Nokia N9 review: Once in a lifetime

GSMArena team, 14 October 2011.
Pages: 12345678910Ľ

Tags: Nokia, MeeGo, Touch UI

Introduction

When the first touch-only OS debuts on one of the hottest pieces of hardware this year, you can bet we want a piece of the action. Windows Phone is where Nokia want your attention, but it might turn out that MeeGo is the place you want to be.

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Nokia N9 official photos

Not shown much love by its own maker, the Nokia N9 is embraced by the consumers. You wonít see Stephen Elop getting all too fired up about MeeGo and spending hours explaining how itís the best thing since Santa, sauna and the N95. But if you care to look, you'll notice thousands of people hitting our site each day to just check out the Nokia N9.

And when a smartphoneís popularity is off the charts without it being all over TV, it must really be something special.

Key features

  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support
  • Penta-band 3G with 14.4 Mbps HSDPA and 5.7 Mbps HSUPA support
  • 3.9" 16M-color AMOLED capacitive touchscreen of 480 x 854 pixel resolution
  • Scratch resistant Gorilla glass display with anti-glare polarizer
  • 8 megapixel autofocus camera with dual LED flash, 720p@27fps video recording and fast f/2.2 lens
  • Meego v1.2 Harmattan OS
  • 1GHz Cortex A8 CPU, PowerVR SGX530 GPU, TI OMAP 3630 chipset, 1GB of RAM
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Non-painted color polycarbonate unibody, curved screen
  • GPS receiver with A-GPS support and free lifetime voice-guided navigation
  • Digital compass
  • 16/64GB on-board storage
  • Active noise cancellation with a dedicated mic
  • Built-in accelerometer and proximity sensor
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • microUSB port
  • Bluetooth v2.1 with A2DP and EDR
  • Nice audio reproduction quality
  • Impressively deep and coherent SNS integration throughout the interface
  • DivX and Xvid support

Main disadvantages

  • No Flash support in browser
  • Limited set of apps
  • No office document editing
  • Non-user-replaceable battery
  • No memory card slot
  • microSIM card slot
  • No FM radio

The Nokia N9's list of features is worthy of a flagship, but the pinnacle is undoubtedly the MeeGo platform. Itís what makes all the remaining bits work together to create a seamless user experience. The light and agile MeeGo does well without a massively overclocked multiple-core CPU too.

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Nokia N9 at ours

We were amazed by the silky smooth handling when we first met the N9 back in June. If you can pull off that kind of performance, it doesnít really matter what kind of chip is doing the math inside. The question is though how well the Nokia R&D team used the time since our first encounter. For all its potential, the N9 was but an early thing back then. It should by now be ready to deliver the novel and compelling experience we were promised.

You can bet we are as eager as you are to find out, so letís cut the small talk and get to work. Join us after the break, where the hardware checkup begins.

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