Yesterday ended up being all about Maps and the in car experience for me. I needed a large box for some Christmas gifts we are shipping and had to look around the stores to get it, plus one or two other things that were needed. I had downloaded the map for my stated before (removing the maps for Singapore and other Asian countries that were pre-installed). I also got to know the music player and camera a bit more.
First place I tried, I knew well how to get to. Still, i turned on the buetooth device in my car, had it transmit to the stereo and with myN9 paired, listed to music on the way. One frustration I do have is that the charger port is under a flap at the top of the device, which makes it awkward to charge while it’s secured in the mount I have in the car. Still driving with the music player up was fine and i found swiping to change track much easier than using the skip button. At my destination, I switched off the bluetooth car kit and the N9 responded by pausing the track. The music player UI is pleasing to use, very clean and I’m happy to see Artist return to the fold as a sort category – I miss this in Symbian belle.
Sadly, Officemax online selection of boxes is far superior to their in store selection and I didn’t find one of the size I needed (if you are after boxes where L, W and H are all fairly similar, their selection is just fine). So where next. Pulled up Nokia Maps and did t2o searches – Office Depot, and just Box which returned a result – The Box Shop. I was able to get directions and then click navigate to open Nokia Drive. Bluetooth hooked up again, music on, maps on and drive on, I set off.
One worry I had with the N9 was the lack of a widget based home screen would make such a scenario frustrating when driving. I can’t set up a home-screen with a music player widget, a few of my favorite contacts and links to fm transmitter, Bluetooth and maps. in practice, the multitasking screen is great here. If I get all the apps open and then launch from the multitasking screen, switching becomes very easy – swipe away from music, swipe tap on maps, swipe away maps, tap on drive, etc. Very few touches meaning both hands on the wheel, eyes on the road, much more of the time (Anyone who changes CD while driving or even adjusts their stereo and AC will likely take a hand off the wheel and maybe look down briefly to do so. Occasionally, swiping on music skipped my track, and swiping on maps just moved the map, but 90% of the time this worked well. Even better was that the 2×2 multitasking view is big enough to see the maps, music etc simultaneously – now I have my driving homescreen.
Nokia Drive on the N9 is a joy to use, but unfortunately misses a few features. One is live traffic and the ability to adjust your route based one it. I also noticed it missed the lane guidance at intersections (where it maps out which lane you need to be in and which lanes are for going straight/turning). However, the 3.9″ screen is great and I’m not sure if it auto-zoomed as my speed changed, but the level it was at always seemed right – sometimes on the N8 if I’m driving at speed the zoom level is way to close using auto-zoom.
It snowed yesterday so I took a few photo’s with the camera around our house as the snow fell. I am perhaps a little underwhelmed with the camera performance, but that’s partly due to coming from the Nokia N8. Stil, the lack of a shutter key was a minor irritant, quickly forgotten. I was also able to take pictures fairly quickly. Interesting thing to consider, when taking pictures in the snow, the flash will reflect back of any passing snowflakes that are nearby – the result is a picture with a bright streak across it, so winter photographers, make sure you have the camera covered a bit so this doesn’t happen. Unfortunately, all these shots were around my home, and i hope you understand if i don’t upload those here. I took these at work on Friday.
OK, so one bad thing that is getting silly. WiFi. I’m sat next to my PC in the office I have at home. This PC connects to a wireless router that I have converted to be a reciever. This router is located about on a shelf under the desk. The signal is coming from the living room where the cable line is connected and we have a direct line from there to the XBox for streaming Netflix movies. I have just streamed the Everton vs Stoke city premier league game to my uptairs PC. My N9, sat on my desk, can’t hold a wifi connection only a few feet further from the router that is being used to connect to my PC (and a few other things up here) to my local network. N9 shows between 0 and 2 bars signal strength on WiFi. It connects and will stay connected for a while, then you refresh your email or feed and it doesn’t come through, then it switched to t-mobile and you try to reconnect to the WiFi network and it’s not in the list. A few minutes later it is again with 2 bars. It’s frustrating as my data plan is small and so I need my phone to work well on WiFi. This was a frustration with my N900 as well though, but my N8 and HD2 work great. I do want to upgrade my home WiFi network sometime, but not now, and not for this. Most people may not have an issue with this, but I’ll certainly see how it performs on WiFi networks out and about to compare it against.