The Nokia N900, which we used for a week, runs on Maemo 5, a lightweight version of Debian, one of the major Linux distributions that Nokia chose to Android. An ambitious strategy, even foolhardy for a Nokia is increasingly isolated on the front of the smartphone. But moreover, it was dealing with a telephone, an Internet Tablet or a Pocket PC? The manufacturer of mobile computer speaks and highlights the "extreme speed and unparalleled performance" of its mobile. The camera will be available in early December in The Phone House stores, for about 650 euros, excluding subscription promotion.
What’s in the box?
- Nokia N900
- 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
First contact of mobile, we have in hand a pretty plaything of 180 grams. This makes us feel just 40 grams more than an iPhone. The dimensions (see specifications) are very conventional to mobile category, except for the thickness: 1.8 cm, with peaks at 2 inches on the boss of the camera. We understand better what has prompted talk of Nokia mobile computer.
Four offices shortcuts and widgets
The screen, comfortable with a diagonal of 8.9 inches, is the resistive type. We must therefore apply pressure so that you hear. Pressure is also not always well captured and it is not unusual to resume it twice to close a window or even more delicate with resistive slabs to drag an object.
Functionally, Maemo 5 provides the user with four offices which reside shortcuts or widgets with an upper hiding a component to control the noise level, Bluetooth, Internet connection and the clock. In this same area it needs support to get some contextual actions. Another area, not materialized and therefore invisible, is under the left thumb. It helps hand and pushes the N900 to selection text mode whether you are on a browser page or in an email for example.
As for the zoom, it is activated by double clicking a text box or by holding a finger while circling to get the right zoom level. This manipulation is accurate but takes a little longer than the famous finger spread of the iPhone. As for the keyboard, it unfolds as just 2.5 inches which leaves only three rows of keys of six millimeters to one side. It’s a fair bit!
All uses of the smartphone
What can you do with it N900? The answer is simple: everything that can be done on a smartphone. Clearly, surf the Web, making his mail, play music and video, install software, use the built-in GPS with Nokia Maps (paid), filming and photographing everything perfectly multitasking mode. Why, in these circumstances, we would prefer a N900? Even looking good, we did not find an answer to this question.
In terms of responsiveness, the N900 does not behave as good as an Android mobile or iPhone, and resistive screen is neither as pleasant nor as reliable as a capacitive slab. Furthermore, if the seizure does not pose any particular problem, do not count on by the automatic correction, completion or suggestion of words, techniques unknown to N900, which is a shame because typing errors are common on these small keyboards.
What else does it? The maturity of Debian, its graphics engine and the open source spirit that surrounds the project! Why not, but only geeks addicted to Linux will find their account (a shell is also installed by default among applications). For, indeed, not found on maemo.org a quarantine application installed which are also partly overlapped with those of maemo.nokia.com site.
Firefox Mobile already on the N900
Interesting nonetheless: it is found that the N900, to emphasize it for early adopters, is one of the few machines on which you can use Firefox Mobile (Fennec former) beta 5 which has just arrived. Even if this was not the purpose of this test, we could not resist the temptation to try it.
The interface is smart with hidden flaps on each side of the browser window to access the tabs on the one hand, to other settings. Firefox Mobile will be able to synchronize bookmarks between PCs and mobile and accept as his eldest extensions to download. However we were disappointed with side responsiveness, zoom and scroll of the page.
- A web browser like no other: The powerful Maemo Browser has a fast Mozilla engine and gives you full access to rich interactive content – just like a browser on your home computer.
- Multitasking made easy: Tap the dashboard to follow everything at once. Keep track of missed calls or new emails, and switch instantly between open apps and ongoing conversations.
- Personalize multiple desktops: Decide how you want your desktops to look. Add the calendar, map, and media player widgets, and choose your favourite application, contact, and website shortcuts.
- Add context with geotags: Know exactly where your pictures were taken with automatic geotagging. Maemo turns GPS tags into familiar, user-friendly names.
- Connect to all your friends: See the availability of your Ovi, Gtalk, Skype, and other IM contacts and choose the best way to get in touch – all from the same view.
