Nokia N900 reviews hate resistive touchscreen

Thursday, November 26, 2009, 14:14 by Tech Correspondent

The Nokia N900 has a massive number of admirers. Count me among them. The new Jesus-phone was available for pre-order a while back from many online retailers. That is now over, and everyone has sat back to wait. Meanwhile what we hear is that Nokia has delayed the actual launch of the N900 once again due to unprecedented demand. Coming so soon after that unmitigated disaster that was the N97, this is definitely some good news for the Finland-based company.

Nokia N900 reviews say resisitve touchscreen not so hot

Nokia N900 reviews say resisitve touchscreen not so hot

As a potential, determined Nokia N900 buyer, I have been surfing the Web looking for more and more tidbits about the phone. While mostly I like what I hear others say, there are some negatives that are beginning to make themselves visible.

One, is the touchscreen. If there is anything common about the gripes about the Nokia N900, it is the touchscreen. It is just not responsive enough.

Two, the software and the interface really do not work well in portrait mode. It works very well in landscape mode while watching movies or browsing the Web, but try portrait mode and everything goes wonky. Or close to unusable.

Resistive touchscreen could be Nokia N900′s achilles heel

There. We have said it. Most reviewers so far say that the touchscreen is laggy. Everyone likes the user interface, but they find it does not behave as expected when swiping. You need to press down hard, and there goes the elegance of the interface. The Nokia N900 is not cheap, priced at ——————- for an unlocked phone. One can udnerstand why the company went for a resistive touchscreen instead of a capacitive one. To keep the price under control. But if that means that a potentially great phone will produce a user-unfriendly experience, this might be a mistake. A big one.

Let us see what the Nokia N900 reviewers have to say about the resistive touchscreen and interface responsiveness.

Noknok.tv says that that screen is glorious. They say that the 800×480 display means that the screen is clearer than the Nokia N97. But according to them, it is the Nokia N900′s only build problem too. See this:

It uses a resistive touchscreen, which responds well to a stylus (Unlike the Nokia N97, there’s a stylus holder built into the case) but is a real hassle with fingers. This is a shame when you want to save time and check something quickly by pulling the Nokia N900 out of your pocket. We’d like to see the more responsive capacitive touchscreen of the Nokia X6 in a flagship smartphone like the Nokia N900.

Whoops. That’s a pretty clear indictment of the resistive screen of the N900 there. It stands out when the rest of the review is all kudos for the phone. You can read the rest of the review here.

Resistive, but as good as capacitive?

So says IBTimes. They compared the three serious smartphones in the market – the Nokia N900, HTC HD2 and Motorola Droid. And the winner was Nokia N900. Great news for N900 fans. According to them, the revolutionary Maemo platform, great optics, storage, multitasking and the keyboard make it the winner.

As far as the resistive screen goes, they have a different take. They say that to manage some applications, it is better to use the stylus, and unlike other resistive touchscreens, this one comes quite close to capacitive screens. If you have deft fingers, they say capacitive screens are advantageous – but otherwise, you just need to apply some more pressure on the screen. I don’t know, but pulling out my stylus is not why I went for a touchscreen phone in the first place, right? Anyway, there is their verdict on the N900 vs Droid vs HD2 wars.

In another review (admittedly a 5 minute review), a reviewer says that the hardware is better than the software – excepting the resistive touchscreen! This is from Intomobile.

Ubergizmo’s review of the Nokia N900 is kinder. They say outright that the resistive screen is not much of a problem.

Despite its resistive technology, it is very reactive and doesn’t require a lot of pressure to operate.

Read more here.  They find the lack of multitouch more of an irritation than the resistive screen.

View the Ubergizmo video review of the N900 below.

The review by UnwiredView, on the other hand, is quite positive.

It’s a conventional wisdom that resistive touchscreen will always be inferior to the capacitive one. Nokia N900 has a resistive touchscreen, so,  no matter what, it can not be very good. And, like most conventional wisdoms, this one’s is also dead wrong. The touchscreen on Nokia N900 is very responsive, fast and easy to use. I did not have any problems with it so far.

Read the rest of the N900 review here.

JKOn the run blog, was not so positive, however. They called it the resistive touchscreen “not so hot.” The Nokia N900 review from T3.com was very happy with Maemo OS, but said that the resistive touchscreen is a bit unresponsive.

Will we get a capacitive Nokia N900 touchscreen phone?

Looks like it. We have come across some rumours about it already. Plus, Nokia has definitely seen the reviews on the Net, where the overall response to the resistive screen was so-so. A capacitive touchscreen will definitely make it into the next version of the N900.

Will I buy a Nokia N900, knowing what I do now? Well, I won’t buy one blindly, for sure. I suggest you give it a test run, try out whether the resisitve touchscreen’s responsiveness is good enough for you, and if it is, go ahead. Otherwise, better to wait for the next version of the N900 with a capacitive touchscreen.

3 Comments

  1. Less the Best said on Thursday, November 26, 2009, 20:47

    There will be multitouch in Maemo (http://www.umpcportal.com/2009/10/maemo-6-early-info-slides-and-info-direct-from-the-maemo-summit/)

    … so there’s a big chance that there will be capacitive screen.

    It would be really surprising if Nokia would use something really new technology like Stantum’s (http://www.stantum.com/en/offer/technology-ip)

    … Though you can find link between Stantum and Symbian (Nokia) on pages: “The Stantum team will exhibit at Symbian Exchange and Exposition booth 42. Do not hesitate to visit us and try our mobile and slate PC demos. Symbian Exchange and Exposition 2009, Oct. 27-28, Earls Court 2, London, UK.” (http://www.stantum.com/en/medias/latest-news?id=41)

    Let’s wait and see … Only one year to go or something

  2. john said on Monday, November 30, 2009, 4:28

    the phones screen is not slow and is very fast to use, have all the above been paid my iphone to say this crap about the phone, its the best i have used, jokers

    i have a new one from nokia

  3. duncan said on Saturday, December 5, 2009, 12:42

    Pros: root access and gcc available without having to break into the phone and play cat and mouse with the telcos. This is great.

    Cons: The touchscreen is bad, really really bad. Pretty much useless compared to the HTC gPhone or an iPhone. The geek-stick (stylus) helps a bit, but not much. The Hildon interface is a bit crude compared to Android but it’s ‘all right’, at least it would be if you didn’t have to suffer the quirks of the touch screen which include having to press down hard or be ignored which gets irksome and feels as though the units half asleep, a laggy and random response to dragging which is just unpredictable, hard to control and fecking annoying.

    The keyboard’s also a bit too small and twiddly, expect frequent mis-keys when typing. Might be okay for an eight year old or the nimble fingered.

    What a shame – it was nearly so good, I’d of happily spent the extra 50 bucks of whatever to get a decent capacitive screen but I suppose they had to keep the price tag below 500 and something had to give.

    I feel short changed, try before you buy.

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