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Posts: 147 | Thanked: 219 times | Joined on Feb 2010 @ Toronto, Canada
#1
I hope you guys won't hate me too much for this post, and please keep in mind I tore down my personal N900 trying to correct the broken USB connector for everybody. You can still see my attempt at

http://talk.maemo.org/showthread.php?t=45385

I loved the N900, and I was truly looking forward to the N9, hoping it would be at least as good or better. So I bought the first reasonably priced black 64Gb N9 phone I could find in my city. Keep in mind I'm in North America, and the N9 is not available from a carrier, every single one is imported and overpriced by a wide margin. And I promptly sold it after about 2 weeks.

I am comparing the N9 (PR1.2) to the N900 (latest CSSU) and the HTC Sensation (ICS 4.0.3 Sense ROM), which is an older Android phone that is about half the price of the N9 16Gb. I also used extensively the HTC Desire and Samsung Galaxy Nexus with different custom ROMS.

INTRODUCTION

Let me start by saying I love swipe. I think its revolutionary, and once you get used to it any other user interface feels clunky and outdated. The N9 excels at human interaction, at ease of use while retaining a fully multitasking environment. I fell in love with swipe the first time I used it. But swipe is useful in navigating between the things you do with the device, and this is the point of this review.

Web browser:

Compared to the N900, the N9 feels faster at loading and rendering pages, which I frankly expected since it's 2 years newer. But it lacks bookmarks (sorry, cluttering my application list with 30 bookmarks is NOT a good idea, and adding a folder requiring extra taps to access does not fix it). The N9 also lacks any kind of ad blocker, forcing me to resort to a custom hosts file, while the N900 had adblock available on the repositories. I also tried fennec on the N9, and it's incomplete with a very, very slow interface.

Compared to the Sensation's stock browser, the N9's browser is a relic from a different era. Loading pages, rendering, scrolling are all immensely faster on the Sensation. No wonder, given that it's a dual core @1.5Ghz. But when the Sensation is under CAD$300 while I just sold the N9 for CAD$600, this is inexcusable. I do have to be honest here regarding ad blocking. The Sensation does not and cannot have it UNLESS you root the phone. But I have a feeling that is the first step many of us old N900 users would do anyway on any Android device.

Also clicking links was an exercise in frustration on the N9. At default zoom it would consistently register taps on the wrong links. Even on this site I kept giving people thanks on random posts instead of clicking Next Page. I may be all thumbs, but the Sensation seems to guess correctly the vast majority of times.

Virtual Keyboard:

Clear winner by a long shot is the N900. Try as they may, the N9 and Sensation suck. That said, as far as as virtual keyboards go the Sensation wins, both in portrait and landscape mode.

Just like clicking links, the N9 was consistently less precise than the Sensation. But it was also less precise than the HTC Desire which has a smaller screen. I won't argue the double function keys on the Sensation where a long press inserts a number or symbol thus saving a tap. That is a matter of preference, and the N9 keyboard design had its benefits.

Navigation:

Nokia did a great job here. I downloaded all the maps for North America from Nokia, and I could navigate using GPS positioning without using 3G. However, the Maps app would consistently crash when trying to load it without having the GPS enabled. It would not ask me "Hey, would you like to use your GPS or Network Positioning?" like the Sensation. It would just close. Not a big deal, but yet another small issue to contend with.

Navigation without 3G is impossible on the Sensation. However I am lucky, because as long as I stay within Canada I have 6Gb monthly data from coast to coast. And there are plenty of paid GPS navigation apps for Android to choose from.

Camera:

Why include a front facing camera on the N9 if even the OS itself does not support it?!? Yes, PR1.2 will fix that months after launch, but Skype may still not work with it. The Sensation's front camera works perfectly with Skype. This is a big deal for me, since I have relatives abroad, and I use Skype very often.

The still images captured by the N9 are better than the Sensation though. Nokia quality shines through here. And yet the Sensation can record 1080p video, compared to the N9's 720p.

STORE or REPOSITORY APPS:

The N9 is so far behind Android, it's not even worth discussing. Even if you want to stick to pure open source apps, just look up fdroid and getjar. They have more open source apps than all the N9 apps together. It seemed like the majority of N9 apps were some kind of references or maybe bookmarks, wallpapers and ringtones. I never installed those, so I couldn't tell. What's up with those being listed as apps?!?

