Tonite I’m bringing Nokia’s lastest flagship handsets face to face and yes, I’m talking about the N900 and the N97 mini. Both phones are on the top of nokia’s portafolio, yet they are completely different devices, so join me and see which one suits you the best in different testings.
To begin with, the N900 is the multimedia heavyweight running Maemo 5 a magnificent OS that is simple, flashy, powerful and intelligent(based off linux, which is open source, just like symbian) and has everything hardware wise you can ask for in a phone. On the other hand we have the flyweight called N97 mini. The mini is a revised version of the slightly bigger N97 classic. By getting the mini you trade off the 3.5″ screen, 32GB mass memory, the big 1,500maH battery, camera cover and the FM trasmitter, while winning a smaller, lighter, more stable and fashionable device.
Size and materials
To start off, the N900 is a very big and heavy phone, making it a bit unconfortable to carry around in your pocket, maybe a belt clip could do it, but I’m not fan of it. It just looks like a big black and heavy brick. The N97 mini is very light and while there’s no much difference in size with the N97 classic, it feels surprisingly good inside the hand, it just fits, not too big, not too small, perfect size
chic vs geek
range comparison, the N900 is the thickest, heaviest and the widest of all
The materials used on both devices is plastic with a metal bezel around the screen. But the N97 has some metal parts on the backside: the battery cover and the camera face giving it some fashionable look to it, while the N900 stays at full plastic giving it a somewhat cheap look and feel.
Both devices do very good at build quality, making the wobble and creakings unexisting.
The N900 runs Maemo 5, which is a computer OS based off linux, while the N97 mini has symbian^1 (also known as s60 5th edition) which pales awfully compared to Maemo. It’s just enough to see both home screens to understand the difference between these two operative systems.
Just for example the Maemo has 4 different widget-based homescreens which can be arranged at will, making possible to have a homescreen for the social networks, another for meetings and notes, the third one for media, and the last one for contacts, which is exactly what I did. The N97 mini homescreen is very basic. You are only bound to one homescreen and some widgets, which arent always very reliable.
There is a world of difference between Maemo and Symbian. And if you ask me, I prefer Maemo over Symbian
Features and power
The N900 has everything you can dream of. This includes: 32GB memory with SD expandable slot, ARM cortex-8 running processor at 600mhz, 1GB RAM between physical and virtual, 3.5″ display, resistive touchscreen, GPU with OpenGL ES 2.0, 5.0MPX camera with dual LED flash, 3G, IR port, wifi, qwerty keyboard and GPS. Everything, which explains the gargantuan size.
The N97 mini has Symbian^1, resistive touschscreen with 3.2″ display, 5.0 mpx camera with dual LED flash, sliding qwerty keyboard, ARM11 CPU running at 434MHz, with 128 RAM, and 8GB of capacity with expandable sd card slot, 3g, wifi, GPS and bluetooth,
While both devices are quite similar in hardware, the N900 is faster, more capable and more stable than the N97. Also Maemo opens a new world of posibilites inside the N900, since it is open source, it can be hacked from within and make the most use of it.
I want to mention the battery life of both devices. The N900 has a 1320mah battery and the N97 mini has a 1200 mah. While the N900 has a bigger battery, the life is so short, having such hardware inside means less juice, so making medium use of it while browsing, using GPS and the music player gives around 8 hours of battery, which is too short and unreliable as a primary phone, its unacceptable having to charge it twice a day!
The N97 mini has also poor battery life, giving at most 16 hours of battery life having the same use as the N900. Meaning that you have to charge every night for the next day.
The N900 and the N97 mini are both nokia’s flagship phones, yet very different. The N900 is the geek’s dream, it is the handset you want to carry to the computer class, hack it all around, and use it for the wildest ideas ever imagined. However, it has very poor battery life so you won’t be using it as a primary phone, or rely on it for important communication, such as business or emergencies. Please bear in mind that the N900 is a tablet computer with cellphone capablities, so the GSM radio is considered as an extra feature waiting to be developed even more. For now, maybe they could include a red and green key along with a menu key
The N97 mini is the regular smartphone having everything the common user expects from it without hacking. It’s the pretty phone, the one that flashes when you pull it ou of your pocker, the fun to use, and fairly compact. While it doesnt have an ultra fast processor or a GPU, it will do everything else pretty well. Just unlike the N900, the N97 mini is an phone trying to be a computer.
In my personal opinion I really prefer using the N97 mini as my main phone, while I can see the N900 replacing my laptop, I cannot see it replacing my phone, things like short battery life, big size or poor phone app restrain it from the mainstream success.
But, I do really want to see a mix of both. The size, sliding keyboard and materials of the N97 mini mixed with Maemo OS and the ultra fast processor of the N900. That’s a dream of both mine, and Nokia’s, to make a real mainstream phone that will not only appeal to the geeks, but to the high end masses.