Engadget's Nokia N900 Review! Glorious browser – smacks everyone down in raw power and compatibility!

| January 19, 2010 | Reply

Engadget has often been mighty critical of Nokia. Sometimes undeservedly so, but most times unfortunately, their points against Nokia are indefensible. The main culprit for this negativity lies in S60. Whilst Symbian is a remarkably great mobile OS (still by far the most widely used platform), S60 is a now considered a cluttered and somewhat confusing, outdated UI, especially in terms of their touch series: S60 5th edition.

So how will Nokia’s experimental baby of Maemo and N900 fare under Engadget’s radar? Good news, it seems to be a very fair review. In other N900 reviews, N900 received some flack with hardware (being too big and having resistive >_<) and I expected Engadget to follow suit. They haven’t. Engadget have actually taken the time to get to know the N900 and

It’s great that Engadget sees what N900 fans have been cherishing.

Firstly let’s celebrate the positives. [You can read Engadget’s concerns towards the end of this post]:

  • Visually attractive in ways S60 is not
  • N900 has one of the most extensible, customizable home screens of any mobile device we’ve ever used
  • The system works well and does a great job of maximizing the handset’s available screen real estate.
  • Does a pretty good job with web notifications
  • Maemo 5 is pretty — Nokia’s prettiest platform ever, in fact, by a wide margin
  • . Out-of-focus screen elements are actually visually out of focus, which looks great
  • Engadget are are deathly happy with the inbuilt Skype function, dedicating an entire paragraph to it.
  • Crown jewel – Glorious browser
    • N900’s thoroughly freshened internals, it’s gone to an entirely new level
    • Almost without fail, sites were rendered faithfully, just as you’d expect them to look in Firefox on your desktop, with fully-functional, usable Flash embeds — and it’s fast
    • Not only is the initial rendering fast, but scrolling around complex pages was effortless
    • To say we were blown away by the N900’s raw browsing power would be an understatement
    • in fact, we could realistically see carrying it in addition to another phone for browsing alone, because even in areas where it gives a little ground to the iPhone or Pre in usability, it smacks everyone down in raw power and compatibility.
    • In our line of work where 24 / 7 access to the web is of paramount importance, having the N900 in our pocket when we were away from our laptop was a comforting insurance policy
  • After having dug in, we’re seeing glimmers of brilliance here that give us hope.

Well there you have it. Surprisingly lots of songs of praise for the N900 and Maemo 5. It IS the geek phone; raw and unpolished for the masses. But that just gives me a lot to look forward to – there’s a lot more punches yet to be thrown by Nokia. And the whole David and  Goliath thing – who says Nokia isn’t David? They’re the underdog in the mindset of what smartphone should be. iPhone is Goliath. Maemo just might be that sling to take it down (we’ll have to see how Nokia addresses App Store battle – maybe some news on Thursday?)

It’s now all about Maemo 6.

Via Engadget


Where Engadget has raised concerns, I also agree and may have already ranted about. Such as:

  • Placement of the spacebar (which you do get used to). I can type surprisingly fast with the N900 and most of the time without having to look at the keys.
  • Only 40% possible area for keyboard used (brought this up last year in N900 Q&A and Jussi said it was because they wanted a close integration of touch and keyboard) I would have preferred more keyboard space.
  • Screen brightness – not really an issue with me. The colours in my particular N900 I’ve noticed is a little “off”, with whites having a slight tint of yellow (like my XPS…curse you Dell!).

And no, Engadget didn’t make a big scene over having a resistive display (Though the N900 does seem to have a more responsive display, the more finger friendly UI helps bucket loads)

Hardware aside, it’s really all about the software – the opinions on Maemo 5 that we really want to know about:.

Let’s continue first with some of the negatives again and get that out of the way:

Engadget are quick to point out that as Nokia said, the N900 is not for the masses, but for the early adopters, tweakers, hackers, geeks etc. So there are admittedly some UI quirks, such as the whole

  • Menu/Multitask/Desktop confusion that arises because it’s all in one button. When you understand the concept, it works fine, but until you do, it makes the N900 feel a little frustrating. In fact it’s the number one thing on my list of firmware update wishlist I wanted to get sorted – perhaps have an individual “button” for menu/desktop and multitask/desktop.
  • Lack of portrait support is another issue, though slowly that seems to be coming about.
  • Don’t get me started on Ovi Maps for N900.

Via Engadget


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Category: Maemo, Nokia, Nseries, Reviews

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Hey, thanks for reading my post. My name is Jay and I'm a medical student at the University of Manchester. When I can, I blog here at and tweet now and again @jaymontano. We also have a twitter and facebook accounts @mynokiablog and Check out the tips, guides and rules for commenting >>click<< Contact us at tips(@) or email me directly on jay[at]