Layman’s Take on Nokia N9– Music of Beethoven

Accounts Integration in Nokia N9

So this was pretty much what we call basics of screens in Nokia N9.. let’s big a little deeper. Where is my Social Account Integration? Where is my unified messaging with which I fallen in love when reviewed Nokia N900?


By the way, have you spotted anything interesting here? We find Google Talk integrated here, we see Facebook chat integrated here but we don’t the names of the two partners; Yahoo! and Microsoft. Isn’t it interesting? I mean I am pretty sure that both of them been integrated in Nokia N900’s Maemo. Why to remove them?

Second interesting part is, from the accounts menu, you can not only add new accounts but can also see that what they are capable of, like sharing etc. This is the place, from where I came to know that twitter integration in not capable of sharing from Gallery yet or Skype can make Voice calls but not video calls, same with Gtalk, chat yes, voice call yes, Video call NO.

So what if contacts are integrated here, almost every platform doing that. What’s so special about it? Oh! you wanna something special, unique? Let’s dig deeper again..


Check it out the fancy icons in call log and also the Online status icon. Tap on any of the icon, you will get all the possible options there. You can make a Skype\Gtalk\GSM call or do SMS\Gtalk Chat\Skype Message. No different  app, no different filter, just the same convention call log redefined. Note Communication is the key word, not the mode of communication. (Sadly Whatsapp not here till now).

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Not only calls, in same way, you can go for Skype\Gtalk\Facebook\Convention SMS chat as well. Yup! Directly from the call log screen as well. Later on, you can see the history in messages section or can start from there. Everything is pretty neat and polished. You never feel yourself out of place in communication.

Nokia N9 onscreen keyboard


The on-screen keyboard on Nokia N9 is a real darling. One will love to type on it, no matter he is coming from Android or iOS. The kind of accuracy, the kind of haptics is like never before on a Nokia (yup! its even better than the haptics we seen on Nokia C7 likes). Addition of swype on board after the recent PR1.1 update has made it even more better.

iOS like magnifier, inclusion of even recent symbols like Indian Rupee symbol for the region and easy switching between the two types of the keyboard (just by a swipe) makes it an interesting experience for sure that you sure gonna miss once the device leaves you.

Easy and unified content sharing on board

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One of the most intuitive feature of Android and Maemo on Nokia N900 was the universal sharing menu with unified UI. Same interface that would be called when you share something either from Gallery or from Web Browser. You can manage\keep track of the upload status from tapping the top bar and then by tapping Transfers. It makes life really easy and I wish someday such a feature come on Symbian as well.

Nokia N9 Dialer app

Anyway, let’s get back to rest of the experience that comes from the apps.

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First the Dialer app. Interestingly it uses the same app for Skype as well as normal GSM Dialer and should incorporate any SIP account as well, if you add one. No Gtalk dialer though as this dialer is intended to dial numbers and Google Voice like services has not rolled out yet. May be in future. But you can still have a Gtalk to Gtalk voice call via Contacts.

On the con side, I will again repeat my exact words from my last BlackBerry review post. No smart dialing here. I never understood what issue companies have in implementing smart contact search by number/ name like the way Samsung Galaxy S do. On technical side, its definitely not one of those highly challenging task to implement the same but don’t know what stopping them.

Browser experience on Nokia N9

Let’s talk about the heartbeat of nowadays smartphones, the browser …


The  browser on Nokia N9 is minimalistic, kind of extremely minimalistic. In fact, the team that was designing it, had a motto in mind “the browser that doesn’t annoy me”. Top sites screen and address bar is what makes the browser. I additional options, we can open a new Windows or could share the page or could create a shortcut for the page that will take make an Anna shape icon and will reside in Application grid. As far as I know, this is not the MicroB browser that we met on Nokia N900, but still it isn’t like any bad.

Pinch to zoom is smooth and text renders perfectly. A little disappointment is, not that kind of Text Reflow support as Opera supports and but text is crisp and definitely readable better than anything I seen (only BlackBerry came any closer) under direct sun even, thanks to CBD Super AMOLED display with Anti-flare screen. And yeah you can play Youtube videos very well, thanks for HTML5.