- 3.5 inch touch-sensitive widescreen display
- 800 × 480 pixel resolution
- 3.5mm AV connector
- TV out (PAL/NTSC) with Nokia Video Connectivity Cable
- Micro-USB connector, High-Speed USB 2.0
- Bluetooth v2.1 including support for stereo headsets
- Integrated FM transmitter
- Integrated GPS with A-GPS
Battery: BL-5J 1320mAh
Processor and 3D accelerator: TI OMAP 3430: ARM Cortex-A8 600 MHz, PowerVR SGX with OpenGL ES 2.0 support
Memory: Up to 1GB of application memory (256 MB RAM, 768 MB virtual memory)
Size and weight:
- Volume: Approx 113cc
- Dimensions: 110.9 × 59.8 × 18 (19.55 at thickest part) mm
- Weight: Approx 181g
- 32 GB internal storage
- Store up to 7000 MP3 songs or 40 hours of high-quality video
- Up to 16 GB of additional storage with an external microSD card
Keys and input method:
- Full QWERTY tactile keyboard
- Full QWERTY onscreen keyboard
- Quad-band GSM EDGE 850/900/1800/1900
- WCDMA 900/1700/2100 MHz
Data network: GPRS class A, multislot class 32, maximum speed 107/64.2 kbps (DL/UL) EDGE class A, multislot class 32, maximum speed 296/177.6 kbps (DL/UL) WCDMA 900/1700/2100. Maximum speed PS 384/384 kbps (DL/UL) HSPA 900/1700/2100. Maximum speed PS 10/2 Mbps (DL/UL) WLAN IEEE 802.11b/g
- Integrated hands-free stereo speakers
- Call waiting, call hold, call divert
- Call timer
- Logging of dialed, received and missed calls
- Speed dialing via contact widget
- Vibrating alert (internal)
- Side volume keys
- Contacts with images
- Conference calling with up to 3 participants
- Internet calling
Email & Messaging:
- Supported protocols: Mail for Exchange, IMAP, POP3, SMTP
- Support for email attachments
- Support for rich HTML
- SMS and Instant Messages as conversations
- Support for Nokia Messaging service
- Instant messaging and presence enhanced contacts
- Multiple number, email and Instant Messaging details per contact, contacts with images
- Support for assigning images to contacts
- Maemo browser powered by Mozilla technology
- Adobe Flash 9.4 support
- Full screen browsing
- Integrated GPS, Assisted-GPS, and Cell-based receivers
- Pre-loaded Ovi Maps application
- Automatic geotagging
- 5 megapixel camera (2584 × 1938 pixels)
- Image formats: JPEG
- CMOS sensor, Carl Zeiss optics, Tessar lens
- 3 × digital zoom
- Autofocus with assist light and two-stage capture key
- Dual LED flash
- Full-screen viewfinder
- Photo editor on device
- TV out (PAL/NTSC) with Nokia Video Connectivity Cable (CA-75U, included in box) or WLAN/UPnP
- Landscape (horizontal) orientation
- Capture modes: Automatic, portrait, video, macro, landscape, action
- Wide aspect ratio 16:9 (WVGA)
- Video recording file format: .mp4; codec: MPEG-4
- Video recording at up to 848 × 480 pixels (WVGA) and up to 25fps
- Video playback file formats: .mp4, .avi, .wmv, .3gp; codecs: H.264, MPEG-4, Xvid, WMV, H.263
Music and audio playback:
- Maemo media player
- Music playback file formats: .wav, .mp3, .AAC, .eAAC, .wma, .m4a
- Built-in FM transmitter
- Ring tones: .wav, .mp3, .AAC, .eAAC, .wma, .m4a
- FR, EFR, WCDMA, and GSM AMR
- Background pictures
- Widgets on your desktops
- Intelligent contact shortcuts
- Shortcuts to your favourite websites
- Shortcuts to applications
Operating system: Maemo 5 software on Linux
- Maemo Browser
- Media player
- Ovi Maps
- PDF reader
- File manager
- RSS reader
- Application manager for downloads
This device, regardless of the category in which we range, can not be the Christmas gift at all. For Linux enthusiasts, although no specific talent is required to use it, it does not compare itself with a good smartphone with good menus and licked congestion reasonable.
We therefore consider it as a curiosity, a product escaped from a laboratory Nokia, for mature audiences only which is not at all certain that embodies the future presence of Nokia smartphones.