The 6 Things I don’t like about the Nokia N900 (Updated)

Posted on 15 October 2009, Last updated on 18 October 2009 by

The Unwired View have just published Part 2 of their ongoing N900 coverage which covers 6 ‘things I hate’ about the N900. I agree with most of those points and want to re-iterate the issues of portrait mode and navigation again here in my own list of the 6 things I don’t like about the N900.

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Portrait Mode

Thank goodness this is just a software issue because I’m quickly starting to struggle with the two-handed nature of the device. The phone and image viewer applications are working in portrait mode but the feature is missing from every other part of the software. A 2-handed phone restricts mobility and I won’t be able to use this as my one-and-only if it’s not fixed soon. [Solution expect in December firmware release]

Navigation

Again, a software issue that should be fixed soon. There’s no true turn-by-turn navigation software on the N900. The map application is good, provides a moving map and routing. It also searches quickly but it needs an internet connection.  With no Google Maps application available for Maemo yet, mapping and navigation on the N900 is currently a step down from other phone-based solutions I’ve tried.

Battery Life

Battery life on the N900 is good…if you use the N900 like a smartphone. The problem is that the N900 is so quick, so feature-rich and so good at multitasking that the usage model changes. It’s a portable computer with a smartphone battery and this could become an issue for many. If you are a power-user, buy a spare battery or, better still, a portable USB charger.

APN configuration. (3G-based Internet Access)

The network configuration tool only permits one APN to be configured. On my home network I use 4 different access points for different situations. It’s annoying to have to tweak the configuration each time. In addition, I’m finding that the proxy settings aren’t picked up by some applications and that there is no way to allocate an APN on a per-applications basis. Series 60 can get very awkward but the per-application network configuration is one aspect I’ve grown to appreciate.

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Milky, plastic, shiny, dirty resistive touchscreen.

I’m reaching the end of my patience with resistive touchscreens now. Sitting at a bus-stop today I was checking emails through a shiny, milky, finger-printed mess of an experience. Dropping the N900 into my pocket makes me worry about scratches too. A glass-covered capacitive screen is the only way forward for a 24/7 device. Especially an expensive one.

No reflow on web-page zoom. *FIXED*

A 3.5 inch WVGA screen is not an optimal combination for web browsing. I understand that it’s an important design consideration for a pocketable device but it means you have to zoom in a couple of points before you can read the text. Fortunately the N900 zooms quickly via one of three methods. The problem is that if you zoom into a line of text, that text doesn’t wrap into the screen size. Opera 9.5 and the Android browser do this very well and it means you don’t have to worry about side-to-side scrolling when reading text. On the N900 you are left scrolling left and right to read text. Awkward and annoying. Hopefully this problem will be solved with the introductions of Fennec. Per-page zoom-level memory would be a nice feature to add too.

Great news on this issue. Pete comments below that by pressing CTRL-SHIFT-i you can turn on page reflow. I’ve tested it and it works for any zoom level. Thanks Pete!

The battery life and plastic touchscreen issues are the only two issues that worry me about the N900 and given the huge number of advantages and knowing how difficult is to design powerful technology around a small battery I’m happy to accept the battery life issues but when on-the-go that resistive touchscreen is a reminder that not everything is perfect on the N900.

Anyone else worried about the touchscreen or is it just me?

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