The quality of the apps is also rather poor. Compare FBReader on the N9 with FBReader on the N900 and now take a look at Cool Reader on Android. Make up your own mind which is better (hint: N9<N900<Android). And it's not as if Cool Reader has a huge development team, it's just one guy. I read many books on my phones, so this example stayed in my mind, but there are many others.

Even when compared to the N900, the N9 is just not cutting it. Load up fapman on the N900 and you can see a LOT of apps. Many haven't been updated in a very long time since the devs gave up on the platform. But they still work as indented.

I prefer quality over quantity, and there are a lot of garbage apps on the Android Market. But the N9 doesn't have either quantity nor quality with a few exceptions.

BUGS:

A huge issue bug I ran into with the N9 was the idle battery drain caused by meegotouch (I can't find the bug number, but I tried) It was assigned to a Nokia developer, however it will NOT be fixed in PR1.2, so I'd have to live with it for the foreseeable future. My battery would drain around 40-50% in 8 hours while I was sleeping. Workaround? Move icons on the screen when I'd detect a battery drain. Right.

That the N9 has bugs is not the issue, since it's expected with a new platform. But Nokia may at any moment drop support for it and forget the phone ever existed. It happened with the N900, and without the CSSU a lot of problems would have remained unresolved.

Conclusion:

Thank you for reading this far. I spent a long time writing this post, but my purpose was not to start a flame war. I do not even expect a reply, although it would be nice to hear your thoughts. I am a Linux geek who saw great promise in the N900, only to be disappointed by the N9 and the end of a dream.

I HATE Android. I hate rooting Android devices, which was as simple as installing rootsh on the N900. I hate giving Google all my personal information so they can sell it to the highest bidder or use it to create a perfect copy of me on their servers. I hate having to be check when I install an app whether or not they will send my contacts or other information to even more companies. And I HATE having to settle for the Sensation, which after the N9 feels unfriendly and difficult to use.

While I do think Elop was insane to make his announcement so far ahead of the Lumia release, especially since Windows Mobile in its current iteration is even worse than Meego, he had a point. Meego is unfinished, and now it will remain incomplete forever. Even worse, on many levels it is worse than Maemo. So now I am faced with the prospect of... what? I guess the answer is "get a life and stop treating a crappy phone as the center of your existence"
 
bingomion's Avatar
Posts: 530 | Thanked: 343 times | Joined on Aug 2010 @ MLB.AU
#2
'and without the CSSU a lot of problems would have remained unresolved.'
lol really, like what problems?

'I am a Linux geek who saw great promise in the N900, only to be disappointed by the N9 and the end of a dream.'
geek?, fan boy maybe..

Get another N900, file the micro-usb clips off and enjoy!
 
Posts: 314 | Thanked: 107 times | Joined on Feb 2012 @ Bratislava, Slovakia
#3
Originally Posted by cr0c0 View Post
I hope you guys won't hate me too much for this post, and please keep in mind I tore down my personal N900 trying to correct the broken USB connector for everybody. You can still see my attempt at

http://talk.maemo.org/showthread.php?t=45385

I loved the N900, and I was truly looking forward to the N9, hoping it would be at least as good or better. So I bought the first reasonably priced black 64Gb N9 phone I could find in my city. Keep in mind I'm in North America, and the N9 is not available from a carrier, every single one is imported and overpriced by a wide margin. And I promptly sold it after about 2 weeks.

I am comparing the N9 (PR1.2) to the N900 (latest CSSU) and the HTC Sensation (ICS 4.0.3 Sense ROM), which is an older Android phone that is about half the price of the N9 16Gb. I also used extensively the HTC Desire and Samsung Galaxy Nexus with different custom ROMS.

INTRODUCTION

Let me start by saying I love swipe. I think its revolutionary, and once you get used to it any other user interface feels clunky and outdated. The N9 excels at human interaction, at ease of use while retaining a fully multitasking environment. I fell in love with swipe the first time I used it. But swipe is useful in navigating between the things you do with the device, and this is the point of this review.

