As a rule, I find it painful to go back to a device that I have owned and used in the past. There is usually enough progress in the mobile field for me to consider going back both a waste of time and a downgrade. However, after over 50 mobile phones, that rule has finally been broken and the honour goes to the Nokia N900.
My first outing with the N900 was back in April 2010. Between the first and second comings of the N900 have been six (6) phones, namely: HTC Touch Pro2 (July 2010), Nokia E5 (August 2010), Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro (September 2010), Apple iPhone 3GS (November 2010), Palm Pre (November 2010), and Nokia N8 (November 2010). I still have the N8 and I am devoting it to a totally different purpose in the fields that it shines (stay tuned for more on these pages).
The N900 is an exciting, compelling and extremely powerful device. The battery life was its weakest spot on my sheet. Still, I had been pinning to have one back in my hands for a while. Then I got an opportunity to own one again and took it. The first thing I did was update the firmware to version 20.2010.36-2.002 a.k.a. PR 1.3.
I had a hectic day yesterday – I spent all morning out of the office with the N900 on me as my only phone and mobile office.
I had charged it fully and unplugged it at about 10.00 p.m. the previous night. All through the night, it ran an email sync cycle of 30 minutes. It was also configured to sync my contacts and calendar entries every 4 hours from 6am to 6pm daily.
So, how did the N900 hold up?
Sweet Desktop-like Functionality and Ease of Use
First stop was the banking hall to carry out some transactions. Standing on the queue (yes; its no news that long queues are back in our banking halls), I was attending to mails. One of those mails required me to provide a link to a URL in my response. It was here that I remembered how much better as a computing device the N900 is compared to anything else I have used recently.
I launched the browser, typed out the homepage of the site I needed. Once that loaded, I simply tapped and held the desired link on the page. A drop-down menu popped up and I selected the option to “Copy Link Address”.
Back to the email client where I was typing my response, tapped the point where I wanted the link inserted, and hit Ctrl + V on the keyboard. There it was. Click Send. Done. And all with a full view of the display. No onscreen keyboard to hide anything from view and limit viewing. The N900 just romps over the competition with this. Note that scenarios like this are commonplace in my line of work.
I had also missed that keyboard and the many shortcuts that make so many tasks a breeze to carry out on this Maemo 5 device.
Remember that I took it off the mains the previous night. Leaving home, I had an active Bluetooth connection with a Bluetooth headset, since I was driving. There was an active Skype connection too. I spent two hours at Airtel’s waiting area and had the N900 to keep me from dying of boredom. In addition, I was consistently active on Mobility Nigeria and attending to both personal and official mails, besides browsing websites of interest.
From Airtel, I made a few other stops. Anyway, I finally got to the office after 1 pm and the N900’s battery got emptied at around 1.30 pm. ‘Dayo and I didn’t think it was a bad performance, seeing that his Blackberry device was almost out of juice too by the time we returned to the office (and he had only fully charged his at 5 am that day).
I am still in the process of conditioning the battery of the N900, so perhaps I can still get better battery performance. We’ll see and then I will re-visit the battery issue then.
Laptop Now Stays At Home
The N900 is the closest thing to a mobile computer that I have ever used. again, as before, there is no compelling need to lug my netbook around any longer – except for when special needs are required.
N900 versus N8?
I was amused to see the mild outrage that greeted my naming the N900 my smartphone of the year 2010 from some quarters. I didn’t say the smartphone of the year, meaning that my needs were in view in arriving at that decision. I have no doubts that the N8 outshines the N900 in certain areas and will qualify as the smartphone of the year for many others whose needs differ from mine. But in my line of work, the N900 is the more appropriate device.
As already hinted, you will be seeing my N8 deliver in its areas of strength as an excellent media tool for the Mobility Nigeria team, so continue to expect excellent materials on and from the N8 multimedia monster. But for daily personal use, the N900 is it for me. For now.