[maemo-users] Observations on N900

From: R. A. Bilonick rab at consolidated.net
Date: Fri Jul 16 17:43:28 EEST 2010
I've had my N900 for just over 1 week now. I also have an N810. Although
the N810 was useable, it was often very slow, and downloading web pages
was often painful. The GPS worked, but often took many minutes to find
satellites outdoors, longer in the car. I liked using ssh and a
terminal. I could use a bluetooth headset but I could never get it work
in stereo (software is available but I couldn't get it to work).
Although far from perfect I used it a lot.

The N900 has all of the same features (plus telephone and regular camera
and FM receiver and transmitter and analog video out) but definitely
supercharged compared to the N810. Even on slow connections web pages
load reasonably fast and don't freeze while loading. You can have a
number of desktops open and many apps and web pages open simultaneously.
It took me a while to figure out how to cut and paste in the browser,
but it's relatively easy to use. Zooming also works nicely as does
moving between desktops, apps, and open web pages and apps.

The e-mail works well enough that I actually use it. I didn't buy the
N900 to be a phone but I like having the option. I bought a T-Mobile SIM
for $7.43 and set up a prepaid plan so I only pay when I use it (it's
great being able to switch among 3 pre-paid plans - one of which gives
Internet access for $1 on the days you use it). I may be imagining it,
but I think the GPS works better when having an Internet access. The GPS
locks on to the satellites in literally seconds (even indoors or in the
car) so long as I have T-mobile Internet access. The Maemo 5 interface
is a big improvement over previous versions, making N900 very easy to
maneuver. The battery drains somewhat faster on the N900 compared to the
N810 but it's to be expected when you are running all the radios. I also
like having the FM receiver and the FM transmitter. (The problem with
radio is that you need a sizable antenna so you need to have earphones
plugged in - the wires act as the antenna.) I didn't think that I would
like the smaller size of the N900 but I think the device is the right
size. The keyboard is easy to use. The N900 did not come with a case
(unlike the N810) so I'm using the N810 case. I added an Otterbox case
and then it fits snugly in the N810 case. The N900 is just too expensive
to drop. 

The N900 comes with only 1 stylus (the N810 had two). The N900 includes
a cable for connecting to an analog TV input which is the only
disappointment. The back of the case is more difficult to remove (the
N810 had a metal case and the back has a latch). The memory card was
accessible from the outside on the N810 but on the N900 you have to take
the back off to reach.

The N810 had a web cam while the N900 has a nice regular camera (with
flash) and a web cam.

All in all I'm very impressed with the N900. It's basically a reasonably
open, useable, mobile computer with a phone app (among many other


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