Nokia N900 review: A new hope

26 November 2009
It’s crystal clear by now that the Nokia N900 has almost nothing to do with the traditional Nseries values. The full QWERTY side-slider may look similar to its double-digit mates but the Maemo experience is completely different...

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  • CHRISTIAN

theres something wrong with my n900 it say's that ther is an internal error i cant use it please help

  • keflex

SAV, 06 Jan 2011Guys, Have used n900 for over 7 months now - have even flas... more1. It does NOT support video calls on 3G (not to be confused with
Skype video calls over 3G or WiFi)

Many users have been able to do this, myself included. If you have not, this is presumably an issue with QoS from your carrier.

2. using it in portrait form is an issue (most applications don't support that)

Yes, but it's been that way since release. Maemo has always been landscape-oriented and if you did not want this, then you made an ill-advised purchase and are simply angry at yourself for it.

3. no handwriting recognition

Yes there is. http://blog.atnnn.com/p/handwriting-recognition-with-cellwriter-on-the-n900/

4. no voice commands

Can't really argue with this one but again, see my 2nd point.

5. NOT compatible even with basic Nokia (Ovi) services (like Ovi Maps with voice recognition - there is a very basic web based Ovi map support which sucks)

Sygic released voice navigation, and it is also available via Modrana. Nokia may not have provided 100& Ovi support, however many of the gaps in existence have been filled far more ably by the community regardless.

6. highly unreliable and VERY LIMITED (no more than 5-600) applications available

"Highly unreliable" is subjective, as is "very limited". Personally, I have not found myself wishing for any one particular feature my N900 lacks, and have found many that I did not expect/have welcomed. Do not assume your own dissatisfaction rings true universally.

7. Pathetic commitment from Nokia - I think some Avasthy has also uploaded some quote from Nokia on this thread to prove that

Pathetic is a bit of an overstatement, but it is vaguely accurate. Regardless, see the above comment re: the Maemo community.

8. Battery sucks - very bad

Depends on how much work you put into optimising your user experience; I'm assuming you haven't put much in.

9. Nokia centers can't provide proper support - they are bad guys....not trained at all....

I have never needed to call them myself, talk.maemo.org has provided any help I've needed and more.

10. Most seriously, it was the first, last and ONLY device on maemo platform so very soon, n900 users will be left on their luck....

Actually, there have been several Internet Tablets before the N900 and there will be several phones running on MeeGo in the future. Nice try though.

Okay, so you weren't happy with the N900. That's cool, it's definitely not for everyone; it rewards users who are willing to put a decent time investment into getting their unit working just right. But that doesn't justify dismissing the phone within all contexts. The N900 does some things that many phones would kill to do (Sixaxis support, Queen Beecon widgets, IM/Skype integration, etc.). Similarly, it has some shortcomings; the same could be said of Android. Just because these shortcomings matter less to you than those of Maemo does not make one platform better than the other, it makes the two different. I'd hope you could see the distinction to myself, but I get the funny feeling you're too short-sighted to understand.

  • Anonymous

SAV, 06 Jan 2011Guys, Have used n900 for over 7 months now - have even flas... moreN900 rules all my friend! If it wasn't what u were looking for, maybe u shouldve done your research. People please ignore this guy he knows not what he speaks. The N900 won the Smartphone World Championship. Nuff said....the people have spoken sir!

  • SAV

Guys, Have used n900 for over 7 months now - have even flashed the firmware (now I am on PR1.3)...can say with great conviction that anyone who says that n900 is either a Nokia PR agent OR doesn't know what he's saying!!! I am a qualified electronics engineer and a gadget freak - can say that this device sucks. The negatives first - even after 18-20 months of release, till Jan:
1. It does NOT support video calls on 3G (not to be confused with
Skype video calls over 3G or WiFi),
2. using it in portrait form is an issue (most applications don't support that),
3. no handwriting recognition,
4. no voice commands,
5. NOT compatible even with basic Nokia (Ovi) services (like Ovi Maps with voice recognition - there is a very basic web based Ovi map support which sucks),
6. highly unreliable and VERY LIMITED (no more than 5-600) applications available,
7. Pathetic commitment from Nokia - I think some Avasthy has also uploaded some quote from Nokia on this thread to prove that;
8. Battery sucks - very bad;
9. Nokia centers can't provide proper support - they are bad guys....not trained at all....
10. Most seriously, it was the first, last and ONLY device on maemo platform so very soon, n900 users will be left on their luck....

All of us know that other Nokia devices like c7, n97 etc are on the super-flop Symbian platform...Guys use Android device to believe it - have junked my n900 in favor of Android and am really happy with it for last 27 days....

Nokia PR guys - please rather than focusing energy on activities like online image management, ask Nokia to focus on device management and on listening to consumers first....

  • kojack

gazmatic, 05 Sep 2010Listen. No seriously stop and read. I will try not to insul... morebro i wnt to know about nokia n900?it's good to buy or not? how about the Maemo os from u'r experience?

