Nokia N8 – Second Thoughts

Right then it’s Momchil here once more to talk Nokia — specifically the Nokia N8.

I have always used a Nokia as my primary phone and kept an iPhone and an Android device to the side. My previous Symbian mobile was the N97 which was amazing but had its drawbacks. I’ve been following Nokia touchscreen phones since the 7710 was released (and the mysterious 7700 was not). I was amongst the first to have a 7710 and I still keep it. I am loyal to Nokia and I always have one at hand for a reason – a Nokia is always practical, not overly simplified like Apple’s products and not too complex like Windows Mobile devices (pre Windows Phone 7). And another thing – a Nokia is always utterly reliable.

Nokia N8 and the sophisticated market of today

Despite being a Nokia Fundamentalist I have to admit that if this is their best attempt on the iPhone probably they could try harder. However, the N8 is a huge leap in the right direction. It has very cool features like HDMI out and USB OTG (On The Go) which allows the device to act as a USB host. The quality of the camera is impressive – both for taking still images and videos. There are many improvements to the operating system, some of which quite useful, like the built in task manager which is much better than the one seen in previous versions of Symbian. I’m sure the new MeeGo OS will be even more advanced. The Nokia N8 packs cool and useful features which I’d like to see in many of the new Nokia models to come.

Exciting Features – Nokia N8 never sleeps!

Have you seen a cat sleep? The animal appears to be always on the lookout for noises. Even if asleep, it will keep at least one ear on standby, scanning the background for potential trouble. The Nokia N8 is no different, it never actually sleeps except when the battery is flat. It will be there for you, night and day like a guiding light which never goes off when you need it. Yes, I’m talking about the standby clock. It’s really amazing! This isn’t your regular power saver which disappears in a minute, making you push a button to see it again. Who needs that anyway? The N8 features an ever-glowing, unobtrusive and essential timepiece, your very own, private, hands-on clock. Yes, always! It stays there ALL the time, no “buts” no “ifs”! The N8 sets a standard for high-end phones and poses a threat to any watch manufacturer. “My new wristwatch is an N8!” – is that even possible? No mobile phone would be a real alternative to a wristwatch, but Nokia N8 is pretty close at making the dedicated timepiece redundant. It is the ultimate substitute product, although its main function is supposedly to convey voice (and text). Possibly this cool feature would enhance Nokia’s competitive edge if it were implemented in all of their future models.

Exciting Features – Vibration

Yeah, vibration, what’s exciting about that? Well, it’s not your usual vibration, but more of a “cat purring” effect. You won’t even notice it at first. The phone actually “responds” to your touches with a subtle buzz. This gentle force feedback lets you know that the device has registered a “click” without being too obtrusive. It’s nothing like the cheap and harsh vibration on an LG Cookie, it appears to be a very sophisticated motion-emitting unit.

USB OTG – That useful little cable

The N8 comes with an unusual cable in the box, what’s that for? Well, if you have an N8, you should seriously consider taking this little cable everywhere with you. It could prove very useful. Imagine you’re meeting a friend who happens to have some cool pictures or videos on his USB flash drive or camera. You don’t have a laptop or a PC around, but you want the files. Using the USB cable provided you can download them to your Nokia N8 effortlessly! The internal memory of 16GB will easily be accommodating all the files you need. This amazing feature also enables using USB devices such as a mouse or keyboard. Coupled with HDMI and TV out, this means you have your very own, very portable and very powerful media center.

Exciting Features – HDMI

A true HDMI port on the N8 was extensively tested at the MIR office. Our in-house full-HD facilities enabled us to test the Nokia N8 in normal mode and video mode. My first attempt was to play a .mov file which didn’t work, however most of the other popular formats played easily. The results were impressive, video playback is crisp and smooth, with no unexpected glitches.


The built in capabilities of the Nokia N8 are truly impressive! Just took a test video, deliberately shaking the device and changing rooms with various amount of ambience. Then I played  the clip with the N8 connected to an HDMI monitor. It performed beautifully, no sign of lagging or freezing. Well done Nokia!

The Nokia N8 has now been tested at the MIR office with a wide variety of popular video formats including high definitin .wmv, .m4v and .3gp files. The device performed beautifully both on its own and when linked to a Full HD monitor via HDMI. I must say I am really impressed with the results.

