Mango vs. MeeGo: Transition from N9 to Lumia 800 (and back)

| December 27, 2011 | 52 Replies

If you follow me on Twitter you would know that Nokia Connects shipped me out a Lumia 800 to trial. (Yes, Nokia Connects. Shipped to Australia from the UK 😀 ) As you also know, Nokia Australia sent me an N9 to keep, so I can constantly bring new updates on the device and reviews. I am the first to recommend the N9 to those in countries where it is available. It is such an amazing device. In my eyes, it is the first time Nokia has matched good hardware with good software, and really given Apple a run for marketshare. But the N9 is not a mass market device, nor has it been marketed correctly. Fair enough, since the N9 and Lumia 800 share the same design. Nokia’s strategy is to go with Microsoft, so impeding that would be a poor business decision.

Anyway, I am not here to talk about the success of these devices or the Nokia “ecosystem” and their strategy. I am here though, to share a comparison between the N9 and Lumia 800, MeeGo vs. Mango, Swipe vs. Metro. I won’t bother with the hardware a lot, just mainly when it comes in conjunction with aspects of the software.

Jay: Michael asked me to just take a look but I decided to butt in and interrupt now and again instead of waiting to comment later :p I’ve grayed it out though so you pay attention more to Michael’s stuff.

Likes about N9 and MeeGo

  • Swipe: So simple and so easy to pick up. It has definitely become second nature. In fact, I swipe on my N8 and on any other phone I use, because it has become a habit. [Jay: It’s amazing. Really. Except in some games where you accidentally swipe away, other than that, everywhere else, swipe is just very, very awesome]
  • Double tap screen to wake: Like swipe, second nature. When I first opened the Lumia 800’s box, booted it, I double tapped the screen. I got frustrated that it wasn’t working, until I realised, “Wait, it’s not my N9”. [Jay: This and the swipe to unlock is actually not a natural movement at first. Everyone I’ve shown N9 to can’t unlock the screen. However, once they get it, they find it very straight forward. This like pinch and zoom (which is also unnatural at first) becomes a must have gesture when you learn it.]
  • Unique: It is the only device of its kind. (Sorry N950, you don’t count! )
  • Three Homescreens: These views are so easy to use and get used to, I am having trouble living without it on the Lumia. (Live tiles helps and I’ll talk about that too.)
  • Hackability: I know this isn’t for everyone, but neither is the device. The N9 does target a niche market. I like the inclusion of developer mode. Although the OS isn’t as user customisable as Symbian and Android, you can still modify the system A LOT. ( Like I’ve shown you with adding IM accounts, changing icons from static to dynamic etc.)
  • No self reboots: The only reboots I ever do, are after I use terminal, and the restart is needed for changes to take effect.
  • Real Multitasking: This is probably the largest thing that I forget about when using multiple devices. MeeGo-Harmattan doesn’t “freeze” the applications. They indeed run in the background, visible when you navigate to a webpage, swipe away, and watch it load in the Multitasking homescreen.
  • Screensaver: I struggle to live without this. It is so handy just pick up the device, look at the screen and see the time, as well as any new email, call or message notifications.
  • Laminated Screen: It just feels so nice under your fingers. I know I said I wouldn’t talk about the hardware, but it relates to software. It makes those swiping action so much easier and smoother

Dislikes about N9 and MeeGo:

