Layman’s Take on Nokia Lumia 900–Bigger sibling or a new character?

A little bit late than rest of the world but finally Nokia Lumia 900 is introduced to Indian Market in a rather silent way than Nokia India had launched other Lumia siblings in past. A bit less buzz about this handset might be due to proximity of Nokia Lumia 820/920 around the corner. When it paid a visit to Layman’s Take, then there were some harsh questions to be asked.

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While it was the most prettiest Nokia handset ever that would have came to my hands, the questions were still fierce:

  1. Is Nokia Lumia 900 is just an enlarged Nokia Lumia 800?
  2. Does the biggest screen from Nokia till date makes it hard to handle?
  3. How the different build feels better than Nokia Lumia 800 or Nokia N8 likes?
  4. The new display in Lumia 900 any different than Lumia 800? For good or for bad?
  5. Is it worth to buy Nokia Lumia 900 when you can get a Lumia 800 for cheap?
  6. Is it worth to buy a high end Nokia Lumia 900 when Nokia Lumia 820/920?

So, let’s read ahead to know that how I found out this beautiful Nokia Lumia 900?

Continue reading “Layman’s Take on Nokia Lumia 900–Bigger sibling or a new character?”

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Layman’s Take on Nokia Lumia 610–A premium budget phone

Like it might be the case with any of the debuting OS, there been some missing pieces in the Windows Phone OS and still there are some, yet if there are any OS, which are always fluid on whatever device you try up on, then those are Windows Phone and iOS. There was a reason for this.

The reason was both set of the devices were available only a premium price point means capable hardware. Not only with Apple iPhone (talking of current ones), but with Windows Phone as well, either it be Lumia 800 or Lumia 710 or Omnia W, we always had 1GHz Processor, 512MB RAM at minimum because these were part of minimum specs from Microsoft.

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So, it was really getting interesting when unlike Apple, Microsoft/Nokia decided to push for the even lower price point, the sub 200$ bracket, which was totally occupied by junk Android Touchscreen devices with smaller screens and pathetic experience as time passes by with them.

Nokia Lumia 610: the first budget Windows Phone courtesy Nokia and Microsoft which exploits the lowered required minimum specs from Microsoft (I can only remember ZTE Orbit as the other 256Mb RAM WP device). Let’s proceed to see if it compromises the otherwise fabulous experience with Windows Phone like Android does with it low end devices.

Continue reading “Layman’s Take on Nokia Lumia 610–A premium budget phone”

Layman’s take on Nokia Lumia 710-Perfect fit for mid-range?

Its not been really long when I was at Nokia Lumia launch event for India and later on reviewed Nokia Lumia 800 in as high details as possible.

I was very impressed with Lumia 800 that time but one thing I knew that it would be Lumia 710, which will come out to be real VFM for Indian market.

It proves to be right, when during my short review period of Nokia Lumia 710, I seen four people around me ending up buying the same. The last maximum for me was Nokia E5 that also happened to be bought by four people around me coincidently (obviously different four Winking smile).

While we already know that how attractive Windows Phone might be, let’s see what I found about Nokia Lumia 710 here.


Nokia Lumia 710: The Unboxing

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As I had reviewed Nokia Lumia 800 package earlier, so I was kind of well aware that what’s gonna be inside the package of Nokia Lumia 710 and nothing came up to surprise me either …

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The minimal Nokia Lumia 710 Sales Package contains the following

  • Nokia Lumia 710
  • Nokia AC-10 MicroUSB Charger
  • Nokia Charging and Data Cable CA-190CD
  • Nokia Headset WH-208 (With 4 set of ear buds)
  • Quick Guide, User Guide and Product information leaflet

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The headset is the minimal one, good on quality though not great on addons like play pause buttons with headset itself. Additional Ear Buds sure caters variety of people.

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The USB cable shipped with the package is also feels to be the same (though it’s a different cable in make and model) as we have seen in case of Nokia Lumia 800.

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The charger is different than earlier one and in fact very different than the devices that I might have reviewed recently. Not a slim one but a rather big one, I would say awkwardly big one. Though positive part is, its still falls into fast charger category.


