Nokia N8 First Impressions

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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:23 am

joselillo_25 wrote:Install swype

http://swypeinc.com/


Already did :wink: . It's available for free from the Ovi Store, and is a must-have for this phone. It's so awesome that I find myself bringing up the Notes or Messaging app just to swype in random stuff :p.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Sun Dec 26, 2010 4:09 am

My turn to test out my brother's dark gray N8 (ordering from newegg for him). Some random initial thoughts/questions below.

Voldenuit wrote: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.
I definitely hit those occasional seizing up, especially when it is doing background stuff like downloading/installing apps/contents.

Voldenuit wrote:It's similar to the 1st Gen iPhone in that regard, but when it's fast, feels as snappy as a 3GS.
Agree, but compared to the latest iPhone 4 and the faster Android devices sometimes the N8 feels like it can be faster.

Voldenuit wrote: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!
Question: Ovi store does not have the 3.06 beta yet, is it ok to download from betalabs? Will it properly "overwrite" the "retail" 3.04? 1.8GB is good stuff, that's what my unlimited data plan is screaming for. BTW, I was grabbing 300MB+ worth of stuff from Ovi store and the device did get a bit warm with all the radios working at full 3.5G blast. Battery also drained pretty fast. Now that I have battery monitor I can tell at what rate battery is dropping. The default meter really sucks that needs to be fixed asap.

Voldenuit wrote: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.
Coming from dumbphones with physical keys this is my first full touch phone for day-to-day use. I already knew that my touch screen typing sucks, with typos and slow speed whenever I happen to grab friend's Android/iOS/WP7 (yes, even the big screen Focus I have trouble hitting the keys) devices. It seems like I have grown really accustomed to physical keys that my thumbs always hit the screen at a rather tilted angle instead of vertically hitting the spots. This may also contribute to me missing touches from time to time. Like I did touch the glass but the button may not respond from time to time, or it did respond when I did not want to. Case in point is clicking on a selection vs flick-to-scroll in a list. Sometimes it just does not do what I wanted. May be a getting used to thing, but I felt like the Focus has a more sensitive screen. It may be the default protective screen that is affecting this?

The 3.5" with portrait qwerty may not be suitable for clumsy people like me, unless they have good predictive text. I don't even know what will happen for people with the C6-01 who have to deal with an even smaller 3.2" screen.

Voldenuit wrote: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.
MKV and WMV files are hit and miss for me so far. I sent a bunch of files over USB-on-the-go, BT, USB mass storage and "phone device mode" (MTP?) and of them, 1 mkv played audio but not video, and 1 wmv played video but not audio. Strange. MP4 files I expect to be no problem, except may be if it has mutliple embedded streams of audio/subtitles. I will dig up some mkv's with those as well.

Tried the camera with the default protector sheet on. I thought it was clear enough to take pictures but most pictures came out foggy. Need to confirm with the thing off to see if I received a bad unit or something. No power off problems so far but I'm only 24 hours into the thing.

By far my biggest WTF complaint is Unicode characters: browser, file names and ID3 tags. Opera 10 luckily can show non-English characters (Chinese to be exact). My Sony Ericsson dumbphones can display Unicode file names a long time ago. Android has support right out of the gate. WTF this is 2010 and you still give me squares!?!? :evil: I don't want to play tricks like flashing a different country firmware and stuff. This is actually an under-the-hood fix that needs to happen ASAP at the same time as the browser. Opera 10 is nice but no multi-touch zoom yet, so there are compromises that need to be made. For me, if this does not get fix soon it is my deal breaker and I will be forced to learn the ways of the little green dude (just like Yoda?).

Apps installed so far (in addition to all the free Tron and trailer videos I have been downloading):
- Angry Birds - reminded me of the gorilla throwing banana thing back in QBasic, but nice time killer and good battery drainer
- Tron Legacy - hard to control but it looks cool, so I guess I will learn to play with it
- Nokia Battery Monitor 1.2 - no need to sideload it for me
- Sensible Sudoku - haven't tried yet, but only the handful that is free
- UpCode - have to try it some time too
- Opera 10.1 - as above
- Speedometer - will try tomorrow when I go out on the road
- Swype - haven't hit a mistake yet, I can see it saving my a** because I suck so hard at touch screen typing

Edit: one other weird thing that I noticed: If I hit the home/menu key and bring up the "Menu" app and then hit Exit, it does not completely quit the app (shown by the task manager or Options -> Show open applications)? However, if I go Options -> Exit from within the "Menu" app it completely exits it. I understand that keeping the Menu app in the background may have its uses, but is this just some inconsistency bug or what?
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Sun Dec 26, 2010 5:17 am

Flying Fox wrote:My turn to test out my brother's dark gray N8 (ordering from newegg for him). Some random initial thoughts/questions below.