  • “Dead OS”: Although Nokia continually states it will get support, many are skeptical. This mainly impacts developers. No users, No developers, No apps. And consequently, No apps, No Users.
  • Battery Consumption: The N9 has decent battery life, but I expect it to be better. In the current times of smartphones, battery is a major part that influences user decision. (Android is renowned for being heavy on the battery, thus many people will go elsewhere.) I tend to get at least a day ( my day is usually 13+ hours switching between 3G, WiFi and no signal at all, so that is something to consider) out of it. Which is still good don’t get me wrong. I am just greedy and want more. For most people, this will be enough.
  • Ringer Volume: I find it is way too soft, even on full. I had to go through some terminal commands, to up the volume. (Yes, even though it is full, the volume can go higher? ) [I find speakers on both Lumia and N9 to be quite poor. There’s no body to the sound and they’re kinda quiet. Tinny and quiet. It’s annoying to hear punchier sounds from my Omnia 🙁 )
  • Keyboard: It is way better than Symbian Anna/Belle, but I tend to, more often than not, hit the full stop/period ( . ) instead of a space. It is quite annoying. (At least some apps let me use landscape keyboard so this alleviates the issue a bit, but still, it is annoying.) No, I will not use Swype, it is even worse. [Haha, agree. It’s the best Nokia virtual keyboard by far, but usability pales in comparison to Lumia/4S]
  • Messaging: I love it. You can have Skype, MSN, Facebook chat, etc. in the one app. (“Wait, why is this in the dislikes?”)  I dislike that each service is separated. It would be nice if (like iOS and Mango) the services where in the same thread or linked contacts, just differentiated by a line across the thread saying “Text”, “Skype”, “Facebook” or whatever, or even, a thumbnail icon next to the time stamp.

Likes about Lumia 800 and Mango:

  • Live Tiles: Okay, they aren’t the widgets you are used to on Symbian or Android, but they are still very helpful. Its simple, and elegant, looking a lot less cluttered than Symbian.
  • Metro UI and Minimalism: Something I wasn’t sure about using at first was the whole Metro UI (Tiles and panoramic view), but I am warming up to it. It is incredibly fluid and simple to use.
  • Camera UI: I like the way you swiping from the top(or left if in landscape), to view previously captured items is a really polished and fluid feature. Saves having to select gallery and scroll through items.
  • 270 Degree Screen Rotation: I like it because it is different from what I am used to. It helps in bed sometimes as whilst it is charging, the phone can rotate so the cable isn’t being pulled as much.
  • Pictures: This is super cool. The gallery actually connects to your Facebook account, and populates itself with the albums you have shared with your friends.
  • Messaging: Like I stated above, I like how Mango groups your chat messages and texts in the same thread, and it is so simple to switch between the two.
  • Build Quality: I know it isn’t SW related, but I must say, the glass on the Lumia 800 flows seamlessly into the body. I cannot feel the edge of the glass. Sadly, I can’t say the same for my N9. Maybe I am just unlucky?
  • “Me” Tile: This is really handy. It retrieves notifications for you automatically, and will inform you when you have “new items”. Helps when your Facebook tile isn’t up the top and you forget to scroll down and look.
  • Keyboard: This is by far, the best keyboard on a touch screen I have ever used. I think I have spelt two words wrong so far. That is way better than the constant full-stop instead of space that happens with my N9.


Dislikes about Lumia 800 and Mango:

