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LisaGModerator
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Video Review: Nokia N900
      #35327 - 12/05/09 11:06 AM

We finally have the Nokia N900 smartphone merged with an Internet tablet in for review. The N900 runs the Linux-based Maemo 5 operating system on a fast ARM Cortex A8 CPU with 3D graphics acceleration. Think of it as Nokia's N810 shrunk down and dressed up with a seriously fast, eye-candy UI. It's definitely a blast to use and the UI is unique yet easy to learn.

The N900 has 3G HSDPA 7.2 mbps on T-Mobile's US bands and it works in Europe on 3G too. It's quad band GSM with EDGE and Nokia USA sells it unlocked for $569 (yes the price has dropped since the pre-order days). Other goodies include 32 gigs of storage, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, microSD card slot, Nokia's usual excellent 5 megapixel autofocus camera with dual LED flash, WiFi, Bluetooth and a GPS that works with Nokia Maps.

Here's our 15 minute video review that covers the UI, webkit web browser, video playback and much more:






Our full written review will follow next week. In the meantime, feel free to post questions.


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Lisa Gade
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Ian2097
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Re: Video Review: Nokia N900 [Re: LisaG]
      #35337 - 12/07/09 05:22 AM

Hello Lisa,
thanks for a great review! Also a great review of the HTC HD2.
I am thinking about buying one of the two phones (N900 or HTC HD2), and I am wondering if it was your money which one would you buy?
Thanks for your time.

Edited by Ian2097 (12/07/09 05:28 AM)


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LisaGModerator
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Re: Video Review: Nokia N900 [Re: Ian2097]
      #35340 - 12/07/09 09:57 AM

Oooh, I was afraid someone would ask that. I've got them both and right now I'd have a hard time choosing. Since you're in the UK, it's an even harder decision since the HD2 supports Euro 3G. Those of us in the States are out of luck when it comes to 3G unless a US carrier picks it up.

The HD2's immense screen is simply luxurious and easy on the eyes. Yet it doesn't seem like a behemoth since it's so thin. That said, like the N900, it is a large phone. So if size matters, thin and wide vs. thick but not so wide might make a difference.

The HD2 has call send and end buttons which the Nokia lacks, and that tweaks some folks. Neither has voice dialing or speed dial, but both have photo contact calling which works from the homescreen.

The HD2 is very fast but the Nokia N900 is even faster (it will slow down some when 8 apps are running in the background).

The Nokia has a hardware keyboard and some folks can't exist without their QWERTY. That said, the HD2's on-screen keyboard combined with the capacitive display is the best I've used.

Opera Mobile on the HD2 is very good, but Nokia's web browser has it beat handily with even better rending, getting full versions of sites rather than mobile versions, good AJAX support and Flash in the browser. HTC has one strong point: their capacitive display with pinch zooming.

The Nokia N900 is more of a computer in your pocket. It's powerful and can do quite a lot but it doesn't have the simple, directed interface of HTC Sense. For those who want something that acts more like a traditional smartphone, the HD2 will probably be more comfortable. The N900's UI is brilliant, or at least quitely brilliant, to steal HTC's new tag line. It feels very modern and fresh and is a great prospect for those who easily get bored with their smartphones or who want a fresh start.

The Nokia N900 syncs to Outlook on the desktop and Exchange 2007. Google sync is very hit and miss and isn't officially supported. Exchange 2003 isn't yet supported, though it's coming. If you need to sync to Exchange 2003 or Google, the HD2 wins. In general, WinMo offers the strongest Exchange and Exchange Activesync support.

So, I can't say one is strictly better than the other. Just that the HTC HD2 is the better fit for those who want a more traditional smartphone experience and the Nokia N900 feels more like the future of smartphones.

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rsuffix
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Re: Video Review: Nokia N900 [Re: LisaG]
      #35350 - 12/07/09 05:30 PM

I really hate to ask this, but your reviews are excellent and I've not got a great many people to ask!

Similar to the question above, but I'm curious about Droid Vs. N900. Or more accurately, the Milestone as I'm in the UK too.

I'm not worried about the N900 being more of a mobile computer, that's what I'm looking for.

I'm just wondering if I couldn't get the same experience out of the Droid, as well as having the benefits that come with it. (Being Google Nav, and Android updates) Could I get Android applications to give me most of the benefits the N900 has?

It will mostly be a mobile computer as I said, but the Droid is so similar on a hardware level it's a tough choice.

Any advice?


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LisaGModerator
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Re: Video Review: Nokia N900 [Re: rsuffix]
      #35351 - 12/07/09 05:53 PM

Definitely Google Maps has an edge over Nokia's solution. I would love to see a port to Maemo 5. But beyond that, if you want all the Google goodies and those are of paramount importance, an Android OS phone is the way to go-- it's built around those.

