Nokia N9 review: Once in a lifetime

GSMArena team, 14 October 2011.
Pages: «12345678910»

Tags: Nokia, MeeGo, Touch UI

Organizer misses a document editor and some more

The Nokia N9 comes with a nicely designed calendar, which can naturally be synched with your Exchange accounts to help you stay on top of things. Personal and Exchange events are color coded so you can easily tell them apart and you can hide the calendars you don’t need at some point. Picking the default calendar is also left to the user.

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The MeeGo calendar

The Nokia N9 also allows you to browse office documents thanks to the preinstalled Documents application. The Adobe PDF reader is also here to take care of those .PDF files, but unfortunately neither of those supports editing. We couldn't find a document editing app in the N9 Ovi store either, so a web-based office editing tool like Google Docs seems like the only way to go with this one.

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The documents app only offers viewing, but not editing

The calculator application is pretty cool looking and the font size of the numbers changes as you type in more, but its functionality is kinda lacking. There’s no Percentage or Square Root calculation on this thing. A relative consolation is that there are free alternative calculators available for download.

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The calculator is as basic as it gets

The Alarm application allows you to set up as many alarms as you want, each with its own name, tune, snooze time and repeat pattern. Plus, the turn to mute feature that we appreciated so much with Symbian isn't available here.

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Setting up an alarm on the N9

The organizer package concludes with the AccuWeather app and a Notes application. You will have to rely on 3rd party alternative for unit conversion, voice recording and whatever else you might need.

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The AccuWeather and Notes apps

Free lifetime navigation

Just like the rest of the Nokia smartphone gang, the N9 comes with free lifetime voice-guided navigation, powered by the maps of the Nokia-owned Navteq and the engine of Ovi Maps.

In fact there are two GPS apps preinstalled on that one. The first is called Maps and works as advertised - it replaces your paper map with a digital one and lets you find POIs in your area.

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Nokia Maps

The other app is Drive and that's the one that does the actual navigation. Both apps have decent touch-friendly interfaces supporting pinch-zooming and kinetic scrolling. They have 2D and 3D modes, while Maps also offers Satellite and Terrain view.

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Nokia Drive

The navigation works for 74 countries around the globe, while map data is available for 180. Strangely though, there're no options to customize the route planning algorithm this time. Still, we really don't think you'll be needing a replacement app, even more so, knowing how pricy third party navigation solutions can get.

The good thing is that you can preload all the map date you think you may need on the go, so you don’t have to be connected to the Nokia Maps serves all the time.

The apps come from the Ovi store

The Nokia N9 official application repository is the Ovi store and it is, unfortunately the Achilles heel of the platform. There's just not nearly as much apps available here compared to those in the iOS App store or the Android Market. Even the Windows Market Place and the Symbian Ovi store are far ahead of MeeGo.

Not that any of this is going to raise any eyebrows. The N9 is the first handset to run MeeGo (and the last from Nokia), so it will take time before the shelves of its app store fill up. Unfortunately, we are afraid that this time might never come as Nokia officially announced that it won't be producing any more MeeGo smartphones.

And with just a single device available, there won't be enough user base to attract developers. That in turn means that there might never be enough apps on offer for MeeGo and this will reduce the attractiveness of the platform as a whole.

At least the interface of the store is nicely optimized, so apps are easy to browse. You get four tabs - the home with the featured apps, the category view, the search tab and the My stuff tab. My stuff keeps track of your downloads and lets you give feedback and get support.

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The MeeGo Ovi store UI is good, but the number of available apps is limited

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