The Definitive Nokia N8 Guide

The Nokia N8 Starter GuideWelcome to the The Definitive Nokia N8 Guide. Nokia’s latest high end smartphone comes at a rather pivotal time for them as they usher in a new CEO and other executives in charge of mobile devices while seeing their market share on the decline. The Nokia N8 is the first Symbian^3 device with several others revealed at Nokia World 2010. I had my first chance to use the N8 at Nokia World and was pretty impressed after spending snippets of time with it in person. Evaluation units were then sent out for a 3-week period and after the first week I can safely say that the N8 is the best Nokia device I have ever used.

That said, I am not sure it will get many folks to leave Apple iOS or Android platforms, but it should quite easily convince every current Symbian and Nokia user to stay put and enjoy the product as they have stuck with Symbian and Nokia for years waiting for a device that is worthy of the Nokia name. I think the N95 and E71 were fantastic products and the N8, IMHO, beats even these great devices with solid hardware, incredible camera, outstanding battery life, pleasing user interface, and much more.

There are two landmark aspects of the Nokia N8 that stand out above any other phone in the world and they are the 12 megapixel camera with the largest sensor in a phone today and the penta-band 3G wireless radio that lets you buy a single device and use it with AT&T or T-Mobile in the USA or elsewhere around the world and experience 3G data speeds. There is no more worry about finding a NAM unit or one with AT&T 850 or T-Mobile 1700 specific bands and this is HUGE. No other manufacturer has been able to come out with a penta-band smartphone yet and Nokia deserves some credit for that.

I pre-ordered one from Nokia USA and cannot wait until my own unit gets here so I can purchase and install more apps to optimize my own experience with the device. The only pre-order color was dark gray and I am testing out a blue one so I am actually thinking of switching to a colored one (I prefer orange), but do not know when they might ever ship.

While I specifically mentioned the amazing camera and wireless radio, let’s check out the full list of specifications of the Nokia N8:
  • ARM 11 680 MHz processor
  • Graphics processor with OpenGL 2.0 support
  • Symbian^3 operating system with Qt 4.6.2 and WRT 7.2
  • Quad band GSM/EDGE with 850/900/1800/1900 MHz support
  • Penta band WCDMA with 850/900/1700/1900/2100 MHz support
  • 3.5 inch 640×360 pixel resolution nHD OLED display
  • 256MB RAM and 512MB NAND memory
  • Integrated 16GB flash drive
  • microSD card slot for expanded memory
  • Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP stereo support
  • 802.11 b/g/n WiFi
  • Integrated GPS with A-GPS
  • Integrated FM transmitter and FM radio
  • 12 megapixel camera with Xenon flash and Carl Zeiss optics, 720p video recording
  • Front facing VGA camera for video calling
  • 2mm charging port and microUSB charging/connection/USB on-the-go port
  • HDMI port
  • 3.5mm headset jack with TV-out support
  • BL-4D 1200 mAh internal battery
  • Dimensions of 4.47 x 2.32 x 0.51 inches and 4.76 ounces

Review and experiences

It was only a couple of days later when I decided to keep my Nokia N8.

It looks like I will have a long love-hate relationship with the Nokia N8, but there are too many good things about it for me to give up on it yet.

After a couple of weeks I was fed up with issues on the Nokia N8 and ready to send it back.

Some nagging issues with the Nokia N8, primarily with the Symbian^3 OS drove me crazy and had me thinking it would be returned.

Windows Phone 7 is a new operating system, but how does the Nokia N8 stack up with the HTC HD7?

Both devices have pros and cons and it all depends on what is important to you in order to figure out which device is for you.

The new Nokia Social application on the N8 has been updated to version 1.2.

One of the biggest complaints of the Nokia Social application was the font size and Nokia already fixed this and other issues with this new update.

Initial impressions of the Nokia N8

The Nokia N8 is a beautiful piece of hardware and deserved some first thoughts after spending a day with the device. Check out those box contents too.

How about following my initial impressions up with a weekend usage article and video walk around on ZDNet?

My ZDNet audience is much different than here on Nokia Experts so I wanted to make sure that those readers had a chance to learn about the N8 as well.

N8 captured on video

There is nothing like a video walk through to give you a feel of the device.

This first look video shows some of the primary features and functions, but there is a lot more to look at in future videos too.

Tips & tricks

Would you also like to purchase and take movies with you on your Nokia N8?

If you check out the Amazon Video On Demand page you will see there are very few portable devices that are supported, with the majority of them being Nokia Nseries devices. Have you EVER heard Nokia mention this before?

Who needs a Zune music player when you have a fully capable Nokia N8?

Like other recent Nseries devices, the N8 supports Windows Media DRM and thus you can drag and drop your Zune Pass songs onto your N8 for your listening pleasure.

The Nokia N8 has a fantastic camera so check out tips on taking better portrait shots.

You may want to take these tips with you when you are out and about taking photos with your N8 to capture even better portraits.

Responses to reader questions/comments

There are plenty of questions about the N8 and in this first round of Q&A I hope I satisfied some readers.

The Nokia N8 is not yet shipping to everyone who ordered one so there are a lot of questions coming in about the device and software so I will be responding to as many as I can to help you all out.

Other Nokia Experts N8 posts

A few mobile experts came together to record the new Mobile Sense Show with the Nokia N8 as the topic.

Jason Harris, Jenna Gonzalez, Sloan Bowman, and myself recorded this first podcast and chatted about our experiences and thoughts of the Nokia N8.

Apps are rolling out quickly for the Nokia N8 and Symbian^3 and I highly recommend you get Mobbler and Swype on your device now.

Mobbler brings Last.fm to the N8 while Swype gives you a slick alternative keyboard input method.

Gravity is the best Twitter client for the N8 and now an alpha version includes a QWERTY keyboard to help with text entry.

Nokia does not include a QWERTY keyboard in the OS, but in Gravity you can find one of these.

Nokia included a social networking app on the N8, but the fonts were too small. Nokia updated Nokia Social and it is now quite good.

In addition to font size increases, there are several more improvements in the Nokia N8 Social software.

If you thought gaming on Nokia sucked while the iPhone had it good, take a look at the newHD games from Gameloft for just $2.99.

The N8 is a great pocketable size and with games like this who needs a Gameboy?

Nokia appears to be doing a good job of generating relationships with developers and keeps giving away N8 devices.

We need applications on the Symbian^3 platform and Nokia has now had a couple major events where they gave away N8 devices.

There has been a lot of drama regarding the N8 shipping story.

When the N8 was announced in April Nokia stated they would ship during Q3 2010 and ended up sending them out the last day of the quarter to a few select areas. The US pre-orders should start shipping soon and I can’t wait.

Have a Nokia N8 and a Mac? Then the iSync plug-in or Nokia Multimedia Transfer utilities may be for you.

While I do not use iSync, I find Nokia Multimedia Transfer to be an essential tool for managing my content on the N8.

Other useful Nokia N8 resources

All About Symbian Review Series

Fone Arena Review Series

Other Reviews