First impressions: Nokia N9

The N9 represents a lot of firsts for Nokia. It’s their first “pure touchscreen” device, first MeeGo powered smartphone and sadly, it’s also going to be their last MeeGo powered device before they completely switch over to Windows Phone 7. Which is a shame, really, because the N9 is probably also one of their finest devices to hit the market, but until we spend more time with it, we can’t be completely sure. But from our brief hands-on time with it, everything’s looking mighty peachy.

Nokia wasn’t kidding when they said this was a pure touchscreen device. There are a total of 3 external controls on the device – the power/lock button and the volume rocker, all located on the left. Everything else is handled via the touchscreen – from killing apps to switching back to the homescreen.

And what a touchscreen it is. The N9 uses a 3.9-inch, AMOLED capacitive touchscreen that’s simply beautiful to the eyes. Like we said, everything is done via touch – unlocking and getting out of menus is accomplished by swiping upwards from the bottom of the screen.

From the main menu, you swipe left to see what tasks are running, swipe left again and you’re taken to your calendar (that can sync with other services on the web). Killing running apps is easy enough to do, just do a long press on the screen and you’ll be able to shut down the offending apps easily.

MeeGo on the whole seems pretty easy to use, and allows you to sync contacts and other personal things from relevant online services, much like how Android devices sync your Google contacts when you use your Google account with them. We did notice some lag when opening apps and other menu choices, but that may stem from the fact that the N9 uses a single core 1GHz Cortex A8 CPU rather than dual core processors that other devices are sporting.

To access the SIM slot, you’ll need to open the little micro USB hinge on the top of the device, then slide the SIM caddy to the left to free it from the device. What surprised us the most is that the N9 apparently will only be able to accept microSIMs, much like Apple’s iPhone and iPads.

It’s a minor annoyance, but something you’ll have to look into if you decide to buy the device.

That’s it for now, we’ll have a full review up for you guys by next week.

[album: N9/]