Nokia N9 smartphone
Nokia N9 review: The N9 is without a doubt Nokia's slickest smartphone ever
- Fantastic design and build quality
- Bright and clear screen
- Slick and easy to use software
- Limited third-party apps
- First and last MeeGo phone
- Below average battery life
The Nokia N9 is the best looking and slickest smartphone Nokia has ever built. It's a combination of superbly built hardware and slick, easy to use, elegant software. However, it's priced too high to compete with iOS and Android alternatives and we can't help but feel it's about 18 months too late.
Price$ 949.00 (AUD)
Best Deals (Selling at 1 store)
Beautifully simple. That's the marketing tag-line for Nokia's promotion of the N9 smartphone, the first and last Nokia phone to run the MeeGo operating system. The N9 is the best looking and slickest device the company has released in a number of years. Although it can't compete with Android's flexibility, or iOS's number and quality of third-party apps, the Nokia N9's great design, superb display and ease of use makes it a valid alternative if you're looking for something different. It's just a shame it's so late to market and is essentially running a dead operating system.
Nokia N9: Design and display
Nokia is no stranger to excellent design and construction: despite many of its recent smartphones bring plagued by poor software, we've always admired Nokia's build quality, craftsmanship and industrial design. The N9 is no different — it's a candybar handset constructed from solid polymer. According to Nokia the N9 is manufactured from the same material often found in ice hockey helmets. The company says the phone's polycarbonate casing is coloured all the way through in the manufacturing process, so scratches, dents or marks from everyday use will not show up. The N9 is available in black, cyan and magenta colours in Australia: the cyan colour in particular is a real head turner and will definitely stand out in a store.
The N9 is Nokia's first-ever "pure touch" smartphone. It has no keypad or home button on the front — the only physical controls are on the right side in the form of volume buttons and a lock key. The bottom houses a speaker while a standard headphone jack, micro-USB port and SIM card slot are aligned on the top. A flap covers the micro-USB port but it's awkward to open: you need to dig your fingertip into the left side of the cover for it to flip up and you need to do this every time you want to charge the phone. The N9 doesn't have a removable battery and uses a micro-SIM card rather than a full-sized one. The only other smartphones on the Australian market to use a micro-SIM are Apple's iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S.
The entire front of the Nokia N9 is taken up by a 3.9in, super AMOLED, edge-to-edge display. The screen uses gorilla glass technology that Nokia says prevents scratches and cracks and the glass is curved outwards in order to achieve a more natural swiping motion. This curve makes content on the N9 appear as if it's floating underneath the screen. Viewing angles are excellent and the display is very bright, though it has a yellow tinge when compared directly to the iPhone 4 on full brightness and lacks an automatic brightness setting. Text is both crisp and clear.
Nokia N9: User interface
The MeeGo operating system running the N9 is focussed on simplicity: Nokia says it intended to "cut through the clutter associated with traditional smartphone design." Although it has a learning curve if you’re coming from an iPhone or Android smartphone, the user experience of the N9 feels natural. Swiping from edge-to-edge to unlock the screen, go back to the default home screen or see important notifications is effortless and easy.
The idea around navigating the N9 is that whenever you are in an application you simply swipe from the edge of the screen (either side) to go back to the home screens. At times we were left longing for a back button but after a few days use the swipe gestures become second nature. You can also set the N9 to close apps by swiping down when in an app — a similar action in parts to the webOS platform that powered HP's now-defunct TouchPad tablet.
The N9 interface is based around three "home views" — an applications screen that lists all your apps, a notifications screen for calls, messages, calendar events and social networking feeds and a currently open applications screen. Nokia says there is no limit to the amount of apps you have open and you won't see a message or error if the memory becomes full: we managed to open 15 apps without a direct affect on performance, but there are times when we wish the N9 had a faster, dual-core processor. Apps sometimes take a few seconds to open and more taxing tasks like playing back video files does result in a little slowdown.
Unfortunately, the Nokia N9 does not support the ability to create folders for app sorting, so the app list screen does become cluttered if you download a lot of apps. You can press and hold an app icon to move it where you want on the app screen, but this is the only method of sorting: you can't sort by alphabetical order or most used, for example.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Mazda MX-5 (2016) review: Absolute driving purity
- 2 Sony 75-inch UHD TV (X9400C) review: Sony and Android are a winning duo
- 3 LG 55EG960T OLED UHD TV
- 4 Panasonic Viera UHD TV review: good hardware, fragmented software
- 5 Microsoft Lumia 640 review: Honouring Nokia's legacy
Best Deals on Good Gear Guide
Latest News Articles
- Two Sony Xperia Z3 phones now support Android N preview
- Samsung shows off 'pink gold' Galaxy S7, S7 Edge
- Microsoft might be eyeing a Surface phone with a trackpoint/fingerprint reader
- Google Camera 3.2 lets you snap pictures while recording video
- Android device updates: LG V10, Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, Edge+ variants score Marshmallow
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- CCSolution Architect / Data ArchitectNSW
- CCBusiness AnalystACT
- FTSQL DeveloperNSW
- FTJunior Inside Sales Rep | National systems integrator & MSP | $60-70K+NSW
- CCSAP BASIS ConsultantVIC
- CCInteraction & Visual - Web DesignerNSW
- CCSenior Business Analyst - Data ManagementNSW
- FTSenior Application SpecialistACT
- FTTrading System QAAsia
- CCSenior Technical WriterVIC
- CCDigital Producer (Part Time 3 Days Per Week)NSW
- CCInfrastructure Assurance OfficerACT
- CCDigital Project ManagerNSW
- FTTechnical Lead (Guidewire Policy Center)NSW
- FTChange Lead- DigitalVIC
- CCData AnalystVIC
- CCFull Stack Developer - Java - Blue Chip CompanyNSW
- CCSenior Enterprise Architect - eCommerceVIC
- CCSales Development Executive - Flexible Working HoursNSW
- CCChange Lead/Senior Change Analyst - Transformation projectNSW
- FTSharePoint DeveloperSA
- FTGentrack ConsultantVIC
- CCApplication Solution ArchitectNSW
- FTNV2 Defence Project Manager | Prince2 & PMBoK shop | Huge project pipelineACT
- CCInfra Project Manager-Data Center, Cloud, Storage, NetworkNSW