It all starts with a swipe….
Meego Harmattan with its unique and perhaps the best UI in ages after the revolutionary smooth and sleek UI from Apple’s iPhone back in the days. Has changed the way many N9 users operate “Navigate” “Close” “Minimize” their apps on a smartphone. If you still are wondering what is it im “Swiping” about and have not seen the Nokia N9 in action, you my friend has missed the best of 2011 from smartphones! Take a look at the Nokia N9.
The N9 has received honors in 2011 Swedish Mobile Awards, where it sweeps Best Design, Best Camera & Best Mobile of the Year 2011 honors. Using it for a month i cant disagree. It is by far the best looking mobile phone of the year 2011. The “PolyCarbonate ” uni-body design of the N9 gives it godlike beauty and sexiness, which has captured eyes all around the world.The PolyCarbonate body is not painted , it is the color of the material itself so you don’t have to worry about loss of paint as the years pass by. Very sensible material to choose for a device that is likely to wear its beauty for years to come. With amazing ergonomics for one hand use and a perfect weight balance , so that you dont have strains holding it for long instances, the N9 design sets standards for the 4″ module.
It is obvious that the N9 ‘ s design has been Minimalistic all around. The volume rocker and the power/unlock button sits on the right side of the devices,at the top sits the MicroSIM card slot,USB port and a 3.5mm headphone jack together with tv output.The right side is left void while the stereo speaker grill and the microphone sits on the bottom of the device. At the back, carefully placed over a silver plate , 8 mega pixel camera with the carl zeiss optics , dual LED flash which provides brighter light than other dual leds from Nokia and are smaller compared to those of N900, with a microphone for active Noise Cancellation for Voice clarity. No dedicated camera button on the device. On the face of the device sits the beautiful & sharp 3.9″ AMOLED under the Corning Gorilla Glass, which is effectively Scratch resistant and doesn’t break when you accidentally drop the device. The proximity sensor placed on the top right of the device beside the phone speaker slot, with a notification LED at the bottom left and the front facing camera on the bottom right corner . No physical or capacitive HOME button on the Nokia N9, making it the 1st phone to actually work brilliantly without the need of a Home Button on the front.
The most used button of a mobile device is perhaps the UNLOCK button, with the N9 it sits quitely on the sidelines as the well thought UI of the N9 kicks in and starts to amaze you as you hold the phone for the first time. A simple DOUBLE TAP on the screen brings up the standby screen where you just have to swipe the screen on any direction from the edges, its that easy and intuitive.
You are then welcomed by the application menu , which is composed of all the apps you have preinstalled on the first boot. Another major aspect of the UI are the 3 panoramic home-screens for specific functions and act on Swiping Gestures, unique to the N9 .
The main applications menu on the middle, swipe left from there to go to the Notifications & Social Networking and Alert feed screen, swipe again to the left and you will have the Multitasking window in front of you. Continue swiping and you will see the other 2 screens displayed in order by infinite scrolling. The main screen has the basic functions lied out on a grid pattern , Phone , Contacts, Messages , Maps and the other preinstalled application icon sits on the grid of 4×6. Icons are a beauty themselves, easily arranged ,simply by long pressing the target icon and dragging it to your desired slot.
The Social Networking and Alert feed screen makes space for missed calls,unread email & sms,calendar events,local weather,Twitter, Facebook and space for Update alerts. This screen does a pretty neat job of taking care of updating Facebook status and tweets from your buddies on a smooth scrollable list with profile pictures. The Multitasking screen offers live view of all the apps opened and currently running on the background proving its true multitasking capabilities, which you will read about later. On the top of the screen the status bar with time and battery meter on each ends. The notification tab is rightly brought out by single taping on the status bar, which has the Profile changer to BEEP,SILENT RING . The system volume ,Bluetooth shortcut,WiFi status, social network availability status and transfers made. Well arranged and works perfect. You can easily change from Silent > Ring vice versa by the volume rocker very easily and will vibrate feedback to let you know you set it to highest or lowest ring profile.
The neat dialer application of the N9 is truly refreshing to look at and operate, contacts are ordered by alphabetical order with rounded thumbnails. Finding contacts is very easy even if you have more than say 500 names on the list, side scroll easily through the alphabets, and surely you wont skip any of the letters while scrolling. You can also take help of the search tab , which will appear if you gently scroll down taping the contacts and release it instantaneously. Very sensibly put by the UI development team, no doubt.
