First Impressions of the Nokia N900

A few weeks ago I finally bought myself a Nokia N900. I saw it a while ago in the news, and as soon as I heard that there was going to be a phone with a proper Linux distribution (as opposed to Android which is basically Google's JVM sitting sort-of directly on the kernel), I wanted to get that phone. Not only that, but the phone's features were also pretty darn convincing.

For those who don't know know the phone's specs, here's a brief run-down:

  • Runs Maemo 5 (Debian derivative)
  • Multiple desktops (up to 4)
  • Touch screen plus slide-out QWERTY keyboard.
  • 3G/HSDPA (10Mbps)
  • Wireless NIC, bluetooth, infrared, microUSB (USB 2.0)
  • 5 MP camera
  • 600 MHz ARM processor
  • 256 MB RAM
  • 32 GB storage, plus microSD card slot

I've had the phone for about 2 weeks now, and so far I'm really enjoying using it. It is quite different to other phones, because the main way to use the phone is in landscape mode. This is because the phone is more like a mini computer with a phone feature.

One of the things I enjoy about the phone is that SMSes are grouped into "conversations". It's great to be able to see the previous SMSes between you and someone, and it's easier to keep the context between replies.

Of course, as a self-confessed Linux geek, I *had* to cross-compile some software and load it on my phone. My first aim was to compile the Quassel IRC client for my phone. I use Quassel on my desktop, and have a Quassel Core running on my VPS, so being able to connect to the core from my phone was something I really wanted to be able to do.

After a week's worth of evenings, I eventually got the client compiled, and copied it across to my phone. And not only that, it actually worked! Here is a photo and a screenshot, of Quassel on the N900:

Quassel Client 0.6.1 on Nokia N900

Quassel Client 0.6.1 on Nokia N900

I also wanted to test out the camera and see how good it is. Cellphone cameras are typically not very good. This afternoon I spied my cat lying down having a bit of a nap, and I decided to make use of the opportunity to test out my camera. I was actually impressed with the quality of the photos! They don't compare to a proper digital camera, but they are still good (right-click and "View Image" on the photos below to see full size).

Keena sitting

Keena lying down

All in all, I'm really enjoying this phone so far. I'll probably write another blog post in a few weeks time, once the newness has worn off.