Nokia N8: 20 things I love and 5 things I don’t
As you know my own dark gray Nokia N8 arrived yesterday and I am still working on full review for you all. I am at the tail end of finishing up my upcoming Windows Phone 7 Companion book though so my time is very limited and I have to put the paying job above the hobby work I have been spending a lot of time with the Nokia N8 though and am getting lots of questions that I am trying to respond to. Make sure to check out the Definitive Nokia N8 Guide page for a collection of posts and links to N8 coverage here and from elsewhere.
So now that I have had a couple of weeks with the Nokia N8, I have some pros and cons that I wanted to share with you all. Keep in mind that details on some of these issues will earn their own full post or a place in my full review too.
20 Things I LOVE
- The camera ROCKS! This is pretty obvious if you have read all the coverage online and I continue to be impressed with the video recording capability and still camera quality. With the N8, I find no need to take a dedicated pocket digital camera or camcorder. I do still take my DLSR for super still photos, of course.
- Hardware construction is fantastic. The two N8 devices I have tested are rock solid with great buttons, covers, and attention to detail in the construction.
- The display is excellent. It may not be the highest resolution display on the market, but it is bright, clear, has vibrant colors, and is very viewable in full sunlight.
- Threaded SMS is finally here. As a father of 2 teenage daughters and one approaching those teen years, I NEED to be able to keep track of the conversations being carried out via SMS. I am so glad to finally see it in a Nokia device natively.
- The task manager is slick. I used to use Handy Taskman, but I actually find the new Symbian^3 task manager to do just fine with helping me switch applications and so far I haven’t found the need to manage running applications manually.
- Media player cover flow is fun. Now that I have my Zune subscription content up and running on my N8, I find I am using it as my main music player. The media player album art selector interface is super fast and lots of fun to scroll through.
- Three customizable home screens are nice to have. I have an Android device with 7 home screens and honestly only ever use up to 3 so having these with their continuous wrap around layout is quite nice. I like that we can customize the background of each to have a different image too.
- Custom organization still present. I personally like using Symbian devices because I have full control over how I want my launcher screen to be organized. I create custom folders and organize my applications to be most efficient for me and love that this is still present on the N8.
- The Ovi Store is finally good. I will have a full post on this with screenshots and my take on it, but I am relieved to finally see the Ovi Store at a place where I am buying apps from it without a problem.
- Gravity rocks on the N8! I could likely live with the default Symbian^3 OS and a single application on my device and that would be Gravity. I use it for Twitter, Facebook, Google Reader, and Foursquare so I get four apps in one with a fantastic user interface and capabilities that make it easily worth $10 price.
- Penta-band 3G data. I have yet to see ANY other manufacturer achieve this and think Nokia deserves more attention for this revolutionary feat.
- The main home screen is extremely useful with the areas to tap to manage the clock, wireless connection, profiles, etc.
- The battery goes and goes and goes.
- HDMI port. It is very handy to take photos and video and then easily show them to family and friends using the HDMI port and cable.
- The clock and date that show up when the display is off is extremely useful and doesn’t seem to use any battery power.
- RF reception and call quality continue to ROCK on the N8! Great job here Nokia.
- The FM transmitter is handy. I enjoy listening to podcasts and with the FM transmitter I have been able to do so in seconds with good sound quality.
- Ovi Maps. I am using the latest 3.06 beta on the N8 and it performs well and looks great on the N8.
- Dual charging capability. I like that I can charge via the microUSB port or the standard 2mm Nokia charging port. Nokia users likely have a few of the 2mm chargers lying around so being able to still use them is a nice option.
- Lock switch. The physical lock switches are great for quickly locking and unlocking the display and I like the one with ridges used on the N8.
5 Things I DON’T
- Nokia email client on the N8 is not very good. While there are some improvements in the Nokia email client and at first I was pleased,the more I use it the more issues I find. For example, the fonts are inconsistent across accounts so sometime they are huge and sometimes you have to squint, you can’t send email using Global Address Lookup searches in Exchange, and you cannot respond to any calendar invites.
- Keyboard implementation blows: Wow, the keyboard experience is really bad on the N8. I don’t mind the full landscape keyboard itself and have gotten quite fast at entering text. However, the prediction/correction is virtually non-existent, there is no portrait QWERTY or half-QWERTY, and there are too many steps to enter text with the keyboard. I really hate when the keyboard opens up and takes you completely out of the app so you have no association with the app and for apps like Twitter you can easily enter more text than is allowed in a field. UPDATE: Check out my new post on how to make the QWERTY keyboard perform MUCH better.
- The vibration is not very strong. I work in a quiet office environment and have to leave my phones on silent vibration mode. With the N8 I never feel or “hear” the vibration even when the N8 is sitting on my bare desktop.
- Where is the sharing? One thing that was nice about Symbian^1 and S60 was the ability to share pictures out to different services with ease. I do now have PixelPipe that I am trying, but don’t know why Nokia took this away.
- No Nokia Podcasting? I am a huge fan of podcasts and came to rely on the Nokia Podcasting application to download them right onto the device. This is missing on the N8 so I have had to result to using a Symbian^3 podcatcher that still needs quite a bit of work.