My test results – Nokia N900

Thanks everyone for your questions to my previous post on this subject. Now the results:

Everyone should install the Maemo Extras application catalog. Just unleash your phone by installing this repository.

After you are done installing this we go to the questions:

  1. How is XMPP working out?
    Good, so go doing your Facebooking or Jabbering everywhere. not to speak you Google Taking ;-)
  2. The “Unlocks with ’sudo gainroot’” needs a footnote:
    * you need to enable the Maemo Extras application catalog (see above) and install “rootsh”
    * or, alternatively (and less conveniently), you need to enable R&D mode with the flasher command-line tool on a PC, with the N900 connected over USB
  3. Does the browser (fennec iirc?) include support for playing back Ogg video and audio?
    Ogg support can be added as an additional download. You do have the real Firefox now, or so claims Nokia.
  4. Telepathy supports skype? Haven’t heard of this, but it would be _really_ cool!
    As written in my post “you have skype, but no skype app which is a plus.” Yes telepathy handles skype as it handles any other protocol. MSN call support is coming soon as well.
  5. I’d really like to know how easy is to exploit all the cool features of N900 in a self made program (with Maemo SDK or maybe QT 4.6). I mean, the N900 has a built in camera, AGPS, accelerometer, FM-transmitter and so on… is it possibile to write a custom program that uses one or more of these things? For example (it is really just a weird example) if I want to take a photo with the camera each time the phone is “shaked”, I could do it? If I want to save my GPS coordinates every 30 minutes in a text file, I could do it?
    I guess I won’t be answering that question in this life time… If (and only if) I ever try programming anything for maemo it will be in Python. I guess you can do pretty neat things with QT + other libs as this application shows. A detailed example of that app here (De-Spotify related).
  6. Test a/v calling on gtalk,jabber using telepathy works or not?
    tried once and didn’t work. It could have been me or my other peer either being retarded or just using Linux with the wrong sound config (experienced it before and it had nothing to do with i.e. skype being wrong)
  7. I have seen many people talking about unexpected errors, slow performance, etc. What´s your overall experience?
    I experience it as the easiest piece of tech I have ever had. It really is fast and gives me no headaches.
  8. Can you install .deb packages that are valid for a standard PC?
    I guess I should elaborate in this question but I won’t. A deb package made in your PC for the N900 architecture (armel) should work. But a standard x86 deb will not.
  9. Can you install pidgin?
    Why on earth would I want to do that? Telepathy is totally integrated in my contact list and relevant applications… Pidgin in this context would be like having a skype application: Just overhead!
    Think of this as a new approach at the way you communicate, not a reproduction of an ineffective way of doing things.
  10. I assume you mention OpenSSH from a client perspective. Can the N900 run the server side? (not sure that makes sense, but I am curious)
    It can and it rocks.
  11. How many apps you feel it can run in parallel before it feels bloated?
    I have my screen full of phone related apps, browser windows, multimedia stuff and random apps (terminal, chess, camera) and it still does not feel bloated at all. I really mean it. I never get irritated by this phone!
  12. For how much you bought it and from where i am in Egypt and i want to buy one?
    I did not buy it. I am just borrowing it (sort of) from a friend @ Nokia.
  13. Its usefulness …
    It helps me being more effective when I am on the move and at the office. So it really is useful. Not to speak of its awesomeness when enjoying my private time (i.e. camera & video features)
  14. I’ve ordered one that wont arrive for another month =( A few questions related to barcodes. Can you take a picture of a barcode show it full screen and have scanners scan it?
    I read somewhere that you should be able to do so. Google it mate. I don’t need that and really don’t have time to test that, sorry.
  15. Is there a barcode scanner tool? Bonus for price comparison tools. Sometimes I’ll be browsing used game stores and see a game fairly cheap and wonder whether I can get it cheaper elsewhere.
    Read  questions #14
  16. If it isn’t too much trouble, I would like to know how well emacs works on the device, I notice it doesn’t have a meta key.
    Have given emacs way too many chances in other devices to make my life harder in this one. I am really not the right person to ask as I do not feel emacs works at all anywhere (and the same goes for vi/vim so do not hate the player, hate the game! ;-)
  17. Web browsing while playing music (recorded or streaming); heard complaints that playback may become choppy.
    Works like a charm even under crappy wi-fi conditions.
  18. Listening to music over BT stereo headphones and answering calls. Voice commands over BT?
    Lost my BT headset for a while ago and I really am not interested in buying a new one. If someone has experience on this please answer in the comments.
  19. Video calling. I know it’s not there yet in the integrated skype. But what about Fring or Gtalk or Ytalk?
    Tried skype and it worked like a charm. Do not use any of the others, sorry.
  20. Voice announcements of incoming messages while listening to music over BT?
    No idea. Read #18
  21. Smoothness of video playback, whether recorded or streaming? (Again, heard complaints of choppiness.)
    I recorded the audio and video at a concert last weekend and it really worked well. It might just be me and my lack of interest in video/audio quality in general.
  22. Does it have what it takes to play h264 videos in mkv containers?
    How can i test that?
  23. Can you try different resolutions?
    Why should I ever wish that? Drop me the command and I will run them ;-)
  24. How is the sound quality on mp3, ogg and flac files?
    Great. Nokia ere is king among mobile producers. Nothing can even compare to it, specialy when playing from the speakers. When using headphones it just rocks!
  25. How is the performance like for traditional desktop apps(amarok, akregator, openoffice.org)?
    I dreamed of installing the debian extra for maemo but never got far with it. Now I really do not feel like blowing up my preciously nice working N900.
  26. How is the performance of the ‘big’ desktop environments (xfce, gnome, kde)
    Hope I never have the time to go through that operation so I won’t have an answer.
  27. I’d like to see tested is how well this device works as a phone while all the other crazy hacks are going on.
    Works like a charm!
  28. Test call quality, battery life, address book functionality, etc.
    Cal quality is good. Battery life could be better (will last one day and two at the most)  and Address Book functionality is very nice specially if you think about how well integrated everything is. I have had several smartphones over the years and never seen anything like this.
  29. I am curious how well the calendar works, and more importantly, how well it synchronizes with Google Calendar.
    I’ve heard it works like a charm although I do not use Gcalender so I couldn’t tell.
  30. Does it run X11?
    I want to know but I don’t. It might do as I can connect to external machines with ssh -X and get apps running on the N900 (such as eclipse)
  31. In other words, is it pie-in-the-sky to expect to use it as a full-blown Linux box?
    It ain’t a box, it’s a pone with debian. Isn’t that enough for you? It certainly works for me!

