Engadget’s Nokia N9 review, “The most beautiful phone ever made”.

| October 22, 2011 | 68 Replies

It was expected that Engadget’s Vlad would have brought us the N9, but he has moved on to pastures green at The Verge (and delivered us a very, very positive look on the N9). Would this mean no hope of a MeeGo-fan worthy review from Engadget? Well, no worries, it’s Myriam at the helm and she’s always been pretty fair of Nokia phones, having a vast experience with Nokia to know how to get the most out of them

  • Love at first sight — this is possibly the most beautiful phone ever made.
  • N9 is in a class of its own in terms of design
  •  You’ve never seen anything like it, and if you think it’s attractive in pictures, wait until you see it in person — it’s completely and utterly irresistible
  • It manages to be elegant by virtue of its minimalism yet remains unmistakably Nokia.
  • Camera –  no match for the legendary N8, the N9 takes wonderful pictures
  •  camera interface is simple and intuitive
  • Some usability niggles, too — like most Nokia phones, the camera app returns the scene and flash settings to default each time it’s started, and there’s no automatic macro (you’ll have to remember to set it manually to snap closeups).
  •  breath of fresh air it will leave you gasping — that is, until you remember that you’re dealing with a dead man walking.
  • It’s impossible to dismiss what’s been achieved here — a thoroughly modern, elegant, linux-based OS with inspired design that’s simple and intuitive to use, all developed in house by Nokia.
  • Sure, it’s at least a year too late, and it lacks a strong ecosystem, but still, it gives Windows Phone a serious run for its money
  • several major online services are seamlessly integrated into MeeGo.
  • Surfing the web on the N9 is a minimalistic affair
  • We’d be foolish not to mention the delightful virtual keyboard at this point — it offers unobtrusive (and defeatable) audible and tactile feedback, plus automatic word completion, when enabled.
  • MeeGo generally feels quite snappy considering it’s running on mid-range hardware.
  • Memory management and multitasking appear to be solid, even with upwards of 20 cards in the open applications view.
  • plenty of room left for optimizations.
  • As a point of reference, the retail build on our N9 is significantly faster than the developer build on our prototype N950
Wrap up
  • N9 delivers a double punch with gorgeous hardware and brilliant software
  •  arguably the first competitive flagship phone to come out of Espoo since the launch of the original iPhone — a stunning feat when you consider how far behind the company was even just a year ago.
  • given the choice, we’d pick MeeGo over Mango, despite its weaker ecosystem.
  • MeeGo is dead — long live MeeGo. (Maybe, but watch out for Qt)



Thanks mo_ep, Souvik and jklubi for the tip!


Category: Maemo, MeeGo, Nokia, Video

About the Author ()

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]
  • jklubi

    Nokia threw the baby and the bath tub away.

    There was no need to dump it.

    They could have sold it and all the profits goes to them. Unless the WP7 profit goes somewhere else.

    • Punching Bag

      Didn’t they say that because of required development time, they could only deliver 1 meego phone a year?

      That’s not sustainable, and as beautiful as it is, they had to go another route to stay in bizness.

      I have to think that some of what we see here is going to show up in nokia-only versions of win phones.

      • napier

        Yeah. Apple almost went bankrupt with 1 phone per year.

        Seriously, that’s a crap argument. Also they already had two the N9 and the N950.
        They also still have Symbian phones.

        • Punching Bag

          First, I’m pretty sure Apple sells a bunch of other things besides an annual iphone.

          Second, have you ever compared the number of employees and expenses between Nokia and Apple?

          • napier

            Apple makes more money with its one phone than Nokia does with all theirs. We’re just looking at the mobile phone part of the business.

            • Punching Bag

              Exactly. Now compare the expenses part.

              • Bloob

                Pretty sure, Meego development was around 800 million euro / year. That’s about 2 million N9s, doesn’t sound that difficult.

                And even that figure has quite lot of air in it, considering Meego Harmattan and Meego are 2 different things. Concentrating on the Harmattan, could bring costs down to half.

                • Punching Bag

                  Sounds great, except the longer term plan wasn’t Harmattan, right?

                • Punching Bag

                  Also, you think all those ancillery support groups can just be let go, right?

                  I have an idea, let’s all take the month of July off on vacation!

      • meego

        Why don’t you read this :

        you will see that one device per year claim is just a lie. (unless you have made up your mind already)

        • Webby

          Yep. I find that claim (1 phone a year) to be incredibly hard to believe.

          Putting aside everything else, what Nokia has done with MeeGo/Maemo/Qt is a tragedy.

          • Punching Bag

            Hey how’s that Anna release for the USA coming along?

            • Webby

              And here I was thinking the N9 was running MeeGo. How embarrassing.

              • Punching Bag

                I’m referring to the larger cultural issues. Which you’re part of! haha

                • Webby

                  I am? This has been quite an enlightening day.

                  • Punching Bag

                    You’re welcome!

      • j

        where is the problem to put the os on another hardware? this argument was bullshit.

    • Ali

      I like in the video when he her is my hand and again my hand funny.

