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My new n900

Last week I wrote of my horror at nokia and its inability to give an expected delivery date. At that time my latest information was that it was tentatively due 23rd, the monday. This was, of course, not true. In fact monday afternoon I was faced with reading as others received email to tell them their orders now had stock reacdy for release, whilst I had nothing. This was most upsetting. However on Tuesday, i received notification that my device was shipping. Yay. Once it was in the hands of UPS, everything was much smoother. I could track the progress of my delivery, and see it was due to be delivered on the Wednesday. On Wednesday I suffered having to drive to work, past five UPS vans. However, i did work from home in the afternoon. And in what amounts to very unusual good timing from a delivery firm, it arrived at 1:20.

After what feels like forever, i finally have my N900. So here are my first impressions.

It is awesome.

Despite a couple of flaws. So i'll start with the flaws.

The first I knew before I got it. At the moment there is a problem with sim cards from 3. The N900 rejects them. They discovered this late in the day, apparently something to do with support they didnt think they needed. Seems strange since my SIM works just fine in my Nokia E71. You would be forgiven for thinking Nokia would know what it took to make it work. For whatever reason, it does not. Apparently the bug is fixed interally. However, there is no information on when they will release this update. I think that's pretty poor on Nokias side again. At no point was I officially warned that this problem existed. They were quite happy to let me buy a SIM free unlocked phone, knowing full well there is a chance I would have a 3 sim that would not work. Obviously I did know, and i chose to proceed anyway. But I feel for anyone that didn't know this before theirs arrived.

Until I have my SIM working, I'm using my orange one. So no mobile data for me just yet. I'm still very tempted to just get an o2 sim instead, given I've been threatening to do so for a while anyway.

The only other flaw I care about, I found out writing this post. My bluetooth keyboard is not officially supported anymore. I am using it. But I had to fiddle with config files to enable it, and there are serious issues. It only maps keys to the same layout as the physical keyboard. The bluetooth keyboard doesnt have a blue function arrow equivilent, so I can't access any of the symbols that require it. This means I'm disrupted every time I want to do numbers or many symbols, where I have to switch keyboards to enter them. I am really hoping this is fixed soon. Also on a couple of occasions a key input has 'stuck' and repeated. Annoying when that's a string of o's, downright disasterous when that is the delete key undoing lines of text! I am in the minority I guess. Many people trying to write their blogs using just their n900.

Ok so those are the flaws. There are plenty of others that I've seen people complain about. But I don't care about any of the others. I mean, seriously MMS? I've never understood the attraction.

In every other way this is the best device yet. Its fast, really very fast. I can browse real, full websites, just as well as I can on my laptop. Full flash support. That means i can scroll down my facebook home page, as the full site, no mobile cut down version, no special app. Just like i would on a laptop, and when someone has posted about a video, no problem, just click play. My n810 was great, and this just takes it to the next level by handling that much more with speed and ease. Task switching is fast. I currently have eight applications open. I can switch between them very quickly, and whilst there are some memory hungry things I wouldnt expect to leave running, again it has just elevated the experience I had with the n810 to another level.

The new interface is all sexy and wizzy, there arent many rational reasons to consider it 'better' than maemo 4. But it all seems more slick and appealing.

My first point of 'wow' came when I sync'd my contacts from my phone. I was half expecting to have to do so one by one. Or need to go via some pc software. But no, just selected transfer and sync from the settings, select the phone, ask for contacts. And boom, all my contacts sucked across. Very nice, but that wasn't the wow. The wow came when I discovered 'hermes' an application which let me configure my facebook and twitter accounts. Which uses them to find people in my contacts list that are also my friends on either site. It then extracts information like their profile pictures, related webpages, d.o.b etc, and adds it all into my contact info. Now that is cool.

Haptic feedback. This is the first device with any touch feedback that I haven't just switched off immediately. It gives a very subtle little *bump* when you touch the screen. Just enough to give you that tactile feedback that its registered the touch. Subtle, but well done.

The camera. I have read reviews complaining that it's not that great. Well I guess I've just had a sheltered life, because its the best I've seen on a mobile device.

20091128_001.jpg

That is a picture of the case that Kat made me. It's made from my old leather jacket. What impresses me most, is that i took that picture right here in boswells, then i cropped it to just what i wanted. Then resized it to a fairly sensible small size. Then embedded it into this post. All from right on the device. The ability to crop, resize, red-eye adjust etc, all right on the device. That is pretty damn cool.

The screen size was something I was worried about. It is smaller than the 810. But it really doesnt matter. Its a great display, the interface works well with the space. And the speed of the device lets me pan and zoom fast enough that it doesn't feel like a problem at all.

Conversations. I love how integrated everything feels. I have contacts with skype addresses, google talk ids, and plain mobile numbers. I love that i can scroll down my contacts list and see who is on line. I love that I can go to one place to see the converstations I've had with different people, using each of these different mechanisms. I've not used it much yet, but so far I love what I'm seeing.

The phone seems fine to me. I say this because I have only really used it once. Lots of people seem to complain that it's not got a bunch of features they'd expect. Like voice dialing... Well I've had voice dialing on my e71 for the last year or so, and I don't think I ever used it.

The music player is fine. Again I have seen reviews that complain it hasn't got all the funky features of a ipod etc. But it does what I want. It plays albums, lets me random select. It is fast. It handles videos very smoothly. It can stream videos straight from my myth tv box without any problem at all.

I really like mail for exchange sync that lets me sync my calendar with my google calendar. Previously i could do this, but with third party apps i had to remember to run. Now it is a scheduled thing that just happens.

I've not gotten used to the desktop widgets yet. I probably need to spend some more time customizing to get to grips with it. But I like the idea of getting it just the way I want it.

So I think that's about it for my few days of usage. I think those people I've seen complaining about speed, had unrealistic expectations. It is very fast, but of course some things do cause it to slow down. So I have been blown away by how great it is, and how fast it is, because i can accept that some things are going to cause it to slow for a while. For instance installing a large application tends to make things crawl, just whilst it is installing. I'll forgive that.

If i can just get this keyboard thing resolved, so that I can type more effiecently, that would be good. To be fair, it has not been that bad typing this. So i can probably learn to live with it.

I will probably update again when I have my 3 sim supported. By then i will have had more time to really get a feel for everything. And i can comment more on the phone side of things.

For now, if you haven't already..go by yourself an n900. They're awesome.