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The desktop in your palm: Nokia N900

The desktop in your palm: Nokia N900

With the Nokia N900, the Finnish company dumps Symbian for this chunky, hugely powerful ‘pocket computer' that runs the Maemo OS. Nokia has broken the mould with the N900 replacing the company's usual Symbian OS with Maemo, which is a more advanced system.The hardware is similarly powerful, with a pull-out QWERTY, a 600MHz ARM A8 processor, 1GB of RAM, 32GB of storage and a touch screen that's lushly high resolution, even if it is sadly only resistive rather than capacitive.
As a result, it's uncommonly wide and chunky, but it is excellent for viewing video and browsing the web, and Maemo is easy to use, despite a sometimes unresponsive touch screen – and this is one of the dwindling band of phones that still comes with a stylus. Nokia has added a little kickstand for hands-free video viewing.
Despite the open-source nature of the OS, the Maemo application portal is somewhat short of options, and while Facebook is included, this phone isn't geared for social networking. However, multiple IM clients and VoIP for cheaper calls are on offer.
The web browser is the main attraction on the N900. It seamlessly shifts between Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity, offers full Flash compatibility and packs the new Firefox Mobile browser.
The only problem is that the power of it makes you miss the multi-touch slickness of the iPhone or Desire all the more.The music player on the N900 is also great fun. There are widgets for easy access on the home screen and it'll sync tracks from your Windows 7 home PC too. Storage is impressive, with 32GB on board and the option to add a further 16GB through microSD, and internet radio is supported out of the box. Slick wireless home networking is also built in. Despite a low quoted talk time, in reality the N900 has the best performing battery on test, making this phone an attractive option to anyone not put off by its ugliness and lack of slickness in other areas.
LOVE : The power of the N900 is in its processor, and because Maemo is open source, the web is awash with easy ways to modify and upgrade it
HATE : Most people will find it too big, in our view. The resistive touch screen can be frustratingly inaccurate at times
WE SAY : The N900 is a powerful, versatile device, but over-sized, ugly and sorely lacking the multi-touch slickness of the Desire or iPhone.


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