UPDATE: N8 IS NOT being returned as others show their stuff

Sorry Nokia, N8 being returned as others show their stuffAs I have written here in various posts, there is a lot to like about the Nokia N8, primarily the camera. However, there are a couple other devices I have been using lately that trump the N8 and combined with some other issues I am returning the dark gray N8. That is if I can EVER get through the STUPID Nokia USA hold music (now going on 20 minutes on hold).

UPDATE: Not so fast, I just followed up after spending several more hours with the Nokia N8 and I CANNOT GIVE IT UP!

For one thing, Gmail through Nokia Messaging is a major failure and won’t keep my inbox synced so I am forced to read things multiple times to clear it on the device and elsewhere. Email is also a broken experience with email from different services appearing in large fonts or small fonts with a very inconsistent experience.

Fonts throughout the OS are not good, especially when you look side-by-side with a new Windows Phone 7 or Android device. Sorry Nokia, in this day and age you have to be better for me to spend so much money on a device.

The keyboard situation is not good. While the landscape keyboard can be made to work fairly well, I hate the experience of leaving an app to enter text and the multiple taps required to enter a simply text message.

The web browser was fine in 2006, but is not good in 2010 and almost 2011. Android, iOS, and Windows Phone 7 browsers all easily trump the N8. I know there is an update coming sometime and maybe I will check it out when sometime arrives.

I love the hardware, the camera, threaded text messaging and the ability to support services like Zune and Amazon. The N8 is still the best piece of Nokia hardware I have tried and the OS is good for Symbian fans, but as a writer for ZDNet I have had the chance to try too many other new mobile platforms that are better and this has colored my opinion of the N8. If I lived only in the world of Symbian I would definitely keep the N8, but I don’t so I am not.

I plan to give the WP7 HD7 or Android G2 a try and there is the chance that I might be back with an orange N8 or something. I think the E7 or maybe the rumored N9 MeeGo device may be more convincing at bringing a new Nokia device in my hand though, but we will have to wait and see.


41 Comments to UPDATE: N8 IS NOT being returned as others show their stuff

Clinton Jeff
October 21, 2010

I’ve having the same situation with Email on the N8 Matt. And agreed, the fonts are quite annoying compared to the competition. It’s just that camera that is reeling me in atm.

October 21, 2010

You are nothing if not consistent.

October 21, 2010

Matt, thanks, this sealed the deal for me. I am not going to order it!

October 21, 2010


October 21, 2010

This is confusing. At first you heap a lot of praise to the N8 and now you are dumping it?

I would have felt hard done had I bought the N8 on reading your reviews. Next time, start with the bad news and then the goodies.

Bas Heetebrij
October 21, 2010

Matt, I couldn’t agree more. I preordered the N8, but after 10 days I returned it because it just isn’t a high end smartphone as I understand it.

I feel a little sorry for Nokia, to be honest, because the camera on the phone is FANTASTIC, but I am afraid that I won’t be buying it. Indeed, this camera (or something similar) on a MeeGo device could be really interesting. However, MeeGo is a 2011 event – god knows when in 2011, though.

And yes, WP7 looks mighty attractive. :-)

Matthew Miller
October 21, 2010

Engige, you should NEVER read one person’s take on a device and make an expensive purchase decision. I always recommend reading other reviews before making a purchase and do it myself. Also, as others pointed out the device is outstanding for the first week or so and then you start finding things you don’t like. Check out reviews and opinions after extended use, which is one reason I have yet to post a full review. Unfortunately, due to some slideshow work I am doing for a funeral this weekend I will likely not be spending any more time with the N8 to post something more extensive.

Check out the incredible All About Symbian coverage for reviews of the N8.

John Gray
October 21, 2010

Just a question Matt. Were you able to sync the N8 with the Zune software? i.e. sync music, podcasts etc.

October 21, 2010

i love my n8. I’ve tried android and apple and don’t like it. Too many limitations. Anyway to each his own. Btw my gmail works fine so does yahoo and ovi ofcourse.

Matthew Miller
October 21, 2010

@John Gray, not sync, but as I detailed in an earlier post you can drag and drop through Windows Media Player on a Windows PC to the N8.

John Gray
October 21, 2010

Oh so still need to drag and drop manually. Thanks for clarifying, although this does not in any way break the deal for me, as I’ve been smitten by that 12MP for far too long to give it up.

Ricky Cadden
October 21, 2010

Man, this is not good news for Nokia. Not at all.

Heny Yao
October 21, 2010

I wish Nokia follow Apple or some android phone trend of offering OS update on older devices. So at least I feel I am convered with my investment. A good example would be to offer symbian s3 to N97. Since they did not so that, I am less patient waiting for software fix from them. Perhaps that will change with meego

Matt Jones
October 21, 2010

Glad you mentioned fonts, it’s one of my pet hates on Symbian devices and it really grates me.

