resolution and great colour balance. My 5800 in comparison took decent photos but everything was a shade of grainy grey. The auto-focus on the camera leaves much to desire. But it might be a case of my not knowing how to use the software. The N900 takes MicroSD cards, which helped with migration away from my old phone. The internal memory is a massive 32 GB. Sound quality of the speakers is excellent. Great feeling stylus as well.
I loved the large full kickstand on my N810. Apparently the preproduction units of the N900 also had this design. However the production N900s have a small kickstand built into the lower frame of the camera. It took my quite some time to find it. And since the kickstand is off-center the whole device wobbles on its kickstand. Not cool. The real scary thing is the micro-USB connector. The power adapter for the N900 recharges the device using the micro-USB. And the port itself is surface mounted to the circuitry. I’ve read quite a few horror stories involved where the port detached from the device! So I’m paranoid, and extra careful with plugging in the micro-USB cables to the N900.
It is not all roses in the software realm. The N900 while a mobile computer and all that jazz is still a mobile device. Space and energy constraints plague every mobile device out there. So there is a limit to how much multi-tasking one can do. Fair enough. But sometimes the device grinds to a slow halt with just a few apps on. Why? I get it why it happened when I copied my 6GB music collection off my MicroSD onto main memory. Maybe I need to restart the device once in a while? But why two browser windows, two instant messaging apps and a music player can stall the device… Also the Maemo5 platform used on the N900 is new, so there will not be the number of apps that Symbian S60, Apple’s iPhone and the Android app stores enjoy. Nokia has Ovi working for the N900, except payments are still missing. Hence my hesitation to say the N900 will work well for non-enthusiasts. It looks like Nokia also has similar feelings. Then again Nokia has said that Maemo6 will be the mainstream platform, with multi-touch support, app stores and all that jazz.
Thoughts, Ideas and Dreams
This review is reaching epic proportions now. In short, I love my little N900 mobile computer/Internet tablet/cellphone. It is definitely something I looked forward too. And I’ve owned a number of mobile computing devices already: Palm Tungsten E, Nokia N810 & Nokia 5800 XM. A great thing is that the device and platform has the potential of getting way better with time.