N950 hands-on: Nokia, please take my money!

| July 6, 2011 | 66 Replies

While attending an Intel MeeGo event this Tuesday, there was a chance I’d finally catch a glimpse of Nokia MeeGo phone in the wild. Probably not the N9, but its geekier counterpart… And, well, turns out I did!

While visually the N950 resembles E7 (large screen, similar hinge, keys), there’s also an unmistakable aura of N900 surrounding it. My guess it’s probably becouse of the dark color which resembles the N900 a lot. My initial impression about the built materials were actually false, as I was quickly corrected on twitter: the device is not made entirely of plastic. The interesting element here is that a soft rubber material also covers the aluminium section of the device. Thus, unlike the E7, the N950 is a lot more grippy in hands. I’d still prefer to highlight the metallic elements of the device rather than hide it. I mean, is it possible to easily forget those early leaked pics showing the N950/N9 with its shining, drop dead gorgeous Macbook Pro-like outfit?

For the short amount of hands-on time I had with the N950, I was continuously impressed with the built quality. Software aside, N950 certainly appeared like a consumer ready device, and the few owners I’ve met had been effortlessly using it as a primary phone. The hinge felt very solid, and engaging the slider was a great deal easier than on the Nokia E7 thanks to the rubber like finish and slightly angular edges on the upper slider. The geekasm then struck a new high as I tried out the physical keyboard: hands down, it beats even the fabled E7 qwerty by a noticeable margin! So much effort, only to impress the developers? I can hardly believe it, Nokia…


The AMOLED LCD looks staggeringly impressive, and is only matched by the clarity and exceptional view angles of the display. The icons looked extremely sharp on this 4 inch capacitive touchscreen that I’d ultimately consider the best I’ve seen so far on a mobile. A mouth-watering thought is what Nokia will deliver to us when the AMOLED equipped N9 finally hits the market. I can’t wait!

Clinging to the last few moments I had left with the N950 this evening, I peeked into the much talked about MeeGo Harmattan UI that took mobile tech world by surprise. To avoid repeating what has already been said before, I’ll rather focus on my personal and extremely short ‘experience’ handling the OS. The general impression was that the user interface was attractive, well organized and, on top of all, very natural to use. To be completely honest, there was a brief moment when I toyed with the idea to reach out for a non-existing menu or back button on the N950. But the rule of using the OS is beyond simple – the concept of swiping to move between the active applications or returning back to the multi-tasking view quickly fills the mind to stay forever. Focusing solely on the touchscreen to handle the phone not only saves time, but it also keeps the user immersed into the experience for longer. Simple complexity – the new direction Nokia is taking, and I’m more than happy to join in!

Even in its current state, I loved the N950 to bits. It was probably a bad idea for us two to meet in the first place. You see, I immensely enjoy my qwerty slider phones – no matter how big and bulky they might get. The N900 remains my all-time favourite ‘phone’ mainly thanks to the form factor, the physical keyboard and the slick multitasking and customizable homescreens of Maemo 5. And it’s my fear, that the N950 is closest there will ever be to my beloved N900.

But hopefully I’m very wrong. I wish to speak on behalf of all mobile keyboard junkies and N900 fans out there – please Nokia, if there’s a slim chance for us to receive another MeeGo phone next year – please, let it be a consumer version of the N950!


Category: Maemo, MeeGo, Nokia

About the Author ()

I'm Journalism and English student with a passion for mobile phones and the industry.
  • Smileyguy

    Can we make a petition or something? I am planning to tweet Nokia to reconsider selling the N950. Wanna coordinate a hashtag for that?

    • Paul Grenfell

      Jay, put a poll in..?

      I am somewhat surprised it isnt being considered for consumer release later on ..If it isnt, it should be..

      • It was considered for consumers obviously, why would Nokia invest so much in design of a developer only device. But Elop killed it, for the sake of Microsoft’s interests.

        • Mick

          If what I hear is true, that they’ve now ceased production of the N950 because they’ve hit their target of 250 devices, then I don’t think a petition will serve any purpose.
          As it’s common practice for manufacturers to smash the moulds and recycle the tooling jigs as soon as possible once they’ve reached the quota on limited edition products.

          So my bets are that all a petition will get you is the suggestion of buying an E7 or a N950 look-alike with WP7.

          • Jim

            I’ve heard some rumors that 250 devices are set for Intel’s MeeGo developers only and there will be more for others. Pray it’s true!

