N900 slide out

The QWERTY slides out

N900 is a gorgeous looking device, no I’m serious. Design wise, Nokia has really paid attention to details while crafting this device.

A lot of people out there would probably not agree to this. The N900 clearly borrows from the Nseries design elements – a chrome metallic band across the screen half of the phone. The rear and the sides of the phone are finished in plastic with a ceramic finish.

The top of the N900

The phone has been designed to be used in the landscape mode. So the top of this phone is likely to be a regular phone’s side. The right side bottom of the N900 houses a stylus, should you need one; the top of the phone has a square power button bang in the centre. Also on the top you will find the volume rocker and the camera button and an IR port.

Speaker and Micro USB slot

Locking mechanism, 3.5mm audio jack and the speaker

The left side of the phone houses the speaker, the Micro USB charging plug and the lanyard cable slot. The bottom of the device has nothing and the right side of the device is where the action is. The speaker, screen lock, 3.5mm jack and a tiny mic along with the stylus as mentioned above.

5MP camera with Dual LED flash and CZ lens

The back of the phone houses the 5MP camera with a lens cover. Here Nokia have made sure the lens does not get scratched by the lens cover ala N97, by housing the Carl Zeiss lens equipped camera below a plastic layer between the two. This is finished in black chrome colour. The entire sensor has a very lovely chrome band running around it. This lends a nice touch to the otherwise low profile back side. This also hides a kickstand, a very important element for the phone.

Sensors and front facing camera on the N900

On the top of the phone (screen portion), you will find a LED indicator at the extreme top left. The front facing camera and the sensors are also very well hidden and almost invisible. This is the kind of looks a phone should have. Such a direction should be appreciated and even be encouraged; I honestly hope this design element is adopted in future devices. Personally I would like to know my phone has it (front camera), but I don’t want to show it, it should be hidden from plain sight.

The N900 is a heavy phone. But that’s because you look at it as a phone. Look at it from the view of a PC that doubles up as a phone and you will be astounded by how light it is.

So now that you know where everything is and how it looks, let’s talk build quality. This is one area where the N900 shines. One of the best build qualities for a phone from Nokia’s stables. Everything is rock solid and nothing squeaks. Nothing wobbles and nothing seems out of place. Even the stylus has is elevated just right to ensure that removing it and putting it back in is effortless. With the N900 Nokia really made a high quality device. Nokia deserves applause for doing a good job on that front.

QWERTY keypad on the N900

3 row QWERTY keypad on the N900

The keypad on the N900 is pretty okay. Nokia has almost adopted a chiclet keypad layout, but because of the spacing it just doesn’t seem so, a wider spaced keypad could have easily been put in place, but I don’t know why it hasn’t. Everything is laid out in three rows. This makes the keypad cramped and the top row is especially ‘un-finger friendly’. Nokia should have gone for a four row approach with slightly more ‘headroom’ for the top row. That layout could have really worked wonders for the N900 and made it friendlier. The space bar is more to the right of the keypad, and it might not work for you, but I personally have become used to this and find it quite comfortable actually.

The N900, on the design front comes across as a good device. There are a lot of places where Nokia has improved and genuinely thought out of the box, but there are places where Nokia has made mistakes. On the whole the N900 deserves an 8/10. A good well built device from Nokia which stands by their design philosophy of utility over fashion.

Stay tunes as we continue our coverage of the N900 and bring you more information on this intriguing device from Nokia.