Chris Alexander

On Engineering

Nokia N900 Hands On

12th July, 2010

The other day at an event I went to, I had the opportunity to have a go on a Nokia N900, Nokia’s flagship Linux-powered mobile phone.

Check out the video and photos below to see the N900 in action.

I’m afraid there’s no getting away from it - the N900 is somewhat of a disappointment.

First off, the hardware - generally clunky and difficult. The phone is huge and heavy compared to everything else out there; the slider for the keyboard is clunky and the slider for the camera is flimsy; the touchscreen is a joke.

I admit I was expecting the touchscreen to suck a bit, as it is capacitive; however it is a continually poor experience that I found simply difficult to use. Sliding anything is a struggle, and selecting some of the minuscule icons I’m sure is a physical impossibility.

The software is an equal let-down. The entire operating system is completely unintuitive; the screen is constantly locked in the horizontal view, so the phone is nigh-on impossible to operate with one hand; and as I said, some of the controls are simply too small to operate in conjunction with the poor screen.

I suppose the advantage of the OS is that it is based on Linux and can do the closest resemblance to multitasking of any mobile platform, but the fact is it is simply too difficult to operate (yes, even for me) to put up with.

Nokia must do better if they want to survive in the face of iPhone and Android. The last really decent phone they brought out was the E71, but they cannot survive on business sales alone (thanks to BlackBerry).