When it comes to speed, the handset’s muscular Arm cortex-A8 processor certainly doesn’t let the side down. It’s clocked at 600MHz and is supported by 256MB of physical RAM, plus a further 768MB of virtual memory, and this pretty potent combination means the phone feels very speedy in use and suffers from little perceivable slow down when you’ve got multiple applications open at the same time. About 31GB of physical memory remains available for storing applications, videos, music tracks and pictures, and you can add another 16GB via microSD cards.
The N900 is fitted with a 5.0-megapixel camera that resides behind a sliding cover on the rear of the phone. The camera has a dual-LED flash and autofocus, but picture quality is only so-so. Outdoor shots in good light tend to come out looking a little bit soft.
Battery life is never one of the strengths of touchscreen phones. Their larger screens, faster processors and extras like GPS tend to be demanding on power. As you would guess, then, the N900 isn’t much different. You can expect to get around two days out of it if you don’t hammer the 3G or GPS features, but on the whole you’re likely to find yourself topping it up with juice at the end of each day. Still, that’s pretty much par for the course on a smartphone of this ilk, although given the unit’s chunky dimensions, Nokia could have perhaps fitted a larger battery somewhere in there.
On the call quality front, Nokia is seldom found lacking and thankfully that’s the case here. Unlike the iPhone with its tinny earpiece that annoyingly needs to be positioned just in the right place on your ear to hear callers properly, the N900’s earpiece is very loud. And as long as your ear is relatively close to the earpiece you’ll have no problem hearing callers. The mic also does a good job of picking up crisp audio without capturing too much background noise.
When it comes to producing a real competitor to the iPhone, Nokia has spent far too long scrabbling around in the dark. However, with the N900 it’s clear that the company is now moving in the right direction. This handset is far from perfect – it could still do with multi-touch and its design is excessively chunky – but it does provide a much more inviting multimedia experience than any other Nokia product so far.