Nokia Lumia 710: The Exteriors

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Nokia Lumia 710 is no stunner like its big brother Lumia 800, but its not any ordinary mid range phone either, when it comes to looks. The material used is not the polycarbonate one like Lumia 800, but still the plastic used is not that filmsy either. The one piece removable back panel seems prone to dirt, but overall phone fits your hand very well with its very simple design. The phone actually feels much more premium than any of the other handset in the same price segment (sub 15k INR).

The colour scheme is interesting part about it. While officially its available in only two colours: White and Black, this official part refers to the front part only. You can have total five different colours for the rear panel and even exchangeable ones (not included as a part of the package like Nokia 500 though. I wish if it was).

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The front is fully covered with Corning Gorilla Glass from top-to-toe, with making room for the 3 traditional Windows Phone buttons in the bottom, microphone, earpiece, ambient light sensor and proximity sensors. The transparent keys at the bottom keep the looks still premium in white colour at least.

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The back houses a 5MP AF shooter that can take 720p videos at 30 fps without breaking a sweat. Having a physical camera key available and ability to open the camera even if the phone is locked, makes the functioning of the same as super quick, thanks to optimization within the OS as well. Who can forget this funny video featuring my friend @Bharadc23

Though specific tasks can never evaluate a mobile phone as a whole but they certainly make a good impression over n00b who might be watching you from a distance apart using the handset. Trust me, I myself felt people watching me in Delhi Metro while I use Lumia 710, not because the design of it but because the way it functions and feels super responsive in nature.

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At the right side of the phone, the upper side has Volume rocker while the lower side has a camera key. Left side of the phone provide just a small place for pulling out the back panel (Battery cover). There are no lock buttons in this minimalistic design and that task is left to power button on the top. The camera key takes a little time for getting used to if the person is coming from some two step shutter button handset as despite of being 2-step, it feels one step only.

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The bottom of the phone has slot for hook while the top hosts an unprotected MicroUSB port, a 3.5mm Audio Jack and one power key. All traditional design, no fancy sliders like Nokia Lumia 800 and as usual, I would thank Nokia for not giving a plasticky or rubber cap over MicroUSB port.

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The ClearBlack 3.7” TFT Screen with a resolution of 800×480 might not be that high end like ClearBlack AMOLED display on Nokia Lumia 800, but the good news about it is, its WVGA display with Nokia’s ClearBlack circular polarizer arrangement and a Gorilla Glass front plate means sharper images.

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The display fares ok under the sunlight, but lack of oleophobic coating makes it prone to fingerprints. Still I will give it full marks for the fact that its just a mid-range phone and its display still stacks up with high end smartphones extremely well on the common parameters like contrast, viewing angles and colours.


Nokia Lumia 710: The Interiors and where it stacks against its big brother Lumia 800

It might be jst formal to many but some of you actually want to go through the specs sheet when it comes to any review, so here you go:

  • Dimensions119 x 62.4 x 12.48 mm, 81.1 cc,125.5 g (Should be considered as light)
  • Windows Phone 7.5 a.k.a. Mango (Some Nokia apps inside but no Nokia specific changes in Core OS)
  • 3.7”CBD  TFT Corning Gorilla Glass Screen with a WVGA resolution of 800×480 pixels, 24 bit RGB Display (Lumia 800 had 16 bit colors)
  • 1.4GHz Single Core MSM8255 CPU, Snapdragon /Scorpion S2 chipset, Adreno 205 GPU (Exactly same as Nokia Lumia 800)
  • 512 MB LPDDR2 (Same as in iPhone 4S), 512 MB ROM, 8 GB Mass Memory (Plus 25GB SkyDrive), no Micro SD Card support though
  • HSDPA Cat10 14.4 Mbps, HSUPA Cat6 5.76 Mbps, WLAN IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
  • It got Penta band connectivity like Nokia N9 while Nokia Lumia 800 had Quad Band connectivity
  • 3D Accelerometer, Ambient Light Sensor, Compass (Magnetometer Sensor), Proximity Sensor
  • 5.0 Megapixels AF camera with an aperture  f/2.4 (No Carl Zeiss like Lumia 800, no f/2.2)
  • 1280 x 720 pixels video recording resolution with 30fps
  • FM Radio (with a very simplistic UI)
  • 2 Microfone inside, one serving purpose of noise cancellation
  • Micro SIM Support only
  • Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR (without capability of Dial up connection or Data Transfer)
  • BP-3L 3.7V 1300 mAh removable battery

So as we can see, though general conception is, Lumia 710 is a trimmed down Lumia 800, its not exactly the case.