  • Random Shutdowns: Within the first two days, the device shut itself down about a dozen times. The first was during installing apps, so I shrugged it off. Then they became more random, not having a common cause. (During messaging, calling Voicemail, WhatsApp, Facebook, XBox Live!, Standby and surfing the web.) [Jay: I’d just like to add that another Lumia from Nokia Connects, the one we’re using with Steve is experiencing similar random shut down problems. Mine and my batman lumia have had none at all. Never had it in 10 months with Omnia. Batch problem?]
  • Arranging Live Tiles: When you arrange the tiles, there can sometimes be blank spaces where the tile once was, due to shifting it around. Tiles don’t just move to the next spot, pushing everything over one, instead creating a new gap. Some people may like this, I sadly don’t. [Jay: I would also like live tiles to have a scroll bar at the side so when I have filled my screen with tonnes of tiles, I can quickly jump to particular group of tiles via scrollbar]
  • Contact Transfer: This was shocking. I had the vast majority of my contacts entered as “<unnamed>” or just the number. Even after using it for a week or two, my contacts differ between Lumia and N9, even though it is the same Sim-Card. [Jay: I love Contact Transfer. It’s what my Omnia dearly misses and is a great Nokia asset to transfer contacts. It works a treat for me, and Steve even managed to get his to pick him his LG dumbphone contacts]
  • Call Quality: This is shocking. Even when I have full signal, (which is rare on the Lumia), I can barely hear the recipient of the call, and they can barely hear me. [No issue with call quality on mine. Normally on HSDPA but it depends on T-Mobile which seems to have a 70% suck rate in the UK. My Lumia on O2 always has signal, like N9 and N8]
  • Signal Strength: I know it is supposed to be the same as my N9, but I doubt it. Maybe the indicator is too weird for my liking, as it is greyed out all the time, and I’m not sure if that is for 2G connection, or no signal :/ I find I need to reboot the device for it to fetch a signal and download text messages backed up for days.
  • No Screensaver/Standby Screen: Extremely hard to get used to, coming from the N9. It is so useful as I take a glance at my phone and I know the time, and if anyone has contacted me. Okay, I know I can tap the lock button on the 800, but it is just that one less task that, for me, would make the experience a bit more pleasant and refined. [Jay: I love the N9/Symbian’s AMOLED standby clock. I like seeing it when the light is off and I don’t know where my Lumia/Omnia has gone but can see N8/N9. Or if just at a glance, I can look at the time, no button pressing necessary]
  • Tethered Software Updates: The “luxury” that I have grown accustomed to on Symbian and MeeGo, of updating OTA through the device, is a must. Forcing the user to connect the device to a computer to update, is stupid. It will most likely mean that the user won’t update for a while, because of the hassle, or won’t update at all. (App updates happen on device, so why not FW? Besides more complex etc. )
  • Ringtone Customisation: As far as I can tell, and I’ll be happy to be wrong, the only way to add additional ringtones, is through apps. This is stupid. If the app doesn’t have the latest tune you’re looking for, you can’t set it as your tone. [Jay: Whilst WP has done themselves a service by making ringtone apps, the whole act of adding a ringtone yourself is a little cumbersome. Pus you don’t get to set it as a message tone. It’s a little annoying and needs to be addressed in Tango/Apollo. Seriously, it’s not difficult to do, right?]

I could definitely go on and on about both for hours. But I think I have put you readers through enough torturous reading. You are probably thinking, “well, what is Michael’s verdict?” The answer isn’t simple. If you want different, you go for the N9. Completely different experience (at least for now) than anything else you will find. If you want something with apps, and that will get all the love and support you want, go Lumia 800. Personally, I love both. I have been swapping them around every few days, spending more time with the Lumia 800. (Maybe because I know I have to give it back soon 🙁 ) I like the simplicity of the Lumia 800, but then again, why “use the front door when you can use the back, or side doors” of the N9, thanks to Swipe?

I do know I will miss some things from the Lumia, mainly the Virtual KBD, “Me Tile”, push notifications for Facebook, sync/backup to skydrive etc, but they are all things that can be added to the N9 in updates, and also will be improved upon in the Lumia devices to come and WP Apollo and Tango updates.



Category: Mango, MeeGo, Nokia, Rant, Reviews, Versus, Windows Phone

About the Author ()

Hi! My name is Michael. Like the others, I'm also a Student, living here in Sydney. I have a real passion for the latest technology and I'm a real Nokia buff! My aim is to keep those of you, like myself, updated with the latest in what's going on in the Nokia World. Currently sporting N9 & Lumia 820, with other Nokia devices in my posession. Get in touch on Twitter via @MFaroTusino, Google Plus or even simply drop me an email at mike.mnb[at] or tips[at]
  • Doug

    N9/Meego is better than Lumia/WP!

    • Noki

      I have started to use the N9 swype keyboard and its much better than the normal one…

      • oswald

        true that

    • Bob


  • deep space bar

    yep people keep proving Elop and Nokia wrong with MeeGo being a shitty OS

    • Noki

      No… its a brilliant OS, incredible UI for something that was Designed by 2 I repeat 2 guys during a couple of months of really hard labor.
      Now imagine if it was developed further, to bring more functionality and polish to something that is already as good as anything out there, On top of an OS way less limited than the interpreted .NET WP world. that NOKIA has control over. Using Nokias brilliant Qt technology.