Yay!

Question: Ovi store does not have the 3.06 beta yet, is it ok to download from betalabs? Will it properly "overwrite" the "retail" 3.04? 1.8GB is good stuff, that's what my unlimited data plan is screaming for. BTW, I was grabbing 300MB+ worth of stuff from Ovi store and the device did get a bit warm with all the radios working at full 3.5G blast. Battery also drained pretty fast. Now that I have battery monitor I can tell at what rate battery is dropping. The default meter really sucks that needs to be fixed asap.


I found Ovi Maps 3.06 via the Ovi Suite PC software which listed it as an available update. PS: downloading large apps/updates over wifi is my preferred method - it's a lot faster, is easier on the battery, and more reliable in my experience.

Coming from dumbphones with physical keys this is my first full touch phone for day-to-day use. I already knew that my touch screen typing sucks, with typos and slow speed whenever I happen to grab friend's Android/iOS/WP7 (yes, even the big screen Focus I have trouble hitting the keys) devices. It seems like I have grown really accustomed to physical keys that my thumbs always hit the screen at a rather tilted angle instead of vertically hitting the spots. This may also contribute to me missing touches from time to time. Like I did touch the glass but the button may not respond from time to time, or it did respond when I did not want to. Case in point is clicking on a selection vs flick-to-scroll in a list. Sometimes it just does not do what I wanted. May be a getting used to thing, but I felt like the Focus has a more sensitive screen. It may be the default protective screen that is affecting this?


I definitely noticed some missed input in the first couple of days of use, but that has gone away now (ironically, I started using it without a screen protector, then moved to one - it made no difference to the touchscreen reliability). For me I think it was partially a matter of oily fingers and/or learning how to use a capacitative screen - it's not about applying pressure (which the screen doesn't need), but about maintaining contact as I slide the finger along the screen.

MKV and WMV files are hit and miss for me so far. I sent a bunch of files over USB-on-the-go, BT, USB mass storage and "phone device mode" (MTP?) and of them, 1 mkv played audio but not video, and 1 wmv played video but not audio. Strange. MP4 files I expect to be no problem, except may be if it has mutliple embedded streams of audio/subtitles. I will dig up some mkv's with those as well.


"Tested" the N8 with a mkv encode of the, ahem, Dr Who Christmas special on mkv today - worked fine at 720p with no remux needed. Ate about 20% of battery to play the whole 1 hr video, which I thought was pretty good, though not iPhone4-beating.

Tried the camera with the default protector sheet on. I thought it was clear enough to take pictures but most pictures came out foggy. Need to confirm with the thing off to see if I received a bad unit or something. No power off problems so far but I'm only 24 hours into the thing.


Screen protector? On camera? Are you referring to the front facing camera? I haven't tested that yet since Skype on the N8 sadly does not have video calling (the older N900 did!).


By far my biggest WTF complaint is Unicode characters: browser, file names and ID3 tags. Opera 10 luckily can show non-English characters (Chinese to be exact). My Sony Ericsson dumbphones can display Unicode file names a long time ago. Android has support right out of the gate. WTF this is 2010 and you still give me squares!?!? :evil: I don't want to play tricks like flashing a different country firmware and stuff. This is actually an under-the-hood fix that needs to happen ASAP at the same time as the browser. Opera 10 is nice but no multi-touch zoom yet, so there are compromises that need to be made. For me, if this does not get fix soon it is my deal breaker and I will be forced to learn the ways of the little green dude (just like Yoda?).


Hm... haven't tried unicode. I do have a lot of Japanese MP3s with kanji in the filename/ID3, but haven't tried them on the phone.

