The Elusive Unicorn of Nokia – The Nokia N950

The ever elusive N950.  I have one now.  Thank you Nokia.  I am currently packing it up and getting ready to send it back to Nokia.  Here's why.

Everybody seems to think the N950 is the forgotten Unicorn of Nokia.  I have used the phone and can tell you with certainty that it is not.

I had an N9 running PR1.1 and an N950 running PR1.2. I preferred the N9 over the N950 as it was a far more polished product.

While the N950 seems more eye catching with the hardware keyboard, it's a massive pain to use.  I have become so accustomed to the N9's virtual keyboard that I felt that typing on the N950 was a major chore.  I found myself using the virtual keyboard on the N950 more than the hardware keyboard.

My next major struggle with the N950 was that PR1.2 Beta had so much lag.  It was one of the biggest problems I had with the Nokia N950.

Another major problem I had on the N950 that was the last straw for me was that it couldn't hold a signal for an extended period of time.  It would keep cutting out and that bothered me to no end.  In the middle of a call it would stop working.  Now try to explain to the average user that this isn't a big deal.  Good Luck with that argument.

Those were my major complaints about it.

The N950 isn't necessarily a bad product, but it's not an amazing product either.

To all those that worship the N950 like it was Nokia's aborted child, STOP!  I am here to put an end to this right here and right now.

The N950 much like every phone had it's own problems.

The story about the hinge not working is completely false.  I can confirm that the hinge on the N950 works flawlessly.  The bigger problem is opening the phone.  Much like the Nokia E7, I was constantly worried that I would drop the N950 when opening it.  This was not a good feeling to have.  Opening the N950 was a challenge.  Trust me standing on the side walk for 5 minutes trying to decide how to use the N950 without dropping it while opening it was not a fun thing to do.  I was mostly scared of dropping a phone that there were 250 some of in the whole world and how I'd hate myself if I got a scratch on or some how messed up.

Being one of the few people that will openly talk about this, I can say with certainty that the N9 is a far better and more polished product than the N950.  To all those that disagree, that's on you.  I have used both and had both for a bit.  I am not excited by the N950.  That is why it's packaged up and ready to go back to Nokia.  To Nokia, thanks but no thanks.

Any comments or questions on this article can be posted below.

Please note: Prior to undertaking any modification detailed above, understand that there are risks involved. Whilst every modification has been tested to work on the author's Nokia N9, there are no guarantees it will work on a different Nokia N9 or other mobile phone. EverythingN9 will not take responsibility for any effects of a mod, including hardware or software damage, telecommunication charges, or legal implications.

About the author


I'm a Nokia Enthusiast. I've been involved with Nokia since the N95 days. I have been modding Symbian/Maemo/Meego-Harmattan phones since 2007. My first phone was the N95, how I loved that mistaken flagship of Nokia, what a great piece of technology. Then I moved onto the E66-NAM, it was a small quick phone, but not really memorable. Then came the Samsung I8510 (still symbian) That's where my modding and flashing bug started. I probably flashed that phone over 100 times, I was known as Deroo and was a moderator on the I8510 forums. Then came the N97. I wasn't a fan of that phone. It lasted over a month with me. Then back to the I8510. My next phone was an N900. That's when the modding bug really hit me. I had done so much with Maemo that I was certain that I knew how to deal with it. I ended up moving on for the N8 and it's 12mp camera. Up next was the E7, I had that phone for a month and sold it for next to nothing, it wasn't a bad phone, it just wasn't great either. Now I'm back to the N8 and it's running a custom firmware version of Symbian Belle, I currently only use it as a MP3 player in the gym now. The next step is the N9 and all of my experiences and journey's will be documented on this site. I also have an N950.


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  1. Tautvydas

    Great article.
    I remember when it was on ebay several times, going for like 1000+ pounds.
    Eh, the sarcasm…:)

    1. Arie

      On a good day, unless someone gave me the N950 for free, I wouldn't want it, and even then I would only use it as a paper weight.

  2. N950

    You can send it to some talented ios developers like viber, whatsapp, and etc

    1. Arie

      That's not my decision, it's up to Nokia. A talented developer would be better off using an N9 to develop on.

  3. nokeyboardhuman

    hmmm when only difference was phisical keyboard, and when screen keyboard after a few upgrades works at last as ought to – then in fact N9 is far better. Whats more N9's unibody is better then any metal one. So this is just evoluion. But some coder whe just need hardware heyboard will either love it still or will attach hardware keyboard via USB, NFC, WiFi, Bluetoof or whatanything else – as now this options also have been improved and woks better then in N950 early times – that times N950 was better option due to hardware keyboard. Just life that's all.

  4. Ed

    Other N950 recipients have commented that they signed an agreement to not bad-mouth the developer device, as it is not in final-commercial form. Naughty, naughty, Arie. But I think your piece misses an important point: people wanted the option to choose for themselves whether to go with the vkb-only approach (n9) or physical keyboard design (n950). There have always people in either camp, but even Nokia's own investigation showed that more preferred physical keyboard than preferred vkb only. The argument that we are 'lucky' for not having the option because you find the n950 less-than-ideal is to argue against the good for not being the perfect. I have adjusted to the n9's vkb, but I sure would have liked the option.

    1. Arie

      I am not bad mouthing the developer device as much as clearing out rumors. The N950 with more development could have been superior to the N9, but I'm going off of what is, not some story that I'd like it to be. I am not saying you are lucky or not, I am saying the N9 is the more polished product. Once again, hard facts vs. what could have been. I fully agree with your viewpoint though. If there was an option I'd have been happier too. I constantly complain about the N9's lack of a 12mp camera, (ask Shaun, he's sick of hearing about it) but I also accept that even if the N950 was released alongside the N9 I would have bought the N9 again because it is clear more time and effort has gone into the N9. The N9 was made for a new generation the N950 was part of the old crowd. If you'd have a chance to use the N950, I'm sure you'd feel the same too. I have yet to meet one N950 owner that is excited about their N950, whereas I know the N9's owners seem overall happy with what is. Thank you Ed for the well thought out reply. I appreciate it and look forward to more from you.

  5. Chris

    I only wonder if the issues you describe were due to the beta-status of the firmware you were using. I guess the lag could come from enabled debugging flags and the bad reception could also be caused by unfinished software…

    1. Arie

      It seems PR1.2 lags as everyone says. I actually flashed the phone a few times hoping it would work well. It still didn't make a difference. I'm not too concerned anymore. My hope was to dispel some false rumors going around about the N950. Outside of the keyboard and 12mp camera, the N950 actually falls behind the N9 in terms of some things. It was a great developer platform, but not the be all end all that we wanted it to be or as its praised to be.

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