A Review of the Nokia N9

Here’s a quick round-up of pros and cons (personal opinion of course) for anyone thinking about grabbing the N9 for themselves.


Nokia N9
Nokia N9
Nokia N9
Nokia N9

The N9 is retarded gorgeous when you see it first hand. Hold it before you decide to scoff at it.

Polycarbonate Body

The N9 came with a silicone type casing which I am now using. As such, I cannot comment on how well the polycarbonate body holds up to scratches/pocket wear. Take note, I don’t really like the silicon casing included with the N9, however, all Nokia N9 devices in Malaysia are required to be approved by SIRIM (who need to approve “most” electronics coming into the country) – and the SIRIM proof of approval is… a sticker on the back of the phone near the silver strip that houses the camera. Further, the local distributor of Nokia devices feels the need to add ANOTHER sticker to show the month of sale. So, there are TWO ugly stickers on the back of the device that will essentially void the warranty if removed… basically, I’m not removing this silicone case no matter how much I hate it because the phone will be BUTT UGLY thanks to the retard stickers if I do.

MCMC & Zitron Stickers
MCMC & Zitron Stickers

Using the same logic that these guys used, here is the probably outcome if the Mona Lisa was shown in Malaysia.

Mona Lisa in Malaysia
Mona Lisa in Malaysia

We’ve got ourselves a lovely looking device… and these guys decide to stick stuff on it. Seriously?


You know how some people said the UI seems to almost float above the screen? Well, it’s true…

N9 Floating Screen
N9 Floating Screen

Pentile AMOLED – A lot has been said about pentile displays being a subpar display; don’t knock it until you try it! The N9 screen is absolutely amazing. If nobody mentioned “pentile” to you beforehand, it’s unlikely you’d say anything other than “WHOA!”. It’s bright, clear, and very much usable even in tropical sunlight.

Curved Glass – Looks good; check. Hard to find screen protector; check. Not including online options, a screen protector for the curved glass screen on the N9 has thus far eluded me despite much hunting. Ideally I’d like to have stuck a screen protector on it right when I got the device, but up to this point, scratches haven’t been a problem (it’s only been about 36 hours) which brings me to the next thing…

Gorilla Glass – Given that I’ve treated it carefully (like any geek would with a new toy), so far the only thing I’ve left on the screen has been a lot of finger prints and smudge marks. This is unfortunately one area that I’m not very keen to give a “detailed” review of…

Seeing as it’s pretty much impossible to get a screen protector for the N9 over in Malaysia right now… I’m still surviving without one. So, had the N9 for about a week now, and, guess what, no scratches!!! It seems to be safe enough that I’m considering NOT using a screen protector at all.

Battery Life

While not phenomenal by any means, the Nokia N9 currently survives approximately 1 full day out with me with “typical” usage (maybe a little more than typical since it IS a new toy). Note; power saving mode is turned off. 10AM to 10PM, always online (either WiFi or 3.5G), semi-constant checking of Facebook/Twitter, email polling set to 10 minutes on 3 accounts, availability for Skype/GoogleTalk/Facebook set to online, bouncing around on Foursquare, music player for a couple of hours here and there, some surfing now and then, oh and of course some calls. As I plug the charger in, the battery reports 4% remaining.

As I said, a far cry from the days of monochrome displays and days going without charging – but pretty decent for a smartphone, especially if you are coming from an N900. I could probably survive without the car charger I bought for the N900 – but since I’ve got it, I’ll use it. Guess the non-removable battery wasn’t such a big deal after all… I’ll still miss the option though.

User Interface

I love it. A step up from Maemo Fremantle for sure, possibly as easy to use as iOS, and definitely less cluttered (IMO) than Android. Portions of the images are intentionally blurred.

N9 Multi-Tasking View
N9 Multi-Tasking View
N9 Skype Group Chat
N9 Skype Group Chat


No everything is NOT rosey unfortunately.

Silicone Casing

So, they included a FREE silicone case for the N9 in the box. Did everyone get one? Or is it just Malaysia? I’m saying that because I’m guessing “most” other countries wouldn’t have ugly stickers on the back of a nice looking device like the N9.

Anyway, I’m using the silicone case because of the stickers on the back of the phone – no other reason… and I’m considering NOT using the silicone case because the guys who engineered the silicone case were pretty obviously not the same guys who engineered the N9 itself.

