Nokia N8 First Impressions

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Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Tue Dec 14, 2010 9:22 pm

So, I bit the bullet. I went down to my local Nokia dealer, and they informed me that they had received the fixed batch of N8s that were supposed to have corrected the power down problems that affected some of the initial batch. I couldn't resist, and grabbed a Nokia N8 in Orange.

Here's the N8 next to my venerable (and defunct) N70:
Image

Here are my first impressions after using it for a couple of days.

The physical dimentions are very close to the iPhone 4 - roughly the same thickness and the same weight (135g for the N8). The build quality of the N8 is very good - the main body is anodised aluminum and the top and bottom tips are plastic. The screen is a 3.5" AMOLED (no SAMOLED, sorry guys) protected with a layer of scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass (the same as the Droid X). There is a physical lock slider switch (you can download a touchscreen slide to unlock app a la iPhone if it tickles your fancy). A couple of Torx screws secure the ostensibly non user-serviceable 1200 mAH battery. It has a 680 MHz ARM11 CPU with a Broadcom GPU running Symbian^3 and is capable of multitasking. But what's it like to use?

Well, it's definitely not as polished a UI as iOS. Symbian's been around a long time, and some of the weirdness has been propogated over the generations. Be prepared to dig around to find settings and utilities (the File Manager for instance is buried under Menu->Applications->Office->File Manager. Intuitive, wot? I guess in the 1930s people kept their filing cabinets in the office :P) The device is normally very snappy, with smoothly animated transitions between home screens (you get 3 that you can swipe around), but it will occasionally seize up for a second or so. It's similar to the 1st Gen iPhone in that regard, but when it's fast, feels as snappy as a 3GS. You can set shortcuts and widgets on your home screens 6 rows deep. Each row can accomodate 4 shortcuts or 1 widget. A long press of the Menu button will bring up a Task Manager that lets you switch between and kill running processes. Generally, it's quite usable, and after a period of acclimatisation (during which, to make things worse, you're just getting around to setting up the phone), the N8 is nearly as usable as a modern smartphone (iOS, Android 2.x). Oh, and there's cut and paste :P. It's also *very* usable as a phone, something many other smartphones seem to neglect these days. Call quality is pretty good, and I could not elicit signal (or bar) loss no matter how I gripped the phone. The phone can be set to switch to silent mode if turned over on its face (very useful in a meeting or lecture room), and the menu button will flash to indicate missed calls and messages.

The screen is very readable outdoors, if not as bright as the iPhone 4's retina display. Unfortunately, it is a veritable fingerprint magnet - I swear the thing would pick up prints even if my fingers never got close to it. The rest of the body is fortunately very 'print resistant. I had thought to be able to use it without a screen protector because of the Gorilla Glass and all, but caved and bought a fav/ve screen protector after a day, which unfortunately makes the display look a little grainy.

The initial reviews were full of complaints about the lack of cohesiveness in the N8's UI, and fortunately, Nokia is responding to them very well IMO. An update to Ovi Maps (3.06) added pinch zoom to the app. Unfortunately, it also forced me to redownload all my GPS maps - the USA maps were 1.8 GB! Sadly, there is still no portrait QWERTY keyboard, even with Swype installed, although Opera Mobile (not included) very handily has its inbuilt portrait keyboard which is very similar to the iPhone's. Apps on the Ovi store are still a bit scarce, and not helped by a poor search function and confusing layout. Skype has a N8-compatible client on their own site, but is not listed on the Ovi store. Sadly, it has no widget functionality at present, so you will only receive messages if the app is running - which fortunately, you can keep in the background, thanks to multi-taskability (is that a word?).

Battery life is said to be good. I haven't had the chance to do a full rundown test yet, as the phone will charge over USB, and I've been doing a lot of syncing and transferring media. People on the nokia forums have been claiming 2-2.5 days with moderate use. I've left my device unplugged overnight and it still has full bars, so we'll see.