A universal Nokia (weak) point to consider

What’s with those flimsy covers? Yes, I mean the HDMI port cover, the SIM slot cover and the micro SD card cover. Just look at them hanging, is this what you call top quality? Just get rid of them! Yes I did examine them closely. I did see the cheap rubber lining which is possibly supposed to keep dust off, still not impressed! Everyone’s using them? – NOT so. Look at the 1st and 2nd generation iPhone, a sleek SIM card release mechanism, probably Nokia could even better that with some non-detachable parts (you could potentially lose the iPhone SIM card holder).

The plastic opening covers of the N8 can be seen on any Nokia device, from 6303 classic to Nokia Booklet 3G. Ok, I understand, there’s no space on the N8 for a Samsung Omnia 7 “sliding door” type of cover (the one on the USB port); but what’s your excuse for the Nokia Booklet? Couldn’t you think of something better than plastic covers hanging on a thin rope waiting to be ripped off? Yes, I’ve had literally 100s of Nokias, and yes I have ripped some of that plastic off, feels like part of my phone is missing.

In Conclusion

In the final analysis the Nokia N8 has its drawbacks, but its features are truly overwhelming. In my opinion this is the best Nokia to date, I can’t wait to see what’s coming next. Really looking forward to the first MeeGo device to be tested at MIR.

12 replies on “Nokia N8 – Second Thoughts”

I don’t know when the last time was that I came across a .mov container video file – but then I don’t work with anything Apple. All the files I’ve transferred into the N8 so far, except for one, have played. And finding them: if you used mass storage mode, you should know where you put them. Otherwise you just start the video player, and it shows up in there.
Not saying that the N8 is perfect (I’m really waiting for the bit Q1 update), but these two points aren’t problematic at all.

Quicktime support would have been useful. Especially given the wider market. It’s not as if the N8 is a £29 feature phone whose users do not have computers.

I don’t understand the point to this series. Find some random noname, no qualifications reviewer and do…what exactly? Beat Nokia around the head some more. How boring. How…linkbait. How…disappointing.

So he’s used Nokias before. So what? So have hundreds of millions of others. Why not get reviewers who are willing to give a fair, balanced and knowledgeable appraisal of the N8 rather than someone who gives an ignorant, simplistic, uninformed review as this person does? Of course, he’ll be welcomed with open arms by those snide observers who are rooting for iPhone’s and/or Android’s world domination.

This review is just a catalogue of complaints. I’ll contrast this with AllAboutSymbian who despite their title and subject matter are resolutely fair and balanced and 100% willing to pull no punches and hold Nokia to account where it is deserved. BUT crucially, unlike the Android and iPhone sycophants who sadly comprise most of the readership of this blog, they’re willing to give praise where it’s due (and not just the odd token here and there in a lame, but false attempt to make a ‘review’ (/hatchet job) balanced, as this series so obviously is.

Slag off the N8 all you like, please, but do so FAIRLY. See, I’m another random reviewer and I say the N8 is the greatest phone, mobile computer and convergence device on the planet right now. By a mile (or two). But it certainly has a few (relatively minor) drawbacks. Now, my opinion is generally no more valid or invalid than this reviewers (apart from the fact I’m extremely experienced with mobile phones and the industry in general, and I’ve used an N8 non stop for 2 months).

If you want a fair review from people that actually know what they’re talking about, and have a reputation and respect across the industry, I recommend AnandTech’s review of the N8 which is actually based on experience and knowledge.

However if you’re a fellow Android or iPhone sycophant who would rejoice at the death of Nokia and Symbian then please continue to read this series on MIR.

Oh dear Alex, you really haven’t picked up on Momchil’s focus. The chap’s a
huge, huge Nokia fan. He wasn’t exaggerating when he said he’s owned
literally 100s of Nokias.

I asked him to write as he felt.

We are most definitely not All About Symbian. I think it’s ridiculous to
even bother contrasting us (much as I respect Rafe and his colleagues).

But we’re also not about linkbait — I take severe issue with you on that
point in particular. If it was linkbait, the post title would have been some
bollocks like 67 Ways The Nokia N8 Sucks/Is Brilliant/Opens Doors

It’s opinion. And if you’d like to contribute yours as a post, drop me a
note and let’s do it. This is, by the way, the ‘nth’ time I’ve suggested
this — every single time I ask/invite you, you’ve gone entirely silent.
Care to step up to the plate? Why don’t you work with me on a five-part
series of posts about Nokia?

Dear Alex, I’ve read your comments carefully and I fully understand your viewpoint. I have a slight disagreement with the “no qualifications reviewer” bit, more about my qualifications in the Q&A yet to come. If you have something constructive to add to my “ignorant” review, you are most welcome. By the way, I am no “Android or iPhone sycophant”. I’d describe myself as a true Nokia fan, but the competition is not to be ignored.

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