Nokia N9 Review

Nokia N9 Reviewed!

Nokia N9 Review

The Nokia N9 is probably one of the smartphones this year that was on my “I-need-to-review-that-or-else-epic-fail-me” list. I remember getting really impressed after watching the live stream of the reveal of the N9 by Nokia CEO Stephen Elop several months ago. Everything about the phone, especially the hardware design, was just breathtaking. We unboxed the phone last week and I’m happy to report that we were still stunned when we saw the phone in the flesh!

Nokia N9 Unboxing

Here’s a quick video that lets you breeze through the unboxing process.

Now that we have that done let’s move on to the review! I’ve broken it down into three parts: hardware, software (Meego), and the final verdict.

Nokia N9 Hardware

Without a doubt the Nokia N9 is one of the most beautifully designed smartphones ever made. Truth be told there’s nothing like it in terms of hardware design today. It’s not a copycat of the iPhone like what you see with most Android devices. If you want to understand this statement better try putting a Samsung Galaxy Ace beside an iPhone. Everything from the curve screen (no buttons!) and the push-to-pop compartments for the micro-USB port and SIM tray is a feat of modern day industrial design.

Here are some photos for you guys to better appreciate it. Please don’t forget to read the captions!

Gorgeous 3.9" AMOLED Display. It's bigger than the iPhone 4 screen. Easier to type on and better for browsing and watching media. There are no buttons at the front but there are on the side for the lock/unlock and the volume controls.
Here's a shot of the phone in side view. Yes, it's thin and it's light. That's probably a pre-requisite of smartphones already in this day and age.
The micro-USB port and SIM tray that I was talking about earlier! You press down on the cover and it pops upward revealing the port. Simple but definitely cool!

The Nokia N9 comes with a 8MP Carl Zeiss camera. As long as you’re not in a low light environment your photos will look great. 🙂

Nokia N9 Meego Software

Lock screen. To unlock just swipe from the outside the screen (the frame) downwards.

The biggest “drawback” of the Nokia N9 is the operating software, Meego. I put the word in quotation marks because the software is actually decent! The only major issue with it is that there’s a huge cloud of doubt over it due to Nokia’s partnership with Microsoft and the Windows Mobile OS.

I took some photos of the stuff I liked about Meego. Check them out below. Don’t forget to read the captions!

Meego displays apps just like Android/iOS -- in a grid. The animation though is pretty slick and smooth unlike what you get with Android.
Here's what the multi-tasking looks like. Swipe sidewards and you see cards showing the different apps running. Really nice way to implement multi-tasking. 🙂
In terms of apps there aren't much. You can get Angry Birds though, hehe. ^^; The game runs very smoothly on the Nokia N9.
The larger screen is much easier to type on!

Other things about Meego worth mentioning:

  • Two thumbs up for the integration with social media for contacts and media sharing/upload.
  • Native Facebook and Twitter apps are good. The N9 also comes with a bunch of pre-loaded apps.
  • The webkit browser is okay. Not at the same level as the iOS Safari yet.
  • I’m a bit stumped as to why Meego doesn’t have a folder system to organize the apps, hehe.
  • Music and video players are great. Love the user interface.
  • NFC Technology enabled! Though there are only a few NFC accessories available, lol.


So now we get to the big question: SHOULD YOU BUY A NOKIA N9? In all honesty it’s difficult to give it a solid recommendation. Don’t get me wrong though, the Nokia N9 is a great smartphone and it delivers well on both hardware and software. What’s holding me back from giving this a 5-star review is the fact that the Windows mobile powered  Nokia Lumia 800 is literally just a few months away. The Lumia 800 will sport almost the same hardware (it will have a 3.7″ screen instead of 3.9″) and it will will carry Windows OS which we all now is more refined. It also has a clearer development roadmap. The Meego OS is nice and it delivers the core functions of a smartphone well but it’s really more of the future we’re looking at here.

My best advice would probably be for you to try the Nokia N9 out first and experience Meego for yourself. Try sending a few messages, browsing the web, Facebook, Twitter, and all the applications in the Ovi Store. If it’s compelling enough of an experience for you then you might want to get it. You can check out the Nokia N9 at the Jump Experience Center in SM Megamall (you can also buy it there).

The SRP of the prepaid unit is Php24,990.

I still can't get over how nice this phone looks. Anyway, that's it for this review. 🙂

Carlo Ople

Carlo is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Unbox.ph. During daytime he’s the Managing Director and Partner of a Digital Marketing Agency in the Philippines and by nighttime he’s living out his passion as a gadget enthusiast and story teller through Unbox.

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  1. Meego has been declared a dead OS for some time now. Much like HP’s WebOS. If you’re a regular user and still want to pursue this route, do not expect any updates from the developer.

    IMO, the price is pretty steep for a dead OS. Though, i gotta the admit the hardware looks great. No wonder some of my dev friends are actually looking forward to this for the sake of modifying the operating system.

  2. Who cares about the “developments from the developers”? As long as its functioning and is a fun phone, i’d get it. Going to replace my BlackBerry for this one. BlackBerry = LOSING, Nokia = WINNING

  3. Meego is still being supported by Nokia..well at least the N9 is. They have just rolled out updates for it and is on track of releasing the white version this December. They are kind of keeping Meego I guess as a potential future ‘disruption’.

    If you could also notice, both Meego and Windows Phone has the same MEtro UI feel into it, the wallpapers even look Zune HD-ish, if you know what I mean.

  4. Well, I got the N9 and i must say it’s very enticing to hear the specs, buts its best to experience it. I don’t care about the dead end OS, we’ll change hand phones anyway after half a year or so.

  5. I got my hands on the N9 recently. There aren’t so many places that sell it in the UK, so I ended up getting it from these guys. I have to say I’m pretty impressed. The main appeal of the phone is definitely the design. It’s beautiful both structurally and in terms of the interface.

    I’ve had it for quite a few weeks now and the great thing is that it still looks new. By now, most of the phones I’ve bought in the past look worn, but this thing has no hint of any chip, dint or scratch. Must be a pretty solid build!

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