Finnish mobile giant Nokia introduced its latest smartphone, the Nokia N9, today. We at Crave Asia managed to try the new MeeGo smartphone at the Nokia booth at CommunicAsia in Singapore. Here are our early impressions of this sleek-looking mobile.
Weighing just about 4.7 ounces and measuring less than half an inch, the N9 comes in either a 16GB or 64GB configuration. The phone feels great in our hands, and the curved 3.9-inch Corning Gorilla glass AMOLED screen looks fantastic. The display runs at a 16:9 FWVGA (854x480 pixels) resolution.
Nokia has also clarified that the polycarbonate used for the N9's chassis is colored throughout, which means that if there's a scratch, there would be no change in color. The polycarbonate body may seem a little "cheap," but it gives the handset a funky look. The N9 will come in three colors--black, cyan, and magenta.
You'll notice that the smartphone doesn't have any buttons on the front, with only the volume controls and a lock button located on the right side of the device.
The phone runs on MeeGo 1.2, and the user interface greatly resembles the one found on Symbian Anna. The icons in particular, share the same new look, and the overall visual experience is very appealing.
The smartphone relies on swipe gestures to navigate from screen to screen. You can swipe right to left, or up to down. Ideally, you should swipe from the edge of the screen, or you may find that it doesn't work correctly with some apps.
The Nokia N9 has only three screens to speak of. The first screen is where your notifications happen, from social-media feeds to e-mails.
The second screen is a list of all your apps, and there's no way to sort them for now. So the more apps you have, the more you have to scroll to find the app you want. This can be slightly tedious.
The third screen shows all your open apps, and you can tap on any of the windows to jump straight into the app. To close an app, all you need to do is tap and hold on any app, and an "X" will appear on the top right corner of each app, which you can tap to close. There's also a "close all" button you can use.
The 8-megapixel camera was quite responsive, but we didn't have the chance to test its low-light settings. The phone also lets you tweak a variety of shooting modes, including changing the ISO to a maximum of 800 for shooting at night.
Nokia has also integrated NFC in the N9, and it's not just for making mobile payments. The company demoed the pairing of a Bluetooth headphone using NFC (instead of the usual PIN code method).
The performance of the prototype device felt very snappy, and it looks almost ready for retail. As a MeeGo device, the N9 will be running apps based on the Qt platform. Hopefully, N9 buyers will be spoiled with choices in terms of apps once the phone gets released.
The Nokia N9 will retail at $660 and $749 for the 16GB and 64GB models respectively. The phone will be available at the end of the year--the same time period where we can expect to see Mango-flavored Windows Phone 7 Nokia devices.