Let’s keep this short and sweet. This is the rare snow-white Nokia N9 and it’s absolutely stunning. We first captured a glimpse of it at Nokia World and now we’ve obtained a specimen. The only difference between this piano-lacquer white handset and its more pedestrian sibling is the (likely less durable) shiny clearcoat finish covering its machined polycarbonate body and the leather pouch replacing the silicone case normally supplied in the box. Everything else is exactly the same as the matte black phone we reviewed last year. We’ve attempted to document the exquisite beauty of this mythical beast — sadly the last of its kind — in our hands-on gallery below. Go ahead and take a look, then hit the break to watch our unboxing video. Just be warned that there’s a strong chance you’ll drool profusely whilst ogling these pictures. At least the white Lumia 800 and 900 are just around the corner, right?
Is it possible to improve on something as minutely refined as the Nokia N9 simply by adding another color variant? Well, that depends on what color weʼre talking about. Sure, we already have black, cyan, and magenta, but what weʼve been missing — until now — is white. Plain, simple, ethereal white. It happens to be one of the hardest hues for a manufacturer to pull off without making a handset look tacky, or making its surface susceptible to the general grubbiness of everyday life. But Nokia did a smart thing: it added a glossy coating that completely changes the look and feel of the device. Take a look for yourself in the gallery below. But bear in mind that the midnight blue disco lights at Nokia World didn’t quite do it justice.
Peter Skillman knows a thing or two about making beautiful devices. He’s Palm’s former VP of design, and he’s the man behind Nokia’s glorious N9 — its look, feel and user experience. We bumped into him at Nokia World here today and asked him what went into the N9′s — and by association the Lumia 800′s — design. He shared quite a few interesting details with us, including tidbits about the “curvature continuous form” of MeeGo’s icons, Nokia’s Pure font and the nuances of the N9′s sinuous taper. We even discussed the Play 360 Bluetooth / NFC speaker, which follows the same aesthetic principles. Take a look at our exclusive video interview after the break.
Sure, they might look the same, but are they actually the same? Inside that smooth, shapely polycarbonate shell lies internals that are actually significantly different between these two. How different? Well, the guy on the left, the newly-unveiled Lumia 800, has a 1.4GHz Qualcomm processor paired with 512MB of RAM and 16GB of storage. The guy on the right? That’s the ill-fated N9, and it packs a 1GHz TI OMAP chip with 1GB of RAM and up to 64GB of storage. Inside the chart below lies the information you need, and the deltas you crave.
We’re not ashamed to say it, we love Nokia’s MeeGo-running N9. We love its stillborn (but still awesome) OS, its liquid-looking display and gorgeous machined polycarbonate shell. Now, we can see how that glorious bit of Finnish hardware gets put together in the newly released video seen above. So sit back, relax and let the precision manufacturing wash over you.
It’s taken a long time for Nokia’s MeeGo-packing N9 to make its way into our top secret labs (the N9 moniker was first applied to early E7 prototypes), but it’s here in our dirty little hands, at last, and it’s glorious — well, as glorious as a stillborn product can be, anyway. The N9 is the latest and greatest in a long line of quirky, interesting, yet ultimately flawed touchscreen experiments from Nokia that includes the Hildon-sporting 7710, a series of Maemo-based “internet tablets” (770, N800, N810, N900) and most recently, the N950 MeeGo handset for developers. What makes the N9 special is that it represents Nokia’s last flagship phone as an independent player. MeeGo is already dead, and future high-end devices from the manufacturer will run Windows Phone and use Microsoft’s services. So, is this the company’s final bittersweet hurray? Did MeeGo ever stand a chance against Android, iOS and Mango? In its attempt to stay relevant, is Nokia throwing out the baby with the bathwater? Most importantly, how does the N9 fare in today’s merciless dual-core world? Find out after the break.
Now that we know how the iPhone 4S stacks up against the iPhone 4, let’s take a look at how Apple’s latest smartphone compares to its mightiest competitors on the other major platforms — Android and Windows Phone. In Google’s camp we chose the superlative Samsung Galaxy S II models (focusing on the announced US variants) along with the Motorola Droid Bionic for its qHD and LTE chops. We then picked the upcoming HTC Titan to bat for Microsoft’s team. RIM’s not included here since it’s still stuck in the junior leagues. We left out the intriguing Nokia N9 because it’s a niche player. Check out the fancy table after the break — the results are pretty clear cut!
