N900 – first impressions
3 minutes read

Collabora was kind enough to buy N900s for all its employees. Yay! I got mine on Friday and has been playing around with it quite a bit. It’s very shiny and the user experience is a lot better than the N810. There are a few graphical glitches, it seems it’s XDamage damaging a bit of a window and it’s just not quick enough to repaint. Not a problem, and it has far fewer instances of just hanging for half a second which my iPhone has. That is, it hasn’t had any of those yet.

The screen is good, but resistive. Takes a short while to get used to when you’re used to capacative, but it’s not a problem at all. The keyboard is good, but I need to map something as the compose key. Having US/UK key caps and using the Norwegian layout is a bit confusing. Not really the fault of the device though.

The web browser is generally quite good. The gestures take a bit of time to get used to, but they’re not hard as such. Some of the default “applications” are implemented as just links to the web pages of services like Twitter, which is a bit silly as you don’t even get a version that’s optimised for the N900. They’re not useless, but they are absolutely nowhere near a real application. Also, the “Store” (Ovi Store) application/web page says “coming soon”, which is quite odd.

I’m not sure if I can change the selection of applications on the default application list, but modifying the desktop is easy. There seems to be few themes and background images available so far, at least in anything resembling official repositories. Hopefully this will improve over time.

So far, I haven’t actually written any code for the N900. I have some applications I want to write, mostly widget-style apps like “when does the next bus home leave from a bus stop close to me and where is the bus stop”, but also some other ones.

Battery life is not great. It almost did 48 hours today with a bit of use underway, and I did charge it before it ran completely out, but when I’m used to closer to a week, it’s not that good. Camera seems good and is quite fast, I think it took less than five seconds from opening the camera shutter until I had taken a picture. Shutter delay is quite bad at about a third or half a second, but this is a mobile phone (or mobile computer, as Nokia likes to call it) and not a DSLR, so I’m quite happy with it.

As a phone, it seems fine so far. I can make calls and accept calls and there’s no noticeable problems with it. It also functions as a modem/DUN over bluetooth, which is quite useful.

Build quality seems good, there’s a good feeling when sliding the keyboard in and out, but only time will tell how good it actually is.

So far, I’m happy with it, it’s a big step up from my previous UK phone (which is a Nokia E70; my iPhone is a 2G phone so I can’t use it here with the provider I’m using). Hopefully I’ll post more happy stories about it in the days to come.

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