Camera on Nokia N9
Nokia N9 finally got a Carl Zeiss 8 mp AF camera otherwise in the flood of lots of EDoF camera phones from Nokia, we though that Nokia has forgotten Carl Zeiss and Auto Focus. This in-surface camera unit on back of Nokia N9 also breaks the myth that Nokia can not make slim cameras with Carl Zeiss and Auto Focus. Many of Nokia E7 users will definitely ask for the same. Answer is, this is the unit, which been in works and will be on other upcoming Nokia phones as well.
The camera unit on Nokia N9 is definitely much more interesting than these Auto Focus or Megapixels talks. The Camera unit that actually has quite unusual specs for mobiles as per current standards and made for Nokia exclusively, is the first in many of the areas:
It’s the first one in the world to pack an imaging sensor optimized for both 16:9 and 4:3 shots
It’s the first mobile camera to pack an f/2.2 aperture, the largest ever (N8 f/2.8 while N86 f/2.4).
Its still one of very few devices to record 720p HD videos along with stereo audio.
Capture and then zoom/Edit/Share etc directly from Camera interface as it calls Gallery itself.
Geo-tagging of images and videos with name of places rather than conventional co-ordinates.
Option to add a particular text in images\videos EXIF. Could serve perfectly for the copyrights.
Full time continuous autofocus in stills and videos along with face detection all the time.
It’s the first one in the world to have non-destructive image editing on board.
A 28mm Carl Zeiss optics that is still the widest in industry when it comes to mobiles.
Finally a slimmer camera module (70% smaller unit) that could fit inside some 9-10mm body.
While the above been the positive sides of the Nokia N9 camera, there been no denial of the fact that Nokia N9 doesn’t completely beats Nokia N8 or Nokia N86 in imaging. Even if it has the largest aperture in world and technically the low light performance should be better, Nokia N8\N86 actually performs better over Nokia N9, thanks to the larger sensors inside (Nokia N8 has 1/1.83” CMOS sensor, Nokia N86 has 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor, While Nokia N9 manages a 1/3.0" CMOS sensor). But still these are only tech details and for a common consumer, the camera unit on Nokia N9 performs blazing fast and produces perfect results to satisfy users coming from different tastes.
Like you can feel, Nokia N9 has a very minimalistic approach about the UI and camera module was sure going to be minimal. A button to switch between video and still mode, another to hold and take the snap, third one for the Gallery shortcut and the left side one takes you to detailed settings. May be not perfect for the people, who keep on changing modes and fiddle a lot with the settings shot by shot, but works quite wonderfully for the people who just want to get their shots at best.
Check out the last para in the above screenshot, which mentions the unique geotagging ways of Nokia N9. As about samples, I specially loved the macro shot capability of Nokia N9 like the samples given below …
Next is the video recording part …
One will find it quite a strange fact that despite of having a Dual LED flash on board, there is no video light in video recording, also I felt that Video at night mode doesn’t support Auto-Focus in video.
Rest of the features seems more or less the same as we expect from a Nokia camera. Both still and video modes support 4X digital zoom that could be accessed by swiping on the transparent bar at top of the UI or by the HW volume buttons. Check out the following video sample demonstrating continuous auto-focus …
Nokia Maps and Drive
Honestly speaking, Nokia Maps been so common nowadays that a reviewer feels terribly bored when it comes to show off them on any new Nokia devices. But this doesn’t mean that the best offline navigation system isn’t improving with each new iteration. While absence of some actually usable Maps services been a big complaint of mine, when I reviewed Nokia N900 back in past, with the second iteration of Maemo, Nokia not only managed to bring the maps services on board, but they pushed them to do even better on this new platform.
I am really not sure since when these 3D models arrived for Indian landmarks as well, but I must tell you these screenshots are not even half the thing. The vibrant colors and smooth touch over curved CBD glasses, which refuses to go unreadable under sun.. it is perfect. While with Nokia N8, initially I thought that these big icons, buttons are bad things, somehow with Nokia N9, this all seems to be set for a purpose. A perfect companion for the travel. When Nokia was talking about one hands easy touch operations, then they definitely were talking about things like this.
The Nokia Maps and Nokia Drive combo definitely gonna be a big asset for Windows phones in near future.