The camera on the phone is pretty good. It's a Carl Zeiss f/2.8 lens with an equivalent FOV of 28mm (film equivalent) and a 1/1.8" 12 MP sensor. Exposure is very good, and detail at the pixel level is pretty good (nokia states that they left some noise in to preserve detail and allow users to do more in post). One thing I like about the camera is the use of ND filters instead of an adjutable iris for exposure control. This means that you don't run into diffraction issues with small apertures on small sensors in bright light. If you want to dig into the camera settings, you can adjust exposure, ISO (100-800) and white balance, but sadly no touch to focus, or anything in the way of focus point control. The focus points seem to cluster around the center, so we're back to focus-recompose, which is not a biggie. Here's a sample shot straight from the phone with no PP (flickr resized the original 9 MP image though).

N8 sample camera shot:
Image

Good things about the device, it can function as a USB mass storage device (toggleable in menu) so you can drag and drop files. It will play media files you drag onto the phone's onboard flash (16 GB standard) or MicroSD card (up to 32 GB) with no problems. Even in device mode (where it shows up as a phone when connected to your computer instead of drives) you can still drag and drop files across. It can play 720p videos and supports H.264, MPEG4, VC1 and a variety of file formats (I've had success with mkv, avi, mpg, mp4 but not vob or m4v). For audio, it plays mp3, aac, ac3 and wma but not flac. The coverflow music player is über cool, but you'll want to make sure your ID3 tags are in order before you transfer your songs over, as the app handles all album and song arrangement based on the metadata.

2 days ago, my thought was that I'd never recommend the phone to anyone else. The UI was klunky and confusing and sporadic. Now, though, I've discovered how powerful it is for a smartphone (homescreen widgets are still something iOS lacks, and being able to mix and match app shortcuts and widgets is very handy). It helps that Ovi Maps (a big reason to get this phone) updated their app during my use to improve their touch UI, and that after an initial learning curve and customisation frenzy on the phone, I've settled into a normal usage pattern and found the phone to be very usable both as a smartphone and (just as importantly for me) as a phone. I'm not saying I haven't had rough spots with the phone - a corrupted media database forced me to google how to delete the db files so the phone would automatically rebuild the music library), and I also doubt the N8 (or its Symbian^3 stablemates) will steal marketshare from the iOS and Android faithful, but the N8 really is a device that Nokia can be proud of.

EDIT: Battery life update. 16 hrs in and I'm at 4/7 bars. Did some light browsing on 3G and wifi, listened to an hour of mp3s and installed a few apps from the Ovi Store (Skymap, TouchCalc graphing calculator, angle measuring tool). Some light email and facebooking.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Wed Dec 15, 2010 6:41 pm

Batery life update: I hit 24h with 20% remaining on the battery. Since I needed a live phone in the morning, decided to charge it. Saw moderate use with installing apps and wifi on the whole time (just found out I can use the wifi widget to turn off the antenna). Going to try a rundown again with the wifi off when I don't need it.

Also got Nokia Battery Monitor working on the phone. It wouldn't work when downloaded from the Ovi App Store, so I sideloaded it manually (no need to root the device to do this!) and it installed fine. Sky Map app helped me spot Jupiter last night (it was pretty bright).

Must-read for any N8 owners (or prospective buyers):
http://highdiver.wordpress.com/2010/11/15/top-67-nokia-n8-tips-and-tricks/
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Thu Dec 16, 2010 6:52 am

More battery life updates. As promised, charged the phone overnight and unplugged it this morning. Figured out how to turn off Wi-fi with a homepage widget when I'm not using it - that ought to save a bit of juice. Checked a couple of emails, did some messaging, and made a couple of calls, but this time no installing apps or playing music (I did rebuild the music library - all 320-odd files of it - this morning, though). Passed the 12 hr mark with 93% remaining on the battery according to Nokia Battery Monitor. I think turning off the wifi when I'm not using it has made the biggest difference, although downloading and installing a half dozen apps yesterday probably didn't help.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Thu Dec 16, 2010 7:01 pm

Battery update 4: Passed the 24.5 hr mark with 85% remaining on the battery. Continued light usage scenario with wifi turned off unless needed. Light app use.

So far, I'm impressed. I don't think any other smartphone does this well in battery life at the moment.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Thu Dec 16, 2010 8:03 pm

Thanks for all the info so far! Keep the updates coming. I am getting a N8 in 1-2 weeks as well.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Thu Dec 16, 2010 8:23 pm

Btw what apps have you installed? Have you tried out any games and have you tried using the HDMI out?
Have you tried using Nokia Panorama and the video editor app etc?
Also what are your opinions about lack of a camera lens cover?

