Nokia N8 Review

Nokia are pinning their future on the new Symbian ^3 operating system. The N8 is the first device to feature this operating system, and it also has a monster 12 megapixel camera and HD video recording. The N8 could be the phone that determines whether Nokia retain their position as the world's number one phone manufacturer. Come with us for a peek into the future ...
Well, let's start with the basics. The N8 is a classic-shaped phone with a touchscreen filling most of its facia. It's about the same height and width as the iPhone 4, but a lot thicker. Not surprisingly, it manages to fit a screen that's exactly the same size as the iPhone, at 3.5 inches diagonally. The phone feels very solid in the hand, with an aluminium body and anodised scratch-proof paint. Interestingly, the battery is non-removable, as the metal body completely encloses it. The SIM and memory cards fit into covered slots in the side of the phone.
So, we switch it on and the first thing we notice is the screen. It's AMOLED, so it's nice and bright but we can't help noticing that the resolution doesn't come close to the resolution of the iPhone 4 or the HTC Desire. Don't mistake us: it's not awful, but for a flagship phone it could be better. The next thing we notice is the home screen. It's different to what we've seen before on a Nokia, and that's because the N8 is running Symbian^3. Symbian^3 actually has three home screens, and you can swipe between them with your finger. We notice that the capacitive touchscreen is nice and responsive and that the phone responds quickly to our touch, in contrast to the sluggishness of previous Symbian phones. The display flicks sharply between landscape and portrait modes too. It helps that the N8 has a new, faster processor too. But mutli-tasking can still slow the device to a crawl. Generally speaking, Symbian^3 feels like an evolution, rather than a revolution, which is either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your point of view. It means that existing Symbian users will adapt to it very easily indeed, but it doesn't offer the great leap forward that some may have hoped for. If you've already made the switch to the iPhone or to Android, you'll probably find that Symbian^3 feels like a backward step.
In our testing, the N8 seemed to be significantly more responsive and robust than the old Symbian phones that regularly used to freeze and crash. However, looking at the user reviews below, it's becoming clear that in the real world, Symbian^3 still suffers from the same kinds of gremlins. Freezing, crashing and shutting down are still a way of life for Nokia, and it looks to us now like Symbian^3 is likely to suffer the same fate as the dodo.
But the N8 is not stepping backwards when it comes to the camera. This is a 12 megapixel monster with a large sensor, Carl Zeiss optics and a xenon flash - just like a real digital camera. Not surprisingly it takes truly excellent photos, with great colour balance and accurate focusing. It's all very easy to use too. It's quite reasonable to say the N8 is the best camera phone ever - certainly it's in the top three. The video recording is also outstanding, with HD recording and good stereo sound quality too. A second front camera supports video calling.
The media player is excellent, with quite smooth video playback, and there's the benefit of an FM radio with RDS. You can also stream content from the web, using the fast 3G connection giving downloads of up to 10.2 Mbps, or the Wi-Fi connection. Audio quality is excellent, either through the main speaker, or piped through Bluetooth 3, the 3.5mm headphone jack or even the HDMI connection directly to your home cinema system.
Another bonus is the GPS system which includes Ovi Maps with free voice-guided navigation wherever you are in the world.
The web browser is new and isn't at all bad, with pinch to zoom functionality and Flash Lite for watching movies, but we don't think that 's a match for HTC or Apple. Facebook and Twitter are catered for via an integrated social networking app. Ovi Store is easier to access than on previous Symbian phones, although it can't match the choice of apps for the iPhone or for Android.
Battery life is surprisingly good. We say surprising, because the battery isn't that big - just 1200mAh - yet the phone can easily outlast most competing smartphones, even with Wi-Fi and GPS in use. The AMOLED screen helps, but the Symbian^3 OS must be managing power consumption well to get this kind of performance out of a middle-sized battery.
The N8 is probably the best Nokia we've ever seen, and it's a definite improvement over older Symbian phones. It's an impressive piece of hardware with a stunning camera too. But the truth is that Symbian^3 just doesn't hold its own against Apple or Android smartphones. It's too clunky, and it's too likely to crash. On the other hand, the N8 is priced competitively and has some great features. 
Features of the Nokia N8 include:
  • Symbian ^3 for Nokia
  • 12 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics, autofocus, face recognition, Xenon flash, 2x digital zoom
  • Video camera: HD quality 720p resolution, 25 fps, video light and 3x digital zoom
  • Front camera for video calling (VGA, 640 x 480 pixels)
  • Video and still image editors
  • Display: AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16 million colours, 640 x 360 pixels (3.5 inches) with auto rotation
  • Media player (HD 720p Video playback and Dolby Digital Plus surround sound on HDTV through HDMI cable)
  • Stereo FM radio
  • aGPS and GPS navigation, Ovi Maps with free car & pedestrian navigation, geotagging and digital compass
  • MP3, AAC & WMA ringtones, video ringtones
  • Integrated hands-free speaker
  • Messaging: SMS, MMS, push email (support for attachments)
  • Java games with dedicated 3D graphics processor
  • Memory: 16 GB plus microSD memory card slot (max 32 GB)
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0 with EDR, micro USB 2.0, modem, HDMI, 3.5 mm stereo headphone plug, FM Transmitter
  • Data: WAP, EGPRS class B, WCDMA/HSPA (10.2 Mbps download, 2.0 Mbps upload)
  • Internet: Full web browsing of real web pages, Flash Lite 4, RSS reader, YouTube browsing and streaming
  • Key applications: Calendar, Contacts, music player, internet, messaging, photos, Ovi Store, Maps, Videos, WebTV, Office document editors, Video & photo editor, Mail, Chat, Radio
  • Quadband plus 3G WCDMA 850/900/1700/1900/2100
  • Size: 113.5 x 59 x 12.9 mm
  • Weight: 135g
  • 1200 mAh Li-Ion battery
  • Talktime: 350 - 720 minutes
  • Battery standby: 400 hours  source : www.mobile-phones-uk.org.uk

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