  • John

    I am stunned by the review from Engadget, its a beast of a phone for sure. I am sure Nokia are not silly to give all this up, I wouldn’t be surprised if they have something surprising coming in terms of Swipe UI.

    • N9

      Nope wp7mango in nokia looks like wp7mango every were else fun tiles yaey

  • Pingback: Engadget's Nokia N9 review, “The most beautiful phone ever made … | Maemo Meego()

  • Deep Space bar

    Elop dun Goofed up look at all the money they are wasting on WP7 for it to be successful…..Nokia didn’t do that with the N9 and look at the popularity

  • jbk1971

    unfortunately nokia has a ceo working only for microsoft’s interest and not for nokia

    • Viipottaja

      Yet it was Oistamo who told him January that Meego is an emperor without clothes.

      And, it was the Board who told Elop to look for alternatives, which he did, and the Board approved the new strategy. Stop blaming Elop for everything. 🙂

      • Heh..

        …and you know this how?

        • Just Visiting
          • jiipee

            And it says that Elop collected the information and communicated to Öistämö, who had the “Oh shit moment”. And if he was the one collecting the info and not taking into account what the employees actually said (see Felicec), it can be argued that the analysis was not 100% accurate.

            • jiipee

              The comment “”It was classic Stephen,” says Myerson, who worked for Elop at Microsoft. “His superpower isn’t his great intuitive judgment. It’s his amazing ability to create a transparent, fast process that reasonable people can feel good about.””

              describes a person, who is determined to make “tough decisions” ie. wanting to be a “hero leader”. It just tells that he was a) not confident with his own cempetence and B) did not understand Nokia’s capabilities. N9 is a proof of it,

  • chfyfx

    damn, that is so cool…

  • Rock

    Read the whole review, was amazed at how much praise it got. Might re-consider getting it, that upcoming update should add a few things too

    • N9

      Its the best phone I EVER had.

  • P

    I like the swipe ui. but the only reason I am getting the searay is because of certain apps and i use quite a lot of microsoft products. and also because the searay looks exactly same as n9 = sexy. the looks of the n9 beats everything. honestly, it looks so so nice. i would have got the n9, if it had hardware camera button and if meego was still in development or nokia used n9 as its flagship phone throughout the world. Really dont understand why elop and nokia board isnt/didnt push the n9 further. it would have sold millions I think.

    • John

      I still think Nokia will do something with Swipe UI or the OS on the N9, yes they have said they will not continue it yada…….yada…… but I am sure Nokia are looking at the reviews on the N9 and are quite pleased with them. I don’t think Elop is that stupid to let something go like the Swipe UI, it will live on somewhere, I don’t know where though.

      • Paul Grenfell

        Lets Face it, they gave away the family jewels..

  • Paul Grenfell

    Seems to be a bit like that Beatles drummer that ditch the band before they became famous..You know the one before Ringo..Nooooo,,,,!

  • N9 fanatic

    Am I the only who thinks that there will be another Harmattan phone at NW 2O11?

    • Dude, I am going to go crazy if that is the case. Crazy with joy. My N9 64 GB model is stuck in the post (no post on weekends) and I just can’t wait to get it. It was definitely not the smartest decision I made financially, but sometimes you got to listen to what the heart says.

      Why the bloody hell did Nokia kill MeeGo? This thing does not deserve to go away. I would call it one of the saddest deaths in the tech world. This is a true Linux phone. I really can’t bear this – I hope your wishes about another MeeGo phone come true. However, I do not think that is going to happen – the event will be all about Windows Phones. They will do nothing to take the spotlight away from that.

      • P

        Are you in the UK? If so where did you buy yours from? Im worried that if I import, if it doesnt work in the UK?

  • napier

    The February decisions look even more unbelievable to me. Nokia is month’s away from releasing a game changing phone, and you throw in the towel?
    Still absolutely baffled….

    • P


  • ssdh

    Releasing one phone a year never stopped Apple/iOS from being the biggest, most profitable mobile ecosystem. If developing this really was expensive, then why not put it on a Vertu… Those rich people would not mind if it was $5, 000 to $50, 000 or more.. Plus you don’t really need that much apps on it..
    If apple fan-boys say “hey, we got thousands of apps”, then you can say “my phone is a solid gold, diamond encrusted, alligator skinned, sapphire coated work of art which matches my Hermes bag”, if the fan-boys say “well your phone doesn’t have Siri”, you can say “but it does have a personal Concierge”…

    • N00-00

      That would be interesting… A Vertu phone based on N9: Even more exclusive than other Vertu phones….

      • Nrde

        It would be interesting indeed. No budgets, just put the absolutely best parts inside when needed (battery, screen etc.) and then put 500% profit on top.

        On the other hand Vertu is not about the technology and has never been about that. It’s about differentiation and services – so probably MeeGo/Harmattan is a perfect fit for that…

  • insta-star

    ok… so am i too late to get this phone? i heard its limited… is it sold out?