When I get mine, I am going to install Skype, Nimbuzz, Google Maps (though I also like Ovi Maps for its offline capability), a couple of games, Youtube, Opera Mobile and Podcatcher for a start. And setup email and SIP accounts as well (I am assuming the OS comes with a inbuilt SIP client as some earlier devices like E63 have them inbuilt).
I also plan to develop some apps for the phone. The earlier SDK (based on Symbian C++) was crap but the new Qt based SDK is actually quite interesting to use.
I was earlier in 2 minds on whether I should get one, but I got to play with one and liked it. I will be ordering one from newegg soon.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:27 pm

codedivine wrote:Thanks for all the info so far! Keep the updates coming. I am getting a N8 in 1-2 weeks as well.



Cool. Glad to see someone was reading those posts ;).

Btw what apps have you installed? Have you tried out any games and have you tried using the HDMI out?
Have you tried using Nokia Panorama and the video editor app etc?


Right now, I have the following apps:
Swype for Nokia - a must-have
Nokia Battery Monitor v1.1 - failed to work after downloading from Ovi Store. Manually downloaded and sideloaded the .sis file. Apparently I'm not the only person with this problem.
Norbsoft Sky Map - $2. pretty handy star map that can get your position from GPS and hotlinks stars to their wiki article. It's actually rated higher than Google Star Maps on some Android forums.
Level Touch - free level utility
Touchcalc Lite - $2. scientific and graphing calculator. Used the old version on my N70. A bit klunky UI-wise, but quite powerful.
Accuweather - weather app with homescreen widget. Main app is ad-supported.
QTorch - free torch utility. Maybe I should have looked at the alternative that lets you control the color so I can preserve my night vision with red light instead.
Elements - free periodic table app
AngleMeter - free angle measurement app
Skype - not available on the Ovi store but downloadable direct from Skype. Sadly, no homepage widget yet so you'll have to have it running in the background to receive calls and messages.
some compass app that I found online (nothing on the Ovi store)

and of course the best ringtone in the world :P

I've tried (and deleted):
UPcode - useless barcode scanning app
Metal Detector - you have to spend 5 minutes calibrating it every time you want to use it wtf?
fring - useless ever since they removed Skype support. Their blurb still misleadingly claims that they support it.

Things I'm meaning to get:
Joikuspot - wifi hotspot/tethering app
some net streaming music app - there's no Pandora (yet), but there's a German company called Aupeo that has a free streaming service on Ovi
Oh, and Shazam used to be available for the N8 but got pulled from the Ovi store. Hopefully they'll bring it back.

Still waiting for someone to write a camera app that enables touch-to-focus. Haven't tried out the panorama app yet - the default image size is pretty wide already, and I have a 14mm-equivalent lens on my system camera, so the N8 is really a backup imaging device for me. Haven't tried any videos with it - again, it's hard to compete with my GF1 that takes 720p (and 1080p, although I don't use it) AVCHD at hacked bitrates.

Also what are your opinions about lack of a camera lens cover?

I think they made the right choice. The lens is actually a bit recessed in the housing, so it's not exposed to scratches (I imagine the outermost glass layer is scratch-resistant, but can't vouch for this). Since the housing itself protrudes from the camera, the back is propped up when you put it on a flat surface, so the lens is never anywhere near the surface. Having recently dismantled my N70, I was amazed at just how much dirt and dust had wriggled its way inside the camera housing area, so Damian Dinning (nokia imaging division) was spot on when he said that a cover doesn't necessarily protect you from dust and dirt. And the N8 is half the thickness of the N70, which has a lot of wasted thickness because of the sliding cover.

