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Review of the Nokia N9

A while back, the generous people from Impact BBDO and Nokia sent me a Nokia N9 phone. It was exciting because it was my first non-Symbian phone and I was looking forward to trying something new.

It is perhaps one of the most beautifully designed phones that I've ever seen. Nokia have outdone themselves with product development this time. The finishing is perfect, especially the way the screen is embedded as part of the device making it unified and beautiful. The curving on the edges also make it sleek and stylish.

In addition to that, the minimalistic design adds to its beauty and makes it very simple to use. The device has only three buttons (two for volume control and a lock-screen button). It fits very comfortably in a person's palm and doesn't feel as big as it is mainly due to the curves on the sides.

I will not be covering the all the phone specifications in detail, but if you are interested in the full specifications, check out this link.

Below, I will explain the pros & cons of using the device for my personal needs and this might vary according to different users.

Aside from the design, there are many things that I loved about the Nokia N9:

  • The scratch resistant Gorilla glass display with anti-glare polarizer. Very few phones can be used in direct sunlight and this is a huge plus for me since I'm always on the move. In addition to that, my phone usually ends up stacked in my pocket with my keys, pens, and coins. Any other phone would have been scratched easily but I loved that the screen is scratch resistant and I didn't have to worry about what the screen is touching all the time.
  • The 8 megapixel auto-focus camera with dual LED flash, 720p@27fps video recording and fast f/2.2 lens. The photos that I took with the N9 were by far the best that I've taken (or seen) from any mobile phone. In addition to that, it is probably the fastest lens I've seen used and takes the photo almost instantly without delays.
  • 1GHz Cortex A8 CPU, PowerVR SGX530 GPU, TI OMAP 3630 chipset, 1GB of RAM. I'm probably not used to having this much RAM on a phone before, but the ability to navigate between different applications, make calls, take photos and use applications is very smooth and was never laggy.
  • The Audio Quality was excellent. I usually rely on my phone as my main source for music and I usually have music on whenever I'm working, so this was a huge plus for me. 
  • I'm usually not a gamer (mainly because I don't have time) but I just loved how games run on the phone. The depth of the colors is just beautiful, the graphics are amazing and the phone sensors work perfectly to ensure hours of gaming. 
  • The three home screens and how twitter and facebook and directly integrated into all the applications of the phone. The notification and feed screen shows new messages, missed calls and feeds from facebook, twitter, RSS and news website. The second screen shows all the apps while the third is a task manager where you can see all open applications, easily switch between them and close ones that you're no longer using.
  • I usually hate touch screen keyboards as I am a big fan of physical phone keyboards, but the Nokia N9 keyboard works very smoothly and is easy to get used to, especially if you enable the SWYPE functionality which allows you to swipe your words rather than typing with key strokes. Eventually, you will be faster in typing than a physical keyboard.
  • I also loved that the phone came with its own protective cover that is customized to match the curved design of the phone. 
However, there are a few minor things that I did not like about the phone and for the sake of objectivity, they are explained below:
  • MeeGo is not a leading operating system, and even though it was very easy to learn and get used to, it  is missing many essential key features a phone should have. It reminded me of Symbian a lot because it wasn't very customizable. For example: I did not have the ability to create folders and group the applications accordingly. Moreover, I was unable to customize any of the home screens and that is a big disadvantage if comparing to the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy SII.
  • The phone comes with 16/64GB internal memory but there is no memory card (SD) slot to expand the memory or include removable storage on the device.
  • The device is basically one piece. Therefore, there are no removable parts (aside from the MicroSIM slot). This means that the battery is not replaceable and this is an important issue for me since phone batteries usually wear out quickly.
  • The Nokia Store for MeeGo is very limited and production of new apps is very slow since developers are not very interested in creating apps or translating their apps to a "dying" platform. Most of the basic applications are available (and pre-downloaded on the phone), but essential ones like WhatsApp and Viber are not supported. Since the introduction of 3G in Lebanon, free calling and messaging apps have become my main source of communication.
  • The earphones that come in the box are not the rubber ones that I prefer, especially that I have small ear lobes, so I had to buy earphones to use the music player comfortably. 
All in all, I have to say that using the N9 is a pleasant experience and it is a recommended phone especially if you love simplicity and great design. It is also a great buy if  you are a phone collector because it is one of the few phones that run MeeGo.

Kudos for Nokia on the great product development and impressive sleek design. If you are worried about the MeeGo system but loved the design, it is probably a good idea to check out the Nokia Lumia 800 which has similar design but runs Windows Phone 7.5 Mango instead.


  1. So meego is the limitiing factor?
    Why isnt their any Nokia and Android collaboration? :P

    btw I love Nokia ! They are my favorite phones and my first two phones were Nokia!
    I hope they get back on the track of the latest craze in the Mobile.
    I think they should also work more on their applications.

  2. Nokia has always been a solid phone manufacturer but lately they are failing to catch up to their competitor's pace.

    Partnering with MeeGo and then quickly abandoning it for Microsoft is probably a mistake because MeeGo has much more potential. It has been a series of bad decisions for Nokia and I hope that they can recover from it.

  3. MeeGo was an awesome platform, the only reason it is "dying" is because Nokia effectively killed it to get in bed with Microsoft. N9 vs Lumia 800? I'd go for the N9 any day.. And unlike iMazen, I hope they never recover, and I really hope the N9 (which Nokia effectively killed) sells better than the WP7 they are shoving down on us. Needless to say, I won't be buying a Nokia phone anytime soon. Would much rather get Android or even Bada.

  4. I agree with most things except that MeeGo is you closed. Okay, Symbian was more customisable in Settings, but the open source of MeeGo allows you to change literally anything. Folders is coming in the next update which should be commercially available for N9 this month.

    Putting aside differences in opinion, post is well written.

  5. Ill tell u honestly the nokia n9 has convinced me never to buy a nokia phone again its a worthless pile of crap


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