I wont compare it with Opera/Firefox on Nokia N9, but found it way better in smoothness in comparison to Stock Browser on Android. Though an area to disappoint is no flash support. But as of now, when Adobe discontinuing the flash development, it suddenly seems to be no more pain. For higherhtml5 scores, Firefox/Opera can be installed here via unofficial resources as of now and that scores a big 315 with 9 bonus points that is same as Firefox beta on Android and beyond the score of iOS Safari that is on 305. Even Desktop Firefox 8 gives a score of 299 and Chrome latest Beta 16.x gives 329, so one should consider it holding the top spot. Let’s see a table



HTML5 Score

Bonus Points

Firefox Beta




Opera Mobile




N9 Browser




Firefox Beta




Stock Browser




Opera Mobile




Firefox 8




Chrome 16
















Opera Mobile

Symbian Belle



Symbian Browser

Symbian Belle



You can see that MeeGo is not playing just a catch-up but its leading and competing with the bests. For people, who will be complaining for no support for multiple tabs, let me tell that you Nokia N9 doesn’t work like that and it is for good. In place of multiple tabs inside the same browser instance, Nokia N9 opens separate instance for each different webpage. Its kind of good because one heavy webpage doesn’t bring whole instance down and the other opened web page will still be one swipe away.

Though native browser and Firefox are enough to do the deal, but sad part about browsing experience would be less availability of apps. Not many choices like Android. I got opera mobile 11 installed on my Nokia N9 somehow, but that seemed to be just a bad port only. Stays in Landscape mode only. Things should obviously improve over time, but let’s see …

IM Experience on Nokia N9: The soul from Nokia N900


Next comes the IM experience, which been a a forte for Nokia N900 and one would love to see that though there are a lot of changes in UI, Nokia N9 retains the same goodness beneath. So, while Nokia N900 added Skype to the core, Nokia N9 goes a step further to add Facebook chat in same way. Though we loose obsolete MSN\Yahoo etc and also no Skype video here. Single messaging app and all the message get stored at the same place, just like Nokia N900.

Email Experience on Nokia N9


Next goes the email experience and I must say, I don’t know about iPhone, but the email viewing experience on Nokia N9 is a lot better over Symbian Anna\Symbian Belle\ Android. Loved the fact that I was not required to wait for the email to load even if it has been downloaded (like I do on Symbian or Android). Unified inbox, attachment support, pinch to zoom support, notification on top bar, notifications on events screen, notifications on standby screen, notifications on lock screen,  pop\IMAP and Exchange support.. do you think we missed anything here? Take a breath and start again.. we have option to sort by priority, by read\unread status, no multiple marking but option to select multiple mails for deleting and mark all as read, folder support, two line message preview support… not sure if we have meeting support as well, possibly yes.

So, we got almost all the basics of an email app right here, but … yes! we still have the same but … yeah! push is still not reliable in comparison to Android or iOS or BlackBerry, in fact, I never got to understand that why we got a Push option in settings as I found nothing being pushed, neither Twitter nor Facebook feeds nor mails. Hope with at least Windows phone, Nokia will get it right.

At least with Mail For Exchange, the email delivery is still a lot better. Good news is unlike Symbian, MeeGo supports more than one Exchange accounts means at least with services like Hotmail\Gmail\Office Mails, where ActiveSync protocol is supported, you can expect “push like” experience.

Productivity and office suit

This would be the only bad thing that Nokia N9 borrowed from Nokia N900. No proper Office editing on board at the time of launch and even till now. Nokia N900 still had many of the third party apps fulfilling the need at that time, but Nokia N9 still have to find the same luck. It feels bad that such a premium priced handset yet to receive some love in a critical area like this, but this is it as of now.


There is an over-simplistic Documents app that detects the presence  of documents in your phone and shows them with appropriate Black&White icons as shown above.