If you haven't ordered your phone yet, Dell has the dark grey N8 at $100 off at the moment. If you do get the phone, make sure to upgrade Ovi Maps from v3.04 before you download any extra maps, because v3.06 is incompatible with older maps. Nokia is really hurt by their lack of retail presence in the USA. In the rest of the world, they are nearly ubiquitous and were pretty much the default choice for years. It doesn't help that US carriers like to sell locked phones. The N8 is a great phone, but it's not cutting edge silicon (especially with LG bringing out a dual core Tegra 2 Android phone soon). However, the build quality can't be beat and it has one of, if not the best cameras on a smartphone at the moment (The N86 had a f/2.4 lens, and I think one other nokia had an f/2 lens, but the N8's system is still the best balance atm IMO).
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Thu Dec 16, 2010 10:00 pm

Btw, here's a picture of my main home screen (in landscape mode):

Image

I have a collection of widgets and shortcuts (4 app shortctuts in each shortcut widget bar). The clock widget is pretty handy, as it links to the calendar app and can also be used to switch profiles. The contacts widget is pretty nifty - you can have 20 contacts that you can scroll through with flicking, and can tap them to call, send a SMS/email or facebook (haven't tried).

I have facebook, gmail and traffic updates widgets on another home page. Apparently gmail push email is still a bit buggy, so I've set it to manually poll every 15 minutes.

Tip: The background wallpaper auto-rotates, and will automatically zoom in the pciture to fill the screen, so a 640x640 wallpaper is your best bet (there are plenty of 640x360 wallpapers online, but they look fugly when zoomed in landscape mode).

You can also set your widgets to offline mode with the menu key (this affects all widgets on all 3 homepages). Useful if you're roaming and don't want to incur data charges.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:40 am

Voldenuit wrote:If you haven't ordered your phone yet, Dell has the dark grey N8 at $100 off at the moment. If you do get the phone, make sure to upgrade Ovi Maps from v3.04 before you download any extra maps, because v3.06 is incompatible with older maps.
Newegg is at the same price without the taxes (depending on which state you live), no orange and blue though. At US$449 it has already fallen below the €370 (~US$490) launch price.

Is there any merit to this battery conditioning business?

Keep the feedbacks coming. I am ordering one for my brother (I can tag on my $20 coupon code yay! :)) and will get to use it for a while soon.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Fri Dec 17, 2010 1:40 am

Flying Fox wrote:Is there any merit to this battery conditioning business?


Hehe. No idea. There're a lot of theories, hypotheses and speculation when it comes to batteries in general, and very little controlled testing and data. Also, since the phone is most heavily used in the first few days (configuration, installing apps, "new toy syndrome", working out power saving features), any gains in battery life have to be filtered against usage patterns. I'll give it a try, but I don't expect it to do anything. Ironically, it's mirroring my charging patterns since I'm trying to find out what the total battery life of the unit is.

I can say that the stock battery gauge is completely inaccurate - after 31h of power on, it's still reading "100% battery", whereas the Nokia Battery Monitor reads a more believable 77% (though that may still be inaccurate).

Keep the feedbacks coming. I am ordering one for my brother (I can tag on my $20 coupon code yay! :)) and will get to use it for a while soon.


Thanks, I'm glad my experience with the phone can be of use to anyone. With all the attention that iOS, Android and WP7 get, I was expecting no one to be interested in Symbian these days. Hopefully, once Symbian is gone (this will pretty likely be the last generation, unless Symbian^4 gets any traction), the other smartphone makers will have the experience and hopefully motivation to improve the 'phone' part of their 'smartphone' equation, because this is still one thing nokia does better than anyone (just as Blackberry is still the best email and messaging (via BBM) solution).

There are products that wow you at first sight, then frustrate you with all sorts of limitations and missing features once the honeymoon wears off (iPhone, I'm looking at you). Then there are phones that are, at first glance, awkward, shy and unloveable, but after investing time and effort in the relationship, you start to appreciate how well thought out their feature set and abilities are. For me, the N8 definitely falls into the second camp. When I first unboxed it and started using it, I was afraid that I had made a huge mistake and had bought an old dinosaur. But now, even as the line nears extinction, I can only say that T-Rex is still king of beasts, baby!
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Fri Dec 17, 2010 7:07 am

Voldenuit wrote:
Symbian^4



Nokia have announced that there won't be a distinct Symbian^4 anymore, instead they will keep evolving Symbian with new updates every few months or so. Early next year (some say January), a new firmware update is said to bring keyboards, better browser etc and then updates will follow every few months. This way they say every current Symbian^3 owner will also receive the updates while the new phones will ship with the latest updates already installed. There will be no distinct version numbers, instead it being a series of iterative updates. So the N8 should remain current for quite a while much like how Apple kept providing updates to even older iPhones.

