While still preparing some of the materials for my Nokia N900 reviews, I ran into an article, Why the Nokia N97 sucks… and why it still rules, by Steve Litchfield over at All About Symbian, in which presents why he believes that the Nokia N97 is the all-round king of the smartphone world. Towards the conclusion of the article, Steve declares:
There’s simply nothing else in the world that can match all (or even most) of the above. Which means that if even (say) 7 of the 9 attributes are vital to what you want from a smartphone then only be achieved with the ‘love it or hate it, you can’t ignore it’ Nokia N97….
That had me stumped, because there is one mobile device that matches every single point that he made in favour of the N97, without having any of the limitations of the N97. Permit me to present to you…. the Nokia N900.
In this article, I itemise Steve’s arguments and apply them to the N900.
The N900’s display is very readable in direct sunlight. I live in the tropics, and British sunlight, which Steve’s N97 is exposed to, is nothing compared to the glare of the tropics. Yet, the N900 performs admirably. No issues.
2. Hero battery life
The N900 does not have the 1500mAh battery of the N97, but its BL-5J comes close at 1320 mAh. The N900 mobile computer is my PC when I am out of the office and battery life has been more than adequate.
I am not certain of the criteria of Steve’s ‘power user’s day out’ tests, but I doubt that it holds a candle to mine.
In my own ‘power user’s day out’ scenario, which I conducted last Friday, I had the N900 connecting to the mailserver every 10 minutes over a 3G connection. I set up and/or troubleshot (is that a word?) 7 webhosting accounts, responded to about 20 enquiries and/or support tickets, received and made several voice calls (with Bluetooth headset active), and responded to about 10 SMS messages. In addition, I moderated several comments on MobilityNigeria.com and browsed some of my daily online stop-overs. Note that this was non-stop usage of a mobile device.
With the above scenario, the battery, which was charged full the previous night, and which had been in use for web and email through the night (attending to support requests and moderating MobilityNigeria), died on me at 3 p.m.
That is simply amazing battery performance.
3. FM transmitter
4. Camera glass protection
5. 32GB mass memory
Check. Incidentally, Steve left the N900 out of his list of smartphones with this much internal storage.
6. QWERTY keyboard
Check. Works better than the N97’s too.
7. Angled display
The N900 does not have an angled display but rather a kickstand that gives you an angle if you do want or need one.
8. 5 megapixel Carl Zeiss-lens autofocus camera with LED flash
9. It’s a Nokia
Gee, so’s the N900! And free Ovi Maps is in there too. Check.
Now, the N97 cons
1. Creaking plastic
The N900 case does not creak. The N900 build is solid.
2. CPU, RAM and internal (system disk, C:) flash memory
Sorry; nothing underpowered on the N900 here. It comes packed with an ARM Cortex A8 600MHz CPU, PowerVR SGX graphics accelerator and 256 MB of RAM, as against the N97’s ARM 11 434 MHz processor and 128 MB RAM.
3. Inconsistent and a little confusing user interface
Not here on the N900. The user interface is fluid and intuitive.
4. Minimalist QWERTY keyboard
The N900 QWERTY keyboard has only 3 rows too but is more tactile and usable than the N97’s.
5. Tinny, not-so-loud speakers
The N900 stereo speakers produce very good audio quality sounds. They are certainly not tinny in any way. While not the loudest I have seen, they are also quite loud.
A few extras
Video playback: The N900 plays DivX and XviD video. Want to try that on the N97 and get back to me?
Video recording: N900 does WVGA(848 x 480)@25fps. N97 does VGA@30fps.
Web browser: The N900’s Mozilla-based MicroB browser is without argument the best browser on any smart mobile device (yes; it trounces the iPhone’s Safari as well). Dennis Bournique‘s specialty is mobile browsers, and he has proven over time to be objective. Here is what he has to say about the N900’s browser:
I believe the N900 ‘s MicroB browser is the best built-in mobile browser ever and maybe the best mobile browser, period. Source
From Matthew Miller, another authority in the mobile space, who also owns an iPhone 3GS:
The web browser is clearly the best of any mobile phone available and once you discover you can pretty much do anything you want within the browser (apps not always necessary) you will probably discover this is an amazing device. Source
The N97’s web browser does not even come close to either Safari or MicroB.
Screen resolution: The N900’s display is better at presenting anything than the N97’s. Part of this is because of the resolution of the displays. Both displays are of the same size (3.5cm), but the N900 has a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels against the N97’s 360 x 640 pixels. Everything simply looks sharper and more detailed on the N900.
High Speed Internet: The N900 packs 10 Mbps HSDPA and 2 Mbps HSUPA support, while the N97 is limited to just 3.6 Mbps HSDPA.
The N900 is a far better device than the N97 or N97 Mini and certainly deserves the title of Nokia’s flagship. Title or not though, give me an N900 over either of the N97 twins any day. The N900 matches the N97 in almost every respect and trounces it in several other areas.
The N900, not the N97, is the connected mobile device to beat in terms of all-round features and performance.
Steve needs to review his claim that “There’s simply nothing else in the world that can match all (or even most) of the above (N97 features)”. It simply isn’t true.