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Our first encounter with Nokia’s N9 may have been eleven different kinds of awesome, but we knew it was a mere scratch of the high-grade polycarbonate surface. One of the core pieces of functionality we didn’t get the chance to address back then was the camera, and after Nokia decided to toot that horn recently — saying, among other things, that it’s the “fastest image-capturing phone” yet — we decided we had to go back for a second go-around.
In terms of performance, Nokia’s camera application definitely lives up to the company’s own hype, with nearly instant captures and an equally brisk return to a state of readiness for more image-taking. When shooting video, we noted that audio recording starts slightly later than the video, leaving the first half second or so without sound. This isn’t an uncommon issue (we’ve seen it on other phones and tablets) and can be seen in our video sample after the break. Now might be a good time to also mention that the N9s we tested with today were all prototype units, so don’t prejudge Nokia’s final hardware on the basis of what you see here. Unless your premature judgment is positive, we doubt Nokia would mind that.
At long (long!) last, the N950 is upon us. While “announced” via a nondescript text document earlier this week, we still had no clear indication of what Nokia’s second MeeGo device would truly look like just a day ago. Despite years of leaks and an inestimable amount of visions tip-toeing around in our brains, we never could nail down a solid image of the thing. Until today. In addition to the video grabs seen earlier, we stumbled upon a backdoor repository leading to a somewhat curious looking Nokia device; and sure enough, 20-some-odd N950 photos from Nokia itself flowed forth. It’s mighty troubling to still not have a cemented price or release date, but hey — at least you know it’s worth saving for. Enjoy.
We’ve already established that the N9 is a delight of a phone, both inside and out, but our hands-on time with Nokia’s new flagship gave us only a brief look at its camera performance. Now the company is graciously filling that gap in our knowledge with some further disclosure about its new 8 megapixel imager, including the lofty claim that the N9 is the fastest phone yet when it comes to capturing an image — ousting the likes of the iPhone 4, the Galaxy S II, and even the Canon S95, perhaps the best pocket camera around at the moment. Measuring the time taken from activating the camera app to the completion of the first shot, the N9 clocks in at 2.6 seconds, whereas Apple’s latest does it in 3 seconds and Samsung’s takes a split second more. Aside from its speed, the N9 has Carl Zeiss optics, a wide F2.2 max aperture, dual-LED flash, continuous autofocus, and a 720/30p video mode to boast about, but the benefits of those items will need to be experienced first hand. So Nokia, when are you shipping this thing?
The N9 has arrived. Functional units of Nokia’s long-awaited MeeGo smartphone have finally landed into our eager hands and we’ve got a gallery of images to provide you with below. What we can say from our first experience is that we’re in the presence of a fantastically designed device with a gorgeous AMOLED screen and some highly responsive performance. Hold tight as we’re updating our fuller impressions after the break, where you’ll soon be treated to our first hands-on video with the Nokia N9.
Stephen Elop said that Nokia would unveil its first MeeGo device this year, and he just made good on his word with the N9 (also known as Lankku). Just as we spotted earlier, the N9 is a solid slab of 3.9-inch AMOLED screen (854 x 480) sans a keyboard or physical switches of any kind (well, aside from that oh-so-necessary volume rocker and camera button). The phone comes with 16GB or 64GB of onboard memory and 1GB of RAM wrapped in a polycarbonate shell that’s colored all the way through, so dings and scratches won’t show — unless the wounds run deep, of course. An OMAP3630 1 Ghz processor does the computing while a PowerVR SGX530 GPU is around for graphical grunt work. Connectivity comes courtesy of quad-band GSM and penta-band WCDMA radios, plus Bluetooth 2.1, NFC, and GPS. There is also a dedicated camera button for the 8 megapixel wide-angle shooter, which is capable of aperture F2.2 for low light picture taking and true 16:9 720p video recording. Oh, and it’s an AF shooter, not EDoF.
The entire thing measures 116.45- x 61.2- x 7.6-12.1mm and weighs 135 grams, with a battery capable of lasting up to 50 hours (music), 4.5 hours (720p video), or between seven and 11 hours (GSM yappin’). You’ll also get gratis turn-by-turn drive and walk navigation with voice guidance in Maps, a dedicated Drive app, proximity sensor and a choice of hue: black, cyan, and magenta. Other hardware specs include 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, an ambient light sensor, compass, orientation sensor, a micro SIM slot, tethering support and a 3.5mm “AV connector.” It’ll be humming along on MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan, with apps being compliant with Qt 4.7 and HTML5 support bundled in.
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