Also, almost all Symbian^3 phones now run almost the same firmwares with completely shared code instead of fragmented code bases like was the case with say earlier E and N series devices getting completely different firmwares derived from different codebases. Now all the teams at Nokia finally work together instead of producing different firmwares for different phones with different bugs! Earlier if the N series team fixed a bug, the E series team had to duplicate that work to fix the same bug which was stupid.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Fri Dec 17, 2010 7:51 am

Price of N8 down to USD 399 in the US from Nokia USA using a coupon, details here:
http://mynokiablog.com/2010/12/17/nokia ... th-coupon/
I am in Canada and bought the N8 at CAD 469 yesterday :(
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Fri Dec 17, 2010 7:55 am

codedivine wrote:
Voldenuit wrote:
Symbian^4



Nokia have announced that there won't be a distinct Symbian^4 anymore, instead they will keep evolving Symbian with new updates every few months or so.


That's good news (I think), because Meego is a bit of a crapshoot at the moment.

And cue another battery life update: 73% at 37 hrs. A couple of calls, light messaging, checked email and facebook. Wi-fi off for most of the time except for email and widget sync.

I'm curious to see how the N8 will fare in the new glbenchmark featured on anandtech today. Guess we'll find out soon when they release their N8 review.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Fri Dec 17, 2010 8:09 am

You can see some glbenchmark results uploaded by other people here:
http://www.glbenchmark.com/result.jsp?o ... ersion=all
AFAIK you can try the benchmark yourself too (or at least was true for earlier versions, not sure about 2.0): Download from glbenchmark.com for free and install and run. However to actually view your score, you need to sign up for an account (free but annoying) and upload results from within the app. Your results should then also show up on the community uploaded results website.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Fri Dec 17, 2010 8:11 am

For the PRO benchmark at least, the phone seems to be in the same playing field as the iphones.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Fri Dec 17, 2010 8:37 am

Ooo! Saw this and couldn't resist: http://store.ovi.com/content/72203?clickSource=homepage

Also, picked up Angry Birds and Angry Birds Seasons.

There goes my battery life :lol: .
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Fri Dec 17, 2010 10:23 am

codedivine wrote:Price of N8 down to USD 399 in the US from Nokia USA using a coupon, details here:
http://mynokiablog.com/2010/12/17/nokia ... th-coupon/
I am in Canada and bought the N8 at CAD 469 yesterday :(

Oh you bought it unlocked. RobbersRogers seems to have a pretty good deal if you are willing to be locked up in a contract. I almost pulled the trigger with Nokia USA too, if not for those damn taxes (compared to my newegg's 449-20 deal :)).

Voldenuit wrote:
codedivine wrote:
Voldenuit wrote:Symbian^4

Nokia have announced that there won't be a distinct Symbian^4 anymore, instead they will keep evolving Symbian with new updates every few months or so.

That's good news (I think), because Meego is a bit of a crapshoot at the moment.
That is kind of old news. Glad that you have finally caught up. ;) Given Nokia's past software efforts it remains to be seen if they can pull this off. I hope they do, because for me, the biggest problem of the new Symbian OS is IMAP/ActiveSync. It can't even do 1 email account correct, let alone multiple. I have been reading some common rants against that recently and it is quite bad at the moment. Between work, hotmail, and gmail, that's potentially 3 ActiveSync accounts right there. :o

Voldenuit which area are you in and how is 3G coverage from your cell carrier there? AT&T coverage can be spotty forcing the phone into search mode often and that affects battery life a lot.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Fri Dec 17, 2010 7:17 pm

Flying Fox wrote: I hope they do, because for me, the biggest problem of the new Symbian OS is IMAP/ActiveSync. It can't even do 1 email account correct, let alone multiple. I have been reading some common rants against that recently and it is quite bad at the moment. Between work, hotmail, and gmail, that's potentially 3 ActiveSync accounts right there. :o


I've read that quite a few ppl have trouble getting push email to work with gmail and hotmail. The workaround seems to be to set the mail app to manually poll those accounts, so I have mine set to poll at 15 minute intervals


Voldenuit which area are you in and how is 3G coverage from your cell carrier there? AT&T coverage can be spotty forcing the phone into search mode often and that affects battery life a lot.


