In March last year, I declared the 2007-released Nokia E90 to be my All-round Champion device.
In this article, I draw direct comparisons between features on the Symbian-powered Nokia E90 and the Maemo-powered N900.
Business-wise, the N900 is up to speed with a 3.5″ WVGA display at 800 × 480 pixel resolution (the E90 sports 4.0 inches at 800 x 352 pixels). While the E90’s display is larger, it is narrower, making the N900 display more usable. The displays on both are vibrant.
Both the E90 and the N900 feature full QWERTY keyboards, but admittedly, the N900’s keyboard does not match the E90’s though it is very usable. The E90 has a 5-row tactile keyboard, while the N900’s keyboard is only 3-row. That notwithstanding, the N900’s keys are as tactile and almost as good as the E90’s.
The screen and keyboard combinations of both devices make them potential formidable business devices. Reading and editing of text on both is a breeze, with the N900 offering on-screen text input via the touchscreen in addition to the QWERTY keyboard. Then throw in Office documents applications, note applications and PDF readers, and the mobile office is almost complete on both devices.
The E90 had it all – or so I thought: infrared, bluetooth 2.0, and USB 2.0, Wi-fi, GPRS, EDGE, 3G and HSDPA (up to 3.6mbps). The N900 adds 2 Mbps HSUPA, bumps HSDPA to 10 Mbps and Bluetooth to version 2.1.
The built-in browser on the E90 was good, but after using the MicroB browser on the N900, I testify that it blows the S60 browser on the E90 to smithereens. It is the most awesome browser ever on any mobile device. Take any desktop browser task and you can get it done on the N900 without breaking a sweat.
Being an N-series device, the N900 lives up to expectation and leaves the E90 in the dust. The loudspeaker is loud, and a wide range of audio and video formats are supported. This includes DivX and XviD support, which is not so common on mobile devices. Of course, the N900 plays videos directly in the built-in browser as well.
The E90 had a very good 3.2 megapixel with LED flash and auto-focus that produced escellent still shots and video clips. The N900 does better with a 5 megapixel unit with dual-LED flash and auto-focus.
With the huge RAM and capable processor, multi-tasking on the E90 was taken for granted and running multiple applications running in the background was no issue.
Multi-tasking on the N900 is a whole new experience. RAM on the N900 is double that of the E90 and the power of the processor nearly doubles that of the E90 as well. While the E90 had a reputation of being somewhat sluggish, the N900 is smoother to use. The “dashboard” on the N900 makes the term “task-switching” outdated. On the dashboard, all running applications are displayed as live icons (you can actually see the progress of the tasks being carried out by each application).
So far, my usage of the N900 suggests that The E90’s battery life is better than the N900’s. I wish Nokia had put in the famous 1500 mAh battery used in the E90 in the N900. But they didn’t and I’ll just have to live with the 1320 mAh unit available for the N900.
The N900 is more compact and lighter at 110.9 × 59.8 × 18 mm (181g) compared to the E90 at 132 x 57 x 20 mm (210 g).
The N900 also comes with 32GB memory built-in against the E90’s 128 MB.
Hail the NEW King
Since that article in March 2009, I had been unable to find a device that qualified as an upgrade to the E90. But my search is over. The E90 no longer rules the mobile jungle. In terms of specs, the N900 is more advanced and its user interface is years ahead of the dated Symbian OS v9.2, S60 rel. 3.1 that the E90 runs on.
As of today, there isn’t a better communicator in the market than the Nokia N900.