David Puffer
October 21, 2010


My pre-order for the Silver N8 just went thru and is about to ship. I actually grew to like my N97 after all the firmware updates (though annoying). I really am smitten by the N8’s massive camera and build quality. I agree with everyone that Symbian^3 needs to get a hold of a proper GUI Designer. Seriously. They are a dime a dozen. What surprised me the most is that they didn’t incorporate two types of themes. Classic (the current one) and a New Modern one. If people were confused, they could go about using the old style. If they wanted something fresh use the New. Windows XP did that with offering classic and XP themes. Just a thought. Granted, I’m sure someone in the theme community will design something spectacular and fix the horrible GUI issues.

What I find the most interesting is that the N8 was the phone to end anyone’s speculation that Nokia has no idea what it’s doing. Yeah, that went over well. Clearly. Why would you release the updated browser at a later date?! With mobile browsing all the rage, wouldn’t you want to ship with the latest and greatest? Joe Shmoe isn’t likely to update his software, let alone KNOW to do it. To steal an Apple slogan, as much as I hate them, “It just works”. That’s what consumers want. Time to overhaul Nokia’s R&D with fresh, 20 somethings.

But that’s just me, I could be wrong.

October 21, 2010

I did not pre-order the N8 as I am still hurting from the experience of pre-ordering the N97. I wanted to wait and see what was written before buying. However, I bought a Samsung Galaxy S (Vibrant) as I was tired of waiting…and waiting…and waiting for the N8 to come out. I thought I would buy the Vibrant and sell it on eBay once I bought the N8….but that was before I had the Vibrant for a week. Now? I read what has been written about the N8 and I look at what I get with the Galaxy S (everything but a good camera and HDMI out) and I am sticking with the Galaxy. A 12mp camera and HDMI just aren’t enough motivators to make me switch from something that is a great phone, has the best display on the market, and more apps relevant to the USA than Nokia or Ovi Store can offer.

October 21, 2010

Nokia truly must be in a declining state when even an awesome fanboy site opts to go with the competitor’s offering(s)?? Appreciate the honesty… Maybe dedicated sites are evolving into something like a phonedog variety where it just accepts/reviews all technology regardless of manufacturer. Every mobile has something that it does well and not-so-well. The love sure does die in less than a month or few?? Maybe I’m too old school in that the most important things should be ‘how does mobile function in making/receiving calls, signal, sound quality, battery life, basic functionality…’ with other technology simply being extra goodies (Business/personal requirements does dictate at times, understandably). The ‘extras’ are hyped first (most) with very little mention (if at all) of basic functionality in most reviews. Without these dedicated sites, we become a part of the masses being programmed to follow the next best sensational device. Thanks Matt for keeping us centered as I’m sure this is a thankless endeavor…

October 21, 2010

20 min wait time? i had close to 40 mins!!!

Same sentiment as you Matt. I have the Nexus One and I just found myself returning to it too often. I bet you did the same with your Evo. I might give the N8 a try in the future once they fix the browser and keyboard or if the price drops to the mid-$300… then again, the Meego devices will be out and I’ll be playing with a new toy.

October 21, 2010

On my E71 I use ovi suite to sync my zune music. You just have to tell Ovi to look in the folder where the zune subscription music is. Does this not work on the N8?

October 21, 2010

What is the official return policy concerning the N8 is America? I looked on their website (it redirects me to an N-Gage software terms and conditions) and around the web and couldn’t find anything concrete.

October 21, 2010
Al Pavangkanan
October 21, 2010

I haven’t had the problem with fonts.

October 21, 2010

And i thought, i’m the only one with some problems on the N8…
as a real Noka_Fan it’s hard for me to admit:
i think, i’ll give the new nokia devices a try after some firmwares and bug fixes. this is a hard decision, but i can’t stand unfinished hard- and software anymore.

October 21, 2010

Does Symbian and other smartphone systems have IMAP email readers already?… Might that help the e-mail situation?

October 21, 2010

yay, my grey nokia n8 bout to ship…

to each his own! nice article matt.. but no one decide on getting this phone based on this article alone.

to that i say, to each his own

October 21, 2010

Well, that seals it for me. I am a Palm Pre Plus user (and prior E71/N97 mini user) – and I thought this might be the Nokia to get me back into the fold.

Guess not – I’ll be waiting for CES to see what HP/Palm has in store because webOS is pretty impressive as is, if they could just get some killer hardware out there, I’ll just stick with that. webOS 2.0 is looking darn good.