      • Aleve Sicofante

        Design teams should be small. Two people sounds perfectly fine to me. Another question is how many people are there to implement the designs, though.

  • Nice to hear different peoples opinions on the two polycarbonate beauties from Nokia, I’m liking both at the moment, and some of my doubts about WP are becoming less worrying as I find solutions to them. Unlocking helps to add a few features, and if you can get your head around Zune the Lumia is great (but I am struggling to get my head around Zune !!) Still great that Nokia have produced and released two such fantastic pieces of kit in such a short period of time though, what a turn around in the vibe around Nokia since the Feb 2011 announcement ?

  • hosny santos

    is so sad see hate for maemo harmattan and belle and put the best industry in risk by elop and his passion for an OS WHO DOESEN´T SALE AND 2012 WIIL bring the true and if this shit don´t sale nokia will break, whitout and option for came again for the battle of OS . we are just inspeculations but he THE STUPID says symbian is burning whitout in his hands best or portfolio for launched

    • Noki

      And the less funny part if the wp strategy fails they will say that it was all Sybians fault and NOKIA was doomed any way.
      But one as to ask if it is set for doom any way how come you need to kill your system??? Give it a chance see how well it stands against WP, no? Make hardware platforms capable of ruining booth systems and sell them in the market keep the extra profit on the OS licensing to help NOKIA future…
      So far no one as gave a good explanation on how come the N9 is more pricey than the Lumia (that has more expensive hardware, and is not made by nokia).

      • Punching Bag

        Except that they were doomed

        • Doffen

          MeeGo Harmattan and Symbian doomed and WP stillborn.. Nokia does not seem to get any breaks with OSes these days..

  • Paul Grenfell

    At this stage i am about 6mths away from contract renewal..Im hoping N9 will be a bit cheaper by then, but i am still keen to see what the Nokia 900 maybe like, (even though i hate WP)..
    Other than that, i may yet go for the N8 successor, provided it has better battery and larger screen..
    There may be even an N9 successor on the horizon.. 2012 could become the year of choice at last..

  • Paul Grenfell

    jay .. is it possible to add an Edit function to comments..??

  • Aleve Sicofante

    I find your comments on the N9’s keyboard weird. It has been praised in almost every review I’ve read about the N9 (and I’ve probably have read them all). Just a few examples:

    Engadget (the anti-Nokia blog from the US): “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.”

    The Verge: “The N9′s onscreen keyboard is sublime. Every key is just about the perfect size, the comma and full stop sit either side of the space bar (where they belong), and there are three levels of haptic feedback.”

    Slahsgear: “The on-screen keyboard is particularly good, offering both portrait and landscape variants and supporting a sharp haptic buzz that does a great job of feeling localized to your fingertip.”

    Mobileburn: “Nokia has installed one of the best software keyboards I have ever used on the N9. It is fast and responsive, and it has the perfect amount of audible clicks and haptic feedback.”

    • Paul Grenfell


    • Punching Bag

      The keyboard’s good but I have the same problem with hitting . instead of

      …doesn’t matter since my Swype upgrade just arrived today, merry xmas to me!

    • Jay Montano

      Personal opinion. I was pleasantly surrised to hear such positive praises on the keyboard. It looks great and feels great. But in use it is not as great to type on really quickly as the keyboard on iPhone or lumia because their keyboard is more intelligent. Note n9 feels nicer, but not as good for typing.

      • incognito

        I guess it’s a mixed bag and all depends on the user. I personally hate virtual keyboards anyway, but for me the Harmattan’s keyboard is better than WP’s one – I make far less mistakes on my N9 than on my Omnia 7, especially in the portrait mode. Granted, I haven’t tried the one on the Lumia 800, but given the almost same form factor (actually, with the bigger screen of Omnia 7 it ought to be even better than on the Lumia 800) I think I can make a valid comparison. Word completion/prediction works better on the WP, tho, so there is space for improvement.