  • It offers you a sharper display being a non-PenTile RGB display with 24 bit colors
  • Penta Band connectivity (though it wont matter for most of Indian users)
  • Camera is non-Carl Zeiss and also has f/2.4 means less light in, lesser low light performance and sharpness than f/2.2 Lumia 800.

Nokia Lumia 710: The software impressions

I already been through the software specific details in my Lumia 800 post with complete details and as its exactly same with Nokia Lumia 710 as well. For the same reason, I didn’t felt the need to repeat the same here again. You can check the link for the same. Will write about the differences here in short.

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What changed in these one two months was the fury of apps. I loved new version of Twitter Client Mehdoh with its Streaming timeline and got totally impressed by the outrageously innovative Twitter Client Twabbit. Liked the Carbon Twitter client as well but restrictions on Market free version annoyed me.

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In other welcome changes, a well deserved Nokia Creative Studio, about which I actually wrote in my last Lumia review that it was badly needed even though in-built auto-fix does a good job for causal snappers.

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Also the release of a beautiful Linkedin for Windows Phone client, came in to fill the another gap for me as it was awkward to see that LinkedIn is baked into the core of operating system but there was no official client for it and hence not that full fledge use cases.

It was lovely to meet the new version of Facebook and amazing Photosynth.

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Check out the above sample from Photosynth. Amazingly speedy and accurate stitching. Though uneven borders are annoying but on the other hand 3D mode is superb.

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I was a little sceptical about the non-Carl Zeiss 5 MP camera with Lumia 710 but the above unedited picture should clear any doubt about it.

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Though still Camera part leaves a lot to desire when it comes to handling uneven lights.

It might be software updates or may be a different product, it was good to see the absence of battery bug of Lumia 800 here that was leading to a dead phone if fully discharged (only way out was USB recharge).


Nokia Lumia 710: Top Five Things that I liked about it

I keep on reviewing many a products and its not like that if I feel some emptiness once they leave me but when it comes to Lumia, then there are a few things that I miss badly when I use any other phone than Nokia Lumia 710:

1. Amazing People Hub: You might have read praises about it via every person who might have used Windows Phone for considerable time and trust me, there is a reason that it impresses literally everyone.

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People Hub not only aggregate all your social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin, but allows you to interact with each of those networks without the need of leaving the People Hub experience.

For example, you can update your own status on twitter/facebook or both, post comment\likes on Facebook status\ photos, reply\retweet Twitter statuses. This all feel very convenient as don’t need to go into some other app and still you know who liked your status or replied you on Facebook or Twitter.

And this is not all. People Hub can be divided into Groups or even Individuals and you can have tiles for each accordingly, which solves the issue of missing the updates from special ones. Like in my case, I am following some 800+ people on twitter and some 500+ people in my Facebook friendlist, obviously, I would miss if my wife who is very less active on twitter/facebook comparatively, updates something. But having a tile in her name or a tile in name of Family (a small group) solves the issue.

Top of all, this all happens with fabulous metro UI with animations and silky smoothness all the time. Yes! there is no alternative of people on any of the platform yet.

2. Amazing Windows Phone Keyboard: I remember the time, when in start of Windows Phone, people were talking a lot about Windows Phone keyboard and I was thinking that what’s big deal in that when it don’t even look like of my taste, neither do I have any flexibility to change it like I do have in case of Android. I don’t even have swipe on Windows Phone.