I'm currently in south east asia (my 3G provider is decent), but will be moving to AT&T in the midwest, where they seem to be the best non-CDMA network in my area. Since the wife and her family are all on AT&T, it just seemed like the easiest and sensible thing to do. I've used AT&T (non 3G) on an unlocked nokia in the midwest in the past, and have had no problems except in Champaign, IL, where I couldn't get bars for some reason. Strangely, my friends with AT&T had no problems there.

Moar Battery life updates: 49 hr on phone, 58% battery. Did some app installing last night and email/facebook/widget syncing this morning. Oh, and forgot to mention I normally run the phone in power saving mode unless I need the network speed (power saving profile deactivates 3G). It's a quick two-button press on the home screen to change profiles.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Fri Dec 17, 2010 9:30 pm

I got my Dark Grey N8 :)
Build quality is really good, it feels really good in the hand. It has heft but not heavy at all and pretty slim. The AMOLED screen does look good particularly for photos and videos. Outdoor visibility is pretty decent. Everyone knows about the camera so will not talk about it. And I assume everyone knows the specs like Wifi b/g/n, bluetooth 3.0, pentaband 3G(!!), GPS etc.
Phone is pretty responsive overall, much improved over previous Nokia touchscreen efforts and responsiveness was on-par with most modern devices. The core OS is pretty nice actually now but the built-in apps remain clunky. Here is the run down of some built-in apps:

1. Web browser is currently poor but hopefully will be improved in the future as promised by Nokia. Opera Mobile 10.1 is a decent replacement for now.

2. Email client is lack luster and very very basic, a far cry from say gmail. Now there is some confusion as to the email client. One must distinguish the built-in client from Nokia Messaging push email service which the device will try to setup for you when you setup an email account in the client if you are in an appropriate geographical region. I declined the terms of service and thus I was able to setup the email client on the phone without Nokia's push service and like Voldenuit I also set it up to poll every 15 minutes. I do not need by-the-minute email. I have 3 email accounts as well and they are all working fine using polling. I have used Profimail as an alternate email client in the past for Symbian devices so people more serious about email should perhaps try Profimail.

3. Photo viewer app is also not that good in terms of managing photos. Perhaps I should see if I should be using Nokia's Ovi desktop suite to somehow manage photos on the device or else I will look for a 3rd party photo viewer that can do a more faster and more logical folder oriented navigation of photos.

4. Customizable homescreens is actually pretty useful and decently implemented. Visual multi-tasking is also pretty well implemented.

5. Video player app is supposed to have support for xvid and h264 out-of-the-box but I have not tested it so far. I did try out connecting it to a monitor using HDMI port and the sample 720p clips on the device played and looked great. Playback on the device also looked really good thanks to the AMOLED screen.

6. Music player has cover-flow with pretty smooth animations. There is no podcasting client built-in unfortunately. I installed Symbian Podcatcher from https://projects.forum.nokia.com/podcatcher which is servicable but not perfect. Sound quality using the 3.5mm port was fine. The built-in speaker is actually quite good by phone standards (loud, clear, not-tinny).

7. There are built-in photo and video editor apps for applying effects to the photos you take from the awesome camera but I have not tried them so far.

8. Tried a free game called Need for Speed Shift HD from EA and it looked and played nice. Will be trying out more games!

9. Had several calls today and the reception and sound was clear.

10. Ovi Store client is much improved over older versions though application update mechanism remains non-existant.

Will try more stuff on the weekend. Overall I would say its a good device. Nokia often prefers to call its devices as "converged devices" rather than smartphones and I think thats a very appropriate term for the N8.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Fri Dec 17, 2010 10:13 pm

codedivine wrote:I got my Dark Grey N8 :)

Woot! Congratulations! Hope you enjoy it.

3. Photo viewer app is also not that good in terms of managing photos. Perhaps I should see if I should be using Nokia's Ovi desktop suite to somehow manage photos on the device or else I will look for a 3rd party photo viewer that can do a more faster and more logical folder oriented navigation of photos.