Nokia N9 Silicone Case
Nokia N9 Silicone Case

As you can see, in its resting position, the cutout of the silicon case manages to cover the majority of an already tiny earpiece. Guess what happens when you actually stick your ear there… Well, here’s a hint… why don’t humans talk to each other underwater?


Since Nokia and its equivalent of the App Store or the Android Marketplace has been constantly a source of ridicule due to the fact that it doesn’t have 400,000 different fart apps, Nokia has since stepped up its efforts to increase the number of apps available in the Ovi Store. Congratulations you idiots… now the Ovi Store has many completely retarded and useless apps and has many more on the way.

On the N900, I could visit the Ovi Store, and most of the apps listed were either useful, productive, or something positive like that. Now, on the N9, I find myself scrolling through pages and pages of apps that are essentially a bookmark or load an RSS feed of some random annoying persons website, apps that tell me if I will have good luck today based on the colour of my morning poop, or something similarly useless and/or redundant.

Seriously, quality over quantity comes to mind here. I’d take 1,000 applications that are useful over 5,000,000 apps that make fart noises or supposedly give me the superpower of seeing through clothes. Come on, if we based performance on ONLY 1 number, we’d all be driving 18 wheeler trucks to show off and pick up chicks.


Yes, I’m going to miss this coming from an N900. If you have a car, and a radio, I could transmit my music through it on the N900. Sure, some people have systems that have Bluetooth A2DP capabilities, or auxiliary input – but what % of people do you think that is compared to people who have JUST a normal FM radio?

Apparently some work is being done in this area – it “may” be possible to transmit FM on the N9 – but it’s a lot more likely that only FM reception will be possible. So I’ll just stick this in the “negative” category until something concrete comes up.


OMG PEOPLE STILL USE THAT? Well, honestly, I didn’t really use the IR on my N900 until recently. I just got an EOS 7D, and the N900 is able to work as a remote shutter. N9? Er, nope, sorry. Looks like I’ll be keeping my N900 around just for this, if not anything else.

USB Charger Port

N9 USB Charger Plugged In
N9 USB Charger Plugged In
Nokia N9 USB Charge Port
Nokia N9 USB Charge Port

Let’s put the charging port which will likely be used about once a day for the lifetime of the device under a flimsy piece of plastic that must be poked and prodded in order to charge. Yes!!! Great idea!!!

I see that this bit of plastic is not going to have a very long and/or fulfilling life. Even if you take GREAT care of that little piece of plastic… Heaven forbid you EVER drop the N9 with the charger plugged in. I think that it’s a pretty safe bet that in about 6 months, a fair percentage of N9 users will have N9’s that no longer have that little plastic twig-like thing that covers the USB charging port.

Capacitive Screen

I know that many people love capacitive screens nowadays, but I’m not really a big fan, even now… maybe it’s because my fingers can strangely be non-conductive at times. For some strange reason there’s times when I’m poking around, and then things stop responding… I switch fingers and everything is back to normal… I switch back to the first finger, and things stop working again. *Shrug*

I’ve never liked capacitive screens… so I’m biased, but anyway, the sensitivity on the N9 is EXCELLENT… when it works. I may just have strange alien fingers, but there are times when one of my fingers just stops tracking… and another finger works just fine. Not a big issue since I have 10 fingers to swap between… YMMV

Call Quality/Reception

Don’t think I’ve really “used” the phone enough to make comments on this, but I would say that reception “appears” to be better than the N900. Call quality seems good, but it can be a little difficult to get used to the earpiece being so close to the top of the phone… not to mention the silicone case has a tendency of conveniently stretching enough to cover the earpiece at times.

Developer Mode

Easy to enable, easy to add “modules”, all good so far right? No flasher available yet. What this means is, if you mess up your brand spankin’ new N9 thanks to developer mode… you’re going to have to wait until a flasher is available to restore your device to working condition. Proceed with caution…


I’ve been mainly going back and forth between TMO (talk.maemo.org) and the MeeGo Forums for information. I feel more at home on TMO, but then again that may be because I’ve been a user there for almost 3 years. The MeeGo forums do seem to be slightly less cluttered with random chat in threads though, so it “may” be a better choice when randomly browsing for information.

Notifications Page

There isn’t one per se (like the N900) where SMS conversations, emails, IM conversations are dumped into the same page. Instead, SMS and IM are grouped together under “Messages”, and e-mail gets its own app.


