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Nokia N9 (Lightning Review)
What's hot: Simply gorgeous design, modern and enjoyable OS, lovely AMOLED display.
What's not: Expensive, not many will be made, Nokia doesn't intend to continue developing MeeGo OS.
Reviewed November 6, 2011 by Lisa Gade, Editor
in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)
The Nokia N9 is Nokia's last hurrah before they make the switch to being a Windows Phone manufacturer. It runs their customized version of the MeeGo OS that's based on Linux, and it's a thoroughly modern and beautifully designed touch-based OS. It's fast, intuitive and makes excellent use of gestures. Case in point: double tap the sleeping phone's screen to wake it up, then swipe up to unlock. Swipe down or to the right to close an app and return to the home screen. Swipe across the home screens to see the notification and social networking pane, the app drawer and thumbnails of all running apps.
The N9 has a 3.9" AMOLED display with anti-glare technology and Nokia's black technology. Blacks are deep, colors are vivid and glare is indeed less of an issue vs. most touch screen phones. It's 854 x 480 pixels with Gorilla Glass, an accelerometer and an ambient light sensor. The phone runs on a 1GHz single core OMAP CPU, and though that's not cutting edge, the phone is generally very quick.
The design is minimalist elegance and unique. The Nokia Lumia 800 inherits the design, and that's a good thing. The unibody casing is polycarbonate which is durable and won't show scratches as discolorations. It feels wonderful in the hand and is very slim. The phone is about the same size as the iPhone 4S, despite the larger display.
This is a pentaband 3G phone with HSPA+ 14.4, and that means it will work on T-Mobile and AT&T as well as overseas. It's sold unlocked but you'll have to get it from importers here in the US since Nokia isn't selling it directly. Like the iPhone, it uses a micro SIM. The bad news? It goes for around $700 and Nokia is only making 90,000 or so. The even worse news? This is their first and last MeeGo Harmattan smartphone. It's a dead end. There are third party apps on the Ovi Store on the device, but I wouldn't expect the selection to grow much from where it is today.
The Nokia N9 has an excellent 8 megapixel rear main camera with a dual LED flash. It can shoot sharp 720p video and it takes photos that are as good as the top 8 megapixel camera phones on the market. It has the usual WiFi, Bluetooth and a GPS plus maps. The phone has 16 gigs of internal storage (Nokia says there's a 64 gig version as well) and no expansion slot.