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Nokia N8 – The Ultimate Test

This is Momchil here wrapping up the discussion on the mighty Nokia N8.

As mentioned before, I am a Nokia supporter and I always use a Nokia as my primary handset. I have been closely following the development of Nokia touchscreen smartphones since the 7710 made it to the market. This leads me to my first point – reliability. Every Nokia I’ve had, smartphone or not, has always been utterly reliable. The 7710 I’ve owned since 2004 still works perfectly despite having been dropped in the pool and suffering numerous substantial impacts. The Nokia N8, being its very distant successor, is also extremely reliable.

The 7710 was relatively unsuccessful in the market for a reason which is no fault of Nokia engineers as the phone was (and still is) amazing. The only problem with the 7710 was that the device was way ahead of its time. Now coming back to the future (Nokia N8), the lesson has been learned. AMOLED screen, HDMI out, USB OTG, 12 megapixel camera, aluminium shell, these are the fundamental components of today’s ultimate smartphone. The customer is already used to touchscreens, he has an HDMI compatible TV or monitor at home, he would make good use of the amazing camera and he would know the difference between 12 megapixels with HD video capabilities and the 5 megapixel phone he probably owned before. The market is ready for the N8, and Nokia N8 is already setting standards in the market.

It all ties in – Camera, HDMI, USB OTG, 16GB

Start by taking some really impressive high resolution crisp photos with your N8. Make a video or two, or as many as you wish, the 16GB internal memory will handle it. Impress someone at work or at home by connecting the Nokia to a big HDMI flatscreen and playing your clips. Amaze your friends even more by copying the pictures to their USB flash drive, which they happen to carry on their keychain. Enjoy!

Things we take for granted

Amazing sound quality and playback time. The music player is very user-friendly and the 3.5mm stereo jack enables you to plug your favourite earphones. Music playback has been tested at MIR and works perfectly with our huge pair of Sennheiser earphones. The sound was also sharp on our JBL sound system and finally we tested it with a Phillips amplified setup in the 5.1 dolby digital sound mode – again fantastic results. A huge advantage of the N8 over competitors’ products is the ease of music (and video) accessibility. You can just plug the Nokia to your PC in mass storage mode, upload some MP3s and videos, and they will be immediately ready to play. The same applies to USB OTG, just connect your flash drive or external hard drive to the device and it will play anything, yes, instantly, in High Definition, on your HD TV. No need for special PC applications or conversions.

Improvements of the OS

Symbian OS hasn’t been so spectacular recently compared to what others have to offer. However, Symbian ^3 is a real improvement to the previous versions of the system. It is much more user-friendly and there has been an enormous effort put into making it more touchscreen-oriented. Take the QWERTY keyboard, for example. It occupies the entire screen, providing more area for each of the buttons, therefore making it easier for the user. There is a much more decent task manager and the menus are more intuitive compared to the N97, for example. Messages appear on the screen as IMs, no need to click “Open” every time you receive one. E-mail connectivity works really well. The automatic screen orientation feature on my N82 and my N97 was really annoying, I had it switched off. However, on the Nokia N8 it feels really different. It actually works when you need it to. There is a little pause just before the change of screen orientation, to make sure this isn’t just a random movement of inclination. In general, Symbian is much better now!

The on-screen clock

I have elaborated on this in my first N8 post: Nokia N8 – First Impressions. I absolutely adore this seemingly normal feature. There is an on-screen clock visible at all times when the phone is locked. It doesn’t disappear in a minute. You don’t have to press a button in order to check the time. It’s simply brilliant!

Aluminium and Glass

The scratch and scuff resistant anodised aluminium body speaks of quality, and feels like it. I must add that the phone feels cool most of the times, not like other handsets with powerful processors that might fry your palm. Glass screen, not plastic, feels much better and is more responsive than the N97, for example. Rigidity is a strong quality of the N8, take the micro USB port reinforcement for instance. The very access to the port is integrated into the shell of the phone, which helps support the micro USB plug when connected, unlike many other handsets on which the port is prone to snapping off the mainboard.

The ULTIMATE TEST

The N8 as a portable home entertainment centre?