Apps installed so far (in addition to all the free Tron and trailer videos I have been downloading):
- Angry Birds - reminded me of the gorilla throwing banana thing back in QBasic, but nice time killer and good battery drainer
- Tron Legacy - hard to control but it looks cool, so I guess I will learn to play with it
- Nokia Battery Monitor 1.2 - no need to sideload it for me
- Sensible Sudoku - haven't tried yet, but only the handful that is free
- UpCode - have to try it some time too
- Opera 10.1 - as above
- Speedometer - will try tomorrow when I go out on the road
- Swype - haven't hit a mistake yet, I can see it saving my a** because I suck so hard at touch screen typing


If you can get UPcode working, tell me how. I can never seem to get anything out of it.

Enjoy!

Edit: one other weird thing that I noticed: If I hit the home/menu key and bring up the "Menu" app and then hit Exit, it does not completely quit the app (shown by the task manager or Options -> Show open applications)? However, if I go Options -> Exit from within the "Menu" app it completely exits it. I understand that keeping the Menu app in the background may have its uses, but is this just some inconsistency bug or what?


You can close the apps in the task manager (long press on Menu) by hitting the 'X'. You can also long press on an app in the task manager to show the 'close all open applications' menu item. But yeah, consistency is something that is lacking in the interface at the moment.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Sun Dec 26, 2010 6:41 pm

About the virtual keyboard, mine did not come with predictive text enabled by default. Not sure if it is "on" on yours or not. You can check from Settings -> Phone -> Language -> Predictive Text.
Predictive text settings can be changed from the on-screen qwerty while typing by pressing the options key (the three-lines key on the bottom row). I have set those to "word completion" as "On", Text Correction Level as "High" and Text Correction Mode as "show entered word". It is very non-intrusive generally but helpful.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Sun Dec 26, 2010 6:45 pm

Tried the camera with the default protector sheet on. I thought it was clear enough to take pictures but most pictures came out foggy. Need to confirm with the thing off to see if I received a bad unit or something. No power off problems so far but I'm only 24 hours into the thing.


Well I removed the camera sheet the moment it came so not sure if the protector is the problem. But might very well be. Do try photos after removing that. I think thats just a packaging thing and not a real "protector".
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Sun Dec 26, 2010 6:57 pm

those photos are damn good quality considering they were taken on a mobile phone, pretty impressive IMO
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Mon Dec 27, 2010 12:39 am

blitzy wrote:those photos are damn good quality considering they were taken on a mobile phone, pretty impressive IMO


Thanks! Got to playing around with some arty shots in low light last night:

Image

Image

Image

I believe these were taken at ISO 800 (the on-phone editor seems to strip out the EXIF or something) and all processing was done with the in-phone editing suite before uploading via pixelpipe. Pretty decent noise and detail characteristics for a compact/phone camera, IMO.

EDIT: By default, the NR algorithm of the N8 is pretty light. There is a denoise filter in the photo editor, but I did not use it on any of the shots above.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Wed Dec 29, 2010 12:01 am

Had my first 'drop' with the N8. Was driving with the N8 out of its case on my lap, and a hard 180 slid the phone off my lap and into the passenger footwell, where it made a solid-sounding contact with the metal guide rails under the seat. Ouch! Fortunately, the phone survived without a single scratch - an iPhone or Galaxy would definitely have come off with at least a scuff. Go nokia!
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Wed Dec 29, 2010 12:23 am

Those shots look great!
As for the fall, the N8 is definitely very solidly built so I think its no surprise that the fall didn't break it. That said, I have ordered a silicone case for the N8 from PDAir.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Thu Dec 30, 2010 3:05 am

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 Thu Dec 30, 2010 4:46 am

Tried out TSMobiles remote desktop client today.

Two word verdit: It sux. :(

It works, but it boasts the worst user interface known to man (this, coming from someone who's used AIX in the workplace). Controlling anything on the windows desktop is an ordeal - you have to position the cursor pixel-perfect (which, as anyone knows, is not pleasant on windows + touchscreen devices), then have to use a soft menu button to bring up options such as 'click', 'double click', 'text input' etc. 90% of the time, I miss the tiny soft menu button and the cursor jumps to where my finger is instead, and I have to start over from square one.