Yeah. You can organize stuff into folders, but it's a bit tedious and the default 'All' view also shows all videos on the device - which can get confusing since you can't pull up filenames without loading the video. There's no share to flickr app afaik at the moment, but you can set up flickr so you can email pics from your phone and it will automatically add them to your photostream. In the meantime, there is Ovi share (wtf? who uses that?)

6. Music player has cover-flow with pretty smooth animations. There is no podcasting client built-in unfortunately. I installed Symbian Podcatcher from https://projects.forum.nokia.com/podcatcher which is servicable but not perfect. Sound quality using the 3.5mm port was fine. The built-in speaker is actually quite good by phone standards (loud, clear, not-tinny).

Yeah, the built in speaker is pretty impressive. And I like that the phone can output decent sound without having to resort to a ridiculous form factor (HTC Surround, I'm looking at you). I've tried the headphone jack with my Senn HD555's and the little phone managed to power them decently. The included headphones are actually decent as well.

10. Ovi Store client is much improved over older versions though application update mechanism remains non-existant.

Yes, it's a bit fragmented. The Ovi Suite PC software will find updates for some apps, but paradoxically has no direct access to the Ovi App Store. Some apps from the Ovi Store will not download if you have an older version, and you may have to resort to uninstalling and redownloading the app, or in worst-case-scenarios, manually downloading the .sis file and sideloading it onto the device (I've found this handy when downloading large files off Ovi. It's a lot easier to resume or restart a hanged download on your PC than on the phone). Search function on the store is also pathetic and there is simply not enough information about what the apps do for you and behind your back (which apps are ad-infectedsupported, etc).

I've found that Skype eats the battery on this phone. 30 minute messaging session with the SO chewed up 5% of my battery. I want it back! Still, swype is awesome for skype :D . And the Symbian client conversation threading is awesome - better than the PC client.

Will try more stuff on the weekend. Overall I would say its a good device. Nokia often prefers to call its devices as "converged devices" rather than smartphones and I think thats a very appropriate term for the N8.

Yeah, it's all about managing expectations. Right now, the different smartphones cater to different strengths - iOS for 'one-stop App and media access', Android for tech-enthusiasts/geeks/hobbyists/hackers, RIM for messaging/BBM/email. Nokia seems to be the best 'phone', and is reasonably decent at everything else (as long as you have workarounds in place for push email - hopefully Nokia will fix this). Oddly, WP7 is the 'odd man out', and other than its Tile interface (which I actually find less powerful than the N8's home screens) is the weakest contender in my opinion.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Fri Dec 17, 2010 11:37 pm

Voldenuit wrote:worst-case-scenarios, manually downloading the .sis file and sideloading it onto the device (I've found this handy when downloading large files off Ovi.
Here's a n00b question: how do you sideload apps? My brother's dark gray is on its way from Newegg's California warehouse.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Sat Dec 18, 2010 1:15 am

Flying Fox wrote:
Voldenuit wrote:worst-case-scenarios, manually downloading the .sis file and sideloading it onto the device (I've found this handy when downloading large files off Ovi.
Here's a n00b question: how do you sideload apps? My brother's dark gray is on its way from Newegg's California warehouse.


1. Download the .sis file to your PC (you can "trick" Ovi Store to let you save to PC by just putting /download in the URL after the address, e.g. http://store.ovi.com/content/61776/download for the Nokia Battery Monitor. Only works with free apps ).
2. Transfer the .sis file to your phone (either mass storage or SD card).
3. Browse to the .sis file with File Manager on the phone (Menu->Applications->Office->File Manager) and click it. You will be asked where you want to install it to.
4. Delete the .sis file after installation successful.

