Nokia N90 review: The great mobile revolution

David Polesný, 31 July 2005.

Patience pays dividends

Laid on a table Nokia N90 effuses dignity. It has the form of a cuboid and looks very impressive thanks to its bigger parameters. No experiments have been done in terms of materials. Plastics have been used everywhere. There are two color shades in the game - a silver one and a dark grey, nearly black one. All plastic surfaces are matt, so fingerprints are not visible at all, except on the glossy frame around the outer display. This frame, featuring manufacturer's logo, makes the display look optically bigger. Both the display and its frame are mounted into a dark plastic plate, which is surrounded by silver plastics - as you can see, extravagance has been totally abandoned.

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No experiments in terms of materials, forms or colors - is it Nokia at all?

The same design dominates in the camera part. On its upper side is situated the switch on/off button of the device, next to which is the tiny slot of the loud speaker. The dark plastic surface continues on to the back side of the phone, where it creates the removable part of the back cover. The margins are silver. Although the cover is extremely thin it holds firmly on its place. Under it you will find a lithium-ion accumulator of 760 mAh, which is expected to guarantee durability of up to three hours of phone calls and 300 hours of a stand-by mode.

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The legend promises high quality pictures with the camera • switch off button and speaker slot

Next to the accumulator is situated the slot for the SIM card, which is possible to remove without having to ease off the accumulator. This feature appears intentional since the phone is able to work offline, with the phone part of the device not being functional. In this mode, the SIM card can be easily replaced without the necessity of switching off the phone - very convenient indeed, considering the fact that starting the phone takes almost an entire minute! Believe me that this minute may seem endless, if you need to work with the phone urgently. Once started, the phone reacts immediately, even if full of contact names and active applications in the background. Of course, the bigger the number of those applications, the slower the speed. The picture gallery is the other application that makes the phone "breathe heavily", especially when it is completely full.

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Back side • cover lock • view at what is hidden behind the back cover

For the moment, I am totally disappointed by the durability of this Nokia model. Understandably, during the preparation of the current review the phone was extremely loaded with various functions and processes. Very few mobiles survive more than two days with a single charging if used under similar circumstances. Unfortunately, Nokia N90 did not make it even for an entire day. Even though the battery state indicator kept showing no signs of instability, at a certain moment of the falling evening it suddenly displayed a low battery alert and a moment or so afterwards the phone turned off. Anyway, it is not the time for final evaluations yet. The phone is going to be tested in our office for several more days, so we will keep on checking its right durability characteristics.

Keypad made for male hands

The inside of the mobile is also dominated by plastics in the darker shade of the grey. The display, decorated with a thin glossy frame, is enchased in the upper area of the moving part of the phone. Above it is the receiver, placed between two buttons. Engraved below it is the famous logo of the manufacturer.

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The camera makes the phone stay in an inclined position when placed on a horizontal surface • two buttons mounted above the display

Most of the spacey bottom part of the display is occupied by the keypad. The manufacturer evidently had no reason to be thrifty on space as all keys are big enough even for the usually larger male fingers. Below the bottom key line and the bottom edge of the phone there is quite a notable distance, which prevents the thumb from crumbling, and helps it comfortably lie on the surface.

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Keypad is huge • as are also the keys themselves • at the bottom there is a gum strip, which guarantees soft bottoming of the phone's upper part

The main control element is the round navigation key with four active ways. Its centre is reserved for the confirming button, which is slightly elevated and therefore shows a little bit unsure reaction when pressed. Presses on each individual way are sure. All presses are confirmed by a muffle click. In order to look optically bigger and more impressive, the main control component is silver, whilst the confirm button is white.

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Main control button

The round navigation key is surrounded by functional buttons, which are already obligatory- two context keys - the red and green ones plus the enter menu key and the key serving the options of text entering and deleting. The functional part passes smoothly into the numeric part and thus complicates touch orientation a little bit.

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Keypad detail

The numeric part of the phone constitutes of huge keys, organized in a block. The touch orientation among the different keys is guaranteed by phone's bevelled edges and the lower bedding of the middle key column. Pressing is low and is accompanied by the already typical click that could have been a bit more muffle.

In my opinion, the plastic elaboration of the keys seems much too cheap in relation to the exclusivity and the price of this Nokia model. Another disturbing factor for me was the size of the keypad. On one hand, it supposes easier writing for users with bigger fingers. On the other hand, however, it tires the thumb if the writing process takes longer. The keypad background light is white, even and strong enough. It gets activated only in case of insufficient light conditions. The latter are checked and evaluated by a sensor, mounted under the display.

Click to zoom. Backlight is very good; it gets activated if necessary only

Let's look at it from aside

The side parts of the device are silver colored. The Pop-Port system connector has been given an unusual place, on the left side of the phone. It is accompanied by the thin jack for the charger. The very same jack was used in the 6101 clamshell. Unlike the current chargers, the connector of Nokia N90 is extremely thin. To charge the phone with an older charger, use the adapter, which is available in the delivery package.

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Phone's left side • system connector is secured by a cap... • ...that you will almost immediately lose • charger and adapter for older model types

The bottom part of the phone is even. The only element here is the tiny microphone slot together with the eyelet for interlacing a strip, placed at the edge of the mobile's bottom. The phone is delivered together with a nice leather strip. The right side is the most interesting. Here you will find a tiny door, which secures the memory card slot, as well as a five-way joystick, accompanied by a bulgy button, which starts the camera mode. The important role of this joystick gets visible in the camera mode, where it controls the menu. It is stable and easy to use.

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Phone's right side • the joystick, which controls the camera, is situated on the right side

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The door of the memory card slot is closed... • ...and open • eyelet for interlacing a strip • leather strip and cloth delivered together with the mobile

One of the sides of the camera part of the device is plain. On the other one there is a glass that secures the camera lens. It has a serrated silver frame. Next to it is the strong flash diode.

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Camera is equipped with a diode flash

Reader comments

  • nokia lover

this is not a bad phone at all.yes it's true:it is very big.but not at all you know, nokia managed to make big phones beautiful.sorry about the battery issues... at this point nokia does seem to be retarded.

  • andre

Yes it's true, it s a piece of art. it has an excellent design in my opinion unlike other phones! still, i think nokia n70 is better than n90. Nokia d best!


sorry my friend but this phone is only a piece of ART.