Exclusive : The Epic Nokia N950 Hands On !
The first Nokia Harmattan / MeeGo device , the Nokia N9 , has been garnering rave reviews everywhere. However there is one more MeeGo phone ie the developer only Nokia N950. Rumor has it that the N950 was supposed to be launched in 2010 as the first MeeGo device but got canned. Nokia has been handing these out to select developers to spurt the development of Qt apps for the N9 as well as the next billion Qt enabled devices.
I got the opportunity to play around with the device for a while and check out the much touted MeeGo OS. Can I say that i’m in love ? Yes , MeeGo is as great as it was ever hyped up to be. The hardware feels solid, the software is silky smooth and moreover, stable. The multitasking implementation is excellent. In short, the phone works great!
The N950 comes with a 4 row QWERTY keyboard. The keys here feel better than the E7’s admittedly awesome keyboard. Check out the video overview of the hardware below :
The matte black finish of the N950 makes it look like a stealth fighter and that is definitely a great thing in my opinion!
4 Row QWERTY
When closed , the N950 is just about as thick as the N8 / E7.
Not much has been said about office documents on the N950. While no office suite was installed on our prototype , the inbuilt document viewer easily runs PDFs , Presentations and other Office files. Check out the video to take a look at the document viewer.
The browser on the N9 / N950 is based on Webkit2. The browser feels like a proper successor to microB on the N900 albeit without Flash support.
Video demo of browser :
For those of you who really care about browser benchmarks, the N950 browser scored very well in the HTML5 test scoring 283 points our of a possible 450.
The entire HTML5 test results can be seen via this video :
A nice change can be seen in the calendar application which integrates and syncs well with Google Calendar. The UI is very intuitive and the split screen view ensures that you get your information straight up without requiring to dig into the menu.
The following video should give you a quick overview of the new calendar app.
Nokia’s Ovi Maps application is well known for its amazing turn – by – turn navigation and offline map data capabilities. Well the next generation of Ovi Maps is Nokia Drive. The application is extremely responsive even in its beta state and would pose a serious threat to Google Maps if brought over to the Windows and Symbian platforms.
Startup Splashscreen :
Main UI :
Video Demo :
The camera is another aspect of the N9 which is better than most others out there. In our experience, the shot- to shot time was surprisingly low. Another delight was the thoughtfully designed camera UI in contrast to the complex mess we have on Symbian.
Gallery button, camera key, mode switch :
Camera Settings :
Video Demo of the Camera UI :
Nokia has implemented a 3 pane approach to the UI. The central screen houses all the application icons. Swiping to the right shows the multitasking window while swiping to the left reveals a single combined notifications panel.
Multitasking window :
Notifications Panel :
The Facebook integration on the phone is rather great. Your wall posts show up in the notification pane and you can directly jump to the Facebook app from there. The following video demo shows the notification pane and Facebook integration.
The Nokia N900 was well known for its implementation of multitasking where all the apps were shown in there live state. This multitasking paradigm lives on in the N9 with some enhancements. You can now change the size of the multitasking tiles. Having 1 GB of RAM definitely helps as we were able to easily switch between 30+ applications without any lag at all.
This video should give you a better idea of the multitasking capabilities of the phone:
One of the most appreciated features of the N900 was its inbuilt full fledged terminal which made accessing the internals of the operating system a cinch. While not installed by default on the N9 and N950, it can still be installed. The terminal has been given a bit of an overhaul as can be seen below.
Terminal in portrait mode :
Terminal in landscape mode :
Video overview of the terminal :
Keep scrolling down for more N950 hotness !
N950 meets the Nokia E6
Which keyboard do you prefer ?
Viewing mail attachments
Swipe UI in Action
Contact Details (Pulls Facebook image , status)
Software Update Notification on the Homescreen