Web browser:

Compared to the N900, the N9 feels faster at loading and rendering pages, which I frankly expected since it's 2 years newer. But it lacks bookmarks (sorry, cluttering my application list with 30 bookmarks is NOT a good idea, and adding a folder requiring extra taps to access does not fix it). The N9 also lacks any kind of ad blocker, forcing me to resort to a custom hosts file, while the N900 had adblock available on the repositories. I also tried fennec on the N9, and it's incomplete with a very, very slow interface.

Compared to the Sensation's stock browser, the N9's browser is a relic from a different era. Loading pages, rendering, scrolling are all immensely faster on the Sensation. No wonder, given that it's a dual core @1.5Ghz. But when the Sensation is under CAD$300 while I just sold the N9 for CAD$600, this is inexcusable. I do have to be honest here regarding ad blocking. The Sensation does not and cannot have it UNLESS you root the phone. But I have a feeling that is the first step many of us old N900 users would do anyway on any Android device.

Also clicking links was an exercise in frustration on the N9. At default zoom it would consistently register taps on the wrong links. Even on this site I kept giving people thanks on random posts instead of clicking Next Page. I may be all thumbs, but the Sensation seems to guess correctly the vast majority of times.

Virtual Keyboard:

Clear winner by a long shot is the N900. Try as they may, the N9 and Sensation suck. That said, as far as as virtual keyboards go the Sensation wins, both in portrait and landscape mode.

Just like clicking links, the N9 was consistently less precise than the Sensation. But it was also less precise than the HTC Desire which has a smaller screen. I won't argue the double function keys on the Sensation where a long press inserts a number or symbol thus saving a tap. That is a matter of preference, and the N9 keyboard design had its benefits.

Navigation:

Nokia did a great job here. I downloaded all the maps for North America from Nokia, and I could navigate using GPS positioning without using 3G. However, the Maps app would consistently crash when trying to load it without having the GPS enabled. It would not ask me "Hey, would you like to use your GPS or Network Positioning?" like the Sensation. It would just close. Not a big deal, but yet another small issue to contend with.

Navigation without 3G is impossible on the Sensation. However I am lucky, because as long as I stay within Canada I have 6Gb monthly data from coast to coast. And there are plenty of paid GPS navigation apps for Android to choose from.

Camera:

Why include a front facing camera on the N9 if even the OS itself does not support it?!? Yes, PR1.2 will fix that months after launch, but Skype may still not work with it. The Sensation's front camera works perfectly with Skype. This is a big deal for me, since I have relatives abroad, and I use Skype very often.

The still images captured by the N9 are better than the Sensation though. Nokia quality shines through here. And yet the Sensation can record 1080p video, compared to the N9's 720p.

STORE or REPOSITORY APPS:

The N9 is so far behind Android, it's not even worth discussing. Even if you want to stick to pure open source apps, just look up fdroid and getjar. They have more open source apps than all the N9 apps together. It seemed like the majority of N9 apps were some kind of references or maybe bookmarks, wallpapers and ringtones. I never installed those, so I couldn't tell. What's up with those being listed as apps?!?

The quality of the apps is also rather poor. Compare FBReader on the N9 with FBReader on the N900 and now take a look at Cool Reader on Android. Make up your own mind which is better (hint: N9<N900<Android). And it's not as if Cool Reader has a huge development team, it's just one guy. I read many books on my phones, so this example stayed in my mind, but there are many others.

Even when compared to the N900, the N9 is just not cutting it. Load up fapman on the N900 and you can see a LOT of apps. Many haven't been updated in a very long time since the devs gave up on the platform. But they still work as indented.

I prefer quality over quantity, and there are a lot of garbage apps on the Android Market. But the N9 doesn't have either quantity nor quality with a few exceptions.

BUGS:

A huge issue bug I ran into with the N9 was the idle battery drain caused by meegotouch (I can't find the bug number, but I tried) It was assigned to a Nokia developer, however it will NOT be fixed in PR1.2, so I'd have to live with it for the foreseeable future. My battery would drain around 40-50% in 8 hours while I was sleeping. Workaround? Move icons on the screen when I'd detect a battery drain. Right.

