First Nokia 9300 impressions

by Volker Weber

The 9300 has arrived today. That was quick, Mika!

First impression: I like it. In fact, I like it a lot. I have not even looked at the manual but I was already able to sync it up with the iBook after a little tweaking around with iSync. I have also hooked the email client up with my IMAP server and installed Agile Messenger. This is a quick chat with Ed Brill:


This proves I can take screenshots. :-) The 9300 has screenshot capability built in. You just hit Shift-Ctrl-Alt-S. Try to do that on a keyboard as small as this one. Mika has sent me the german version, so I get all the Umlaut keys. The comma and colon keys however are left of the space key. That will take some time to get used to.

You probably have read elsewhere that the 9300 is slow. That is indeed true. However, once you have loaded the apps that you will be using, it is no longer that noticeable. It works as with all the Symbian phones. The apps load slowly but then they remain in memory and you are fine.

As you can see in the picture above, the 9300 is about as long as the Treo with its stubby antenna, but not as wide. What you can't see is that it is about as thick and has the same weight. While the lid is closed it feels like a 90's mobile. The screen on the outside is big enough, you get real buttons to make phone calls and you have access to all your phone numbers in the directory.

Once you open the lid you are in a completely different world. A nice keyboard that is the best I have seen in any mobile phone, a very readable screen that is 640 pixels across, and a set of softkeys next to the screen with quick access to program functions.

A nice touch: It does not have a camera. So this is a real business phone that won't get you in trouble with your customer's policies regarding the use of cameras on premise. The larger 9500 gives you WLAN but it also comes with a camera. Decisions, decisions. :-)


How "sturdy" is the unit? The one thing that I worry about with devices like this is that the moving parts could cause issues post-warranty timeframe. Hopefully this question makes sense - does the unit *feel* like it could give and start to become flimsy over time?

I'm reading more on this phone now, but 1) since you have it in front of you and 2) I can trust you to give unbiased opinions on things - I figured I'd ask!


Chris Toohey, 2005-08-09

It feels really well built. However, anything that has a hinge has also a ribbon cable. And that is usually the Achilles heel. I have seen a few 9200 die this way, and there is only so much you can do about it.

Volker Weber, 2005-08-09

See - while I love the clamshell designs (I'm still waiting for a pocketPC-driven zaurus-like device), I've gotten used to the Rim/blackberry formfactor and really like what a few of the vendors are doing with the Treos, Moto Qs and the HP hw6500 series. The non-clamshell design (I would imagine) tends to hold up moreso (as it has less moving parts). I think it's a matter of personal preference and function: "could you function the 9500 single-handed?" might be a question for those rail-travelers; but for people who work out of their home (like me know) that's a small consideration when purchasing such a device.
I'm still up in the air with these devices, and have yet to be completely impressed by an uber-device. Maybe said device is right around the corner, or maybe the manufactuers are worried that such a device will not have the marketshare that some of the entry-level business devices will have.

Chris Toohey, 2005-08-09

two big issues this phone has:
- internal keyboard has no lighting...try using it when it's dark
- no vibrating noisy enviroments a big problem
oh, and the cover gets scratched pretty quick
otherwise a nice piece of kit

Markus Noll, 2005-08-10

The cover is replaceable - a feature I actually don't like at all, because it never really fits without squeaking.

I had not yet noticed that there is no vibrate alarm. You are right, that is a big drawback. The non-lit keyboard is not a problem for me.

Volker Weber, 2005-08-10

I've had the "big brother" Nokia 9500 for almost a year now. I chose it when the 9300 details were released. I wanted the wi-fi which I do still use fairly regularly although GPRS isn't that expensive as a substitute.

The lack of vibrate is a found, even though the ringer is loud in noisy environment it's not loud enough for a bar. In a quiet environment it's more difficult although most vibrate features make a loud buzz on a desk.

The web browser I like a lot, which I discuss here

I understand the 9300 is slow because some clown at Nokia ordered 1million of the wrong CPU part which wasn't returnable. As a result the clock speed isn't as planned. Just a rumour though.

I love my 9500 communicator and it's a marked improvement on the 9210 it replaced.

Ben Rose, 2005-08-10

I have had my 9500 for 6 monts or so and love it to bits. I do agree with those above that there are WIBNIs such as a lit keyboard and vibration function, but they're not killer punches for me.

I love the WiFi access, the web browser and the email client, all are very classy. The email client is missing a polling function, but I use a cheap app called Mail-X to do that.

IMHO, it beats the Blackberry 7230 I had previously in terms of screen quality and application availability plus a wonderful keyboard, and trumps my wife's Treo 600 in not needing a stylus (it has a clever flat joystick thing), having a better screen and being possible to type on!

Well recommended... Stuart

Stu Mac, 2005-08-10


I find the screen backlight easily lights the keyboard at the right angle but i don't need to look at the keyboard when typing anyway really.

The email client DOES poll. Just don't close the session and the inbox live updates...does for me on an IMAP connection anyway.

Blackberry, I have one in my drawer gathering dust. Never used it really.

Ben Rose, 2005-08-10

Ben, staying online does not mean it is polling. You are working directly on the server then. Which means it is not caching messages but loading them individually from the server.

Stu, I actually don't want the app to poll. I'd rather have it put the IMAP session into idle mode, where the server then can send updates as they arrive. ChatterEmail does that on the Treo and I have not found the same capability on the 9300.

Volker Weber, 2005-08-10

Is there really a valuable advantage of getting mails pushed compared to polling them e.g. every 10 minutes? Traffic? I don't really get this push mail hype.

Oliver Regelmann, 2005-08-10

The advantage is that you need a LOT less traffic and you get your mails as they are delivered.

Volker Weber, 2005-08-10

Ah, suddenly I realise why I got the 9500.

I don't worry about the traffic as I'm neary always using the wi-fi link.

Important note: The 9500 wi-fi is full 802.11b implementation but the browser doesn't always support the registration/purchase page in public wi-fi hotspots making it a bit useless at times.

That being said, GPRS is usually cheaper and more convenient than finding a wi-fi point. I gernally just use the wi-fi at home or in the office.

Ben Rose, 2005-08-11

Nokia 9500. Best cellular phone in the world. Period. I've had it for about 6 months and it is by far the best device I've ever used. I've had everything under the sun from those disgusting amateur-hour Palms to kiddie toys like the Sidekick. Pocket PCs are close but still no cigar. If I could put a pair of pajamas on my 9500 and take it to bed with me, I would. If true love is defined as love beyond imperfections then that's me. I would like a slightly prettier form factor, at the very least a little thinner, an improved outer interface, a lit keyboard (BUT DO YOU THINK YOU'D GET THE SAME AMAZING BATTERY LIFE THAT YOU DO NOW?), do away with the gimmicky camera which is not really useful, amd pretty-up the OS. (It's a little too non-flambuoyant for me.

Jesus Reynoso, Jr, 2005-08-11

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