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Trust me, Windows Phone keyboard came as a big surprise to me once I given it some time to grow over me. You can think of the impression by the fact that I own Samsung Galaxy S myself which have gone through all kind of rooting, custom ROM, CM9 and multiple keyboard apps etc, but despite of using that since an year, I feel myself typing two-three fold faster on Windows Phone keyboard within a week. Yes! two three fold.

Not really sure that what is the magic about it, the amazing auto-correct without overdoing it or right amount of audible feedback on key presses without any mechanical looking feel, but it works and works better than any keyboard that I might have used either on Android, Symbian, iOS, BlackBerry or WebOS.

3. Beautiful Email Experience: I have said it multiple times that even if there was no other features as good as other platforms, I would have loved Windows Phone on the basis of its Email Experience alone.

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The UI is awesome, the speed is unmatched, Exchange Address lookups feel instant and the dealing with HTML formatted Email is just too perfect. Windows Phone is the only place where I know that mails will be displayed on small screen with the right amount of picture size or fonts. It just scales the mails so nicely that I feel like cursing my Symbian and Android phones that why they want to make a big fuss about it.

4. Microsoft Office for mobile: Having an office suit is another thing and having an office suit that handles heavy abuse like the desktop one is other, this is where, Microsoft Office Mobile scores.

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Either it be Excel, PowerPoint or Microsoft Word files, it handle even bigger than average files without a sweat, which is something that always been a desirable on other platforms.

5. Speed of operations and always responsive UI: Each manufacturer just feel like looking for an excuse to raise the processor cores or RAM on slightest of possibility and we are in an age where some mobiles have came with Quad Core and 2Gb RAMs with them. It really hurts when you see some 1GHz or 1.5Ghz phone giving you a slightest of lag in responding when you touch over any icon, but it happens and I have seen it on some “Dual Core” Androids even.

Despite of being limited to Single Core till the moment, Windows Phone is designed to keep user engaged with the UI in a manner that everything feels responsive, no matter what’s going on in background.

Either you pick a high end like Nokia Lumia 900 or pick a Nokia Lumia 710, you don’t feel ashamed in showing off speed of your mobile operations to others coz somehow it feels same speedy over both of them in exactly similar ways despite of hardware differences.

Trust me, its not some magic but so many rounds of R&D and optimizations in background. There is a reason that you feel your phone faster in uploading photos and posting statuses even no 2G networks otherwise like many  of the friends already said, an Android with a 2G Internet connection is an Android without an Internet connection. Nothing like that in case of Windows Phone for sure as I experienced.


Nokia Lumia 710: Top Five Things that I didn’t like about it

1. Horrible Notifications system: This is one of the painful part for Windows Phone as of now. Windows Phone has no single screen, drop down or a page for unified notification from various apps. It either sends the notifications to top of the screen in form of one liner or just will put them on some tile.

It definitely doesn’t feel that convenient for a user perspective when you don’t see multiple of notifications at once neither can control that for how many moments it should stay on top interfering the experience. Also it feels like sheer ignorance from Windows Phone design part that there is no always visible status bar at top showing battery life, network signals or any other such thing.

Though I seen that many a times, its possible to tap on top and see the status bar but it seems that most of the apps just want to override the same. So, its more of guidelines part I guess.

As raised by some of the friends on Twitter, there are privacy concerns as well like you can not limit if the part of message should be displayed on top or not. Strange to see that why Microsoft decided this part of user experience this lightly just like Apple was dealing with notification lately.

2. File management and its worse implications: When I heard about it for the first time, then I couldn’t believe it and was needed to check myself. Yes! you can’t send a document as Email attachment via Email App itself. I mean in name of holy God what kind of logic behind it? If I am a Business person, then do you think that emailing photos is more important or emailing excel, word files are?

Though yes, you can send any such file via share menu and it can  go as an email attachment, but most of the use cases of business or even personal emailing don’t work like that. You usually find yourself replying some email and all of sudden feel that you should attach something. If Email App wont let you do that then what’s point of such a fantastic Email App otherwise or fabulous Microsoft Office Mobile in it.

So, its again seem to be sheer negligence rather than some limitation of platform itself.