I think I can live without remote desktop for the time being, or worse comes to worst, use Joikuspot to create a 3G wifi hotspot for my laptop to connect to my desktop via RDP.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Thu Dec 30, 2010 2:10 pm

I currently am still toting around a Nokia N95 - which is a fantastic phone for basic telephony, but obviously can no longer compete with today's smartphones. Thinking about replacing it with either an Android (Galaxy S is my top choice so far) or the N8.

Other than the better build quality on the N8 and the presumably better camera (though suprisingly there are some conflicting reviews on this), is there any reason why I should go with the N8 over the Galaxy S?

Currently I'm leaning toward the Galaxy S as it has the faster processor, slightly higher resolution, and will be upgradable to Android 2.3 (gingerbread) - which should make it nice and snappy. But if anyone cares to convince me why the N8 is the way to go, I'm all ears.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Thu Dec 30, 2010 10:01 pm

cynan wrote:Other than the better build quality on the N8 and the presumably better camera (though suprisingly there are some conflicting reviews on this), is there any reason why I should go with the N8 over the Galaxy S?


There is no uncertainty: the camera on the N8 is miles ahead of the Galaxy. However, there are certainly reasons to consider one over the other.

Galaxy Pros:
Faster processor and more RAM (512 MB vs 256 MB)
Bigger app marketplace
Gorilla glass screen (on some variants) - on par with N8 here
User-removable battery
Lighter (but only by ~20 grams) (EDIT: Not all GS variants are lighter than the N8)

Galaxy Cons:
Stuttering
Poor GPS lock
Glossy plastic back chintzy and prone to scratches
Poorer battery life
Not all variants have front-facing camera (my suspicion is that this is an evil way for carriers to lock users out of VoIP video calls)
Have to root to sideload and get latest updates on carrier-locked phones
No flash on camera - not even an LED flash! (wtf?) Corrected - some, but not all Galaxy S variants have an LED flash. Check which model you're getting if you're getting a locked phone

N8 Pros:
Better build quality - anodized unibody aluminum shell and gorillaglass screen (equal with GS here, though not all Samsung GS variants get the scratchproof screen)
Better battery life
Better camera with xenon flash
Carrier unlocked - this means you can sell it on ebay when you want to upgrade your phone
Pentaband antenna - works in 3G with any GSM provider
Free lifetime GPS and navigation with offline capability (and the ability to manually load maps for overseas destinations - very handy for that trip or vacation)
No need to root to sideload and update
HDMI out
USB Host - can read files/play movies off a thumbdrive or external drive. Can even use mouse + keyboard!
Better telephony support - call quality, LED notification lights for missed calls etc

N8 Cons:
Occasional slowdowns
Slower CPU
Buggy push email support
Unintuitive UI - although it trumps iOS with homescreen widgets and multiple home screens
Poor(er) app support - although I have found Symbian alternatives to pretty much everything I've wanted
Battery behind torx screws

I would strongly caution anyone who's looking at an N8 to try it before buying, even though that may give a more negative perception of the phone at the outset. The Symbian^3 interface does take some getting used to, but once you do get used to it, is pretty usable and a lot more powerful than it looks.

Otherwise, you have to weigh up the pros and cons of each. No question that the Galaxy S is the more "advanced" smartphone - faster CPU, more RAM, more apps, less klunky UI (though Samsung is not as good as HTC in this regard). But on the balance of things, I went for the N8, as the other features (build, camera, GPS, battery life, telephony) were more important to me.
Last edited by Voldenuit on Fri Dec 31, 2010 2:17 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Thu Dec 30, 2010 11:29 pm

Voldenuit wrote:[quote="cynan"
There is no uncertainty: the camera on the N8 is miles ahead of the Galaxy. However, there are certainly reasons to consider one over the other.

Galaxy Pros:
Faster processor and more RAM (512 MB vs 256 MB)
Bigger app marketplace
Gorilla glass screen (on some variants) - on par with N8 here
User-removable battery
Lighter (but only by ~20 grams)

Galaxy Cons:
Stuttering
Poor GPS lock
Glossy plastic back chintzy and prone to scratches
Poorer battery life
Not all variants have front-facing camera (my suspicion is that this is an evil way for carriers to lock users out of VoIP video calls)
Have to root to sideload and get latest updates on carrier-locked phones
No flash on camera - not even an LED flash! (wtf?)


