Expensive: US$649. That is the price of the N900 you’ll pay at Nokia‘s flagship stores in New York and Chicago. The N900 is Nokia’s answer to the iPhone. Or maybe even to the upcoming tablet from Apple. Nokia does calls the N900 an Internet Tablet. The N900 is expensive precisely because there is no carrier subsidy. At that price the N900 offers you freedom, of choice: you’re not locked into any carrier and if you decide to go somewhere else you don’t pay a penalty. Because of certain unreasonable limitations, I’m actually tempted to jailbreak my iPhone so I can start tethering and not be limited in the way I use the 3G connection such as for VoIP. So what makes the N900 sit atop Nokia’s smartphone line?
Lots of Pixels: The N900 sports a 3.5-inch LCD with a 800 x 480 resolution. With this many pixels the UI (fonts, icons, etc.), pictures, video, webpages, etc. probably will look simply beautiful. The iPhone in comparison has the same sized LCD but a paltry 480 x 320 resolution: I must give a tremendous amount of kudos to the UI engineers at Apple. They did a fantastic job of making things look great using only a limited number of pixels! What they could have done with 800 x 480…
QWERTY Keyboard: A full QWERTY keyboard slides down (or the LCD slides up) to reveal a very clean but somewhat awkward design. For instance, the space bar is way off to the right. Weird, but it seems Nokia didn’t want a fourth row of keys on the N900. Maemo5, a Linux-based operating system, is used on the N900 and have been for Nokia’s Internet Tablets.
Powerful CPU & GPU: ARM’s Cortex A8 powers the N900 running at 600 MHz. There is even a 3D graphics accelerator that supports OpenGL ES 2.0. You’ll need all that hardware to run Flash content: the N900 supports Flash 9.4. With the new Flash 10.x coming from Adobe, Flash content from the web should be much easier on the hardware as well as your eyes and ears. Connectivity options include Bluetooth, WiFi G, 3.5G, quadband GSM, EDGE, GPRS, Assisted-GPS. Speaking of GPS, the N900 comes with Ovi Maps pre-installed. And thanks to the GPS, pictures and videos can be geo-tagged. There is also a FM transmitter on-board so you can transmit music from the N900 to your car’s radio.
5 Megapixel Camera: A camera is onboard and following Nokia’s tradition boasts a 5 megapixel (2584 x 1938) CMOS image sensor that should take some very good pictures. If you hold it steady. Very steady. At least that’s what you had to do with the N97. Pictures are stored in JPG format. The Tessar lens is from Carl Zeiss and with two LED flashes you should be able to get decent pictures even when there isn’t a lot of light. The autofocus camera is helped by an assist light. Video is recorded at the full resolution of the LCD: 800 x 480. That resolution by the way is more than DVD quality. The MPEG4 video quality should be quite good even though framerates are limited to just 25. I would have liked two additional framerates: 30fps and 60fps. You can pump that video out to a TV using the Nokia Video Connectivity Cable (CA-75U) that comes with the N900. You can playback a variety of video formats on the N900 including: MP4, AVI, WMV, 3GP files encoded with H.264, MPEG4, Xvid, WMV and H.263.
Up to 48GB: 32GB of internal storage should be plenty, but if you need a bit more the microSD slot can accept up to 16GB cards for a total of 48GB of music, videos, pictures, etc. Speaking of memory, up to 1GB of memory can be allocated to applications with 256 MB coming from RAM and the other 768 MB sourced from virtual memory.
Now Just $480: The N900 is packed with technology but that price: $649. It’s just a bit too much. You can get a full-blown notebook PC for that kind of money or a really nice netbook. Well, Amazon is making it just a tiny bit easier for you to foot the bill: with a $50 rebate the final cost comes out to just $479.99. Still expensive but a lot less than the $649 list price.