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December 7, 2011

Review: Nokia N90 – bold design, right message

Following on from our recent guest post by Jade on the Nokia N9, our next installment comes from Sergejs Cuhrajs from mynokiablog.

Sergejs has written a super-review on his favourite Nokia design ever – the N90. Not only has he provided a great insight into the phone itself, focusing mainly on the camera feature and phone body, but Sergejs also has some fantastic photographs of the N90 to keep your eyes glued the whole way through.

If you’re a diehard fan of the N90 and/or Nseries then we’re pretty sure you’ll really enjoy getting stuck into this article and soaking up everything Sergejs has to say about this fascinating handset.

Over to you Sergejs


The year is 2005. Nokia have just announced an elite class of multimedia smartphones to embody the company’s desire to deliver the most advanced mobile technology possible. And thus, the Nokia Nseries is born.

Spearheading the company’s new high-end line were three phones, each with its own distinctive feel and focus, and each of them highly desired by mobile tech enthusiasts all over the world.

Among those phones was the Nokia N90, a Symbian OS smartphone where I believe Nokia pulled out all the stops to show off its prowess. The phone had the looks, the guts and the attitude to become a world class achievement.

Visually, the futuristic looking clamshell from Nokia commandeered respect. Even when the N90 was released, it was considered a sizeable and heavy handset – quite understandably so, given the amount of advanced features that were jam-packed inside.

But rather than trying to hide this, Nokia saw an opportunity to create a phone that was exceptional to behold, and built to last. The N90 is mainly comprised of high-grade plastic, but a stylish layer of stainless steel supplements its sides, giving it the solid and expensive feel that this smartphone rightfully deserves.

Even more impressive than the premium materials and high build quality is the innovative form factor of the Nokia N90. Its initially bulky appearance is completely redundant the moment you start rotating the unique hinge that gives the N90 a surprising amount of freedom for a camera phone.

The various positions the N90 can take are easier to explain in pictures, or better yet, experienced in real life for a maximum effect. No wonder one of its successors, the Nokia N93i, was prominently featured in the first Transformers movie.

“There’s simply no other way to say this – the N90 feels like a breath of fresh air in this age of identical looking, ‘mono-block’ touchscreen phones. There are, of course, some very nice examples of gorgeous designs to be found in the touchscreen phones as well – the Nokia N9 immediately comes to mind, with its sleek industrial looking shell”

However, the presence of a large touch sensitive screen considerably limits the creative freedom of phone designers. The very way of approaching a design in phones has dramatically changed over the past four years. Sadly that also means we will probably never see the return of such bold and daring ideas that we saw embodied in the Nokia N90. Coming from this, it’s easy to understand why the Nokia N90 is such a hot little collector’s item these days.

In the center of Nokia N90 transformations lies its 2 megapixel camera. It was the very first Auto-Focus camera in Nokia phones, and it was also the first phone camera ever to come with optics from the world class manufacturer, Carl Zeiss. The camera is a nifty little monster that illustrates perfectly how even just 2 megapixels can provide impressive results if given good quality optics.

Not only was the end result thoroughly impressive, but the whole process of taking photos with the N90 was a pure joy. Your portable camera was only a flip and twist away, and moments later you would find yourself in front of the viewfinder with an inviting shutter key resting right under your thumb.

In this configuration, the N90 closely resembles a camcorder, so holding the smartphone steady to take a macro photo or record a lengthy video was a piece of cake. The great thing is that you can also independently adjust the vertical angle of both the camera module and the screen, thus providing ultimate flexibility when capturing content.

Want to take a photo with the phone without having to open the clamshell? Not a problem with Nokia N90 – simply rotate the camera module in the right direction, and the fairly large outer screen will serve as a fully functional viewfinder for the camera!

With such an ease of capturing every passing moment in life, there was very little in the way of creativity. If you fancied a modern smartphone, and you were into photography – there was no escape. The Nokia N90 was your go-to phone.

There’s no doubt in my mind, the Nokia N90 was a screamingly wild idea, barely saddled and contained, yet also ambitious and daring enough to ultimately succeed.

Succeed at representing the true, unconstrained Nseries spirit – a bleeding edge tech that asks no questions, looks for no answers. If you wanted an exclusive sneak peek into the future – welcome to the N90.

Welcome to the Nseries.


We think you’ll agree Sergejs has provided a really in depth and thorough look at the N90 here with a great summary that has probably given you a lot to think about. Obviously everyone’s entitled to their opinion but what would you say about the N90? Let us know @Nokia_Connects.