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Messages are all arranged on one single workspace, with SMS, MMS & IM (facebook,skype,google+) all in one simplified list with respect to contacts. So you get all the 3 functions from a single contact on his Conversation thread :
The on-screen qwerty works well without any issues of congestion etc , gives good feedback as you tap in keys,but the integration of Swype input makes typing/swyping clean as a whistle! The native email client of the N9 is very simple to use with the minimalistic touches all around it, making emails on the go more easily. I never was a fan of push email on mobile devices, the N9 made me think again.
Mobile devices recently have replaced the way we track our time & schedules. We all are used to bringing out our phones more than several times a day,unlock the device just to see the time, the N9 with the AMOLED display is able to display the time even when the screen is locked so you don’t have to go through all the hassle, yes it isn’t something new , but it isn’t something we recently find on other smartphones, which really means a lot on a daily basis. The clock application is a class of its own, the minimalistic clock design resembles the hands of a conventional wall clock and you are made to turn it round to fix it, fun eh? Yes it is! The calendar is also kept as simple as the rest of the UI, swipe left/right to go through months and on the bottom are buttons to change views to WEEK,DAILY and controls to set reminders. Pretty basic common sense and well thought through out by the design team, hats off to them as many “High-End” smartphones fail to have a proper clock & calendar built-in.
Maps Nokia Drive
Nokia Maps isn’t still available for Bangladesh , but you can use the Maps application for sattelite (GoogleEarth like) view on your phone and also can locate your position on the map. I gave it a try indoors from the 5th floor and surprisingly the phone got a pretty accurate GPS lock on and i was impressed by the smooth and lag free navigation on the maps. Nokia Drive , a free voice navigation for turn by turn service provided by NOKIA will not work here in Dhaka though. So no conclusions on that. But if you travel abroad, do sync your device with the Maps and Voice Navigation Map before leaving to take a go at the built in sat-nav!
We were provided the 64 GB variant of the N9, also available on 16GB. No tension with storing 720HD movies, HD music & HD video songs on the N9, but i rather think a 32 GB version would have hit the sweet spot over the 16 GB version(8GB for User). Media transfers are done by usb-pc suite for the N9 called NOKIA LINK.
The UI blowed my mind when I launchedthe Music Player! Album art never looked better!
The bright and vivid AMOLED screen of the N9 favors a brilliant presentation for mp3 music playback,where the album art takes up half of the interface.The artwork also can pause playback if you touch it. Basic functions like fast forward,seeking and more data on track are placed quite effectively. The ability to set as favorite,repeat and shuffle placed at the bottom. Sadly the music player doesn’t have an equilizer for those of you who like to tinker with the levels, but the N9 has a built-in Dolby Mobile sound enhancement with support for Dolby Headphones and Home Theater systems . The good news is with Dolby Surround enabled the audio output improves on bass and treble with the Nokia WH-901 provided with the N9. So you wont be disappointed. But if you are wondering how it compares to the iPhone/iPod audio , its a bit less louder when out on the busy streets of Dhaka, but loud enough in every other situations, with the increased rates of “kan nosto public” its safe to keep the volume to a balance, though i prefer it Loud&Clear! More on the Music player on the video below, please check it out my humble attempt to video reviewing.
The Video player brings out the best of the 3.9″ AMOLED on the N9,helped by Nokia’s ClearBlack display for deeper blacks. Videos straight out of the mobile screen looks more vivid and honestly pops out of the curved screen. My pc’s led panel looked paler when i played the same video on the n9 side by side. It is really good, and you will believe me if you have already seen the brilliant AMOLED on the Samsung Galaxy SII. Video playback is on landscape only with support for MP4/H.264/H.263/WMV and DivX & Xvid out off the box.
Ive played couple of 720p bluray movies on the N9 and it was flawless, was expecting lag though not faced any. Don’t worry you can easily watch 2 or more 720p HD Movies and last a day of charge on the N9. One brilliant thing you can do with the N9 only, is to swipe while the video is played and see whats happening behind, amazing!