Some of that is untrue.

My Galaxy S (Epic 4G for Sprint) does not have all those cons:

*GPS locks fast.
*does not stutter, and when 2.2 hits it will get even faster.
*Has a Front facing camera
*Has a LED flash
*Battery life seems comparable to everyone I talk to that has a new android phone.
(2 coworkers have a Evo an Droid2)


Also, for the pros on the Galaxy, you left out the following:
*Super AMOLED vs OLED Super AMOLED on the N8.
*Significantly higher resolution screen 800x480 vs 640x360 Around 70% higher resolution screen
*Larger screen 4.0" vs 3.5" More than 30% larger screen
*Higher PPI screen 233 PPI vs 209 PPI More than 10% crisper display of text, images and video

I got that info here:
http://www.compare-cellphones.org/Samsu ... s-Nokia-N8

Don't get me wrong, I like the Nokia and loved my N800 & N810 tablets, but be fair when comparing the phones.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Fri Dec 31, 2010 1:06 am

I would say, you need to consider your usage scenario when buying the phone. My reasons for buying the N8 were as follows:

1. For me, I was clear that I wanted to have a good camera in the phone and thus N8 was the first choice, Camera on the N8 is superior and there is no doubt about that. I wanted to have a camera always in my pocket as capturing life in good quality photos is important to me. Ever since I got the N8, I have started taking a lot many photos, because its now so convenient to take (and share) pretty good photos anytime. N8 has enabled me to take many photos that I would have otherwise missed because I didnt have a good camera in the pocket.

2. N8 has a better build quality.

3. N8 has all-out connectivity (every radio imaginable is there in the N8). Pentaband 3G is a huge win as it means 3G works almost worldwide and that is important to me as I travel between Canada, US and India.

4. The bundled offline maps (Ovi Maps) on N8 was also important to me for travel reasons. Some offline maps applications are available in Android market (for pay) too such as CoPilot but not sure about their map coverage, Android users may fill in on that.

The Galaxy S is better on a lot of parameters: Superior web browsing experience, superior integration of Google services, FAR more choices on the Android store for everything, superior screen, superior CPU and superior GPU, DLNA support.

Ultimately it boils down to your usage scenario. I outlined the reasons above as to why I bought the N8 but everyone has different needs. If I didn't need the camera, I would likely pick up the Galaxy S. I would also suggest playing with both devices in-store before making a decision.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Fri Dec 31, 2010 2:14 am

Dposcorp wrote:Don't get me wrong, I like the Nokia and loved my N800 & N810 tablets, but be fair when comparing the phones.


I don't think I was being unfair. My list was not comprehensive, but as far as I know, everything was factual. The GPS and stuttering issues are well documented, and of the four main carrier locked variants, only two of them have an LED Flash - the Epic 4G and the Fascinate. I was wrong about the base Galaxy S though, it does seem to have an LED flash. EDIT: OK, this is getting confusing. Some localities get a base Galaxy S with flash, and some don't. So always check with the phone you're buying.

I also left out that the N8 has an FM receiver and transmitter, which no Galaxy variant does. On a related note, the N8 also probably has one of the best smartphone speakers out there bar the HTC Surround, and it doesn't have the speakerphone volume issues that the Surround does (nor do you need to slide out the speaker bar to enjoy the sound).

Battery life is unquestionably better on the N8. I'm averaging 2-3 days between charges with light/moderate use, and people are getting 7+ days of standby on the N8, which no Android phone matches, at least going by the forum posts I've read.

You made a good point about the SAMOLED on the GS - I'd forgotten about that, and it is widely considered to be the best screen available on smartphones today. The AMOLED on the N8 is no slouch, though, and comes close to the iPhone 4's Retina display in many shootouts.

The Epic is also vastly different from the candybar Galaxy S variants. It has a slide out keyboard, is much thicker and heavier, and only has 1 GB internal storage. If we're looking at "regular" Galaxy S variants, it is the unfair comparison, and not always in an advantageous manner either, since it also has the poorest battery life among its cousins.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Fri Dec 31, 2010 2:40 am

codedivine wrote:1. For me, I was clear that I wanted to have a good camera in the phone and thus N8 was the first choice, Camera on the N8 is superior and there is no doubt about that. I wanted to have a camera always in my pocket as capturing life in good quality photos is important to me. Ever since I got the N8, I have started taking a lot many photos, because its now so convenient to take (and share) pretty good photos anytime. N8 has enabled me to take many photos that I would have otherwise missed because I didnt have a good camera in the pocket.


