Nokia N900 in the house, fire away and I’ll post answers to your most pressing questions
Just late last week I was offered the chance to try out a Nokia N900 from now until January and I quickly said yes to the Nokia representative. I was quite surprised when the N900 was sitting at home waiting for me yesterday afternoon when I arrived home after work since I was expecting it later in the week. I have spent several hours with the device and will give you some of my first thoughts to go along with my image gallery below, but I won’t yet give it a full review rating or anything since we are currently evaluating a firmware that is not the final shipping version you will see when you buy the device. I also plan to post quite a bit about this device so stay tuned for lots of N900 posts. I am sure T-Mobile customers will appreciate these posts even more than AT&T customers since the Nokia N900 supports T-Mobile’s 3.5G data network on the 1700 MHz frequency. OK, let’s dive in and take an initial look at the N900.
Out of the box first impressions
The box is just about exactly the same as the slick Nokia N97 packaging with the small black design and embedded/stamped impression of the device and keyboard on the front top flap. After opening it up I found the Nokia N900 sitting there without the battery in place. I picked it up and was VERY surprised by how light it was in my hand. I have only seen photos before, but given its thickness I really expected it to have more heft than it did. Even after putting the battery in the device I still have the feeling that there is a bit too much empty space in the package and it doesn’t feel super dense and solid like my N97, the Sprint HTC Hero, or iPhone 3GS. It is MUCH smaller than the Nokia N810 Internet Tablet so I had to remind myself that this is also an Internet Tablet and not necessarily a Nseries smartphone. I like the matte finish to the sides and back, but the black glossy display is quite the fingerprint magnet. The QWERTY keyboard is a bit tighter than I thought it would be, but each key is large enough for me to type pretty accurately. The display looks quite nice and even though it is resistive it performs almost like a capacitive display with fluid motions too.
The Nokia N900 may have some of the best specs currently available for a mobile phone so let’s check them out below:
- Quad-band GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz)
- WCDMA 900/1700/2100 3.5G support
- 256 MB RAM, 768 MB virtual memory
- TI OMAP 3430 ARM Cortex-A8 600 MHz processor and 3D accelerator
- Maemo 5 operating system
- Integrated 32GB internal storage
- MicroSD card slot
- 3.5 inch (800×480 pixels) display with support for up to 16.7 million colors
- BP-5J 1320 mAh Li-Ion battery
- Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR
- Integrated GPS receiver
- 3.5mm headset jack
- MicroUSB port for syncing and charging
- 5 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics
- Integrated FM transmitter
- Dimensions: 4.33 x 2.35 x 0.71 inches and 6.38 ounces
The Nokia N900 has just about everything you could want when you look at the specs, especially with that fast 600 MHz processor and 3D accelerator.
What’s in the box?
As I mentioned in my out-of-the box take, the N900 comes in that same great black compact box as the Nokia N97. You will find the following in the retail 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
This is the first time I have seen the charger adapter, but think it is pretty cool since it allows you to use one of those standard Nokia chargers and connect via the microUSB port to charge up the Nokia N900. I have more standard Nokia chargers than I do microUSB chargers so this can be helpful.
Walk around the hardware
The N900 is really not a sexy sleek device and has a feel of geekiness to it since it is a bit chunkier than some newer devices. There is nothing on the front but the large display and handset speaker. The device operates primarily in landscape mode and the only time I have seen it go into portrait mode is during phone calls.
A microUSB port, lanyard opening, and one of the stereo speakers is found along the top (left in landscape) side. The hold switch, stylus and silo, 3.5mm headset jack, and other stereo speaker are found on the bottom (right side in landscape). The stylus is all black plastic and may have been better with a bit of metal. Then again, you shouldn’t really have to use the stylus so this may be a moot point.
There are a few things along the right (top in landscape) side, including the volume rocker, power button, camera activation button, and infrared port (I think that is what this is).
There is really nothing on the left (bottom in landscape) side since the stylus is mainly along the bottom and wraps just a bit around the left side.
A 5 megapixel camera with dual LED and Carl Zeiss optics is found on the back with a sliding lens cover in place. A kickstand is mounted around the camera lens so you can prop up the device and watch video content.
The last piece of hardware is the QWERTY keyboard that slides out from the left (bottom) side. It is a three row keyboard that has decent sized buttons and spacing. Each key gives pretty good feedback and there are directional arrows over on the bottom right. It doesn’t seem to be a bad keyboard and it seems to have a better feel than the N97, but it can’t touch the excellent keyboard of the T-Mobile HTC Touch Pro2.
Quick thoughts on the software
I won’t comment too much on the software because we were told that this is still an early version on these devices. The software will be updated prior to shipping and release so I will go into more details then.
It did take me a bit of getting used to the way things work on the N900 since there are customizable homescreens with support for widgets, shortcuts, bookmarks, and contacts. Everything I did on the N900 so far has been extremely fluid and the resistive display has been easy to use as well. There are a few apps loaded on the device including the following:
* Maemo Browser
* Media player
* Ovi Maps
* PDF reader
* Documents To Go Office viewers
* File manager
* RSS reader
* Application manager for downloads
I am seeing a whole lot of S60 functionality in this Maemo build, making it much more functional than I have seen previously on the N810. Mail for Exchange is included so I was able to quickly and easily get setup with my Exchange server and get my email, contacts, calendar, and tasks loaded onto the N900. FYI, you won’t find this in the Email setup, but you have to go to the Settings>Mail for Exchange utility to get things going.
I was EXTREMELY pleased to see a threaded text messaging client in the Conversations utility that was loaded on the N900. It is about time Nokia!
I also discovered a few available apps in the repositories, including Qik, Evernote (limited to photo uploads), and Bounce. You can find some other repositories if you look around and I have a FM radio and Mauku loaded on the N900 at this time. You can use the Evernote mobile website to use the rest of the Evernote features. The Facebook homescreen widget is pretty slick, but you still have to go to the website to perform most actions. That said, the web browser so far has been outstanding and I haven’t found any limitations with it yet.
The Ovi Store for the N900 is not yet active so 3rd party apps are limited at the moment.
I also am liking the notifications status area that lets you get quick access to your profiles, wireless connection manager, and more.
BTW, I tried loading up videos from the Amazon Video on Demand store and they do not work on the N900 at this time. They do work well on the Nokia 5800 and N97 though.
Final first impressions
So far the T-Mobile 3G signal seems to be outstanding, the device feels pretty solid, the display looks great, the device is very snappy, and the HTML email looks fantastic on the large display. I am very happy to have my Exchange account syncing with an Internet Tablet and think this thing could replace a netback for getting lots of work done on the go.
Please post any questions you have for me on the Nokia N900 and stay tuned for several more posts as I put the device through lots of tests and trials over the next couple of months.