Nokia N900 Review: A New Hope: QWERTY Keyboard, Controls

By 06:52 Mon, 09 Aug 2021 Comments

QWERTY goodness

The QWERTY keyboard is certainly one of the focal parts of the Nokia N900 hardware. The N900 doesn't open as wide as some other side-sliders we've seen which has reduced the available space for the keys.

We usually like our QWERTY keyboards with another row or two but this one does a fine enough job

That in turn has forced a three-row layout, which means that every key has to serve two or even three symbols. So the Alt and Shift keys will acquire a lot of use. It's fine there is a virtual on-classy screen numpad so you won't have to dial using the QWERTY keyboard.

The keys themselves are pretty nice to type on. The press feedback and tactility are so fine you can achieve pretty remarkable speed. However, the limited space means smaller keys will less spacing in between, so users with large hands are advised to have a hands-on check before splashing the cash.


There are no buttons on the Nokia N900 front panel, just the earpiece, video-call camera, Light Emitting Diode (LED) status indicator and a couple of sensors on top. Those include an ambient light sensor in charge of adjusting the classy screen brightness and keyboard backlighting, and a proximity sensor to turn off the display when you hrecent the handset next to your ear during a call.

Some sensors, a status Light Emitting Diode (LED) and the video-call capturing camera around the earpiece on the front

The status Light Emitting Diode (LED) (or notification light as Nokia call it) can be set to blink on a number of different events - incoming email, SMS or instant message as well as missed calls.

The top (if the handset is held in the not so natural portrait mode) hosts one of the speakers along with the microUniversal Serial Bus (USB) port and the lanyard eyelet.

The microUniversal Serial Bus (USB) port is on top, between the lanyard eyelet and a loudspeaker grill

The other speaker is at the bottom, next to the lock slider, the 3.5mm audio jack and the mouthpiece. The large and a bit cheapish-looking stylus also goes in here.

The second of the pair of stereo speakers is at the bottom • 3.5mm audio jack, classy screen lock, mouthpiece and stylus compartment

The left side of Nokia N900 has no controls whatsoever.

Not much going on at the left side

On the correct you acquire the volume rocker, the power key and the capturing camera button. The infrared port (!) is also here. A peculiar decision by Nokia is to give the users no control over it and leave it only for remote control applications (so no data transfers).

The correct side of Nokia N900 is busier: volume rocker, power button, shutter key and infrared port

The back of Nokia N900 hosts the 5 megapixel capturing camera lens and the dual Light Emitting Diode (LED) flash. They are hidden under a small protective cover which should be more than enough to protect them from getting scratched.

The back is mostly about the 5 megapixel camera

The cover itself is active - automatically launching the capturing camera when you slide it. Once you push it back, you'll exit the capturing camera application.

There's also a kickstand here, which can be extended to allow setting the phone on a flat surface at an angle suitable for watching video. A small magnet takes care of retracting the stand when you're done using it. Neat indeed.

Putting the kickstand in action

Removing the back panel reveals the microSD card slot (hot-swap enabled) and the 1320 mAh BL-5J battery. Nokia haven't assumed a word on battery life but judging from our own experience you can count on about a day and a half between charges. At least that's the battery life we got out of it with two hours of web browsing over Wi-Fi, a small less than an hour of telephony and one hour of using the other features. It's not poor we guess but not too impressive either.

The microSD card slot is correct next to the battery compartment

The build quality of the Nokia N900 is rock solid. We didn't acquire to haged the handset long enough to see how it handles wear and tear in the long run, but the smart money are on it turning out pretty sturdy. We didn't hear any creaks or other suspicious noises for the time of our review either.

Handling the Nokia N900

The slider is smooth enough, especially compared to the bumpy run of the two N97 handsets. The spring is still just a bit too stiff compared to most other sliders out there but the slider locks firmly in both positions. The QWERTY keyboard is near perfect, though let down by the 3-row layout. The N900 is still a very friendly handset that feels solid and secure in the hand and offers a recent and exciting touch experience. And our scoop on that is coming up on the following pages.



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