That the N9 has bugs is not the issue, since it's expected with a new platform. But Nokia may at any moment drop support for it and forget the phone ever existed. It happened with the N900, and without the CSSU a lot of problems would have remained unresolved.

Conclusion:

Thank you for reading this far. I spent a long time writing this post, but my purpose was not to start a flame war. I do not even expect a reply, although it would be nice to hear your thoughts. I am a Linux geek who saw great promise in the N900, only to be disappointed by the N9 and the end of a dream.

I HATE Android. I hate rooting Android devices, which was as simple as installing rootsh on the N900. I hate giving Google all my personal information so they can sell it to the highest bidder or use it to create a perfect copy of me on their servers. I hate having to be check when I install an app whether or not they will send my contacts or other information to even more companies. And I HATE having to settle for the Sensation, which after the N9 feels unfriendly and difficult to use.

While I do think Elop was insane to make his announcement so far ahead of the Lumia release, especially since Windows Mobile in its current iteration is even worse than Meego, he had a point. Meego is unfinished, and now it will remain incomplete forever. Even worse, on many levels it is worse than Maemo. So now I am faced with the prospect of... what? I guess the answer is "get a life and stop treating a crappy phone as the center of your existence"
Interesting concept...
I´m not gonna evaluate your opinions on N9 as they might pretty much differ from user to user, but I like the honesty and especially the last sentence, which is probably the truest thought a reasonable person could ever come up with...
the N9 is definitely a masterpiece of its own kind, no matter the issues here and there..it´s a phone you simply don´t wanna let go of once you got hold of it..
I´m as well a lot disappointed of the lack of apps and I really hate to see the app-advertisements of probably ANYTHING you can imagine in a day-to-day life in this world available only and strictly for either iOS or Droid...
but I guess once it gets PR1.2 and then 1.3 updates, it will change to some very sexy, finally a very usable and really appraised thing...
and I´m positive its uniqueness will last at least 2 years...
then we can easily change it to some quad-core, HD packed and superfast iPhone 5 or 6...
 
Posts: 185 | Thanked: 62 times | Joined on Sep 2010 @ Veitshöchheim, Germany
#4
Well if Elop would have concentrate on MeeGo, i am sure we would be at 1.3 by now and other versions upcoming. You cannot compare something that didnt get enough attention and wont get much more attention in the future. I had the N900 and now i have the N9 and even if it doesnt have so much apps yet and some other things i am missing, the N9 is a great phone and has its advantages compared to all the other phones out there (even the N900). If you sold your N9 after 2 weeks, you surely did not have enough time to test everything. I have my N9 now for 2 weeks and i am playing with it like 24/7 and yet i couldnt install all the apps and test them out in this time (but thats also because ovi store is flooded with useless rss feeds and **** and it takes time to find "real" apps)
 
Posts: 314 | Thanked: 107 times | Joined on Feb 2012 @ Bratislava, Slovakia
#5
and speaking of which,
I just got back from Copenhagen, some job duties, and I talked to a Finnish guy who had the Lumia 800 (he said they were given them in a job as a gift)...
once he saw my N9, he immediately wanted to switch the phones and wouldn´t wanna let go of mine
so I did a little comparison and I must honestly say that the WP Mango is a crappy s..t...he was even unable to get the clock as a damn screen saver...the interface is somewhat confusive, though it is really fast...you really need to tap a way many times just to get to your last calls...
I once contemplated to switch my N9 to Lumia just out of curiosity, but as I had the other thing in my hands for a few minutes I´d say never-ever...

Last edited by jleholeho; 2012-02-15 at 10:35.
 
panjgoori's Avatar
Posts: 1,217 | Thanked: 1,247 times | Joined on Aug 2011 @ Balochistan
#6
if Elop was rite then Nokia didn't have to lost 1.3 billion last quarter. even dude Symbian is doing much better than WP.

Does anyone counting how many threads are their with same questions and suggestions. Please stop it now its enough.
 
Posts: 147 | Thanked: 219 times | Joined on Feb 2010 @ Toronto, Canada
#7
bingomion, look at the CSSU changelog and you'll see how many bugs they fixed, and how many features they introduced. Sadly I cannot really go back to the N900, because in Canada its 3G bands are incompatible with my carrier, and I cannot switch carriers. My phone plan would cost anywhere between CAD$150-200/month with someone else, whereas it costs me CAD$80/month right now.