Definitely a selling point for me. I have a DSLR and a m43 camera, and I shoot RAW on both, so it is a big hassle for me to upload pics in the field or when I'm travelling - I have Lightroom on my laptop, but the TN screen is not great for RAW work. The N8's JPEG engine is better than the one on my 40D and GF1, I can edit the photos on the device, geotag (haven't tried) and upload all from the one device. It's definitely freed up my photographic expression, and it's even more portable than my m43 system, so it's always with me. Bravo, Nokia, bravo.

Considering the N8 is about the same price as a high end compact and is easily as good (as long as you can live with a prime lens), it's a bargain for a photo lover.

PS I believe Google Maps 3.0 beta is going to have offline capability, but I haven't had the chance to try it out.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Fri Dec 31, 2010 2:51 am

Dposcorp wrote:Some of that is untrue.

My Galaxy S (Epic 4G for Sprint) does not have all those cons:

*GPS locks fast.

Keep in mind that the Epic 4G is one of the few Galaxy S class phones that don't have the GPS issue (the Nexus S is the other one).
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Sat Jan 01, 2011 10:46 pm

Thanks for the feedback guys. As of right now, there is no "one phone to rule them all." :)
The N8s does have a awesome camera and FM radio, and better battery life, as do Win Mo 7 phones do.

Maybe the next gen phone will get a little closer with, cause I sure would love a FM/HD-FM radio in my phone, and a much better camera, even if it means a bit of bulk.
It would still be nice to carry only one item.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Sat Jan 01, 2011 11:15 pm

Dposcorp wrote:Thanks for the feedback guys. As of right now, there is no "one phone to rule them all." :)


Definitely. Before I started using the N8, I really thought it was out of contention with other smartphones with faster CPUs and fancier OSes, but it's surprised me*. I still think there is no 'ultimate winner' in the smartphone space, though, as they all have their strengths (though some more so than others). Research your needs and see which phone system suits you best. But it's an evolving market, so watch this space carefully.

* Why did I buy it then? I needed an unlocked phone with pentaband GSM and offline worldwide GPS. Everything else was icing.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:13 am

For cameraphone enthusiasts, the Motorola/Olympus with 8 MP camera is due to be unveiled at CES. Will be interested to see how they match up.

On a side note, currently at 27% battery after 4 days, 4 hrs of standby + email, messaging and a few calls. Not bad, not bad. I actually find the phone feels more snappy in power saving mode (no transition animations), pity you can't turn off the animations in normal mode (at least, I haven't found out how).

The real loser here is the enthusiast compact. I forsee this market shrinking as cameraphones get better and better. Why carry 2 devices when 1 is good enough, and practically guaranteed to be with you when a photo op presents itsef?

The only use I'd have for a compact camera now is a ruggedised compact for beach/sports/snow use. But those usually have mediocre image quality at best, so are not a catch-all replacement for imaging solutions either.

If you're a photo enthusiast, a good camera phone and a system camera (be it DSLR or mirrorless) looks like the way to go.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:40 am

Voldenuit wrote:
The real loser here is the enthusiast compact. I forsee this market shrinking as cameraphones get better and better. Why carry 2 devices when 1 is good enough, and practically guaranteed to be with you when a photo op presents itsef?

The only use I'd have for a compact camera now is a ruggedised compact for beach/sports/snow use. But those usually have mediocre image quality at best, so are not a catch-all replacement for imaging solutions either.

If you're a photo enthusiast, a good camera phone and a system camera (be it DSLR or mirrorless) looks like the way to go.


Well megazoom compacts still have a place.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:57 am

codedivine wrote:Well megazoom compacts still have a place.