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We can open the documents for reading without altering their desktop layouts. Pinch to zoom etc is super fluid. So, its not end of world. We just miss the editing feature on board otherwise native Document reader does the task very well, when it comes to handling the documents for the purpose of reading/viewing alone.

Calendar on Nokia N9


Nokia always had its basics right with PIM applications and Nokia N9 is no different either. Interface is familiar, natural and simple like always. On the backend side, we got PC Sync and Mail for Exchange support as well. There is also a CalDav option in accounts, but I couldn’t find a way to make use of it.

If anything I badly missed here, then it would be Facebook events Sync. Though we can manage to sync via in-direct means, but a direct way would have been nicer.

Clock on Nokia N9


Remember that Clock animation in Nokia N900 that stunned you back in past? Yup! Nokia was not going to forget that. See the above innovative interface for setting up alarms or time. Looks fancy but for those who were asking me about it, yes, it is very accurate and you can set the time perfectly with precision of 1 min without any issue.

Nokia N9 Photo Gallery


Nothing fancy but experience with Nokia N9 gallery been kind of interesting. Pinch to zoom for full resolution pictures been close to perfection here while even on Nokia N8, I was to wait a sec or more to get full zoomed images displaying sharply. The bottom transparent bar has four buttons, tapping first will show the images stored in your phone (that are not generated by Nokia N9 Camera), second button shows the ones generated by Nokia N9 camera itself, third one shows the favourite photos and the fourth one is the menu that allows you to share the multiple photos or tags them, filter them by tags or edit those tags.

The way of selecting images is very finger friendly as you tap on whole image not only some small corner. In the end, the best part of Nokia N9 Gallery is its sharing options. Finally it’s a main stream, high specs, good looking Nokia that has share menu like Android. Sad part is Twitter upload via Gallery still not available, otherwise I would have no complaints with this Gallery.


Not sure, if I have mentioned it somewhere in the post or not, but there is an interesting thing about scrolling in Nokia N9. If you scroll by keeping the finger on the right of the screen then you find a transparent, invisible kind of bar there that will allow you not only scroll but also helps you in reaching the desired place faster. Like in case of photos, it might be the date you wanna check out and in case of contacts it might be some particular alphabet, the invisible bar appears at both the places.



It was also good to see that Nokia back on the old ways to keep the Photo Editor inside the Gallery rather than putting a separate app and linking it from Gallery Menu. Doesn’t make that big difference, but saves the space of an icon from app grid. As about the options then you can see that pretty much all kind of required options are on board, but this is not what special about Nokia N9, its pretty much every Nokia… what makes Nokia N9 photo editing special is this is the first phone – ever – to feature something called non-destructive photo editing. .

Non-destructive photo editing: One more buzz word?? What this means is, you can take a photo, crop it, resize it, change the contrast or any other function – all with the option of being to reverse these edits at any time. Its kind of infinite undo steps available all the time.

Nokia N9 Music Player and Internet Radio


So, this is Music player on Nokia N9. A simplistic yet effective UI that performs. Mostly MeeGo on Nokia N9 works for portrait mode (Its for a reason, otherwise swiping gets very confusing), so not that kind of fancy album art cover flow like we see on Symbian or iOS, but still scrolling is nice and touch sensitivity is perfect in all the areas. Also while playing a track, you just need to swipe on the album art and it changes the track as simple is that. It is similar experience like Music player on Symbian Belle though a lot more smooth and responsive.

While the Dolby does magic while headphones in ears, I wish if Nokia N9 would have a little more loud. Its nothing like that its anyway average, but somehow I found it a little bit lesser than Nokia N8 or BlackBerry Torch 9860.


As you can see Nokia Internet Radio (available Nokia N9 via Nokia Store) has similar UI as the native Music Player. I wish I had some unlimited internet connection to enjoy the service considering the number of tracks available and the performance on 3G data at least.

Nokia N9 Video player

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I have seen Music players on many platforms but I would say, I wasn’t expecting this much minimal video gallery. Video Gallery was truly a surprise to me. Big full sized thumbnails, titles on the bottom and duration on the right top, that’s it. Minimalistic player produces amazing results with CBD curved screen. Video actually look alive.