Facebook, Twitter and FourSquare
While we all been content with Gravity on Symbian, it was always a pain that Nokia phones never got the Facebook and Twitter in the way, Android or iOS were used to get, even if not feature wise, then at least UI wise. With Nokia N9, at least developers thought to get over with it.
Let’s look at Facebook application first …
You can see that what we got here is a very decent app covering all the basics. Thogh fMobi also available for the platform, but I am not sure that if normal users will need that in case such a properly built applications on board. Obviously, what is still pending here is controls related to privacy.
Like Facebook, lookwise, twitter for Nokia N9 looks like very close to official twitter client in UI, same native scrolling like we seen in Gallery and Contacts, multiple picture preview support, picture upload support, inline reply, profile editing etc etc..
But unfortunately, the shades of Nokia Social doesn’t leave you here on MeeGo as well. Nokia developers still think that you don’t need manual RT or quotes, no conversations screen only option is to check Reply to. No auto-complete for names or hashtags. Even in its second iteration, its just an ok client not at par with the other platforms.
TwimGo etc are here, but they are just in their development stages and one more reason for not using them was; first, I liked the UI of Twitter of N9, second, it says coming from “Twitter for N9” with N9 client…
Though they couldn’t manage a LinkedIn client yet, but Nokia N9 has an official FourSquare client with a UI at par with other platforms.
Though most of people will still prefer 4Squick that is available for MeeGo, but its good to have a free official client with most of the premium features like photo upload built in.
Now on the con side, all of these Social clients suffer from a terrible issue in photo upload section. On Meego, the function call that calls for the Gallery from any app, list pictures by names, which stupidly sorts the Gallery by the oldest pics first. I don’t know why Nokia developers didn’t bother to try the photo upload once for themselves. How stupid it feels like waiting for scrolling till the end for finding the photo, you just snapped and wanted to share with the world.
Hope Nokia developers will take note of this, because this is the first place, where I seen such a dumbest mistake ruining the whole cause.
Feed Reader Client on Nokia N9
Not sure if I mentioned it in the Events screen section, but I really want an option of conventional feeds on events screen and I have two reasons for that.
RSS Feeds are a lot more flexible and might be inclusive of Twitter\Facebook for advanced users.
We already have a very good native RSS feeds client on board with Nokia N9.
As you can see, we have a very well made RSS Feeds client on board, which might be minimalistic in looks, but holds down very well with complex HTML feeds.
Though its unlikely, but I would love if Nokia includes the option of a Google Reader Account Sync or even automatic feed discovery like the Desktop client FeedDemon. Adding a feed one by one is sure a pain on a mobile device.
Even if Nokia Suit starts supporting Nokia N9 by now, then this issue may be overcome by syncing RSS feeds via PC browser, but till now its a beautiful client underutilized for me.
Nokia Store on Nokia N9 and availability of Apps
While we are already familiar with the Nokia Store UI on MeeGo now, thanks to Nokia Store QML Client for Symbian, the availability of apps still remains a big big issue for Nokia N9.
While interface is cool and operations are snappy, the availability of apps is worse over any other Mobile OS around. I think even Bada and Windows Phone Store must be growing better than this as of now. No IM apps, no LinkedIn client, not that many game titles and so on.. Nothing surprising about the a platform that is publicly told to be experimental only.
Though there is a strong community backing up Meego and N9 and you can always get help about apps from community sites like http://www.my-meego.com or http://www.n9fanclub.com. Lots of beta apps there and it will grow over time like it did with Nokia N900.
Interestingly there is No out of the box File Manager in Nokia N9 and one needs to rely on third party apps for the same as of now. Though it doesn’t restrict the File System in anyway and third party apps are even able to access the “root” partition as well.
The first screenshot is of File Manager Beta, a basic file manager, while the rest three screenshots are of an interesting new File Manager app named Filebox, which has plenty of new tricks (like root access) in comparison to just basics.
So its nothing like that you have no apps here. Almost all kind of required apps are here and growing in numbers by each passing day. Let’s see some of the excellent ones.
Yup! the last screenshot is of VLC port that is still far from ready on a mobile screen, but that shows that sooner or later, it will be here and similar for many of other leading apps.
If you were looking for some application for utilizing front camera, then as of now, you can check out the above Application named Simple Mirror from Nokia Store. Though it doesn’t save any images, but could serve as a mirror as the name says.