Here at MIR we decided to put the N8 to the ultimate test. We wanted to use USB OTG, audio and HDMI playback at the same time. How so? We connected a USB wireless mouse/keyboard to the Nokia. We used the HDMI port and placed the handset close to our HD monitor. We linked our JBL audio system in. But first, let’s transfer something from an external hard drive…

Active Ingredients: Nokia N8, USB Hard Disk, USB Keyboard, Bluetooth Mouse, Full HD Monitor

The Nokia N8 as a Portable Home Media Centre

How this worked:

First, connect a USB Hard Drive to the Nokia (or any USB Flash Drive). Browse for videos, copy them to the phone or open them directly.

Connect a Keyboard, it works automatically. Pair a bluetooth mouse, it takes seconds!

Now let’s put this all together. Bring in the Full HD monitor!

Try the browser, connecting to a WiFi is easy enough. Let’s see if the keyboard works… Flawless! The mouse functions are fully integrated and really useful, hold the right button and you have a Task Manager!

FINAL STAGE OF THE TEST

THE PORTABLE MEDIA CENTRE

It works!!! The Nokia N8 really did it! We have a USB keyboard, Bluetooth Mouse, 720p HD Video file copied from a USB Hard Drive, Full HD Monitor and a JBL Audio system connected to the Nokia N8 Simultaneously!!!

I can’t express my feelings right now… This device is really, really powerful. In addition it didn’t heat up at all while playing in HD and the battery was charging at the same time too!

WELL DONE NOKIA, I am truly impressed!!!

29 replies on “Nokia N8 – The Ultimate Test”

while i agree that the n8’s hardware is impressive, i personally do not think it is a nice device to use. i had a trial from womworld for two weeks and i was very disappointed.

as you are a self proclaimed nokia fan i am not surprised in the least that you like this device. since this is not a symbian fan-boy blog the question i have to ask is how much time have you spent with high end devices running android or ios? thanks

I have said it before, and I will say it again, yes, Nokia do have the lead in mobile devices when it comes to functionality, optics, and connectivity as stated in your post here, and many others, however the software/OS really feels dated, and clunky, even given Symbian^3 and it’s many improvements, its still out of date, and feels, well, old. It’s time Nokia now ramped up work on both the User Interface of their Symbian devices, and the User Experience. Eye Candy is not just pretty, its an interaction between mobile, and user, bringing them both together, united. This combination of UI & UE is a must, and Nokia really need to leap frog the competition now, and not just catch up.

Hi, it’s a fair comment and I understand your viewpoint entirely, the Nokia N8 is a peculiar device to use, especially compared to iPhone or an Android-based device. Please note that this post is primarily about the “Ultimate Test” of the Nokia N8, which aims to challenge the phone by using simultaneously HDMI, HD Video Playback, USB OTG, Bluetooth Input Device and external audio. If you’re under the impression that I live in a Symbian fan-boy world, let me assure you this is not so. I currently have iPhone 4 and Acer Liquid at hand, and I love them. I’ve been using iPhone since the 1st gen was released, it’s certainly a nice device to use, but rather restricted, in my own opinion. My first Android was HTC G1; I’ve always liked HTCs and I still miss my HTC Universal (the keyboard was great). It’s all too easy to criticise Nokia for not making the N8 as nice to use as an iPhone or Android, that’s why I didn’t do it. I just put the N8 to the test, to let people see what it can handle.

it’s not “hard” for Nokia, they already did great things with the N900 (UI & UE) that the latest version of Android (even the 2.3) can only dream about in the time i’m writing this comment ! with symbian, they’re doing “good” with the ^3 and i hope de PR3.0 will bring us something to enjoy…

Fair enough and thanks for the response. I like to know a reviewers frame of reference when reading articles

Fair enough and thanks for the response. I like to know a reviewers frame of reference when reading articles

“Take the QWERTY keyboard, for example. It occupies the entire screen, providing more area for each of the buttons, therefore making it easier for the user.”
— interesting. most reviewers have complained about this. not being able to see what you’re writing is annoying, they say. but you like this “feature”…!

Sure you can see what you’re writing. The text you have typed in is displayed right above the QWERTY keyboard. However, it is obviously a subjective matter of opinion whether you like the layout or not.

That’s just super. Great. Glad we sorted that as a consumer option. I bet there’s a ton of folks looking to have exactly that setup in their livingroom. Y’know, the ones that can afford a 1080p display, 5.1 speakers, bluetooth mouse and a £500 phone, but can’t afford a £99 Apple TV (other wee smart media box-thingys are available).

