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Saturday, 30 July 2011

Nokia N9 hands-on: First look


Today's smartphone scene is one of fierce competition and breakneck growth. Rarely though do announcements get any bigger than this. The Nokia N9 seemed forever stuck in rumorland, but never lost its grip on users' minds. The handset is rightfully enjoying as warm a reception as it would have had if it had been announced a year ago.
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Nokia N9 official photos
And you can easily see why: a spanking new OS based on some pretty impressive (and novel!) concepts, sleek unibody design, some decently powerful hardware (even if the N9 missed the dual-core train) and that magnificent 3.9" curved AMOLED of FWVGA resolution is a package that's hard to resist.
We got our hands on this baby today, and although our meeting was brief, it was enough for it to earn a special place in our geeky hearts. The Nokia N9 is an excellent device based on an exciting UI concept and boasting some sleek hardware. But what casts doubt on it is the claim that it represents a dead end in the smartphone tree of evolution.
But let’s not get all emotional now, the thing isn’t even on the market yet. And it looks like the right thing to help Nokia through the hard transition period in the second half of 2011. What we know for sure is we would love to have more whence this came from.
Here are the key specs of the Nokia N9 but remember these numbers tell only half the story:

Nokia N9 at a glance

  • General: GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, UMTS 850/900/1700/1900/2100 MHz, HSDPA 14.4 Mbps, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps
  • Form factor: Touchscreen bar phone
  • Dimensions: 116.5 x 61.2 x 12.1 mm, 76 cc
  • Weight: 135 g
  • Display: 3.9" 16M-color FWVGA (480 x 854 pixels) AMOLED capacitive touchscreen; Gorilla Glass, anti-glare polarizer, curved display, multi-touch input
  • Chipset: 1GHz Cortex A8 CPU, PowerVR SGX530 GPU, TI OMAP 3630 chipset
  • RAM: 1GB
  • OS: MeeGo OS, v1.2 Harmattan
  • Memory: 16/64GB storage, no microSD slot
  • Camera: 8 megapixel auto-focus camera with face detection, touch focus and geotagging; HD (720p) video recording at 30fps, LED flash, front facing camera, video-calls
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth 2.1, standard microUSB port, GPS receiver with A-GPS, 3.5mm audio jack, TV-out, NFC
  • Misc: Polycarbonate unibody, built-in accelerometer, proximity sensor, uses microSIM cards
On paper, the Nokia N9 looks like solid, if not spectacular. As soon as you set eyes on the real thing though, there's no mistaking a smartphone that will reach for the top rather than settle for anything less.
The premium finish and the outward curved screen are nothing short of outstanding. And the great news is that the good impressions don't end with the exterior. We were pleasantly surprised by the MeeGo Harmattan platform and starting to doubt whether switching to Windows Phone 7 was the only option available to Nokia.
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The Nokia N9 at ours
There's a time and place for that discussion, and they are not here and now. We know you are as eager as we are to see what the Nokia N9 is really made of. Join us after the break for the hardware checkup.
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