Another interesting feature of the player is the related videos. I am not sure people in India with less wifi or unlimited data plans around will make full use of it, but its definitely an interesting thing.


43 thoughts on “Layman’s Take on Nokia N9– Music of Beethoven

  1. one question, how did you change the clock background to black?
    Have always been trying to find out, because i read the review on theverge and they managed to changed even the calendar to a black background..

  2. I’m halfway through page 5, and… man I was so disappointed with “Ra.One”. It has NOTHING to do with this review; that comment will come later. 😀

  3. Brother from where did you get this in India (I guess you are from India)…is there anyway I can get this device from anywhere in India…desperately need one…please tell

      1. Ok…if you had to guess that “will it come” ? what would you say ?
        Maybe some time after Nokia Lumia phones ?

          1. Wow .N900 now ready for India. Of course it shloud be as silence is broken, Meego would not be commercially launched for N900. So Nokia don’t want to let its smartphone sales figures come down & since latest info on N900 will not help sales figures to move up in Europe & elsewhere, the better option is to follow the imprints of Apple I.e. Launch soon going to be obselete products in Indian Market.Thank you Nokia. This time luckily I wasn’t expecting anything else.

  4. you nailed it Nitish .. greatest phone ever made .. period .. and your review does give N9 a justice that it need .. no other phone should have a review of this length and attention to detail except N9 😀 ..

    this phone has saved me from all dreadful devotion given to all the dreadful ecosystem .. you won’t believe how much I’ve spent buying apps from apple appstore without even executing half of it .. and come to think of it, I did that because I can’t never find satisfaction or sense of completeness with my last phone in its original form ..

    but N9 was different .. it has everything that I ever need in a timeless beautiful form, and already I felt a sense of completeness in one aspect of my life .. I think this is the phone that I’m going to kept forever while I’m alive even if it is can’t no longer be used (I always sold my old phone/trade in when buying new phone).. seriously, I am that much of fan ..

  5. Nitish Kumar there some inconsistency in your review.

    1. .deb files you can install it as simple as enabled 3rd party installation then run file manager and run it directly no need terminal
    2. soft reset the cirulating arrow doesnt mean brick it means its erasing or in progress. in the progress even u turn on and off it will still process u just need wait until it reboot itself means completed
    or its that your fren

    3. Account Authentication Broken: fixed in PR 1.1

    1. 1. Agree that the same can be done with File Manager itself but I was not sure that if it picks supporting files as well. Didn’t happened in case of VLC with me.

      2. I waited more than 20 mins but nothing happened and then review unit was to go back, so couldn’t check.

      3. My unit had PR1.1 only as I got the update before the review and it actually got broken after the update only.

  6. hi nithish… Good job… My doubt is if i buy this n9 from singapore .. Whether i will get software update in india or not through air or not.. Pls mail me

  7. Your “issue” number 3 is not an issue at all.
    This is N9 behaviour – and it is not “bricked” as you said.

    You just have to be patient and wait 10-15 minutes.

  8. I could barely make it through the first page of this review, as the English is absolutely terrible. This trend continues through the rest of your site as well. I would recommend doing some major editing.

    1. The noise-cancellation microphone is next to the camera flash – a 0.5mm hole. The in-device instructions indicate you shouldn’t cover this location during a call if you enable noise-cancellation.

  9. Maybe I missed it but can you :pause/play/forward/back the music player on the included earphones button? Is there a volume control too?

  10. The Nokia Lumia 800 Windows Phone smartphone is a power packed product with many amazing features like an 8 MP Camera, Microsoft Windows 7.5 OS, a 1.4 GHz processor with 512 MB RAM, People Hub, XBOX gaming, among other things. But one feature that takes the cake here is Nokia Drive. Nokia Drive is a GPS app with a voice guided turn-by-turn navigation system which helps you when you are out travelling. And the best bit about it is that it is completely free!

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