The difference is in the OS. Vanilla Android is nice, it's modern and easy to use. It's not brilliant but it works. HTC's customizations with their Sense UI (obviously something you won't get with the Moto) make it even better. But the Nokia N900 with the new Maemo 5 UI really has flashes of brilliance. It took a day or two and suddenly it really sunk in just how good it is. The panoramic home screen with widgets, yes Android has those too. But the dashboard screen for multi-tasking, that's brilliant when combined with the simple and fairly intuitive menu button and swipe gestures. It's impressive how fast you can switch from one task to another and it makes you feel like a wizard. The N900 UI has a lot of eye candy (much more than vanilla Android) yet it's a faster device.

Other impressive tidbits: the brain-dead simple integration of Skype into the dialer and contacts-- wow. You can make and receive VoIP calls in the same manner as cellular calls-- no extra app and byzantine setup required. The switching to WiFi when available (and switching away) is automatic, quick and seamless. The web browser is the best yet on a mobile phone, beating even the iPhone 3GS (superior AJAX support and real Flash plugin).

But you will lose the capacitive display with the N900, and not every app feels completely finished or polished yet. Thankfully, Nokia has historically been free and easy with Maemo updates, so I'd expect to see them come down the airwaves to the N900 too. I know a lot of folks need Exchange 2003 support, and it isn't there yet on the N900, nor is reliable Google syncing for PIM data (how did Nokia release it without these?).

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Angel1790
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Re: Video Review: Nokia N90 [Re: LisaG]
      #35353 - 12/07/09 10:34 PM

I was wondering why nobody has tested the Nokia N900's front camera... I would like to know if is able to take pictures, record videos, video chat sessions, video calls and any other feature... Thanks

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JordanM
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Re: Video Review: Nokia N90 [Re: Angel1790]
      #35354 - 12/07/09 11:53 PM

Hi Lisa! Great job.

So I pre-ordered the n900 last month from Amazon for a great price (479 incl 50 dollar rebate) and I keep going back and forth back and forth on whether to keep it or not and I have to decide soon since it's supposed to ship next week. The problem is, while I'm "medium techie" I don't know if I'm "techie enough" for this phone and the HD2 is really turning me on... But it's correct that my US Tmobile 3g wouldn't be supported on it?

So my main reason for waffling and having cheating eyes for the HD2 (or similar) is that Outlook (non corporate) syncing is very important to me as that's the program I use for all my calendar and contact issues (though not email, for that I predominantly use Gmail). I just love the ease of plugging a WinMo phone into my laptop and having it perfectly sync the cal and contacts. I haven't been able to find a straight answer on just how easy that will be with the n900. I've also thought about defecting from WinMo to Android but still haven't found a device to fall in love with and so I'm still limping along my old HTC Shadow. I tried the TouchPro2 a couple months back but didn't find it to be everything I'd hoped for (although I absolutely loved the googlemaps).

So what do you think? Try the N900 out? Cancel and hope the HD2 comes to Tmo, or some other unnamed equally beautiful powerful phone? (because obviously nothing in Tmo's current lineup is inspiring by any measure)

Hopefully you can give me a little clarity in a topic that's been a pain in my backside for months. Thank you so much!


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Ian2097
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Re: Video Review: Nokia N900 [Re: LisaG]
      #35356 - 12/08/09 02:19 AM

Lisa
Thank you for your swift reply, its very much appreciated. You have made my job a lot easier.
Again Thank you.


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LisaGModerator
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Re: Video Review: Nokia N900 [Re: Ian2097]
      #35359 - 12/08/09 10:46 AM

JordanM: The N900 doesn't require a super level of geekiness. But it's more a mobile Internet device first and a phone second in terms of feature depth and lack of hardware calling buttons. It syncs wonderfully to Outlook on the desktop using PC Suite (not OviSuite). No problems at all there. It also syncs fine to MS Exchange 2007 but not Exchange 2003 yet. If you just want to sync to Outlook, you should be fine with the N900.

The N900 has 3G HSDPA on T-Mobile US, the HD2 is EDGE only.


Amazon had a great price and they have a very lenient return policy-- try it out and you can always return it .

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Lisa Gade
Editor in Chief, MobileTechReview


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LisaGModerator
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Re: Video Review: Nokia N900 [Re: LisaG]
      #35362 - 12/08/09 11:01 AM

Angel1790: I haven't found a way to activate the front VGA camera yet. It's not used for calling and the camera app controls the rear main camera only.

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Lisa Gade
Editor in Chief, MobileTechReview


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JordanM
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Re: Video Review: Nokia N900 [Re: LisaG]
      #35374 - 12/09/09 08:11 PM

Thanks for your time Lisa ) Now I'm back to looking forward to it, 3 more days!

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