Nokia N9 smartphone

Nokia N9 review: The N9 is without a doubt Nokia's slickest smartphone ever

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Nokia N9
  • Nokia N9
  • Nokia N9
  • Nokia N9


  • Fantastic design and build quality
  • Bright and clear screen
  • Slick and easy to use software


  • Limited third-party apps
  • First and last MeeGo phone
  • Below average battery life

Bottom Line

The Nokia N9 is the best looking and slickest smartphone Nokia has ever built. It's a combination of superbly built hardware and slick, easy to use, elegant software. However, it's priced too high to compete with iOS and Android alternatives and we can't help but feel it's about 18 months too late.

Would you buy this?

Beautifully simple. That's the marketing tag-line for Nokia's promotion of the N9 smartphone, the first and last Nokia phone to run the MeeGo operating system. The N9 is the best looking and slickest device the company has released in a number of years. Although it can't compete with Android's flexibility, or iOS's number and quality of third-party apps, the Nokia N9's great design, superb display and ease of use makes it a valid alternative if you're looking for something different. It's just a shame it's so late to market and is essentially running a dead operating system.

Read why you should be excited about the Nokia N9 and check out our guide to the best upcoming smartphones in 2011.

Nokia N9: Design and display

Nokia is no stranger to excellent design and construction: despite many of its recent smartphones bring plagued by poor software, we've always admired Nokia's build quality, craftsmanship and industrial design. The N9 is no different — it's a candybar handset constructed from solid polymer. According to Nokia the N9 is manufactured from the same material often found in ice hockey helmets. The company says the phone's polycarbonate casing is coloured all the way through in the manufacturing process, so scratches, dents or marks from everyday use will not show up. The N9 is available in black, cyan and magenta colours in Australia: the cyan colour in particular is a real head turner and will definitely stand out in a store.

The N9 is Nokia's first-ever "pure touch" smartphone. It has no keypad or home button on the front — the only physical controls are on the right side in the form of volume buttons and a lock key. The bottom houses a speaker while a standard headphone jack, micro-USB port and SIM card slot are aligned on the top. A flap covers the micro-USB port but it's awkward to open: you need to dig your fingertip into the left side of the cover for it to flip up and you need to do this every time you want to charge the phone. The N9 doesn't have a removable battery and uses a micro-SIM card rather than a full-sized one. The only other smartphones on the Australian market to use a micro-SIM are Apple's iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S.

The entire front of the Nokia N9 is taken up by a 3.9in, super AMOLED, edge-to-edge display. The screen uses gorilla glass technology that Nokia says prevents scratches and cracks and the glass is curved outwards in order to achieve a more natural swiping motion. This curve makes content on the N9 appear as if it's floating underneath the screen. Viewing angles are excellent and the display is very bright, though it has a yellow tinge when compared directly to the iPhone 4 on full brightness and lacks an automatic brightness setting. Text is both crisp and clear.

Nokia N9: User interface

The MeeGo operating system running the N9 is focussed on simplicity: Nokia says it intended to "cut through the clutter associated with traditional smartphone design." Although it has a learning curve if you’re coming from an iPhone or Android smartphone, the user experience of the N9 feels natural. Swiping from edge-to-edge to unlock the screen, go back to the default home screen or see important notifications is effortless and easy.

The idea around navigating the N9 is that whenever you are in an application you simply swipe from the edge of the screen (either side) to go back to the home screens. At times we were left longing for a back button but after a few days use the swipe gestures become second nature. You can also set the N9 to close apps by swiping down when in an app — a similar action in parts to the webOS platform that powered HP's now-defunct TouchPad tablet.

The N9 interface is based around three "home views" — an applications screen that lists all your apps, a notifications screen for calls, messages, calendar events and social networking feeds and a currently open applications screen. Nokia says there is no limit to the amount of apps you have open and you won't see a message or error if the memory becomes full: we managed to open 15 apps without a direct affect on performance, but there are times when we wish the N9 had a faster, dual-core processor. Apps sometimes take a few seconds to open and more taxing tasks like playing back video files does result in a little slowdown.

Unfortunately, the Nokia N9 does not support the ability to create folders for app sorting, so the app list screen does become cluttered if you download a lot of apps. You can press and hold an app icon to move it where you want on the app screen, but this is the only method of sorting: you can't sort by alphabetical order or most used, for example.

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Read more on these topics: nokia n9, mobile phones, smartphones, Nokia, meego


Are you sure it doesn't support syncing with Gmail contacts? I have a Nokia N9 and the Gmail contacts mysteriously appeared in my contacts.



This is kinda odd, there's several reviews that say battery life is great.
The only ph that seems to be better is the iP4 + iOS5, & maybe the iP4S.
Plus numerous users in forums say the same...

There has been the odd user with weird battery problems.
Although AIR pretty-much all have been resolved with a reset.

Perhaps you could try that and re-asses battery life?
There is a major update coming in a few wks (PR1.1)...
Which hopefully will squash any lingering battery related quirks.



Also why do all these commercial review sites...
Not take a close look at street-prices & compare the N9 to competitors there?
It just smells quite odd......

Ross Catanzariti


The N9 does not sync Gmail contacts unless you add your Gmail account as a Microsoft Exchange account. It only syncs Google Talk contacts through the Google account.

As for battery life, it was poor. I am happy to re-assess once the software update is pushed out but I can only go off what I currently have.



I am from oman, the biggest mistake nokia ever did is they made a nice handset with a rubbish meego. No apps. Here in oman we widely using whatsapp. We tried wazapp. Now that too stopped. So we all smartphone lovers say good bye to nokia and started buying nobody in oman going for lumia phones. All buying android.i spent 175 rial ($ 450) for a smartphone which i can make caall only.

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Cemal Erbay



Ultimate user-friendly smartphone / Style icon
It is not for the average guy / It is for discerning customers with refined taste
• • •

I bought my Nokia N9 more than a year ago, notwithstanding all kinds of snide and sarcastic remarks and reviews. It turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life.

People say: "Nokia N9 ? Poor applications, dead operation system, blah, blah..."

All this evaporates once you begin playing with the toy. It is the simplest and most user friendly phone. Period...

All my friends have iPhones and Samsung Galaxys. They paid a fortune to buy them. Nonsense !

I am not interested in billions of "fart-apps" or silly games !

What I need is a ligtning fast, stable, reliable, sturdy, user-friendly smartphone with all the high quality applications and social networks built in.

Moreover, Nokia N9 has a lovely "swipe" action. No other smartphone has it.

It is a pure joy to use this phone. You can easily customise it too.

All in all, I'm a satisfied customer and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Don't be distracted by what others say. Follow your heart

You won't regret it at all...




looks ok
can't use PC suite for the vital things
• • •

I've been a Nokia fan for since ever, really pissed with the N9 (maybe because I am not techno on the aps). that I can't use PC suite for the calendar, contacts stinks no end as these are my 2 x critical loggings I use so frequently. Battery life, what life? crossing over to Samsung or what ever is more user friendly




nice phone
will not ring
• • •


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