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Nokia N900 review

Barry de la Rosa
2 Mar 2010
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

Page 2 of 2Nokia N900 review

Perfect for Linux developers with deep pockets, but despite great performance and an intuitive OS, it's not suitable for consumers who want a wide selection of apps and easy updates.



Maemo, 3.5in 800x480 display

Within an app, or on the home screen, there's a small notification area at the top of the screen, where you can view the time, and icons for battery, wireless and signal as well as your current status. Tapping this area brings up a small screen where you can quickly change volume, set alarms, sync with an Exchange server, set up a connection, or change your status or profile - a very useful tool.

Apps are a weakness: developers are more keen to write apps for flashy new operating systems such as Android and iPhone OS, and although they might get excited about MeeGo, Maemo seems destined become a curiosity. Nokia says that Maemo apps will run on MeeGo phones, but remains silent regarding MeeGo apps on the N900.

While Nokia has done a lot with its Ovi Store, it still can't compete with Apple or Google's app stores, not only on quantity but on quality. Of the top ten "Recommended" apps, three are games, one is a movie video trailer and one is an app that displays a candle on the screen.

There aren't any of the clever, innovative web service-based apps that you'd find on an iPhone or Android device. While there's support for Exchange, the N900 only ships with a trial viewer for Office documents and a PDF viewer, and no editors are currently available. Ovi Maps is arguably as good as Google maps, but doesn't offer turn-by-turn navigation.

It's best to think of the N900 in much the same way as Nokia's Communicator line of large smartphones, as more of a mobile computer than a phone. Indeed, it actually feels more like a laptop, especially as you predominantly use it in landscape mode - the one notable exception is in fact when you open the dialler to make a call (you actually have to tap an icon to open the dialler, as there aren't any buttons on the fascia).

The problem with being such a powerful device is twofold: the most obvious problem is the price, which will put off most users. Secondly, despite Maemo's touch-friendly interface and intuitive controls, MeeGo's shadow hangs over it.

Nokia won't make a definitive statement regarding the N900 and MeeGo. "With the MeeGo partnership announced only recently and the Nokia N900 released in December, it is too early to confirm compatibility between the two at this stage," was the firm's response when we enquired. The obvious conclusion from that statement is that the N900 won't get an upgrade. Power users may be able to manually install MeeGo when it's released, but the average customer isn't going to get over-the-air updates

We must admit we loved the N900, but at this price it's beyond most consumers, and its future is uncertain. While powerful, it doesn't have the app support or upgrade potential of other phones - unless you're willing, and able, to handle manual installation in a Linux environment.

If you love Nokias then why not check out all of the latest deals on the Noka N900, Nokia N8 and many, many more at




Main display size3.5in
Native resolution800x480
Second DisplayNo
CCD effective megapixels5-megapixel
FlashDual LED
Video recording formatMP4
ConnectivityBluetooth, USB, WiFi
Internal memory32768MB
Memory card supportmicroSDHC
Memory card included0MB
Operating frequenciesGSM 850/900/1800/1900, 3G 900/1700/2100
Wireless dataEDGE, WCDMA, HSPA


Operating systemMaemo
Microsoft Office compatibilityWord/Excel/PowerPoint/PDF viewers
Email clientPOP3/IMAP/Exchange
Audio format supportMP3, WMA, AAC, M4A, WAV
Video playback formatsMPEG4, H.263, H.264, WMV, Xvid
FM Radiono
Web BrowserMaemo Browser (Mozilla)
Accessoriesheadset, USB data cable, mains adapter, video output cable, USB power adaptor
Talk time4.3 hours
Standby time10.4 days
Tested battery life (MP3 playback)15h 34m

Buying Information

SIM-free price£440
Price on contract£35-per-month, 18-month contract

Page 2 of 2Nokia N900 review

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