Nokia N9 or Lumia 800. Part 1, N9 Over 800.

In a previous post, I wrote a little about how I ended up getting a Nokia N9, the fact it meant selling my Lumia 800 and I touched on the fact I found it a better phone.

I’m now nearing two weeks with the MeeGo Harmattan device, and while I have only scratched the surface of what it can do, I feel like I can now make a considered comparison of the two smartphones, what I find better about the N9 and what I miss from my two month fling with the Windows Phone.

In this post I will start by giving the reasons I have for preferring the N9, and in the coming days will look into what the pluses are of the Lumia 800 over the N9.  Finally, I will look into the question; Was Nokia correct to ditch the MeeGo Harmattan operating system in favour of  Windows Phone. Of course, this is my opinion.

WHY THE N9 IS BETTER THAN LUMIA 800.

TERMINAL MODE

OK, at the start of this post I mentioned scratching the surface of what the N9 can do. By this, I mean the ability to customize and tweak the UI. Recently, following pretty basic instructions on a website I was able to change the colour of the clock which comes on when the screen is locked. On the Lumia 800 I longed for a clock on the lock screen (like I had on my Symbian powered N8), let alone hand picking its colour. And this really is only the start of what can be done. By using Terminal Mode, people have booted up Android Ice Cream Sandwich. Another tweak, this time done through an App from the Nokia store, I was able to rotate the three home screens to Landscape mode. All things which I would have loved on the 800.

PROPER WIDESCREEN

For me, watching YouTube, Movies and TV shows on my mobile is a big thing. And having a screen in 16:9 aspect ratio (like what most HDTVs have) is something I really appreciated on the already mentioned Nokia N8. So, to go to a screen with a 5:3 aspect was a little irksome. Nothing too difficult to live with, but I could not look at the Lumia 800’s capacitive buttons without thinking how much I would have preferred the N9 with its extra 54 pixels down.

HTML5 ABILITY

OK, this is one which is pretty personal to me, and may not bother others in the slightest. Both the Lumia 800 and the N9 have HTML5 enabled web browsers. I am no expert on the ins and outs of this, but do know that some online videos can be played on an HTML5 web player. There are some websites, many designed as web apps for the iPhone, which use such web players. Well, I was disappointed when surfing to these sites on the Lumia, to find they don’t work on it. But was pleasantly surprised to find, when going to these sites on the N9, they worked with no problems. (One such site is veoh.com/iphone which has all the videos available on the full web site, but without the need to download their software to watch more than 5 minutes of it.)

OPENNESS

If  you want to put anything on the Lumia 800, you have to pass it by Microsoft. Anything. Apps, contacts, music, or documents. It is not necessarily a bad thing, ensuring you have a back up of your pictures is reassuring, but in the long run it can be a bit limiting. Should I want to put a movie file weighing half a Gig on my N9,  it takes a few seconds. On the Lumia, using Zune, it can take 20 minutes or more while the file is encoded. (There is a plus side to this, but read on for that). MeeGo Harmattan also allows its users to put third party apps on, such as Opera Mobile.

HOLDS WIFI CONNECTION

OK, here, I am not talking about either phones ability to find or pick up a connection. In fact, arguably, I could say the Lumia 800 seems to have a better WiFi radio, in terms of distance from the router. What I am talking about here isn’t something unique to the N9, but more to Windows Phone really. When you let the Lumia 800 screen lock, it has a very annoying feature which sees the WiFi disconnect in order, apparently, to save battery life. This means if you are watching a YouTube video, and pause it half way through, and let the screen lock, when you fire up the screen again, you can find that you have to start watching from the beginning again.The Lumia only takes a few seconds to reconnect, but this does seem a long time when wanting to quickly send a tweet, for example.

BATTERY LIFE

This is one feature everyone can appreciate. When the Lumia 800 launched, I heard stories that some where in need of a software upgrade to get more than 4-6 hours out of the battery with normal use. I wasn’t one of these customers, but I did notice the battery didn’t last nearly as long as my N8. Just before I sold my Lumia 800 I got an update from Microsoft which mentioned improving the battery life. I didn’t use it much longer after this, but can comfortably say the N9 lasts longer, even with me continually playing with it through out the day. One more thing, the Lumia is what I have heard called, a “Fussy Charger” where, if you use a USB cable not supplied with the device, it charges at a very slow rate.

Next up, I will Write about the advantages of the Lumia 800 over the N9. Keep an eye out for that, I will publicize it on Twitter. My handle is @Chriswwwright.

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