3. No file download in browser, not a perfect fit to screen either: First of all, there are not many choices for browser in app store and then native IE browser on phone won’t allow you to download any kind of media file. If you wanted to download a MP3 then it would rather stream it than downloading to phone.

In next, I have no issues if it doesn’t give me Flash Player abilities but what about a better implementation of fit to screen? If I double tap a page then it will zoom in or zoom out as one step toggle, but it doesn’t fit the page if you are doing a pinch to zoom for zooming the page a bit further.

4. Bluetooth: Nope.. I wont start the debate that one needs the option of sending files over Bluetooth or not even though I feel the need, but the story doesn’t end here. As of now, Windows Phone can’t stream audio to your car/ other devices over Bluetooth either, thanks to absence of rSAP protocol support.

Here goes my excitement about having the same feature in my coming car if I buy a Windows Phone.

5. Not great Phone operation handling: To start the conversation, this is a phone after all and smart dial like essential features should not be a luxury or some rocket science to implement into. Come on, its 2012, you make a Phone OS and tell me that I can’t just type a name and dial? I need to remember the full number or go via contacts to dial it? Get a life.

You know what? You don’t have ability to filter out online and phone contacts either. That should be icing the cake, no.


Conclusion:

So, this was Layman’s Take about Nokia Lumia 710 and as usual, if I am vocal about the good things in it, then I wont stop my voice from commenting over its negatives either. Still one needs to use his own mind and weigh the pro’s and con’s depending on his/ her own use cases. As much I use Windows Phone, I find it hard to ignore and really addictive. As about Style, then you can think of appeal when I see four people buying it just after watching it in my hands in last two weeks.

When I see a Lumia 710 at sub 15k INR price, then its sure a recommended deal considering the other goodies that are on offer with it being a Nokia. Did you know, you have Offline lifetime voice navigation with it?

So what’s your take?

Layman’s Take on Nokia Lumia 800- Take a look over it without shadows of anything

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Last November been a really eventful month for me (though apparently less eventful for my blog posts themselves) as after BlackBerry Touch 9860 and Nokia N9, Nokia Lumia 800 also joined in the list of review devices to me. But then Its not been only tough schedules but also the entirely new product experience that made me delay in posting my first impressions (though I always been vocal on my twitter account @nkumar_ in this while) like I did in case of big devices like Samsung Galaxy S or Nokia N9 in past.

It was necessary to get over with the excitements/ pre-judgments first before writing a Layman’s Take about it. So,… here I am. Back again after the longest period taken with any of other review device to me in past.

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Since we heard of leaks about Nokia SeaRay, this handset (now known as Nokia Lumia 800) always been overshadowed by the adjective Nokia N9 look-a-like and that really been a lot injustice to this brilliant piece of design. Think if there was no Nokia N9 and Nokia would have came out with this iconic design as their first Windows Phone? Shouldn’t we judge this device in that way only?

Nokia: Symbian –> Windows phone

Since the Burning Platform Memo, there been a lot of debate around Nokia’s shift to Windows Phone. Like any heated discussion, there will always be some pros and cons of any move on such a big scale, but the thing is, we should accept the reality now that Nokia is a business company and they are here for business. When a new CEO got hired and was expected to do a turn-around (with probably not that many easy options around as many of us might have thought in early emotions of #Feb11), then considering the reputation of in-house software in eyes of major operators, we can see a point here in choosing Windows Phone as viable alternative.

Many called Stephen Elop a Trojan Horse since his joining as Nokia CEO in October 2010 and speculations around his shares in Microsoft kept on fueling the doubts until he sold those shares and bought Nokia’s shares. But in all those speculations, people missed one thing to notice. Even if he would have been a Trojan, even if he had plans of a Nokia-Microsoft deal since the beginning, was this really that easy to convince whole Nokia to go Microsoft way from day one? Making a Windows Phone from day one? Think practical. How much time Nokia Lumia 800 got in R&D labs? Not even an year.

Me and you may not understand that how hard it might have been, but ask the manufacturers and experts that how hard it is to actually deliver a product in market in this short span of time? Even if you write off the design as that of Nokia N9 plainly, it’s a totally different OS and related interfaces beneath and testing of components follow a standard process that is sure a time taking one.

