The Nokia N9

NOTE: This was copy-pasted directly from my blog without much alteration. Apologies if anything is out of context. Yeah I bought this a little late haha, and I myself think it's kinda weird for a post on impressions of the N9 to be popping out of nowhere!

So I got a bit of gadget lust and plopped my money down on the rather…unique Nokia N9. It’s a very strange device, an awkward transition between Nokia’s Symbian and WP platforms.

The N9 is totally loveable! There are a few major points I really like about this phone, but unfortunately as with all old phones running obsolete OSes, there’s stuff to dislike as well.

+ Design:
The hardware design is gorgeous. A single black slab of seamless, grippy, polycarbonate accentuated by a buttonless glass front curved at the edges. It feels elegant yet sturdy.
The software design also echoes that of the hardware. The rounded circle motif that appears in the form of the shape of the front glass panel also appears throughout the entire OS. It manifests itself in text selection, icon shape, button shape, etc.
Powerful unified design language is the result when hardware and software are designed in tandem with each other, and it really shows here. The N9 is (mostly) a brilliantly designed piece of hardware and software.

+ First-party software:
The N9 excels brilliantly in the efficiency of its first-party OS and software experience. Getting around the system is a nearly frictionless experience thanks to the abundance of gestures and the ability to wake the phone with a double tap on the screen.

+ Implementation of third-party hooks:
The apps and integration which are bundled into MeeGo OS are superb.
I really like the aggregated notification area + newsfeed concept just one swipe away from the app drawer. It really enhances the glanceability of the platform, something really important when using a mobile device.

+ Non-mainstream appeal:
Yes, I just said it! People who value having a phone that’s different (for better or worse) will find this phone very attractive, myself included.
Just how many phones officially run Harmattan?

Sadly, for all its design merits and OS-level features, the N9 is severely lacking in certain areas, mostly not due to Nokia’s engineers or inhouse developers.

- Availability of third-party ecosystem:
Big minus. Big, big minus. I can’t emphasise how much this prevents the N9 being my daily driver. Hooks for Windows Live, WhatsApp, Instagram and many other services are unofficially made by independent devs.
While the hooks for Facebook and Twitter are well-integrated, they aren’t exactly up to date. For example, there is no group doc and comment liking support in the Facebook app.

- Touch responsivness:
I came to the N9 from an iPhone, and while the actual speed of moving between tasks on the N9 is great, the fine-grained touch response and finger tracking leaves much to be desired.
It reminds me of my friend’s Acer Liquid phone running Android 1.6, and that isn’t exactly fantastic.

The N9 is excellent hardware design and intuitive software, unfortunately burdened by aged internals and poor third-party support. With the right timing (which Nokia was...kinda far away from), Nokia could actually have gotten something going! What a pity.
Still, it’s a quirky smartphone with a certain charm to using it that can’t be found on almost all other handsets right now.