Nokia 9290 Communicator review: Nokia 9290 Communicator

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CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
Review Date:
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The Good Sharp color screen; can be used to access and respond to corporate e-mail, as well as browse Web pages and wireless Web sites; IR port; syncs with Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes; MultiMedia Card expansion slot.

The Bad Big and bulky; navigation a bit clunky; doesn't support next-generation high-speed data networks.

The Bottom Line This phone/PDA combo has a lot going for it, including an impressive color screen, but some will be turned off by its heftiness.

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In the mid-1990s, Nokia wowed Americans with one of the first phone/PDA combos, the 9000i Communicator. At the time, it was a breakthrough product that today has a permanent home in the Smithsonian. The company's latest Communicator for the United States, the 9290, is about half the size of the original and features a stunning color screen and a more robust interface. While it's not without its downsides, we liked it more than we expected. In the mid-1990s, Nokia wowed Americans with one of the first phone/PDA combos, the 9000i Communicator. At the time, it was a breakthrough product that today has a permanent home in the Smithsonian. The company's latest Communicator for the United States, the 9290, is about half the size of the original and features a stunning color screen and a more robust interface. While it's not without its downsides, we liked it more than we expected.

Jack-of-all-trades
Like earlier Communicators, this model has a clamshell design. Closed, the 9290 resembles an oversized (1.1 by 2.2 by 6.2 inches), candy bar-style mobile, with a standard numeric keypad and a black-and-white LCD. Open this baby up and you'll find a sharp, 4,096-color TFT display (640x200 resolution) and a QWERTY keyboard. At 8.6 ounces, the 9290 is far from pocket-sized, but to our surprise, it didn't weigh us down when we carried it in a purse or a briefcase.

Running the Symbian OS on its 32-bit ARM processor, the 9290 is also a full-fledged PDA. You can sync the phone with as many contacts as your MultiMedia Card can store and send e-mail from Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes. Since the 9290 also has a full QWERTY keyboard, you can easily update, access, and edit to-do lists and calendar appointments on the 9290.

Above the keyboard, there are eight dedicated keys that launch various applications such as Excel, Word, the calendar, Telephone (make calls via the speakerphone while editing documents on the phone's screen), messaging (send e-mail with attachments and SMS messages), and a Web browser (view HTML or WAP sites). Other phone features include a calculator, a world clock, and the ability to conference call up to five people. You can store additional info, apps, and games on the included 16MB MultiMedia Card. (Note: It doesn't accept SD cards.)

Synching sensation
We tested all of the Communicator's features and found them to be better than adequate in a pinch. If you get acclimated to the odd-sized keyboard (reminiscent of those found on some of the first Windows CE devices), you'll probably use the data and PDA features frequently. Since the phone lacks a touch screen, you'll have to get used to the four-way rocker key on the keypad and the four buttons on the side of the screen to navigate through the phone's menus.

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Where to Buy

Nokia 9290 Communicator

Part Number: 9290
Pricing is currently unavailable.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Talk Time Up to 600 min
  • Technology GSM
  • Service Provider not specified
  • Weight 8.6 oz