Nokia N9 smartphone
Nokia N9 review: The N9 is without a doubt Nokia's slickest smartphone ever
- 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
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.
Price$ 949.00 (AUD)
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.
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.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Lexar® Portable SSD
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Huawei Mate 9
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Acer Swift 7
Google Daydream VR headset
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Surface Pro 4
Dell XPS 13 laptop
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 4 HTC U Ultra phone full, in-depth review
- 5 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
Latest News Articles
- Sleek new Galaxy S8 phones feature facial recognition, Bixby intelligent agent
- 5 Samsung Galaxy S8 features Apple should steal for iPhone 8
- HTC is reportedly releasing a new U phone that makes better use of its bezels
- Apple wins China patent battle over iPhone 6 design
- Samsung unveils Bixby voice assistant for upcoming Galaxy S8
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- LG G6 phone: full, in-depth review
- Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
- And the 2017 winner of the Formula 1 Best Pit Lane Boom Gantry is...
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- FTIT Project Manager. Ciritical permanent roleNSW
- CCServiceNow Specialist - Administration and DevelopmentVIC
- CCSystems EngineerACT
- CCSolution ManagerSA
- FTWeb DesignerACT
- TPAutomation TesterQLD
- FTSenior Information Security SpecialistQLD
- CCPMO Analyst - Financial ServicesNSW
- FTNV1 Cleared Software Engineer (Mid level) - Defence Projects - North Ryde areaNSW
- FTJava API DeveloperNSW
- CCBusiness AnalystQLD
- TPIT Service Desk AnalystVIC
- CCOrganisational Change LeadNSW
- FTSenior Full Stack .Net Engineer, UI focus, Financial ServicesNSW
- FTKey Account ManagerVIC
- FTTechnical Business Analyst- Systems & Network -Telco backgroundNSW
- FTResponsive Design Developer, Frontend, PHP, WordpressNSW
- CCDevOps Developer - TelcoVIC
- CCDB2 System ProgrammerVIC
- FTDatabase DeveloperVIC
- FTSenior Change ManagerNSW
- FTData Storage Support Consultant (EMC)QLD
- TPSystem AdministratorQLD
- FTSenior Applications Support AnalystSA