  • StefanP

    I am a happy N9 owner and follow all the news about this phone. Proudly all websites report and link to the those overwhelming positive reviews.
    Nice to know, and I am also happy the success of this phone. But I don’t need any confirmation that I have a good phone.
    It would interesting to hear other opinions, if there are any with good reasoning.

    Therefore: Any NEGATIVE reviews anywhere? Lets post them here as well! Kind of competition: ARE there any negative report? Would be interesting if there are none to find.

    • N00-00

      Not really.. The only -ve points reviews says is “its dead”…

      • StefanP

        Yaeh, this seems to be the only argument. I can only say that my N9 is very much alive and will be for sure for the next 1-2 years. Who knows what we will see in 2 years? Some dominant OS might have disappeared until then. At the end it’s up to Nokia. There is some room besides iOS and Android. But I doubt the WP is the best choice.

        • VV

          How is the video recording with the N9? In the sample recordings I’ve seen so far it drops frames like crazy.They did the same thing on the N900.Video recording was a joke on that one too.

  • bharat

    I think engadget did this to establish their neutrality and now when they criticise Nokia wp no one would say that they always do that. there is no harm in praising n9 as it is not available in America where Engadget is trying to protect the interests of some fruit vendor. after looking at the camera samples from n8 given by engadget I find it really hard to believe anything those idiots say is genuine.
    n9 is awesome and we shouldn’t need an endorsement from engadget to see that!!
    saw n9 listed for India on naaptol site for inr 30000 that is about 600 usd. still cheaper than iPhone 4 by 100 usd!! definitely getting it if launched in India.

    • Bloob


    • Nrde

      to be fair they are consistent. If you don’t like Symbian or how it does things compared to Android you give it weak score. And if something like UX is the most important thing in a phone well you are not going to like Symbian as it was a year or 6 months ago. With Belle it may/will change for the better. My issue with low score reviews is more that they at least some of them seem to think that there’s only one way of doing things and if that way is not done well the score drops.

      If you look at the big picture what you can actually do or what you are doing with a phone Symbian would score much better.

      With MeeGo/Harmattan the UX is probably the best there is right now, so I’m not surprised about the glowing reviews at all.

      • N9

        Yes harmattan UI/UX combo combined with a Phone design custom made for that UI, makes it a wonder to touch and use, and I was expecting this sort of reaction from all reviewers…
        If it was not a DOA phone I’m sure the reviews would be as optimistic as the ones we have read so far, and would end with something like “welcome NOKIA to the competition, this was what we were all waiting for, are you to late? time will tell”

      • bharat

        granted that they didn’t like Symbian but to rank n8 lower than any other phone in a camera shootout is almost blasphemous! and certainly enjoyed their lack of objectivity. and here I am talking about the big picture( 12 MP big)..;p

        • bharat

          *shows not enjoyed. typo

        • j

          well in this review they write of the legendary n8……?

        • Nrde

          What shootout was that?

  • ADER

    Nokia declared ending the MeeGo OS development. But remember the N9 has the Harmattan (Maemo 6) OS. Did they say they will stop that too?

  • StefanP

    There could be room for interpretation that end of MeeGo means only end of the Intel partnership, if there would not be the shifting of personnel and reducing “MeeGo” R&D.
    A part of the N9 success is the fantastic design and HW and this will be re-used for WP. I think WP will have a chance just because of this. Anyway, it will be interesting to see what consumers in “N9 countries” chose, where they can compare the N9 directly with it’s WP twin. If we could only get some sales figures. It might be also possible that the N9 will see a wider launch after WP is there, as the country variants visible with Navifirm had been extended a couple of weeks ago, and e.g. Germany is there now.

  • BellGo

    The story of the N9 is such a sad one. =(

    • N00-00

      I know.. I too feel sad when I read the review which always ends “great device and awesome experience but killed before it could realize its potential”. But I’m going to get one… I love it and will cherish it my N900…

  • andy koh


    anyway, upgrade to n9 when the prixe drop!

  • Doffen

    There is no real reason to drop the development of a N9 successor. A lot of people will buy it as WP, Androide and IOS are to connected to MS, Google and Appel. I personally despise the ecosystem thinking. It is established to control the consumers and for no other purpose. If the N9 sells e.g. 5 million, which it will if released in major markets, Nokia will easily get a good profit. Why is it so hard to understand for Nokia?
    On another note i do not see the value of buying phones on contract. The “subsidies” are there to ensure the control of the customer through long term contacts.

    • N00-00

      Agree 100%.. My thoughts exactly..

  • vidar

    It doesn’t matter that it is the last of it’s kind, I still bought it because it is so f***ing Awesome to use. the best phone I’ve ever used <3

  • Heh..

    No doubt its a great phone. The 64GB version in my country is soldout almost everywhere.. Here’s hoping that developer support will be as good as awesome as the phone itself~

  • Pingback: Video: How it’s made – the Nokia N9 (“The most beautiful phone ever made”) | My Blog()

  • Pingback: Review Nokia N9 | Free Bird()

  • That is a great tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere.

    Simple but very accurate info… Many thanks for sharing this one.
    A must read post!