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Posts: 751 | Thanked: 521 times | Joined on Mar 2007 @ East Gowanus
#1
Since I didn't really see an official thread about hands on impressions from community members apart from Qole's hands on from Nokia World I thought I would start one so us regular community folks can talk about experiences.

Today I went to the NYC Nokia store and had about 30 - 40 minutes to 'play' with a proto N900 device without supervision of any kind really apart from a manager occasionally coming over to look and here are my impressions.

Hardware -

The device I held was a prototype according to the rep who was there. The build is solid, very solid, albeit a little chunky, think N95 8GB. For those of us used to pocketing N810's it is definitely much smaller and easier to slip into a pocket. The slide mechanism feels 'right', with the right amount of heft to its movement. The screen lock mechanism slider was appropriately placed for landscape use.
The keyboard has a very nice feel and is exponentially better than the N810, the only problem is the 3 rows, which aren't ideal but for me not a deal breaker.
The screen is gorgeous, the size difference from N810 to N900 is noticable but the resolution is so nice that its quickly forgivable.

Software and Experience

For a seasoned tablet user this is a very interesting change to maemo. It really feels like a hybrid between maemo and s60. Maybe its just the icon change to the Nokia standard icons but it is weird looking at the s60 icons to invoke messaging, contacts etc. I tried out pretty much everything I could but there was no sim in the device and I was on a pretty poor wifi connection.
I tried to tether to my 5800 on ATT 3G but the bluetooth on the 5800 kept on turning off so I just gave up.
The kinetic scrolling on every screen was great. Switching desktops was a breeze and I could see how great it will be to be able to run complete desktops with different purposes, work, play, media etc.

There is a nice polish and sheen to things such as application manager. Within the application manager (it was the Extra's enabled not extras' devel) there are some interesting widgets. An AP news streamer, an amazon widget, Dataviz documents to Go and some various plugins such as Picassa support, Qik etc. The wifi connection was so bad I couldn't download the 5.2 mb Dataviz suite after 10 minutes
If packages are appropriately labeled browsing the repository should be an enjoyable experience.
The media player seems to be proficient enough that most users probably won't need to use an alternative player. I plugged in a set of headphones some decent quality earbuds from Shure and listened to the music player with the stock mp3's. It sounded decent I couldn't tell a difference between the N900 or my iPod touch with probably a 160-192kb mp3. I played the N900 movie and it looked stunning. The speakers are not as loud as the N810 I think but still pretty damn loud with good separation.

I tried the bounce game and the graphics were amazing, very high quality and the accelerometer seemed very sensitive and well tuned.

Web browsing on the device was really, really good if not great. I have been spoiled with Bundyo's Tear and I can't wait to see what that browser can do on this device. I loaded up a few websites such as facebook regular and lite, CNN.com, espn.com and had them all running very well in different windows. I then loaded youtube and noticed my first slowdown from using the device. I had some very heavy pages loaded but I think saying that you can multitask EVERY window is a bit of a stretch. Once I closed espn.com the youtube site seemed to respond much better. I had no stuttering at all which was strange as the wifi connection was so bad. That video from jkk seems to be an anomaly or perhaps he had too many windows open already.

The camera took high quality pictures and processed them very quickly, definitely the same quality as an N96 or N97 though. No services were setup and I didn't feel like logging in with any of my personal accounts but all the menus popped up quickly and smoothly. I wanted to bluetooth a picture to my 5800 to share here but once again my 5800 failed

I added a contact and saw there are so many fields and contact services you can enter you can lose count quickly. It is very easy to add these. As I mentioned before there was no SIM in the device but I did test the portrait mode and held the device up to my face. A little big but definitely usable.

There are many more things I did but I will stop here. The biggest thing I can say is that Nokia have something special here. Even after using s60 mobile phones for years and maemo tablets for years, there is something great about having all this power in your hands/pocket with OR WITHOUT a cellular connection. The increase in processor power is exactly what maemo needed to truly realize its destiny. This does not feel like a phone yet though, it is still a mini - computer. The sheer amount of customization completely destroys the competition and will be a blessing for some users and a curse for others. You can do as much with the N900 as you can any netbook and then you also have a phone capabilities and multimedia capabilities. Once Easy Debian is up and running with a bluetooth keyboard and mouse you will have a great little palmtop.

I can see why Nokia is labeling this a multimedia computer and not a smartphone because comparing this experience to an iPhone or a Blackberry is actually unfair to all of the devices.

Needless to say I LOVE THIS DEVICE am going to buy one as soon as they are shipping and I am going to dump Symbian probably for ever.

Questions? ( I will try and answer any questions people may have over the weekend). If you go to Nokia flagship in NYC they have two protos I think behind the counter, just ask. I wasn't able to shoot anything I had my little HV20 to do some HD hands on but the manager refused to let me shoot.
 

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#2
Remember also that what you played with was a prototype. Final hardware as well as the final firmware still are being worked on, and it should only get better from here.
 
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#3
You see why those of us who have used the device, at Nokia World or elsewhere are excited now? :-D
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#4
Guess i better repost mine here....

I spent about 20mins with the device and overall i was impressed, any doubts i had about owning the N900 are now long gone.