  1. […] This latest smartphone,   a s blend of design and the latest smartphone technology, promises to re-define the way smartphones are used, Nokia claimed as it unveiled the new range.Alessandro Lamanna, Nokia’s Vice President of Sales, Middle East and Africa, said with its groundbreaking technology and en-vogue look and feel, Nokia’s latest smartphone is meant for  style conscious consumer.  “The Nokia N9  will be available in select markets across the world.  With recent figures from Gartner revealing that Nokia smartphones continue to be market leaders in Middle East Africa, claiming 41.9 per cent of the category market, consumers in the region clearly value and trust Nokia products.  Addressing this clear preference, Nokia has selected MEA as one of the first markets to launch the N9, continuing our commitment to meet customer demands for products that excel in performance and enhance their social standing,” said Lamanna.The Nokia N9 has a new design where the home key is replaced by a simple gesture: a swipe. Whenever you’re in an application, swiping from the edge of the display takes you home.The three home views of the user interface are designed to give fast access to the most important things people do with a phone: using apps, staying up to date with notifications and social networks, and switching 
between activities. The Nokia N9 also packs the latest in camera, navigation and audio technology for a great all-round experience.Nokia Global Head of Design, Marko Ahtisaari said, “Innovation is at the heart of our strategy and with the N9, we wanted to design a better way to use a phone so we reinvented the home key with a simple gesture: a swipe from the edge of the screen.  The positive consumer feedback we’ve received on the Nokia N9 from across the region is very exciting and sends a strong message about Nokia and its new challenger mindset, strategy and direction.  Hand in hand to design is the look and feel, and we are certain the Nokia N9 will both surprise and enthrall style conscious users.” Mobile users can watch videos in 16:9 widescreen format.  
—Nokia?s N9 smartphone makes Mideast debut Issac John 22 September 2011 DUBAI ? Nokia announced on Te…frica. […]

  2. Good review.
    How’s the poly body holding up to scratches from repeated putting it in and out of the pocket?
    Call quality and reception better than the N900?
    Have you tried out developer mode?
    Is there a dedicated forum like Maemo.org or are we gonna be using TMO since this is more Maemo6 than Meego?
    Is the screen sensitivity as good as N900? I use my N900 without screen protector since i had to change my digitizer due to screwed up protector that spoilt the old 1.
    You didn’t answer my question in your last post… Did you get the N9 + NFC headphones for RM2,088?
    Thanks for the answers and keep Linuxing!

    1. Yup RM2088 for N9 + NFC BH-505. Only for first X number of preorder 64GB customers though, I’m not sure how many.

  3. Ahhh bollocks!
    Knew i should have pre-ordered it!
    How’s usability so far?
    I guess it must be much simpler than the N900. But is it as open to installing DEB files and such?

    1. Still not 100% comfortable with Swipe yet… but I’m sure that will change in time. Installing .deb files is possibly even easier… any .deb file you receive (including via bluetooth/wifi) prompts you to install, upon accepting notifies you of dependencies, and then proceeds to install once you approve.

  4. ftw! i was wondering where the stickers were going… cases suck big time…
    screen sentivity could be because of going from resistive to capacitive screen… takes a little getting used to perhaps.
    how’s the gorilla glass holding up without a screen protector?
    is the notifications page easy to get used to? seeing as how you were probably using conversations widget and email widget in the n900.
    ps. getting the 64GB N9 this week! screw the naysayers!

  5. Heard from reliable sources that contrary to popular belief, there is going to be a second production run of N9 (first run delivered).
    16GB lots of stock left, 64GB looking to be a collectors item!
    Would be interesting to see what the flop has to say..
    Any brickbats on the N9 usability from your end? Only picking mine up on Monday morning… Can’t freaking sleep!

  6. Juat picked up the n9. In 1 word, gorgeous!

  7. Have been using the N9 for a few days now.
    compared to the N900, it’s lacking in a few departments.
    Slick no doubt, but limited in customization.
    Then again, the N900 is a computer, and the N9 is a phone.
    After looking at it from that paradigm, the N9 is a beautiful as well as a well rounded phone. I haven’t rooted or anything, but looking forward to the 3500 plus changelog item update!
    I’m a swiper!

  8. My screen can’t pressed because of the moist.

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