Running an advanced, Linux-based operating system called Maemo 5, the Nokia N900 is an interesting device. Foremost an internet tablet and capable of full multitasking, the Nokia N900 smartphone will impress early adopters and gadget gurus, but for others the experience will feel incomplete and uncomfortable.
The Nokia N900 smartphone lacks a little style compared to many of its competitors. The conservative black glossy styling on the front and matte rear do not scream excitement. However, many users will remain undeterred by the plastic finish, which mirrors many of Nokia's previous N-Series devices.
Updated, January 7, 2010:
We were excited by the idea of the N900, hoping its Maemo OS might deliver the sort of wow factor that the N95 brought when it launched in 2006. We wanted the N900 to knock our socks off. If only.
The first issue is the sheer size and weight of the thing. It's a 181g handset that weighs one and a half times as much as a Palm Pre and nearly twice as much as the BlackBerry Curve 8520; more importantly, it's too chunky to slip discreetly into a pocket.
On the rear is a stand to help you view video or web pages on the 3.5in touchscreen, but this, perversely, is too small and flimsy.
The keyboard itself isn't the best around. It's more cramped than the Motorola Dext's, and its gunmetal appearance is reminiscent of the unbranded PDA sliders that HTC was producing back in 2005.
More positively, the screen itself is better than average. A plus key at the bottom allows you to instantly bookmark sites or desktop shortcuts, while the thumbnail views for recently visited websites makes it easier to find items of interest in the history.
A home button at the top left allows you to jump between features, one of the most interesting of which is the media player. This shows albums stored on the device, complete with album art, video clips and the number of available internet radio stations.
It also displays details of available network devices that contain media, so you can stream music using the N900's Wi-Fi connection.
Other notable features include a 5Mp camera with flash and a range of adjustable settings and Ovi Maps, which distinguishes itself from the standard Google Maps fare with OS grid references and a compass.
There's a huge number of productivity tools too: file viewers, email, a PDF reader, file backup and more. Fun stuff includes an RSS feed, weather app, currency converter and a few flash games.
The touchscreen, however, lets down the N900, being solid but not as sensitive as some. We were also frustrated that we couldn't always jump straight to the phone to make a call. Contact management is good and call quality exceptionally clear.
NEXT: Original full review.