Now then, where’s the review about just how truly, utterly awful using it is day-to-day to make/receive calls and send SMS? Ah, never mind. Who’d want to do such mundane things on a phone like the N8 eh? 😉

Hi Mike, good point! For “day-to-day to make/receive calls and send SMS” I use my trustworthy Nokia 6303 classic! 🙂 Doesn’t cost £500 either! Now you’ve got a point here, about the “£99 Apple TV”; of course you’re right. All I was doing is testing the N8, I never said it should replace your Apple TV.

Have you used one as a primary handset for a week? I *dare* you to… @Momchil, I take this for what it is – an interesting (to geeks) demo of how far mobile-based interface and processor technology has progressed. 5 years ago I did a similar thing with the N93 and wowed people. Then we went back to using normal phones.

Does any of this make the N8 a ‘good phone’? Hell no.

Have you used one as a primary handset for a week? I *dare* you to… @Momchil, I take this for what it is – an interesting (to geeks) demo of how far mobile-based interface and processor technology has progressed. 5 years ago I did a similar thing with the N93 and wowed people. Then we went back to using normal phones.

Does any of this make the N8 a ‘good phone’? Hell no.

Hi Mike, it will be 7 days at 17:00 today (Sunday). I think that’s a week 🙂 I’m glad you take my post as “an interesting (to geeks) demo of how far mobile-based interface and processor technology has progressed” because this is exactly what it is. I never intended to show whether Nokia N8 is a good primary handset.

So Nokia learned the lesson, and will not release products ahead of its time anymore?

I’m not sure the reason Nokia is losing leadership to Apple and other is that were too innovative back in 2004 to 2007… The reason are problems that even persist today. Wrong marketing, for example. Or not exploring all the gimmickism offered by the touchscreen (i.e. multitouch and actually dragging pictures, homescreens etc when you move your finger, and not flip them when you swipe.) And apps too, development for Nokia phones was hell. Qt is the hope… They were certainly not looking into the future before switching to Qt. Even development for Maemo was hell!

Hi, please don’t take my words literally. All I meant to say was that Nokia has “learned the lesson” of listening to the market more than before. My point was that they now try to produce devices that people actually want. I’m not saying Nokia N8 doesn’t have its drawbacks, but it is a step in the right direction.

Mike, every Nokia related post you make is bitterly anti-Nokia, without balance or fairness. Why on earth should anyone take account of your opinion?

The world over, Nokias are renowned as the best phones to make calls on, for signal and battery life. So your allegation is somewhat weak 🙂

As for the N8, having used it for 2 months solid, it makes iPhone and Android handsets pale into insignificance as far as I can see – for me that is. Each to their own in other words. The N8 has sold extremely well, so plenty of people agree with me however.

Alex, 1 word (2 syllables): bollocks.

Just do a search here on my comments WRT the E71. THAT, my friend, was the last ‘great’ Nokia. As a day-to-day, year-to-year phone it was fabulous. Even with the Nokia eng-lead menu crap like asking me which AP I wanted to use ad nauseam.

All the negatives couldn’t outweigh the form factor, build quality, RF performance, battery life, camera, etc etc. Every phone has upsides and downsides. There is no perfect phone, only the phone perfect for you, your frame of mine, budget, reliability needs, battery needs, connectivity needs, form factor etc. *right now*. Hence why I have 5 phones and swap thiem like socks depending on whether I’m running, adventure racing for a day, off into London with the wife, to the zoo with the kids, overseas, etc.

I challenge you to find 10 people – normal people – who use the N8 for a week then say it’s a ‘great phone’ for calls. It isn’t. The linking between contacts, the phone and SMS intefaces is woeful. The menus change context/font/size/shape/colour almost randomly. It is very hard to know where in any given menu you are.

You aren’t paid by Nokia AFAIK, so don’t feel obliged to make s*it up to diss my opinions. They are very well founded in hard experience. If I was as anti-Nokia as you make out why would I put my 5 favourite phones of ALL TIME – my ‘desert Island phones’ if you will – in the following no particular order:

E71
N95 8GB
6120 Classic
Kyocera 3035 (Google THAT sucker…hmmm…best voice quality of any handset EVER.)
INQ Chat

Just because the N8 sold well (any idiot can buy market share as Tomi Ahonen just exposed) does not make it a good/great phone, nor should it shield Nokia from criticism. Is your analysis is that because ‘plenty of people’ purchased it as well as you, and you can’t see fault with it, then it’s a great phone? Stunning logic there Alex. Sorry, you were suggesting that whos opinion shouldn’t be taken account of?