  • deva

when the nokia is releaseing the next software update to the n 900

  • Cozmo

i totally agree with you gazmatic! i have got the device out of the box...at frist i thought what is this!
but now i can hardly leave it once i turn it on!
in fact i dont leave it until it dies on my hand..put it back on charger..waiting for it to come back to life again to turn it on and so on!which is the only down side to it!
so if you guys want a pure cell phone you are at the wroung page..move on! if you wana get your brain work a bit harder and looking for A PC (S) SIZE THEN THATS WHAT YOU NEED N900!

  • Comrade Spear

After 3 months of using this phone I seriously tried to love this phone and I really wanted to maintain my faith in Nokia but can't help but conclude that this phone was a half baked attempt to keep up with the smartphones race. Nokia introduced marketing spin to define the N900 as a tablet... there's an app to make this phone a pure tablet and that's what I'll be using it for. My full review can be read here:

http://ontargetreviews.blogspot.com/2010/10/nokia-n900-review-after-3-months-of.html

I also have some tips on my blog to get more productivity out of the n900

  • azuan

help me'i want full softwere N900..PLEASE

  • gazmatic

I meant the iPhone4. An expensive TOY

  • gazmatic

Listen. No seriously stop and read. I will try not to insult anybody. This phone is not to be compared with other phones because technically it is not a phone. It is a MOBILE COMPUTER WITH PHONE CAPABILITIES and it is definitely NOT for the "average" phone user. Comparing a phone to a computer is not fair on any terms and frankly, this SUPER POWERFUL DEVICE out competes all PHONES on the market right now. This phone is a POWERHOUSE and a GEEK MACHINE. It does literally anything computer-wise that you would want it to do. I have personally installed, on separate occasions, Windows NT, 95, XP and Mac Os on my "phone". Why? because I freaking can!!! I have owned the iPhone(my very first iPhone), HTC Desire and the Samsung galaxy. Honestly, the iPhone was alright. It did what it was supposed to do but didn't impress too much. It is like a toy and for people who know nothing about technology and couldn't car less what a device can or cannot do. I gave it to my 10 year old sister.The desire is a very nice, very very nice PHONE comparable to the galaxy. Now, when i first got my hands on the n900 it didn't impress compared... but then... I fell in love with it. After much experiments... A LOT OF EXPERIMENTS. I found out that the n900 was waaay better the the others. whatever it doesn't have straight out of the box there are people who can help you. Literally ANYTHING. You just have to do A LOT of searching. but... once in your hands your ONLY complaint would be the battery life. There are ways to help that but.... YOU WILL NOT WANT TO PUT IT DOWN....AFTER you HAVE UNLOCKED its POTENTIAL. Novices and "normal phone users will not be impressed because they would realize that they actually have to use a percentage of their brain now and again... Who wants to do that? If your not knowledgeable of Linux... Learn. Its easy and it helps.

Hardware: The phone is very robust and survives a lot of mistreatment.I have forgotten it in the freezer once and it still forges along. The keyboard grows on you and the back cover is firmly on.

Software: The PR1.2 firmware is out. Learn how to flash and get it done. You will not regret but follow the guidelines carefully! You can flash it to more than 600MHz. I recommend nothing above 900MHz.

Media: no converting videos and it plays basically all file types. However it does index EVERY media file into your library so that may be annoying but not a big issue.

Camera: Beautiful. Breathtaking for something that is NOT a professional camera.

Audio: I love my phone to disturb the place but this doesn't do that but the sound is loud enough and very crisp and clear.

Connectivity: I have basically...every social "whatever I need on the phone. Msn, yahoo, Facebook, Skype, you name it. Full internet browsing. I have actually forgotten my laptop at times.

In short. If you want a phone that does what it is supposed to do. Don't get an iPhone. Iphones are for posers, girls, gays and electronic idiots. Get a nice Htc desire or a wimpy Samsung wave or the very nice Galaxy. However, If you want a device that could BLOW YOUR MIND!!! The obvious choice is the n900. IT DOES basically EVERYTHING.

P.S. if I have offended anyone, I am sorry that is just my opinion I should be entitled to it, as you are to yours if you choose not to agree with what I say.

  • mugen

im a nokia user since they launch the 5110 till now, im a nokia loyal user hehe. I almost used every new model they launch and now im using the e90, e52, e72, n97 and the n900. there's no n8 available here in the philippines.. i can say that the n900 is the best looking Nseries nokia has ever launch (for a man's point of view) n97 or x6 for woman ;). I think the n900 is great solid looking and smarter looking than the n8 (the n8 is like the iphone), but the lack of software upgrades and availability of application softwares is the negative side of the n900. also, you cant use it in portrait view like the standard nokia phones and respectively the Iphone.. You can only use it in landscape mode when texting, viewing pictures, etc... portrait view can be done only when dialing a call. I heard Nokia is still currently developing software updates for the n900 to maximize its hardwares capabilities. If somebody knows where to update or download clean softwares and applications addons (for free) for this n900, replies and comments will be much appreciated :).. it will be a much great help for n900 nokia fanatic like me and other users if somebody could help :) thanks in advance and good day! =)

  • Anonymous

@ V Shekhar Avasthy-Thanks Shekhar for sharing your insights & first-hand experience with the N900... Your review has certainly helped many end-users like me, who may be considering buying the N900, make an informed decision.