        • guest

          They wanted to create a really unified design with the HW, UX, graphics, fonts, apps etc, not to forget the accessories. N950 doesn’t fit in this design pattern. From marketing perspective it’s better that they concentrate the effort on the N9.

          • Not really, why did they release E7 then? N8 could suffice. There always be users who prefer hw keyboard. The main reason here is the dropping of Meego as a primary platform (screw MS for that). So Nokia doesn’t want to invest more money in supporting more devices.

            • guest

              Why doesn’t Apple release iPhone with HWKB in addition? It’s just to create really strong branding for one device which is unique. That’s why we talk about iPhone vs. Android, while Android consists of dozens of devices. Just one iPhone gets the same mindshare than whole Android platform. Also keeping fragmentation in tight control really helps the software development.

              Typically Nokia shovels half-baked phones for every category with small variations. I think it’s better to try with more focused effort like the N9.

              • Besides all Apple’s negativity, that’s one of the basic reasons why I personally wouldn’t by an iPhone. Most companies understand the need for “business” models, i.e. those which are used with more typing involved. In case of N9, the lack of keyboard is a minus (IMO), but I’d get it just for the sake of Meego, not because I like keyboardless models.

              • And I don’t think Nokia has any tight control on devices fragmentation. Meego is targeted for many hardware manufacturers.

          • Fair points guest! I’ve been told that touchscreen-only devices sell a lot more than qwerty, and we’re in the minority here…
            I wasn’t trying to dismiss the N9 in this article, but rather point out how surprisingly mature the N950 feels. A little bit more effort from Nokia is all it takes to release an excellent qwerty MeeGo phone to the mass market.

            • Smileyguy

              I tweeted this to:
              @ovibynokia Can you please ask the higher ups to release N950 for consumers? There are much demand for it! T.T Sad #n950 #love

              I got this reply:
              @erlern Thanks for sharing your love, Er. Cannot promise anything regarding that, but will pass the feedback on. Have a lovely day! ^es

              Maybe more people can express their love for N950 to OvibyNokia so that some form of demand may be seen. We can certainly hope something might come out of this if sufficient momentum is given. Can you please make a post to organise this show of love for N950? Maybe a hash tag #loveN950 or something? 🙂 Let’s not give up k?

              • Hey Smileyguy, nice little victory there 🙂 Now if only we could win the whole war… But we have much bigger issues to worry about, what we must all ask Nokia is to keep MeeGo OS, thus ensuring future devices like a qwerty version of N9.

    • Ninja

      Ironic that many will want this and the N9 while no one wants Win Pho. Talk about getting “supply and demand” completely wrong Nokia 🙁

    • Jonas

      Sign me up ! That feels like a replacement for my N8..:D Will miss the xenon flash though.

    • Adeel

      I luv to grab N950. Nokia is doing stupid thing not to release for masses. I Think Mr. Elop need some thing to bring him in real people wish who feel proud to connect with NOKIA now nd ahead.

    • XavierT

      I found this while surfing for more information for this phone.
      Hope it is helpful

  • Emran

    Quite thick… isn’t it?

    • I feel quite bad for not taking a proper side shot holding the device to show that N950 is actually a well proportioned device – and certainly against the ol’ fatso N900 xD
      The circumstances weren’t ideal for the shoot – the pub was dark, people all around, sticky tables… hopefully you get the gist.

      Still, it was well worth it I think 🙂

    • N950 isn’t that thick at all. Infact, it’s about the thickness of the N8. (if you consider N8 to be thin thatis. =P) See the side by side pics.

  • stylinred


  • JD!

    I want a keyboard version… Nokia release it NOW!!!

  • Diego



    ps:( plx dont tell me belle will need a 1ghz processor and makes my E7 outdated, N8 is the closer one to perfection, just put a quadcore to stfu SGS2 lovers or wathever is the best on the market on it, WE ALL LOVE NOKIA PHONES COZ THEY ARE FULL OF STUFF!)

    If ppl dont pay for a core I7 with 16Gb+ ram netbook for his father/mother/son/or even himself who only use the internet explorer or MS Word so WHY THE FUCK THEY ARE SO PROUD ON HAVIN DUALCORE PROCESSORS ON SMARTHPHONES IF THE ONLY DIFERENCE IS ON WEBBROWSING?????????

    is the fuking same as compare a katana with a swiss knife…

    (sorry im really mad today)

    • xyz

      Errr… calm down. It’s just a phone, not the Holy Grail.

    • Smileyguy

      Chill bro!

    • N00-00

      Agree with the N950 part.. Would pay the price for the keyboard version..

