Hardware aside, which I am sure Nokia will bring on to later Window 7 phones, the N9 interface is not too shabby. From the inception of mobile phones and devices, Nokia has always been known to be a stickler for being organised. In fact, Nokia thrives on having its devices akin to an office filing cabinet. Once unlocked, there are three panes (or pages) that organises the phones functions and installed apps categorically. There is no home screen per se and no “home” button. A simple touch on the screen brings me to the lock page, after which a swipe reveals four customisable apps.
Past the lock screen will be the three “home screen” panes.The first pane contains all notifications, including the call log, messages, social network updates and current weather conditions, which at first got me overwhelmed but was easily understood in a matter of seconds. Selecting any of the notifications immediately redirect me to the respective app, allowing me to react immediately. The second pane is the app storage, where all installed apps are contained. This is customisable according to your personal folders or categories, pretty straightforward – which is a good thing, if you ask me. Simplicity works best.
The third pane is depicted as a collage; a multi-tasking platform of apps that are being currently being used or running. I personally pushed the phone to the limit, running about 12 apps at the same time and had no issues – great for the easily distracted mind like mine. There are also two view modes available via a 2×2 grid or 3×3 grid interchangeable by a simple pinch-zooming gesture. Point to note: upon exiting an app, it doesn't actually close but is minimized to the task switcher. The app will either be suspended or keep running in the background, which may pose battery draining issues – having said that, so far, so good. You can close the app by going to the multi-task window, press and hold on the app and there will be a "X" icon to close for good.
Sharing files is pretty easy as the phone boasts of NFC technology. And as the only smartphone with Dolby Digital Plus decoding and Dolby Headphone post-processing technology, listening to music is a treat but make sure your audio files are ripped at high quality as skips and scratches can be made out especially with high-end earphones. Alternatively, you can also access the Ovi Music store app on the phone to preview the song and album, as well as download unlimited songs to the Nokia N9.
Something else worth noting is the camera function which Nokia seems to try to improve with every new device. Fitted with a Carl Zeiss lens with an aperture of F2.2 no less, the camera captures well-defined images with details and does a good job of controlling image noise. Colour balance and reproduction is also accurate in most scenes. As with most smartphones with their small sensors, the N9 has a slight problem with capturing scene with big differences in dynamic range. Shooting something against the bright sky will most definitely cause a blowout. Else the N9 handles indoor or photography in the shade very well. Although some critics might prefer the sharpness of Nokia’s previous offering, the N8, the N9’s camera is more that capable for day to day use, blogging and facebook sharing. Also important to note is that the camera function returns just as quickly to the image capture screen, ready to take more pictures.