Nokia N900 Smartphone Review

By on November 25, 2009
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Nokia’s latest Smartphone takes a giant leap into becoming a full-fledged handheld PC.

Editor's Score
The Verdict:
The N900 is an extremely powerful device that feels more targeted towards geeks than the average Smartphone user.

For your messaging needs, Nokia bundles the Mail for Exchange application which I had no issues syncing with my Exchange Server. Applications is, in fact, one of the best things about the N900 with plenty of them available from the Maemo store right away such as a VNC viewer and a Gameboy emulator. The Nokia Ovi store was not quite ready yet but that will also feature applications- I am really hoping that the twitter client Gravity comes up soon.


What does work amazingly well on the N900 is the web browser- hands down, it is the best browsing experience on a Smartphone. The higher screen resolution and support for flash makes the N900′s browsing experience as close to a desktop as you would currently get. For example, I could very easily open up Google Docs and create a document which is something the iPhone isn’t capable of. The history function is also pretty neat.


The 5 Megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics, autofocus and a Dual LED flash is as good as any other N series device which means its great. I took the following shot using the camera of the N900 and as you can see, its turned out pretty impressive. Its a shot in the direction of the Palm Island from Nokia’s office in Dubai.


In summary, the N900 shows great potential but faults in three areas. First of all, the entire interface begs for a capacitive screen and although Nokia has tried hard to make it finger friendly, the likes of iPhone and Android with their fluid interface just put the N900 down. Secondly, while the N900 has transcended into being a computer, it has forgotten how to be a user-friendly “phone” – using it as a phone is tedious at times. Lastly, the accelerometer should work on a system level and not on an application level- I should be allowed to to read my text messages, emails or even surf the web holding the device in portrait mode. Competing platforms such as the iPhone, Android and even the Blackberry allow me to do that- no reason why Maemo shouldn’t.

This is the first Nokia Smartphone based on Maemo and I have a feeling that with software upgrades, the screen rotation and phone applications would probably be bettered with a software update but a capitative screen will obviously require new hardware. Nokia has been quite receptive about my feedback on the N900 and I have a feeling that it will mature nicely over time- especially with Maemo and Linux behind it. It’s a wonderful device if you’re a geek but it needs work to attract the average user.

The Nokia N900 is currently available across Nokia stores in the UAE for AED 3,000 (US$800).

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Abbas Jaffar Ali is the founder of and a blogger, geek and self-declared tech pundit who can't stop talking about technology. Find him on twitter as @ajaffarali

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  • Sucker

    Strange, you got this phone in dubai. the phone quality is worse than ever. worst phone of all nokia till date.

  • calvin

    This is the worst nokia, i have ever used, it is already started freezing and unlike other touch screens which have some smart keys,this one doesnt have…. I have used nokia for about 11 years and I have always stuck to nokia, preordered this n900m and only got dissapointed …. I might be the only one dissapointed , but the only difference from n97 is that of the maemo, but whaT is the use of the maemo, bla bla bla when the interface is not even friendly…. if it was palm top , it would have been fine, but a smart phone really needs to be smart. This phone is bulky and you really have to keep it somewhere … but not in your pocket. I have always criticized the iphone, but in this case i really dont know what to say now

    • fdk

      If you're not a tech freak, N900 is not for you. The things you can do with a N900… :) Anyways, the phone is a bit bulky.

  • MC

    What is the obsession with capacitive screens? The Iphone has the magnifying bubble when trying to enter text, but it is still woefully inaccurate. Now think how bad it is going to be at double the resolution. Resistive are also better in sunlight (killer feature out here in the Middle East, I’d have thought), and you can use any old object to press it. IPhone’s screen is almost too sensitive for my fat fingers.

    I’ve never had a problem scrolling resistive screens and can’t believe you actually made that part into a whole article.

    Maybe also mention that the lack of portrate apps is on the list of things to address for the Maemo devs and will happen. This is very much the equivilent to Iphone software 1.0 so by the time it is developed, it should be something special.

  • markzenegar

    The Nokia N900, which we used for a week, runs on Maemo 5, a lightweight version of Debian, one of the major Linux distributions that Nokia chose to Android. An ambitious strategy, even foolhardy for a Nokia is increasingly isolated on the front of the smartphone. But moreover, it was dealing with a telephone, an Internet Tablet or a Pocket PC? The manufacturer of mobile computer speaks and highlights the “extreme speed and unparalleled performance” of its mobile. The camera will be available in early December in The Phone House stores, for about 650 euros, excluding subscription promotion.

    For more detail you can move at :

  • logan frye

    ya this phone is getting a lot of bad reviews but I like it. touch screen is awesome and pictures are incrdible, feel like i paid 500 for a camera. i upgraded from the nokia N97 and bought a n900 and BB9700 from and gave my wife the bb cuz she’s obsessed. i’m going to keep this one until a better nicer nokia comes out so i’ll keep my fingers crossed!

  • imp

    Used this phone for almost 2 months now and it is brilliant. Good keyboard, great screen, great web experience, loads of my usual Linux apps. It's better after each OS update
    One caveat – I'm techy. I would not recommend it for anyone not of the geek genus, but then it was never ment for them.

    That said, maps is pretty pants and it needs deaper profile customisation so emails and IMs don't wake you up at night. Mail could be faster too.

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  • logan

    great phone. a little thicker than i’d like. processor is faster though than my old unlocked touch screen phones. simple to use, texting and web browsing is good. my partner loves it for the gps and the wifi and my family loves their unlocked at&t phones for the facebook and games. speaker is really loud and it hooks up to my computer simply. also the camera and recorder are great. got our last couple unlocked cheap phones at 2 thumbs way up

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