Saturday, 12 December 2009

Rain has cleared the air in dubai

Seems like the air smells fresh and clean. Testpost via pixelpipe on N900

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Nokia N900 mini review


As you might have noticed – I don’t care a lot about things like “processor speed” or other specs on mobile phones. It is a bit like comparing – yes you know what.

What I do care about usability – can it do what I need and want?

So very high on my needs list for running my businesses and taking care of my personal life are:

1. Microsoft Exchange Support
2. SIP Phone Support
3. VPN Support (PPTP and/or more)
4. Good and fast web browsing. Don't care about Flash at all.
5. Good Voice quality for Phone and SIP calls.
6. High resolution screen – in an ok size so I don't have to fiddle to much.
7. Capacitive Touch
8. Potential for real navigation with GPS when you are in a tight spot
9. Good quality media player that can eat a lot of formats without conversion.

So I got the “Mobile Computer with Phone support” the N900 to see if that fits my needs. The N900 is a descendant to the Nokia Internet Tablets like the N800 and N810. It is based on a Debian Linux with a Nokia GUI on top – but have more or less same specs and the N97 running Symbian. It is also comparable to the latest Android based phones.

You might have noticed I called the N900 for a “Mobile Computer with Phone support” – and that is ONLY because a lot of the N900 fan-boys tries to say “Phone Support is not super yet – but please do not look the N900 as a phone” to cover Phone criticism. I think that is stupid to be honest. It is a device from Nokia with a SIM card – so you should expect a great Phone integration. So N900 fan-boys - stop crying “foul”every time someone says something bad about the Phone Interface. Suck it up -  and put pressure on Nokia to fix it.

So in general – the N900 falls short in a few of my requirements. It does have SIP – but does NOT have VPN. VPN should be SO easy to implement on a Debian platform that I don’t understand why it is not there.

Another annoyance is the N900 has resistive touch screen. That is really not very good. It is more luck than effort that you can use it for on screen navigation. Compared to iPhone it is really bad. Not as bad as the N97 but very close. Tapping on the screen (like double tap in web browser to “zoom in” and double-tap again to zoom out”) – again – is more luck than anything that it zooms. Often I need to try 3-4 times before it zooms. Never had that kind of an issue on the iPhone.

Exchange Support is “ok” but not more than okay. It is Nokia’s own “Mail for Exchange” application that manages the connection – and it seems to work a bit different on the N900 than it does on the N97/E90/E71. On the “other” versions of MfE – your Inbox get synchronised. But on the N900 – ALL your folders get synchronised. For me that meant the first sync I tried – did not even finish in 24 hours. I have maybe 70-90 mails pr day – and keep my inbox quite nice and clean – but organise all other mails in folders and subfolders.  So I’m used to all other Exchange mobile implementations – to take all mail from Inbox and keep that in Sync. But my N900 wanted my entire 9GBs of mails from all folders. What a waste – I don’t need all my old mail in my pocket. I need only my Inbox and maybe selected folders. But there is NO way to disable folders from Sync.

The huge amount of e-mail MfE tries to sync – also seems to mean that my N900 often “forgets” to sync. “Last sync failed – Exchange Server Not Responding” it screams. But with a mobile device I need to be sure that my mails arrive on time when I’m out – without having to check Sync status all the time. If I set it for every 15 min – I want my mail every 15. min – not after 3 hours… I do not have those issues with my iPhone – so why should I accept them with the N900?

Navigation – well the N900 is delivered with a crippled version of Ovi Maps. I love Ovi Maps 3.0 – but the version in the N900 is a weird mix of Ovi Maps 3 and some older versions. Seems like a Quick and dirty “hack” just to have a map application on the N900.  You do get the 3D buildings as in V3 – and you can use it for navigation – but you don't get a Navigation screen – only the map. No turn by turn instructions – and biggest issue – no sync of your online Ovi Landmarks. I have a lot of landmarks in my Ovi Maps Online Application but can’t access them on this version.

Web browser is okay – but not a speed daemon – it works okay and display pages quite well. But not a fluid experience like on the iPhone.

Media Player seems to work fine and can play mpeg 4 video with good results on the screen – it fulfil my needs anyway.

Now I will take a break and come back with more later. :-)

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Nokia BH-905 Short Review


I have been looking for a Bluetooth and wired noise cancelling headset for a long time. One you can use on flights and for the computer – and for any Bluetooth phone. When Nokia announced the BH-905 I knew i wanted to try them and they seemed like the could handle my requirements.Nokia-BH-905-noise-cancelling-headset

The BH-905 is a very capable package. I have used it now for about 3 months and are quite happy with it – but they are not perfect. So here are my complaints you need to be aware of.

1. Noise cancelling

a. BH-905 seems to convert most noise into a low level high pitch hiss. For normal use it is okay – but not nearly as good as my Sony MDR-NC500Ds. One flights the noise is quite annoying

b. Nokia BH-905 has a BIG problem with low pitch noise like engine noise (diesel engines) – they get “transformed” into very very low pitch humming – that is more annoying that the noise itself.

c. I took the BH-905 to Formula 1 in Abu Dhabi – but that was a big mistake. The sound from F1 cars made the BH-905 go into overdrive so they popped and clicked so badly you could not even wear them any longer. Had to resort to my good old fashioned “stuff something in your ears..” to keep noise level down.

2. Connectivity

a. It is not easy to maintain connection to multiple devices via Bluetooth – since most computers and phones support both Stereo and Headset profiles – changing source device is a pain in the b*t. 

b. Computers have a hard time pushing audio in Stereo mode to the headset – and frequently changes to headset mode. Headset mode has lousy audio quality for music and video. This might not be Nokia’s problem – but it seems like a generic Bluetooth profile handling problem.

c. The Nokia BH-905 supports cable connections. But why does it not support a standard PC Mic In? So you could use the BH-905 as a headset for a PC via Wired connection? That is just stupid. Connecting to a PC gives you and Audio Out only so fine for music and video – but if the VoIP phone rings – you cant answer. Please Nokia – there are room for improvement here.

So in general – as I said the device is on the right track – but still to young to be a major player in the noise cancelling headset sector. For that to happen the noise cancelling needs to get a lot better and the bugs need to get sorted out. One could hope a later firmware could solve it – but for now I need to bring my Sony if I need real noise cancelling.

On the positive side it works with my iPhone 3GS and my Nokia N900. Not perfect – but it works.