Setting custom ringtones can also be a bit unintuitive. The phone settings menu by default doesn't show all music files when you browse for ringtones (this is very useful to keep clutter down - imagine if you had to scroll through 1,000 mp3s to find the ringtone you wanted). Instead, load up the file in the music player and you can set an option to use it as a ringtone from the options menu.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Sat Dec 18, 2010 11:02 am

For photo sharing, try Pixelpipe. Pixelpipe can upload photos to a variety of targets: Dropbox (this is what I am using), Facebook, Flickr etc.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Sat Dec 18, 2010 10:46 pm

Current App damage:

As above with the addition of:
Angry Birds - notorious time and battery waster :p
Angry Birds Seasons - for the holidays
Joikuspot Premium - wifi tethering app (Lite version is free, but has no security and you can't rename the SSID)
FunTorch - not as bright as QTorch (my other torch app) but has a red backlight setting when you want to preserve your nightvision (hunting, stargazing, stalking etc).
Timer Touch - free stopwatch with lap functions
Pixelpipe - pic uploading tool (thanks codedivine!)
Galaxy on Fire - free 3D Space Combat/Trading Sim. Pretty good accelerometer controls.
Need for Speed Shift - free race game. Fun
Tron Legacy - horrible UI with virtual touchscreen joysticks. Avoid.
Whack a Goblin - something to keep the, uh, kids amused on long drives :P

For a system with ostensibly a small app selection, I'm finding more than enough to fill up my phone (and my time) :P

There's a VNC app floating around as well, I might get that or wait for a S3 version of a RDP app. Still dithering on whether to get Aupeo or not.

Battery ran down to 0% at 72 hrs. Angry Birds didn't help ;). Going to try the 20% juggle recommended in FF's link. I'll use Angry Birds to do that. Um, yeah, that's the reason ;).
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Sun Dec 19, 2010 2:19 am

Posting this from my N8. N8 is connected to a thinkpad USB keyboard using the N8's USB-on-the-go feature and to my monitor using HDMI. Thinkpad keyboard's trackpoint mouse is also working! So using it as a computer!
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Sun Dec 19, 2010 2:28 am

I bought Asphalt 5 HD game (a racing game) and Hero of Sparta HD game from the Ovi store apart from Angry birds. Need for Speed : Shift HD game is free from EA and is free.
Looking forward to playing them both on the device and trying them out on the big screen using HDMI port.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Sun Dec 19, 2010 6:08 am

hey, i know that kind of grass and dog (from your cam shot).. is it "summer" in your place ? :)

thx for your review & informations !
have you tried to connect your N8 with a nokia BT headset ? Nokia's sound quality is always very good.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Sun Dec 19, 2010 7:25 am

cheapFreeAgent wrote:hey, i know that kind of grass and dog (from your cam shot).. is it "summer" in your place ? :)


Hehe. He has stepped in for model duties before. As to seasons, we only have two here: Hot. And Dead Hot. :P

On a related note, David vs Goliath.

I knew the N8 could hold its own against a S90, but definitely didn't expect this:

http://thehandheldblog.com/2010/10/04/shootout-nokia-n8-v-canon-550d-dslr/

I will say in my experience that the metering and exposure on the N8 is 'uncanny' (uncannily, good, that is). It's a lot more robust than my GF1, but then that makes sense to me. The GF1's metering is predictable, including its foibles. Once you know how the camera behaves in a given situation, manually dialing in the right EV compensation becomes second nature, and this is common practice in many other DSLRs. With a point and shoot/cameraphone, though, changing EV settings is a *lot* more tedious, and can cost you the shot. So it's a lot more critical that the CPU get it right for you out of the box. Especially since the vast majority of people shooting on a camera phone will not be pros or enthusiasts.

More than anything, the comparison probably shows up the weakness in the 18-55 kit lens, which is very mediocre. But it also reaffirms the idea that if you're serious about photography and you go out with just your N8, you can still take some pretty damn good photos.

Haven't tried pairing Bluetooth headphones. I have an old pair of Sony BT phones lying around somewhere, but the sound quality was pretty mediocre. My old N70 also didn't support AD2P, so I never tried them with it either. Mostly used them with the Thinkpad. Or rather, mostly never used them at all. :P
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Mon Dec 20, 2010 3:22 am

Played around with the camera and tools a bit more today.

First, tested out the macro capabilities of the camera:
Image
Not bad for macro, the only real issue I have is that the central AF point is very tricky for focus/recompose at macro distances.

Then used the onboard photo editor to produce this:
Image

Just some basic cropping and contrast/brightness changes. Pretty easy to use, and not a bad feature set for tweaking shots before sharing. Would have liked to see some A/R and image size controls, but definitely fine for uploading in the field. Panasonic and the Motorola/Olympus cameraphones are going to have some high expectations to meet.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:16 am

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