The 8 Mega Pixel camera takes very quite decent photos, decent in today’s standards. The camera UI is kept clean and functional with only 4 components on the viewfinder. On the left are the Image/Video settings, other side composed of gallery, shoot button and the Still Image / Video Record toggle. The entire screen is left clear for TouchFocus, which is a good feature together with Face Detection and Geo- Tagging. Carefully pressing the Shoot button also locks the autofocus on your subject. Shooting on low lights with high ISO , the N9 handles OK with noise levels , also helped by the 2nd generation LED flash producing brighter light for that extra illumination. In bright light pictures look good, not as detailed as the world’s best camera phone N8 or the mighty iPHONE 4S. But the N9 does excellent on video recording in 720p resolution with great audio and video quality even at night. The scene modes work well , and the phone does capture nice detailed Macro shots as well.
The Photo gallery is pretty basic and clean as the rest of the UI, with 15 thumbnails of your captured photos,images and recorded videos. Four controls on the bottom of the screen a Macro icon , which shows all images stored on the N9 , beside that is the Photos icon which displays only contents captured by the N9 (photo&video) followed by the option to mark as favorite. The more button takes asks you to share your media , put tags on them for filtering and the option to delete bulk/single photos.
Scrolling though the gallery is an easily affair,pinch to zoom works fine then the AMOLED display kicks in and displays amazing crisp looking photos,Social Network integration adds easy and fast ways to share media to YouTube,Facebook,Twitter,Picasa,Email,MMS,Bluetooth and more social networking means, making the gallery a success in every aspect possible today.
Work & Studies, Reading Emails, PDF , Microsoft office documents, Excel and PowerPoint slides are smooth and hassle free. But the ability to edit the documents are missing from the built-in applications. Don’t worry for that brilliant apps like FreeOffice etc are coming for the rescue.
Sporting Bengali fonts ( numerical) the N9’s sleek Calculator app wow’s many when they see the Very 1st Bengali Mobile Calculator and it WORKS AND IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL LOOKING AVAILABLE 😉 !
Games and Built-in applications are ample for your daily Social Entertainment needs,Popular titles like AngryBirds, RealGolf 2011 and Needforspeed Shift are pre-installed and performs flawlessly on the brilliant screen of the N9.
More games and hacks on the N9 from : N9FANCLUB SITE
yet if you think you need more, the ever expanding Nokia Store and Apps For Meego are there for all the 3rd party apps for the N9. And don’t hesitate in thinking if you would get the best apps, the Meego Developers are one of the Best out there in making brilliant innovative apps and games for your Meego device. Nokia did say Meego is dead but the MaemoMeego Community Developers support are unmatched when it comes to platform improvements.
The more you get to know the N9, you learn more about the Depth of the UI and the amazing amount of thinking and hard work put into the brilliant and easy OS , Meego Harmattan . For a regular Bangladeshi , the N9 will truly bring the whole Mobile Experience to the hands. Its a shame for Nokia for leaving the N9 out in the wild like an orphan. But she is a child you won’t regret adopting in your caring hands. Its an amazing experience that leaves you Swiping Up/Down , Sideways to close & minimize in everyother phone you take in hand after using the N9 for a couple of hands. Its so addictive and so easy. The design catches everyone’s eyes and the functionality will make satisfy you in every way possible today. The limited production units of the N9 makes it an envyable device that you might own or see in only a few hands in Bangladesh/World. Limited Edition White N9 makes her sex appeal even more in the Global Market.
The N9 has revolutionized Design & UI in the smartphone industry, definitely Nokia who are coming up with handsets like the Lumia 800 and 900 which are from the same design team and endorse the N9’s beautiful polycarbonate shell. China thinks of the N9 to be in a different species of Mobile devices, and they are right. The N9 fights on being unique and stand out of the war of APPS / ecosystems and remains as the perfect example of what a smartphone should be. And comes in the most beautiful dreams of many and will always be my best smartphone experience.
I’m very glad the Nokia team let me have my hands on the N9 and i thank them again. All the days i had used the N9, as a primary device, i had thought it would give an impression only of a perfect Geek’s device like the N900 & N950 gives to you, but surprisingly the N9 , is truly Honest,Geeky,Smart,Sexy,Sleek,Astounding & Pure!
Thanks for reading! And please leave your thoughts about my review on the N9, would love your feedback! Thank you and thank you N9! before you leave here is the Chinese TVC of the N9 which portrays a true image of the N9 , enjoy in Chinese !
Price Of the N9 : 52,000 taka.