True. But they usually have even smaller sensors (1/2.3-1/2.5") and tend to suffer from chromatic fringing and flare problems due to pushing the lens designs so far. And some of the superzoom designs are not exactly 'portable'. Most buyers of these cameras are after the zoom range rather than per pixel image quality or low light performance, so they will still have a place in the post-cameraphone world. The enthusiast compacts - the LX5, G12, S95, XZ1, GX200, GRDIII - with fast 3x or so zooms will be the ones to be squeezed out of the market, unless they do something drastic like moving to a m43 or APS-C sensor. APS-C compacts like the Sigma DPx and Leica X1 will probably still find their niche, too.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:01 pm

Voldenuit wrote:
codedivine wrote:Well megazoom compacts still have a place.


True. But they usually have even smaller sensors (1/2.3-1/2.5") and tend to suffer from chromatic fringing and flare problems due to pushing the lens designs so far. And some of the superzoom designs are not exactly 'portable'. Most buyers of these cameras are after the zoom range rather than per pixel image quality or low light performance, so they will still have a place in the post-cameraphone world. The enthusiast compacts - the LX5, G12, S95, XZ1, GX200, GRDIII - with fast 3x or so zooms will be the ones to be squeezed out of the market, unless they do something drastic like moving to a m43 or APS-C sensor. APS-C compacts like the Sigma DPx and Leica X1 will probably still find their niche, too.

Funny you said that. I actually found it easier to get better pictures with the S90/95 than with the N8. I am doing side-by-side tests from time to time but I have not uploaded them to my IPS monitor yet for some pixel peeping closeups. But I seem to have more confidence in my Canon than the N8. Low light without flash the enthusiast compacts still have their place IMO. Can't beat the laws of physics - a bigger lens is a bigger lens.

Of course, the N8 is not for me. I already determined a while back that I will live with a crappy cam (even the EDoF ones) because I know I will have a real camera with me when I am out and about. That is why I am looking at other phones for myself.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:38 pm

Flying Fox wrote:Funny you said that. I actually found it easier to get better pictures with the S90/95 than with the N8. I am doing side-by-side tests from time to time but I have not uploaded them to my IPS monitor yet for some pixel peeping closeups. But I seem to have more confidence in my Canon than the N8. Low light without flash the enthusiast compacts still have their place IMO. Can't beat the laws of physics - a bigger lens is a bigger lens.

Of course, the N8 is not for me. I already determined a while back that I will live with a crappy cam (even the EDoF ones) because I know I will have a real camera with me when I am out and about. That is why I am looking at other phones for myself.


Well, the sensor in the S95 is only about 10% bigger than the one in the N8, and the lens is only 1 stop faster. The S95 is definitely more versatile than the N8 due to the 3x zoom, but the image quality should be comparable. The S95 is definitely one of the more compact enthusiast cameras around - almost too compact, as I find the darn thing as easy to hold as a bar of soap.

You do lose out on control with the N8 vs the S95 - the only settings available are ISO (100-800) and EV (+/- 2 EV in 0.5 stop steps). You can force slow-sync flash in night portrait mode, but that's about it.

However, having used a GX100 extensively before getting my 40D and GF1, I've found that compact sensors don't have much latitude or headroom, so the benefits of shooting RAW or playing with exposure are a lot more limited than when using a full-blown DSLR. And the sensor is so small on these compacts that you get massive DOF regardless of aperture. So a lot of the opportunities from controlling aperture, shutter speed and exposure are blunted.

Contrast that with the N8, which while not as powerful a tool photographically, is pretty darn close and has the advantage of being able to edit, geotag and upload your photos all from the one device, and so makes a great travelblog or social tool. And being a phone, is always with you, which counts for a lot ("the camera you have with you...").

Part of working with compacts (cameraphones or enthusiast) is working to their strengths (portability, discreetness, good DOF) and downplaying their weaknesses (low light, subject isolation). If you're shooting in low light without a flash, you're best off with a DSLR anyway. No compact will be as good.

Even the lowly iphone, with a sensor 5x smaller than the N8 or S95, is capable of amazing pictures in the right hands.

Erratum: Turns out the Motorola Olympus has nothing to do with Olympus camera company, and comes with a lowly pinhole camera. Mea culpa.

PS: If you're going to do comparisons with the S95, can you check sharpness in bright light? I'm curious to see if the ND filter on the N8 has any real world advantage vs a small aperture on the S95.