      N8, E7 and other Symbian^3 phones will get Belle.

    • simple user

      Flash requires dual core… 🙂

      • mk

        n900 had adobe flash 9.4 from day one with single core processor.

        • Bosh


          Flash doesn’t require dual core.

          I played youtube videos in my Nokia 5530 XM with no problems 😀

          • Deep Space Bar

            my E70 was playing flash video XD

  • Jumb0

    AFAIK, N950 has no AMOLED?

  • outdated os

    Yes, please.

  • Paul Grenfell

    N9 or N950, how can they ignore consumer demand? The Chinese wouldnt let this happen..If there is a demand , they make it, {if they can)

    • Nokia seems to care about MS now, not about demand.

    • Nilux

      Just wait and see. The chinese will surely put out a copy of thios hardware 🙂

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  • Im so jealous! The N950 should have been N900’s successor. Hopefully Nokia will hear our cries and actually release it.

    • Paul Grenfell

      lol.. you wish..

  • N00-00

    I hope the Meego device for next year will be with a keyboard and that Meego follows an alternating launch cycles with keyboard-less version one year and with keyboard the next..

  • Dr. Ob Vious

    Where I transfer money?

    • Paul Grenfell

      Those developer models are going to be worth money on ebay, if they ever come up.

      • N00-00

        I don’t think the devices will ever come up on eBay.. The phones are on a ‘lease’ to the developers..

  • weirdfisher

    This is a joke Nokia

  • NO#

    NO adobe flash support, this web oriented device sounds like crap so!!

    • Paul Grenfell

      Can use Opera Browser or FF Fennec..dont fret..

      • Vikas Patidar

        Opera is already cooking for the MeeGo. so your answer is yes here. We have already seen a demo of opera on the MeeGo tablets and hope it will be available soon for the Phones too.

    • N00-00

      Firefox for MeeGo supports Flash..

  • Jay Montano

    Neat! What Intel MeeGo event? Are you still in UK?

    • Deep Space Bar

      rememeber when i mentioned way before that they are gonna loose alot of money cause there isn’t a keyboard variant……….and now you know why….i don’t know why they discontinued it i would have got one 1000000000%

      elop needs to stop being foolish and self centered and put the N950 in to mass production if he wants nokia to survive

    • Still in UK… but I’ve got less than 10 hours left to clean my room, pack and transport boxes for storage, and then head out to the airport. Hope I’ll manage :S

      Regarding the event, did you see the link at the start of the post?

  • I was waiting from 1 year as its 1st pic leaked & now nokia not releasing it 🙁


    Want an N9500 too – please Nokia, take my money!! Dont know why, but got a feeling we may get the N950 with WP on it here in UK, instead of MeeGo.

    • Jed

      Yep, a revised version with WP will come, you can betcha bottom dollar.

      Plain evil/bizarre to kill your own OS/platform like that, instead of running it in tandem with WP.

      But we know the long/painful story by now, so pointless whining about it any more.

  • Jim

    Just love it!!!

  • I would like to pay 650 to 700 usd for N950, if available in market

  • Bosh

    Why did Nokia did all that strategy with Windows?

    If you think about Symbian it totally makes sense as Symbian sucks in the UI & UX areas, but if you think about MeeGo, with just this 2 devices it would have conquered the high end smartphone maket again.

    (I’ve always said that I’m waiting for the Nokia WP7, but seeing N9 and N950 in action makes me wonder if the WP/ devices are going to be at least as cool as the MeeGo-Harmattan ones.

    • WP won’t be even close to Meego coolness and features potential.

      • Bosh

        Yes, I’ve always been a WP7 supporter, but seeng this phone in action makes me want to buy this one intead of the WP7.

        Well, I’ll have to wait to see the first Nokia WP7 to have a REAL point of comparison between those 2. Until then, let’s enjoy MeeGo devices 😀

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  • I want two of them. 🙁

  • However good I think the N9 is, I personally still want that hardware keyboard. In the N950’s design, it seems like Nokia have managed to cut down a lot on the bulk of the N900, and also add some great features, such as a better keyboard and larger capacitive touch screen. Really the N950 is almost the device that I’d been hoping for, and I’m strongly tempted to try and pick one up on Ebay or somewhere. Why could they not properly release both of these two devices?

    • ZiPA

      You can’t pick up these on eBay. They are property of Nokia, so if someone would try to sell it, it would be instantly remote-wiped and IMEI-blocked, making it the coolest door-stop ever…

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