        Just like with the N900’s resistive screen, the virtual keyboard on the N9 is actually the first virtual keyboard I could comfortably use with negligible amount of mistakes. Still, given the choice, I’d gladly take the added thickness for a real HW keyboard instead of being forced to use virtual keyboards. The biggest qualm I have with virtual keyboards is that they take half of your screen leaving you with far less screen estate when used…

  • troll

    And whats the point of these articles? so that people can “pick a better phone to purchase”?

    i think it stop being about comparision to the majority of the readers along time ago and more of ammunition to go about their personal vendettas.

    bear in mind that when lumia is on sale, n9 is not; when the n9 is available, the lumia is not.

    • incognito

      Not really, while there is no Lumia target market to offer the N9 officially, the opposite, sadly, is not the case – Lumia is being pushed on markets where the N9 had official launch, so comparisons might benefit some potential customers.

    • fghdfdfgh

      For me it was very interesting to read personal opinions of two people that use both devices daily. This articles were made for me. 😉

  • Yemi

    has anyone else who uses the N9 noticed how you can swipe a notification on the lockscreen to go directly to the notification itself?
    I just figured that out today. It got me really excited.
    I do not have the ‘hitting the (.) intead of space bar problem.’
    I tend to switch between skpe and regular nokia keyboard. I kind of prefer the Nokia one now that I’ve gotten used to it.

    • dpr

      Yes, swipe on notification text on lock screen, it takes you to the appropriate app. this feature is there since initial launch.
      As well I have no issues with the N9 keyboard. keyboard is just perfect. never faced any incorrect spacebar/’.’.

      Out of topic though, is still anyone waiting for 1.1 update still? I still do not see 1.1 OTA for my phone. Purchased in USA through expansys-usa and i believe this is Australian phone.

      • Punching Bag

        Use Nokia software update via a PC and it’s there as of yesterday

        • dpr

          thanks for the tip.i am downloading it now.

  • ashok pai

    N9 – both the hardware and the software seems to be pretty good. Lumia is good no doubt, but the constant text animation is a bit dizzying and distracting. once you get past the initial animation rush, it gets distracting and annoying. the tiles is the single worst UI conceived. whats the point of making the tiles play hide and seek with information / I’d love to check my info at a glance you can do that with android and symbian. tiles UI sucks, besides, the squarish shapes there’s not much scope to have individual widgets to load more info like email, weather with multiple days forecast, etc like on other platforms. somehow the windows phone UI does not make the cut

  • Victor

    “Random Shutdowns: Within the first two days, the device shut itself down about a dozen times. The first was during installing apps, so I shrugged it off. Then they became more random, not having a common cause. (During messaging, calling Voicemail, WhatsApp, Facebook, XBox Live!, Standby and surfing the web.) [Jay: I’d just like to add that another Lumia from Nokia Connects, the one we’re using with Steve is experiencing similar random shut down problems. Mine and my batman lumia have had none at all. Never had it in 10 months with Omnia. Batch problem?]”

    Windows Phone fail.

    Meego is better.

    • Jay Montano

      Comment fail.

      • Bloob

        It’s quite worrying though. WP was ‘supposed’ to be “the stable non-Apple OS”.

        • Jesse

          I don’t think it has anything to do with the OS to be honest. I have three Windows Phone devices and only one has shutdown issues. They all have the same apps and settings and swap sim card. My guess would be the battery connection might be loose or something else is shorting the device.

          • Bloob

            I hope so, 1/3 isn’t a very good failure-rate. For this “second coming”, Nokia can’t afford shoddy build quality ( ofc, some hw failures are inevitable ).