I started playing with Karsten's 3D text app which projected messages on to the side of a building which showed off the accelerometer as i moved around text sucked up from Facebook,Twitter and others streaming across a 100ft+ wall. I felt like a Borg taking in the worlds thoughts.

Hardware wise it feels solid and natural in the hand, the keyboard was immediately usable and the learning curve was working out where all the usual keys are and adjusting to the offset spacebar, after 10mins i was flowing nicely. The thing that slowed me down was shifting for 1+2 because theres only one shift key on the left, it was annoying to try and press two keys so close to each other. So a left and right shift key here would be ideal.

The sreen felt solid and there was no sense of give or squishiness, responsiveness was fine in most cases, moving widgets around the home screen was instant and the only part that reminded me of M4, the rest is all new. At times the home screen and photo app wouldnt respond well to short swipes, you need to use a confident and firm swipe to activate it but if you use your nail it was very sensitive, maybe thats by design, maybe screen tech, but i remember what Quim said about the sensitivity being dialled down by design. The rest of the UI responded well to short swipes.

I had a chance to go through the process of setting up new widgets, email, photos and have a look around the repo, it felt like home, easy to use and the UI flowed nicely, I dont think ive ever picked up a new UI so quickly.

I plugged in my quality headphones and jammed while exploring the device, the audio didnt hesitate while doing other stuff and the quality was on par with other N-Series but didnt have time to fully pass judgement. The 2 videos i played worked and looked nice without any obvious judder or smearing but again hard to judge without using my own sources.

The only thing i didnt get to play with sadly was the browser due to lack of connectivity but kinetic scrolling in the repo was sa-weeet.

I know people are saying its not a NIT any more and its just a smartphone but when you use it, you really feel like your using a device that is more than a smartphone and im really excited about getting my N900.
 

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#5
damn i wasn't going to get it cause of the whole step 4 thing because i was scared now im definitely getting it!!!!!!!!!!!
 
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#6
Originally Posted by mobiledivide View Post

Needless to say I LOVE THIS DEVICE am going to buy one as soon as they are shipping and I am going to dump Symbian probably for ever.
May i be churlish and suggest that we will most likely be early adopters of future symbian.

Im off to Nokia PR event tomorrow, hopefully i will get to play with the browser.
 
Posts: 30 | Thanked: 20 times | Joined on Aug 2009 @ Lincolnshire, UK
#7
Hi all, and thanks for sharing your first impressions of (hopefully) my next phone / computer.

Just a couple of questions though if you don't mind answering them. Nothing technical or complicated, just things that i've not seen answered from reading countless reviews and watching pretty much every video available.

1. I know that everything is in landscape except for the phone functions, but what about when viewing photos? If I have a portrait picture will that display as a tiny picture in landscape orientation, or will it fill the screen in portrait orientation? Or, better yet, does the accelerometer work when viewing photos?

2. And, sticking with the picture viewing, how do you zoom into and out of photos when viewing them? I'm guessing the volume rocker?

3. Is there a voice recorder app as on Nokias S60 handsets?

4. When capturing video, presumably its fixed focus, but is the focus set for nearby objects (the same as the N95 for example) or for further away (the same as the N97)?

I do have a few more questions (such as MSN integration) but they won't be as easily answered until after the device is released.

Thanks very much for any info
 

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#8
Originally Posted by steve4130 View Post
1. I know that everything is in landscape except for the phone functions, but what about when viewing photos? If I have a portrait picture will that display as a tiny picture in landscape orientation, or will it fill the screen in portrait orientation? Or, better yet, does the accelerometer work when viewing photos?
It uses the accelerometer to know the orientation of the device when you take the photo, and the photo viewer also uses the accelerometer to show the picture the right way up for whichever way you hold the device. So, if you take a picture in portrait, and view it in landscape; it'll be small. Turn the device and it'll fill the screen.

2. And, sticking with the picture viewing, how do you zoom into and out of photos when viewing them? I'm guessing the volume rocker?
That's the only mechanism I've seen.

3.. Is there a voice recorder app as on Nokias S60 handsets?
Not in the image I've seen (apart from video). Would be trivial for someone to write, though.

4. When capturing video, presumably its fixed focus, but is the focus set for nearby objects (the same as the N95 for example) or for further away (the same as the N97)?
It seemed to do the same half-press-to-focus trick that you'd expect from an auto-focus camera. However, I'm not sure.

I do have a few more questions (such as MSN integration)
Collabora and zerojay are working on additional Telepathy protocols, such as Facebook Chat, MSN, IRC etc. etc.
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#9
I have a few questions if you guys don't mind answering please.

1) Can you actually use fingers like the iPhone / iPod Touch (to a certain extent), or do you have to rely on fingernails? It's hard to tell by the video.

2) Does the screen attract fingerprints and smudges?

3) What features does the camera have? Can it take decent pics closer to most basic digital cameras or is it closer to the cellphone camera side?

I probably have more but I can't think of them right now..
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Originally Posted by ysss View Post
They're maemo and MeeGo...

"Meamo!" sounds like what Zorro would say to catherine zeta jones... after she slaps him for looking at her dirtily...
 

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#10
Can a media/flash intensive site like hulu work on the N900?
 
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