  • amanda

im usin n900 bt i cant go to facebook anylonger n all de applicatin downloads have bein deleted many function dnt work.how can i resolve dis issue

  • Shibu

the N900 battery sucks - is there a more powerful replacement available? nokia care guys seem to know nothing about this phone....also, need help if anyone knows how to use Ovi Music, Voice navigation, on this? Nokia messaging is continuously misbehaving though have reinstalled it many times......Any clues?
It was a really bad decision to buy this piece....wish Nokia were serious about this otherwise OK hardware....

  • S HUSSAIN

I GOT A N900,but after one week i exchange and got samsung wave ,n900 not for that price

  • Anonymous

i use this phone and it is great once you get a hang of it. specially i love texting and this one is great coz you can see the sent and inbox in one .. its like chatting online but not.:) but i have a problem in the USBport although the phone is hardcore ,the USBport is not as tough mine got off and now i have to recharge my battery using the phone of my sister,,,

  • V Shekhar Avasthy

Despite some exceptional reviews written across domains, n900 is a pathetic machine from user’s perspective. Technically, it's very good in terms of a fast processor, 32GB RAM etc, but realistically, because it uses MAEMO Operating System (All other Nokia phones are on Nokia owned Symbian Operating System), and due to the fact that everything on this device is run by software, issue is that for most things software are NOT available from a trusted resource!
Consider this:
1. You CANNOT use "Push eMail" service on n900 (can use it for any other Nokia device and configure up to 10 accounts for free);
2. You CANNOT use Voice navigation system (voice guidance for turn-by-turn navigation across the globe) - though a limited version of OVI maps can be used – the software available for this from other resources are just not worth – I tried 3 of them;
3. Though FM radio is a built in feature, you will have to struggle to download a software from an untrustworthy source - then you realise that the radio "hangs" every 10-15 minutes requiring you to reboot the device;
4. Theoretically there are many applications (over 300) available at Maemo.org and maemo.Nokia.com but nearly all are not tested ones, so you are prone to hacking etc of your device;
5. Skype plug-in is available for most Nokia devices (meaning that you can make Internet calls using WiFi or 3g), but though Skype's website claims that n900 has Skype integrated in it, you will find that firmware version 10.2010.19-1.004 with which this device sells in India does NOT has it - call Nokia Customer care at 30303838 in your city in India and you will find that they will confirm that there is a "SMALL' bug so you will have to wait till next update – mind you, India is the second most important and biggest market for Nokia;
6. Finally (not the least of course), here is an extract from nokia-asia . com (http://www.nokia-asia.com/support/product-support/nokia-n900/faq#08) reproduced as such:
"Why does the N900 not offer Navigation?
Unfortunately, the current version of Maemo, the software that powers the N900, does not support navigation. With Maemo 5 we prioritized development of those areas that we felt would be the most important for the target audience of this device. This means that Maemo does not yet feature support for the full range of services that our other Symbian-powered Nseries devices might have. However, naturally, we’ll be working to increase support for all Nokia services, including navigation, as we go forward with Maemo."
----Straight from Horse's mouth, it clearly means that there is a long road ahead for users of n900 and till then, users will be treated as step kids!
To sum up, this device is like Linux Operating System (incidentally this is supported by Linux based Maemo OS) - while all of us know that other dominant Operating System is pathetic to use and Linux is great, still we continue to use the other one simply because there is no support for Linux! Simply because this device is almost completely software governed and Nokia does NOT appear serious about developing stuff for this, the potential of this device is just NOT realised and it's nothing but a piece of junk - it's like a cute body WITHOUT a soul!
I have decided to discard this device and I seriously repent going for this....
This is so complex to use that Nokia India is organising calls to customers (I got one within 12 hours of buying the device from a Noida number 0120-4667100) to organise a doorstep demo. However, no one ever turned up for that ever!
Also, Nokia Care centres are completely ill-trained to handle this device and so are the Nokia Customer Care professionals available on email or call at 30303838.
GUYS: spend money on anything else but NOT on this piece of junk....this is Nokia's step-child and they are really mistreating this otherwise high-potential device...
Shekhar
+91-9810228402

  • eric owuu agyemang

the nokia n900 is a very nice phone but to recharge credit on the phone is disastrouse so plse help me know cos its killing me slowly.u can mail me to poundsfather2000@yahoo.com

  • hehe

jenny, 08 May 2010i use n900,but i can't use the video call! anybody know how... morefirmware PR1.2 is out now, and supports video calls