Nokia are in a transitional phase – moving away from their old Symbian operating system to Windows Phone as announced earlier this year.  The N9 though is something in between.

Without even being ‘out of the box’ you can tell Nokia is stepping things up in the race to retain some market share.  The packaging of the N9 is a quality offering – something we’re sure was spurred on by the beautiful packaging done by Apple.

Once you pull open the box and reveal the N9 you can’t help but be impressed. The smooth lines and rounded edges are absolutely everywhere on this thing – even around the screen.  I’ve been using the blue N9 and while bright, it really is a great look for a phone. It’s also available in black or pink if blue isn’t your colour.

Power up the N9 and you’ve got something all new – the MeeGo operating system. It’s a fun kinda childish looking series of icons, and the navigation on the device relies entirely on swipe gestures (there are no physical keys or dedicated soft-keys).

Swipe left or right to toggle to the home screen icons, your current app and the multi-task window showing open/active apps. Swipe down to close and app, and while on the Multi-Task screen tap to return to any app.  It’s all reasonably intuitive – which makes me think this is an ideal smartphone for first time smartphone users.

MeeGo makes me feel like I’m running a knock off version of Windows Phone thanks to its design – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

However, call me spoilt by dual-core smartphones of late – but this N9 just seems a little sluggish.  You’re not getting that snappy immediate reaction of most other current release smartphones and if Nokia were hoping people would switch from Android to this, they’ll sure notice the performance.

Nokia N9

There are some weird things – I took (what I thought was) a funny photo last night, and wanted to tweet it – do you think that’s possible? Nope.  Not at all.  Kinda fundamental in today’s smartphones I think.

The biggest issue for Nokia though is the price. We’re talking $800-$1000 depending on retailer and model (size), and for that price, you’re best off checking out the Samsung Galaxy S II or this new phone a few people are taking about that launches tomorrow called the iPhone 4S.

Price: $799 (16GB) / $999 (32 GB)

Web: Nokia