- PREVIEW [!]
We were almost starting to suspect mobile phones of giving up and playing soft. They seemed unstoppable you know. They went from 5 to 12 in no time and therewas nothing to suggest that digicams will ever get a timeout for a much needed breather.
Nokia N8 official photos
Surprised or not, the game is back on and Nokia are pulling the big guns out. The N8 is the new wannabe king of cameraphones. Fat numbers on the specs sheet and all that shining armor, the new Nseries flagship is hitting hard and playing tough.
The Nokia N8 has two massive tasks on its hands: beat digicams at their own game and bring Symbian back to its past glory. The hardest thing perhaps is to tell which one is harder. But if anyone should be trusted to perform a seemingly impossible stunt, (still) market leaders Nokia are a safer bet than many.
Nokia N8 at a glance:
- General: GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, UMTS 850/900/1700/1900/2100 MHz, HSDPA 10.2 Mbps, HSUPA 2 Mbps
- Form factor: Touchscreen bar
- Dimensions: 113.5 x 59.1 x 12.9 mm, 86 cc; 135 g
- Display: 3.5-inch 16M-color nHD (360 x 640 pixels) AMOLED capacitive touchscreen
- Memory: 16GB storage memory, hot-swappable microSD card slot (up to 32GB)
- OS: Symbian^3
- CPU: ARM 11 680 MHz processor, 3D Graphics HW accelerator; 256 MB RAM
- Camera: 12 megapixel large-sensor (1/1.83”) autofocus camera with xenon flash, geo-tagging, face and smile detection and built-in ND filter; 720p video recording@25fps
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth v3.0 with A2DP, microUSB port with USB host support, 3.5mm audio jack, GPS receiver with A-GPS, HDMI port
- Misc: Accelerometer, DivX/XviD video support, Stereo FM radio with RDS, FM transmitter, 720p TV-out, Flash support in the web browser, anodized aluminum unibody, proximity sensor, scratch-resistant display
- Battery: 1200 mAh Li-Ion battery
As you see the hardware is all there – there’re not too many devices out there that can match the Nokia N8. Some will understandably frown at what looks like unimpressive CPU clock speed and scarce RAM. Just remember that it’s the performance to be judged here and not the sheer numbers.
Different platforms have different needs so we’ll only know if Symbian^3 can do without a 1GHz Snapdragon after we’ve seen the N8 in proper action.
- REVIEW [!]
We’ve come to take Nokia for granted in the low end or the business class but it seems it has lost the knack for killer phones, run out of royal blood. It’s up to the Nseries to fix it all up. The Nokia N8 may just turn out to be the right cure. With that kind of hardware, it’s a smartphone you’d be mad to ignore. For a change we are not talking netbook-grade processing power or loads of RAM. Nokia have instead given their flagship an industry-leading camera and stuff like HDMI port and USB-On-the-Go.
Nokia N8 official photos
The Finnish engineers often like to make a point about Symbian being the most resource-effective OS. We’ve seen it run reasonably fast indeed on even slower CPUs. This time though it’s Symbian ^3, so we’ll have to see it again to believe it.
- Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support
- Penta-band 3G with 10.2 Mbps HSDPA and 2 Mbps HSUPA support
- Sleek anodized aluminum unibody
- 3.5" 16M-color AMOLED capacitive touchscreen of 640 x 360 pixel resolution
- 12 megapixel autofocus camera with xenon flash and 720p@25fps video recording
- Camera features: large 1/1.83” camera sensor, mechanical shutter, ND filter, geo-tagging, face detection
- Symbian^3 OS
- 680 MHz ARM 11 CPU and 256 MB RAM
- Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
- microHDMI port for 720p TV-out functionality
- GPS receiver with A-GPS support and free lifetime voice-guided navigation
- Digital compass
- 16GB on-board storage, expandable through the microSD card slot
- Active noise cancellation with a dedicated mic
- DivX and XviD video support
- Built-in accelerometer and proximity sensor
- Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
- Stereo FM Radio with RDS, FM transmitter
- microUSB port with USB On-the-go support
- Flash and Java support for the web browser
- Stereo Bluetooth 3.0
- Nice audio reproduction quality
- Smart and voice dialing
- Scratch resistant Gorilla glass display
- Symbian^3 is still behind Android and iOS usability standards
- No video light
- Camera interface is decidedly outdated
- Relatively limited 3rd party software availability
- No office document editing (without a paid upgrade)
- Video player has some issues
- Battery life is not on par with best in the business
- Battery is not user-replaceable
There’s certainly a lot of pressure on the Nokia N8. People are probably expecting more from it than the very guys who designed it. But the N8 was never meant to compete with the iPhone 4 or the Galaxy S. At least, that’s what Nokia will gladly have you believe.
You see, with the Nokia N8 it’s not about who the competition is. Not about the business benefits of a smartphone, not about the available apps. It’s about the best camera in the business. Now, we’ll have to see about that. Again.
Nokia N8 at ours
The N8 already managed to put a dedicated digicam to shame in our recent blind test. But it will take more than that to get the thumbs up at the end of a full review. The camera is certainly impressive but it’s the overall balance and bang-for-buck that count most in our books here so the N8 better have more aces up its sleeve.
Update, 24.08.2011: We updated the phone to Symbian Anna.
Update, 08.02.2012: The Belle update arrived and we tested that too.