What’s The Nokia N8 Good For? (Hands-On Thoughts, Video, Sample Pics)


I don’t usually cover standard smartphones on Carrypad but seeing as Nokia were kind enough to spend 2 hours demonstrating the N8 to me in Düsseldorf last month, I’ll be kind enough to comment on it and provide you readers with some thoughts.

[Photos, video and brief N82 photo comparison below.]

As someone who’s heavily into mobile and connected photography, (N82, X10i owner) the N8 interests me. As someone who’s also into a full, fast internet experiences, the N8 doesn’t interest me. ‘Step away from ARM11’ is my advice for anyone looking for a fast and full web experience and a few minutes with the iPhone 3, a well-optimised ARM11 web experience, will prove that even an optimised webkit browser isn’t up to the quality and speed of current high-end smartphones. Yes, Nokia will call the N8 a mainstream smartphone but at 450-Euros it comes in above the HTC Desire which is my benchmark for a 2010 smartphone.

My hands-on with the N8 left me with the feeling that it should be approached as a 3G media-camera rather than a smartphone. It’s more exciting if you think of it like that too – a gadget. HDMI-out, 720p playback (I experienced a reasonable, but not stunning, playback), Dolby surround support with digital output is also exciting although I’m not sure who’s going to be selling content for that! Add in a quick and high-quality camera for static and video image work, a built-in editor, high quality 3G support, fast user interface and, something that I really value, a fast, scalable and high-quality MP3 manager and playback utility. There are a few other things too:
  • Ovi maps – Free offline maps and turn-by-turn is invaluable for anyone that travels borders (try using Google Navigation when roaming on an Android phone!)
  • Quick access to SIM and MicroSD
  • Unique styling
  • AMOLED Screen (Great colour. Should save battery life in many cases over an LCD screen. Basic clock standby screen is always-on. Not that good in sunlight though)
  • On screen keyboard seemed good in portrait mode
  • USB On-the-go (USB hard drive access)
  • Potentially good gaming graphics
Question marks
  • High quality YouTube playback? (In my opinion more valuable than Nokia TV)
  • Battery Life
  • Application store
  • The browser (quality and speed)

About the camera.

12MP is impressive but does it perform. In my brief tests I was able to do a few N82 comparison photos and judging by the results (looking at ISO, shutter, F-stop settings used) the N8 is on the same level as an iPhone 4 when it comes to light sensitivity. I’d guess that it’s 2x more sensitive which sounds a lot but isn’t that significant when it comes to low light work. With the high quality optics, fast camera UI, video recording capability and high-power Xenon flash though, it definitely takes the lead as far as cameraphones go.


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