PPS: If you're after an enthusiast compact, check out the LX5 or upcoming Olympus XZ1.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Sun Jan 16, 2011 3:08 am

AT published a review of the N8. However, I am not very impressed with their review quality this time. I am getting substantially different results on benchmarks they run. For example, on browsermark they report something like 5k while I am getting 9k. Similarly, they get something around 4.5mpbs over wifi-n for *local* transfers while I got around 6.5mbps for *internet* transfers (and since my internet connection is 7mbps, there is obviously potential to go a lot higher). I think their new writer screwed up. I still trust Anand's reviews but the newer writers, not so much.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Sun Jan 16, 2011 4:09 am

Hi Voldenuit, I just sent you a PM about the benchmarks.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Sun Jan 16, 2011 4:21 am

My sunspider results are about 10x faster than those published by AT. Not sure what is going on here. Either they are using some other version of sunspider, or they are using an old version of Opera Mobile.
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Sun Jan 16, 2011 9:44 am

codedivine wrote:My sunspider results are about 10x faster than those published by AT. Not sure what is going on here. Either they are using some other version of sunspider, or they are using an old version of Opera Mobile.


Yup, I ran the tests with Opera 10.0 and 10.1 (as well as the stock browser where applicable). Here are my results:

Opera Mobile 10.0
Browsermark 5797

Opera Mobile 10.1
Browsermark 9790
Sunspider 0.9 10841.6

Nokia Stock Browser
Browsermark 4424
Sunspider 0.9 did not finish

OM10.0 results are in line with AT's figures, whereas OM10.1 results are significantly higher. The new Browsermark figures put the N8 ahead of the Windows Phone 7 smartphones and the Sunspider result on 10.1 is equivalent to the iPhone4.

Not bad for a 680 MHz ARM11 smartphone, and this should quell concerns that the hardware in this phone is not up to snuff. I've also had pretty good battery life on the phone over the past few recharges: 4 days (12% battery remaining), 5.875 days (15% remaining), 4.5 days (25% remaining), so the picture AT paints for battery life has not held up for me (4 day figure included internet, email, angry birds seasons, panorama photos w/flash and 3-4 hrs of music playback, so was reasonably demanding).

On a side note, I recently found this app on the Ovi Store,
http://store.ovi.com/content/26345
Topographic GPS app, should be handy for outdoorsey people, and I'll be getting it as soon as I finish downloading some more offline maps for the N8 (latest update to Ovi Suite PC software now lets you delete offline maps on a 1-by-1 basis from your phone).
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Re: Nokia N8 First Impressions

Postposted on Sun Jan 16, 2011 1:10 pm

When it comes to numbers I trust TR more than AT. 8)

My tethering tests. Did anybody get that PC Internet thing (available when you switch your USB connection mode to "modem" and it shows up on Autorun) to work? Perhaps there is a newer version somewhere? I can tell the code base is older since it uses the same UI as the old PC Suite but for me it was not working at all. Don't think USB tethering will be a frequent use case since most likely it will be BT/WiFi, even with the phone plugged into the notebook just for charging.

BTW, when set to "mass storage" mode and plugged in, does anyone run into some "craziness"? I have the following symptoms:
- 2nd and 3rd homescreens turned to the wallpaper (default?) of the first; the setting behind the homescreens were fine
- Some apps automatically gone missing from under the Applications folder, so I can't run them. A few things like Joiku hotspot is still there though. But if you look under Application settings -> Installed Applications they are there.
- Battery monitor widget stopped displaying stats, just "charging" I think.
As soon as I unplug, it went back to normal. This scared the heck out of me and resulted in me reinstalling some applications until I gave up. I wonder if you guys seem to have this? Or may be it was me trying to screw with the fonts before (now supposed to be restored back to normal, but still I wonder if I accidentally break something).

As for battery life, I got about 3 full days during weekdays with Mail for Exchange set to sync all the time during M-F/9-5 and per 4 hrs at other times. It dropped to about 20% after that. One day during heavy email traffic I dropped 40% in one day. So i think for me I can get at least 2 full days even with heavy email and some browsing. Games are fairly draining but nothing compared to A-GPS turn-turn-by-turn or WiFi tethering. I would not say it is 1% per minute of wifi surfing but Battery Monitor drops off pretty fast. If you are going to be say, check TR frontpage/forums and reply a few posts in one session, you'd better have a full battery and/or have the phone plugged in charging.
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