  • lordstar

    It’s good that we are being provided with options. I like both the N9 and the lumia 800. I just tried a wp7 device and i must say that the ux is really fluid. The social hub integration is nice as well. I couldn’t help but imagine how it would be like if Nokia focused on the n9 with heavy marketing and good reviews, seems like the anti i phone device.

  • oli

    My N9 is good so far except that i am unable to download anything from nokia store, i press the download button, it appears pressed but nothing happens, weird and now nokia store cannot download to pc and transfer via usb cable 🙁

    my twitter also unable to login after a reset couple of days ago. whenever u do a reset, the phone just forgets the skype, gmail and facebook passwords and you have to delete and recreate the accounts again.

    other than the accounts issue, its a solid phone and yes the sound is very soft, one of my fren who wanted to ditch his iphone and get N9 changed his mind after hearing the sound and the headphones provided doesn’t help much either.

    hmm, yes battery could be better esp with 3G connections

    • Michael Faro-Tusino

      Store issues; Have you tried the “apt-get update” terminal command. This usually fixes all my store download issues.

    • MyNokiaLife

      I have to turn down the volume after calls. The Music radio is loud if I leave it at the same level. With the 950i I get blasted out if I dont turn it down. Are you using the pull down volume controls or the button controls?

  • qromodynmc

    Im still wanting N9,Wp7 is looking fluid and smooth but not more for me..

  • keist

    the n9 doesn’t have a “real” homescreen just like the iphone. all you got is an appdrawer or menu, multitasking view and notifications which are not considered homescreen or desktop. it probably doesn’t restart on you because you don’t have much apps installed. and the swipe ui is not meego. it’s qt. the n9 is more of a qt phone than a meego phone. that swipe will be carried over to other qt devices in the future as well.

    • Jay Montano

      Ah yes true. The reason I have N9 is because Nokia said they wanted me to have the Qt hero device.

  • Average Joe

    What? Windows Phone crashes a dozen times in two days? Now that’s an improvement over Symbian’s sloppy engineering.

    • Sergio

      I’ve mine since launch and never ever ever ever had a shutdown or force close or anything else really

  • Tomi

    About the keyboard… You are so wrong!

  • Paul Grenfell

    Either way, you just cant go past Swype..It is just awesome..

  • oho

    “Sadly, I can’t say the same for my N9. Maybe I am just unlucky”

    No, Mine is like that too 🙁

    • incognito

      Mine is seamless, the glass looks like melted over the body, I don’t think I could slide a hair-thin razor between the glass and the body and there is no way to feel the transition with a finger. It actually looks better than on the promo renders! Exceptional build quality.

      Maybe yours is just a bad batch… Mine is a black, 16 GB, Made in Finland, Central Europe version (059J203). Will be getting the white one soon and report the build quality as well.

      • oho

        Mine is a black 16GB made in Finland too.

  • MyNokiaLife

    Call quality and signal:

    Can you guys use the Wilson Electronics antennas in the UK? I went from one bar to five using the sleek with any phone and did the.same with the soho amp for my house.
    I find the correct clear hearing angle is different for my N9 compared to my E7. Both sound and hear great.

  • Oh Hei

    Nice screen capture of the WhatsApp app on the Nokia Lumia/WP device 🙂

  • esbo

    “Tethered Software Updates: The “luxury” that I have grown accustomed to on Symbian and MeeGo, of updating OTA through the device, is a must. ”

    Btw, Belle won’t come through OTA, only via Nokia Suite ;/. This is due to difficulties that Nokia faced with Anna. Because it was(and Belle will be) a huge update, it had to be in two parts when updating OTA. What happened was, that people downloaded only Anna part 1 and was happy -> phones got really messed.

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  • kundo

    I remember that one of the reasons for WP where that Meego is something for the future, that Nokia couldt get it to market on time.

    But N9 comes before Lumia, and I can see more opinions in favor of N9 rather than Lumia.

    It`s okey to sell WP in USA, for comercial reasons its important to use Microsoft comercial force … but I dont believe in technical reasons and I think that WP cant success in Asia and South America … these zones are for Symbian and Meego.