Thanks for reading!

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~ by huayra on 2010 March 18.

14 Responses to “My test results – Nokia N900”

  1. Where is the code for the skype telepathy? having skype in empathy would be nice

    • It certainly is not open source, but it would be nice to have as an add-on anyway I guess.

      I found this that’s in the same street: http://code.google.com/p/skype4pidgin/

      Besides that check the Collabora and Telepathy sites.

      I am sure that you are not the only one wanting this in the desktop – Check Ubuntu Brainstorm as well! :)

  2. Does it have generic CalDAV support, and not just “Google” calendar support? (I have to integrate with two Zimbra servers, neither of which have EAS installed.) The iPhone does this brilliantly.

    • You can connect to Zimbra using the Mail for Exchange connection on the device (update it to the newest software.) CalDAV is suppossed to work indeed.

  3. i like this article, and i would like to know if i can translate it in french and post it in my blog : http://capof-space.org ??

  4. I have a N900 as well;
    Just a quick note about the battery: I’ve managed to keep it alive for 6-7 days without charging. (but then again, I did not have any fun with it that week)
    And one more thing; I’ve had over 30 apps running at the same time, including youtube videos (flash), and the game Bounce (3D accelerated), and the phone still feels rock solid.
    I LOVE THIS PHONE!!! :-)

  5. You can install pidgin, and the various libraries. There’s about four different implementations of MSN, none of which feature contact blocking =(

    When a call comes in while listening to music, the media player pauses and you hear the ringtone. For IMs I think it just mixes the two.

    If you want to test h264/mkv, grab an appropriate file and install mplayer. Probably such things are going to be too high resolution to bother with, though.

    As for X11, it runs Xorg. The UI is called hildon, although I’m not clear how much will stick around given the QT / RPM transition.

  6. Oh, and on the barcodes thing, that was me. The answer is not so much. Laser scanners work on a single light frequency and it seems the screen is opaque on that, or overwhelms the scanner.

    There’s a zbar based app called mBarcode. It handles some but not all barcode formats.

    • I did use the phone with a barcode image to enter a conference recently and it worked well (a laser scanner did the scan on the N900′s screen) and got me in :)

  7. You can enable a more aggressive power-saving scheme, which doubles the battery life for me. I now have to recharge only every second day instead of every day. Note however, that there are reports of graphical glitches (very minor in my case). More serious is that some phones seem to reboot randomly after enabling this feature, which NEVER happened for me. The phone is running as stable as before.

    If you still want to go ahead, you can enable this mode by entering the following commands in a root shell (do NOT change the order of the commands):

    echo “1″ >/sys/power/sr_vdd2_autocomp
    echo “1″ >/sys/power/sr_vdd1_autocomp

    After some testing you can put these commands in a boot script, such that it gets enabled after each reboot.

    • Have some friends that have been testing some great stuff in symbian phones and the N900. will check out what they came up with and let you know (if I understand whatever they did…)

  8. [...] It is certainly an interesting read and there’s a lively comment thread developing too, so why not head on over and add your thoughts. [...]

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