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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Nokia N9 review

The Nokia N9 is the most interesting phone that came out of the Finnish company in years. Not only because it comes with totally different OS but also because it represents what Nokia could have become if it had done this strategy way earlier.

The Nokia N9‘s design did not come as a surprise. Coming from the N-series line-up, the N9 looks pretty similar to the Nokia N8 — only a bit refined and uses a polycarbonate body instead of a sturdier aluminum.

While a unibody polycarbonate (read: plastic) casing isn’t as solid and durable as an aluminum one, like in the N8, it gets the benefit of a lighter form-factor and smooth, matte finish. Nevertheless, the construction of the N9 still feels pretty good that you would not mind the polycarbonate body.

The micro-USB port is hidden on the top by a small enclosure that pops up with a slight press on one side. The micro-SIM card slot is beside it with a cradle that pulls out after sliding the cover towards the left (you will need to open the USB compartment before you can do this). The 3.5mm audio port is posted on the other end.

The volume control is placed on the right side along with the power/lock/wake button. Aside from that, there are no other ports or buttons on the device.

The front-facing camera is oddly positioned on the lower right side of the front panel, a placement that indicates you’ll use the camera for video calls in portrait position and holding it with your left hand.

The back side is flat and smooth with the 8MP camera right in the middle and surrounded with a metallic strip. The camera flash is beside it but a bit flushed to the left side.

The display at the front is made of hard, solid glass which is slightly embossed or protrudes off of the body (curved edge). This was purposely done by Nokia since it is integral to the navigation of the UI (we’ll come back to that later).

The display screen is gorgeous, deep contrast with clean and crisp graphics. AMOLED and Nokia’s own CBD (Clear Black Display) worked their wonders on the N9.

This is the first time we’ve tried and seen Meego running on a phone. In the Nokia N9, it’s Meego 1.2 Harmattan. It’s got a pretty slick and simple UI. It feels like a combination of the BlackBerry Playbook OS, Android Honeycomb and Apple’s iOS.

You get three panels — the Feed Stream, App Drawer or Launcher and the Running Apps Deck. You scroll thru the panels/windows by swiping left or right.

There’s no physical buttons on the screen and all the navigation you need is via gestures from the edges of the glass display (the curved edges of the glass helps in providing some tactile feedback).

All opened apps are displayed on the Running Apps panel and you can individually close each app by pressing down on a window and tapping on the close (x) icon. There’s a “Close All" button at the bottom if you want to flush all the running apps.

Some of the more common gesture commands include:

* Swipe up to return to home screen (app Drawer).
* Swipe down to close app.
* Double-tap screen to turn on display (instead of the lock button).
* Swipe left or right to switch screen/window.
* Tap top middle of display to show status and notifications.
* Half-swipe upwards to show most commonly used apps/functions.

Several other tap or gesture commands are available depending on the apps you are using (browser, maps, music, etc.).

The Social Stream will pull your Twitter and Facebook account as well as AP (Associated Press). Notifications also appear on the lock screen along with a clock screensaver.

Performance of the Nokia N9 is pretty impressive. The UI looks fresh and responsive, the screen reacts to gesture smoothly and fluidly and apps run fairly quick.

Even after launching over half a dozen apps, you will not notice any lag. It’s when you hit over 12 running apps that responsiveness tend to degrade a little bit. For the two weeks that I’ve been using it, I never encountered that freezing moment that we’d normally experience with all Android handsets. As I said in my previous entry, the N9 has the energy of a WP7 phone, the flair of an iPhone and the genes of an Android handset.

Most apps in the background aren’t actually running but are put in a Suspended State — camera goes on standby mode and games are paused (i.e. a thrown Angry Bird freezes in mid-air if you fire it and switched apps). Apparently, the built-in browser still load pages even at the background as well as music playback.

The native browser is pretty basic and does not support Flash or Javascript. The default page looks pretty neat though — shows up all the recent sites and most visited pages in a tag cloud of sorts.

We have to give props to Nokia for really optimizing Meego to run on the N9′s hardware specs even if it’s somewhat dated (same chip as the Galaxy SL and Optimus Black).

Nokia N9 specs:
3.9″ AMOLED screen @ 854×480 pixels
ARM Cortex-A8 OMAP3630 1.0 GHz
PowerVR SGX530
1024MB RAM
16GB and 64GB internal storage
Bluetooth 2.1
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
3G/HSDPA 14.4Mbps
Near Field Communication (NFC)
8MP autofocus camera with Carl Zeiss optics (f/2.2 aperture)
720p HD video recording @ 30fps with stereo sound
2 x LED flash
2nd front-facing camera for video calls
1450mAh battery
Meego 1.2 Harmattan

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1 komentar:

Nokia N9 has launched with new features. It has 8 Mega Pixel Camera with HD-quality video caputure with with 3.9 inch Amoled screen. It is a pure touch smartphone which has no home button or keypad in front. Nokia N9 is supporting Meego operating system. This phone is looking superb.

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