Nokia N90 camera, application, and Bluetooth thoughts

I had some more opportunities to put the through its paces and have some more thoughts and opinions on this new S60 device. My daughters put together their Christmas gingerbread house and I took photos with the N90, Treo 650, Nokia 7610, and my 3.2 megapixel Pentax Optio 33WR. I plan on putting comparison shots of all four in my Geek.com review, but in the meantime you can check out pics from the N90 on my SplashBlog photo blog. You will see all the pics from November 27th on are from the N90 and are much better quality than the Treo 650 I used for the other pics. Nokia includes their LifeBlog application on the device, but since I already have a SplashBlog photo blog and SplashData has a Series 60 client I decided to stick with a single photo blog site.

I took a photo of a piece of paper with writing on it and surprisingly the N90 outperformed all 4 of the cameras I tested, even my Pentax Optio 3.2 megapixel camera.

I took a couple short videos of the gingerbread decorating and viewed them on my PC using Windows Media Player. The videos are saved as .mp4 files and were pretty decent for a camera phone. While the camera shots are not as nice as a dedicated camera, I don’t carry my camera everywhere like I do my phone and with three daughters the ability to capture spontaneous moments is important.

One of the first applications I installed to the N90 was the Opera 8.5 upgrade, which is free for N90 users since Opera is included in the shipping model. Browsing with Opera on the N90 at EDGE speeds is very enjoyable and the display is beautiful. I like the easy switch to full screen by pressing the * key too. The N90 switches to landscape mode when you flip to imaging position, but you can only operate camera functionality when doing this. I would like to see someone come up with a hack that allowed me to surf the web in landscape mode since many sites are formatted in this orientation.

I also loaded up SplashBlog as I mentioned above, along with a couple excellent PDAmill games (Jewel Master and Rising Diamonds), HandDBase database application, OliveTree’s BibleReader, and Handmark Pocket Express. All work well with the N90 and I find Pocket Express to be extremely useful. You may find issues with some applications not working quite right on the N90 due to its 352 x 416 pixel display and so far I did find the Zi Technology Qix and EZText need to be updated for this new resolution.

GMail was easy to setup with the default Messaging application and at first I set it up to check email every 15 minutes from 0500 to 2200. I then found that my battery quickly drained with this kind of activity and reset the automatic downloading of emails since email isn’t so important that I need to constantly ping it anyways.

I received a pair of Bluetake BT450 Stereo headphones that I need to test with the N90, but I am 99% sure the N90 does not include the A2DP Bluetooth profile at this time so they may not work in stereo mode. I did pair the N90 to my excellent Cardo Scala-500 headset and that works very well. One thing I do like about the Nokia devices I have tested is that connecting to a Bluetooth headset opens the audio gateway so I can indeed listen to audio through the headset, even if it isn’t in stereo mode. I loaded a couple of my favorite podcasts on the 64MB RS-MMC card and listened from the N90 to my Scala-500. I liked the way RealPlayer showed the album art on the display and it was quite usable with the directional pad. This is one area where the N90 beats the Treo 650 and I prefer listening to podcasts via a wireless headset. I also need to test it with my Parrot Easydrive BT car kit.

One other nice feature in the N90 with Series 60, 2nd Edition is the main home screen functionality. I have the Active standby feature turned on, which gives me 5 customizable slots for applications. I have shortcuts to Contacts, Opera, Calendar, Bluetooth, and SplashBlog which appear on the home screen and allow me quick access to the apps. Since the N90 runs Series 60 you can also multitask and I can listen to a podcast and surf at the same time.

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