Or is everyone – every professional blogger or slavish Nokia fansite owner – who has criticised the N8 wrong?

I understand there are skunkworks afoot to port Froyo to the N8. THAT would be a phone of much, much awesomeness.

Alex, 1 word (2 syllables): bollocks.

Just do a search here on my comments WRT the E71. THAT, my friend, was the last ‘great’ Nokia. As a day-to-day, year-to-year phone it was fabulous. Even with the Nokia eng-lead menu crap like asking me which AP I wanted to use ad nauseam.

All the negatives couldn’t outweigh the form factor, build quality, RF performance, battery life, camera, etc etc. Every phone has upsides and downsides. There is no perfect phone, only the phone perfect for you, your frame of mine, budget, reliability needs, battery needs, connectivity needs, form factor etc. *right now*. Hence why I have 5 phones and swap thiem like socks depending on whether I’m running, adventure racing for a day, off into London with the wife, to the zoo with the kids, overseas, etc.

I challenge you to find 10 people – normal people – who use the N8 for a week then say it’s a ‘great phone’ for calls. It isn’t. The linking between contacts, the phone and SMS intefaces is woeful. The menus change context/font/size/shape/colour almost randomly. It is very hard to know where in any given menu you are.

You aren’t paid by Nokia AFAIK, so don’t feel obliged to make s*it up to diss my opinions. They are very well founded in hard experience. If I was as anti-Nokia as you make out why would I put my 5 favourite phones of ALL TIME – my ‘desert Island phones’ if you will – in the following no particular order:

E71
N95 8GB
6120 Classic
Kyocera 3035 (Google THAT sucker…hmmm…best voice quality of any handset EVER.)
INQ Chat

Just because the N8 sold well (any idiot can buy market share as Tomi Ahonen just exposed) does not make it a good/great phone, nor should it shield Nokia from criticism. Is your analysis is that because ‘plenty of people’ purchased it as well as you, and you can’t see fault with it, then it’s a great phone? Stunning logic there Alex. Sorry, you were suggesting that whos opinion shouldn’t be taken account of?

Or is everyone – every professional blogger or slavish Nokia fansite owner – who has criticised the N8 wrong?

I understand there are skunkworks afoot to port Froyo to the N8. THAT would be a phone of much, much awesomeness.

Alex, 1 word (2 syllables): bollocks.

Just do a search here on my comments WRT the E71. THAT, my friend, was the last ‘great’ Nokia. As a day-to-day, year-to-year phone it was fabulous. Even with the Nokia eng-lead menu crap like asking me which AP I wanted to use ad nauseam.

All the negatives couldn’t outweigh the form factor, build quality, RF performance, battery life, camera, etc etc. Every phone has upsides and downsides. There is no perfect phone, only the phone perfect for you, your frame of mine, budget, reliability needs, battery needs, connectivity needs, form factor etc. *right now*. Hence why I have 5 phones and swap thiem like socks depending on whether I’m running, adventure racing for a day, off into London with the wife, to the zoo with the kids, overseas, etc.

I challenge you to find 10 people – normal people – who use the N8 for a week then say it’s a ‘great phone’ for calls. It isn’t. The linking between contacts, the phone and SMS intefaces is woeful. The menus change context/font/size/shape/colour almost randomly. It is very hard to know where in any given menu you are.

You aren’t paid by Nokia AFAIK, so don’t feel obliged to make s*it up to diss my opinions. They are very well founded in hard experience. If I was as anti-Nokia as you make out why would I put my 5 favourite phones of ALL TIME – my ‘desert Island phones’ if you will – in the following no particular order:

E71
N95 8GB
6120 Classic
Kyocera 3035 (Google THAT sucker…hmmm…best voice quality of any handset EVER.)
INQ Chat

Just because the N8 sold well (any idiot can buy market share as Tomi Ahonen just exposed) does not make it a good/great phone, nor should it shield Nokia from criticism. Is your analysis is that because ‘plenty of people’ purchased it as well as you, and you can’t see fault with it, then it’s a great phone? Stunning logic there Alex. Sorry, you were suggesting that whos opinion shouldn’t be taken account of?

Or is everyone – every professional blogger or slavish Nokia fansite owner – who has criticised the N8 wrong?

I understand there are skunkworks afoot to port Froyo to the N8. THAT would be a phone of much, much awesomeness.

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