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You have to admit the remarkable work that is personified as Nokia Lumia 800 today, one totally distinct design standing apart from whole world of suing and counter-suing. When you think of situations around it then Its just not a design or just another phone, but its something even bigger than that.


Windows Phone and me

Believe it or not, its been the first ever Windows phone for me as I never had a brief hands on over Windows phone in past. So, what I am gonna write here, will be raw impressions for a first timer. I would be someone who is coming from a Nokia device background and being a Samsung Galaxy S owner, can weigh its pros & cons in comparison to other available alternative that is Android.

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Its not only interesting for you, but its been interesting for me as well and so I decided to give it enough time before writing something about  it (After all, I been given a generous two months review period for the device). And now it would be one of the biggest text based walkthrough of Windows Phone Software till date.

Continue reading “Layman’s Take on Nokia Lumia 800- Take a look over it without shadows of anything”

The first real Windows Phone at Layman’s Take from @Nokia_Connects

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Update: The review unit is from @nokia_connects. There was some confusion as came via Nokia India

While many of the readers are yet to finish the giant Nokia N9 review that I posted few hours back, here comes the another big news. Nokia Lumia 800 has just been delivered at Layman’s Take.

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While you might be wondering about the first Bluedart bag in place of usual DHL package then let me give you another surprise. This is the first review unit to me from Nokia India itself (in co-ordination with Nokia Connects obviously) and to add into the excitement of the latest device, let me tell you that it will remain with me for next two months.

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Not to forget, as per my wish, Nokia decided to treat me with the Black Model. So… now its time to shot a big YAHOOOOOO … oops! big BINGGGG as @modibimal says

Layman’s Take on Nokia N9– Music of Beethoven

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Its been enough long since I didn’t came back  about the much awaited Nokia N9 post, the Layman’s Take on Nokia N9, but I wanted to assure you that I wasn’t lost and was exploring the beauty from the most critical angles, so that you can get a view beyond the praises, beyond the technicalities… beyond the background stories … beyond Meego’s Future etc.. just a practical and real life plain view about the device and here I am .. back again..

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What will you do if …

  • You know that you are among least wanted out there …
  • You know that nothing matters now, no matter how hard you try …
  • You know that this is actually the last life you are going to live out there …
  • If you have to face the world out there alone as even your own people will back off from you …

Yes! this been exactly the thing with Nokia N9, when it was waiting for its turn to come out in lights.

Odds from whole universe been tiding their hands against this lonely warrior. Big tech blogs were habitual of discarding anything from praises, if a name Nokia attached with it. Think of the adrenal in your veins when you know that people are ready to discard you even before giving you a tiny chance, leave the talk of a fair chance, think of the thoughts going on inside, when you know that even your company don’t want to launch you all over the world and just want to pass it on?

Do you know, what Nokia N9 did?

It did something that only heros do, like Beethoven did, with composing legendary music even when he went medically deaf. Nokia N9 stood tall in front of all the odds and turned around the things single handedly.

Its been long since when we heard literally hundred percent reviews about a Nokia filled with adjectives only and when it happens then if it tempting you to know about it “more and more” then you are perfectly sane. After all, when people like Gizmodo, who even refused to review Nokia N8 (still the best Nokia phone for me till date), feel tempted about it, then why should you hide your lust for it?

I had every reason to  literally beg for this gadget pornography and thank to kind people at Nokia, I wasn’t denied like always. Smile

But who was I?

The one who started his mobile blogging with almighty Nokia N900 and still dreams about that “old” resistive device only, I was obviously not surprised by the praises coming in the way of Nokia N9, knowing that it was successor to Nokia N900 itself with removal of most of its shortcomings (not all).

I was obviously not starting afresh here. I had my own expectations, coming from Nokia N900 and Nokia N8 combined, let’s see what I felt about the device, but I should warn you that once you click the Read More link, you are into a post that is as big as around 11000+ words, more than double larger that any other review I posted till date..

Continue reading “Layman’s Take on Nokia N9– Music of Beethoven”