I do find your suggestion that I am a fan boy amusing. Fan boy of what? The N900, N9 or Sensation?

tebsu, although I only had the N9 for two weeks, I have have a fairly extensive experience with smartphones. If something doesn't work properly, I know how to spot it. Tell me I'm wrong about the erroneous link clicking on the N9.

There may have been a few things I missed on the N9, but take a look at my ad blocking thread and some of the proposed solutions:

http://talk.maemo.org/showthread.php?t=82180

When the main fix is to flash an experimental kernel that has quite a few drawbacks, or to use an alternate browser that is not very usable, you just know something's wrong. Ultimately modifying the hosts file works, but I don't think that's something a normal user should have to do.

You are right though. If Nokia would have focused exclusively on Meego they could have had something great. But they didn't, and now they never will.

jleholeho, I have never used Windows Mobile, but I believe you that it is awful. That is one aspect every reviewer agrees with. And having Elop bet the house on it was simply idiotic. Going with Android and transforming Nokia into yet another generic Android manufacturer would have made more sense than becoming a generic Windows Mobile manufacturer. Sticking with Symbian/Meego would have made even more sense IF they had pumped all the company resources into Meego. But they didn't.

Look guys, the reason for my previous post was not to bash the N9. I liked the phone, but I did not think it was worth $600. I may still pick one up just to play with when the price drops down to CAD$2-300. And by the looks of things that may happen very soon, within half a year.

I was partially venting my frustration. :P Although I haven't posted much, I spent 2 years reading this forum and I did not want to give up on it. However it looks like this is the end for me, and I am a bit sad for it.
 
Posts: 314 | Thanked: 107 times | Joined on Feb 2012 @ Bratislava, Slovakia
#8
I understand...
I bought my 16gb black N9 for 350 EUR here in Slovakia (it was officially released here and it`s still being advertised and offered by providers, with a full support in Nokia stores), which is some 450 USD...if it was more expensive I probably wouldn`t go for it, either...
what I did was that I grabbed new white iPhone 4s from my provider as I had a new 2-year plan coming up, for some 300 EUR, I sold it for some 530 EUR within a day and instantly bought new, unlocked N9, central EU version, from another guy...so I basically got the N9 for some 120 EUR...
you can still get new, unlocked N9 for the similar or lower price here in EU, I suggest to try German or Austrian eBay (ebay.de, ebay.at) if you`ll ever be interested...I`m sure some top-rated sellers there won`t have a problem with shipping the thing to Canada, too...

Last edited by jleholeho; 2012-02-15 at 22:28.
 
Posts: 147 | Thanked: 219 times | Joined on Feb 2010 @ Toronto, Canada
#9
Originally Posted by jleholeho View Post
I understand...
I bought my 16gb black N9 for 350 EUR here in Slovakia (it was officially released here and it`s still being advertised and offered by providers, with a full support in Nokia stores), which is some 450 USD...if it was more expensive I probably wouldn`t go for it, either...
what I did was that I grabbed new white iPhone 4s from my provider as I had a new 2-year plan coming up, for some 300 EUR, I sold it for some 530 EUR within a day and instantly bought new, unlocked N9, central EU version, from another guy...so I basically got the N9 for some 120 EUR...
you can still get new, unlocked N9 for the similar or lower price here in EU, I suggest to try German or Austrian eBay (ebay.de, ebay.at) if you`ll ever be interested...I`m sure some top-rated sellers there won`t have a problem with shipping the thing to Canada, too...
What I did to get my N9 was even better. After some rebates I got the Samsung Galaxy Nexus for free from my carrier, and I traded it for the N9 to some guy locally. So my N9 did not cost me a cent.
 
Posts: 314 | Thanked: 107 times | Joined on Feb 2012 @ Bratislava, Slovakia
#10
Originally Posted by cr0c0 View Post
What I did to get my N9 was even better. After some rebates I got the Samsung Galaxy Nexus for free from my carrier, and I traded it for the N9 to some guy locally. So my N9 did not cost me a cent.
yep, that`s a good one..
 
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