Still kinda shocked you’re sending it back. Wow.

Christopher DeVine
October 21, 2010

I really appreciate your honesty, Matt. Because the issues I’m hearing are on the software side, I am fine waiting for the N9 with the slide-out keyboard. Hopefully they add something to protect the camera lense, too. I was thinking about waiting for the price to drop on the silver N8, but I’m good with my N97 for a while.

October 21, 2010

I think the font issue is because of HTML and non-HTML mail. The font size in HTML mail is set smaller than the default non-HTML font.

Maybe they’ll fix this with the new browser and subsequently the HTML mail issue will be also fixed. The same problem affects any of the Web RunTime apps like Social.

No excuses though. This is a basic problem they should have got right.

Not sure what is going on with gMail since it works fine for me on my E71 through the same Nokia Messaging service.

Keyboard – with you there. It’s awful and needs replacing.

October 21, 2010

Glad to see the review, although disappointed that Nokia couldn’t get the software quality to match the hardware and camera. I almost bought an N8 late yesterday via Dell Small Business with a 15% discount, but pulled the plug at the last minute. Call it gut feel, or whatever, but glad I waited after seeing your balanced review and regretful decision to not keep the device. I’m still using an E71 and just cannot commit to buying another new Nokia device just yet.

October 21, 2010

You guys know you can change the Font to whatever you want?

October 22, 2010

Nokia’s Qt announcement snippet (Nokia Conversations):

“Nokia is making Qt its sole application development framework – meaning, that if a developer creates their application in Qt, they’ll be able to easily deploy it to Nokia devices on Symbian and MeeGo platforms. Nokia is taking this approach seriously, making the commitment to create its own applications and UI on Qt as well.”

“For Nokia smartphone users out there, this is great news as the move will lead to a more compelling and engaging experience, with more apps available for your device. Even more importantly, you can buy a Nokia smartphone confident that any improvements introduced later to the Symbian platform, such as the user interface, can be made available to download on your device as well. No need to wait for Symbian^4 — the improvements we were planning for Symbian^4 will be introduced as and when they become available. In fact, we will no longer be talking about Symbian^3 or Symbian^4 at all – it will be one constantly evolving and constantly improving platform. Also part of the announcement, Nokia will embrace the emerging HTML5 standard for Web content and applications for Symbian and MeeGo platforms, both through in-built support in Qt and through the browser.”

Rep at Nokia confirms: “We are not going to launch anything as Symbian^4, we’ll stop using the version numbers. Instead, we’ll evolve the UI, apps and service experiences in the new Symbian towards the design we had planned for Symbian^4, but in a series of development steps. These updates will also be made available for you as an N8 user, for example.”


October 22, 2010

Form Nokia: “We were already using the Qt framework in Symbian^3, along with AVKON and others but for the UI improvements in Symbian^4, we were moving to Orbit – we are now discontinuing the Orbit development and continuing just with Qt and Qt Quick – that’s how we get the continuity. By using the Qt framework we can introduce the UI, app and service improvements into the existing platform without making a break to a new platform release.”

October 22, 2010

Wow Matt thank you man, a lot, I was thinking that I am a stupid when I told people that the Email is a mess on this device, the keyboard is poor and the browser is not on pair and they are telling me that “wow but you forgot the 12mpx camera and the HDMI out”…

Anybody that tried Android/iOS will found that the N8 is not in the same league.

October 22, 2010

Most of you are stupid to not even know that you can change fonts in every nokia device. and i mean ANY font that you want to use. besides, those are software related problems which can be fixed by software upgrade. the only advantage iphone has is number of apps. that just it. but n8 definitely has lots of advantages over iphone.

[…] everyone, sorry for that post yesterday. There are probably people that will now think I belong in a mental institution or something after […]

October 22, 2010

Got a iPhone, BB , E72 and a N8. I really like the E72, because of the awsome battery life. I love apple products and used all generations of iPhones up to 3Gs. However, I was fedup with the battery life using the phone in my business day. Thus I got a E72 and was of course missing the ability to use a proper web browser etc, but learned to like the good “text” abilities and not at least – the awsome battery life. Thus I wanted to give N8 a shot. Now I don’t know. It feels that they haven’t learned from the smart-phones out there… like the text messaging. To much clicks to enter text. However, I think I will stick to the phone and really hope Nokia now will use their forces to develop the phone to something better. They have the hardware now and a ok software platform, but they need to work on some greater user experience with the software.

October 26, 2010

The 11 days I had my N8 I really like it. A good improvement from the N97. In the meantime I had some minor fixable issues. On the 12th day I concluded that my n8 was defective. I called nokia and got the RA number, you know after holding like for 30 min. Just before putting the n8 into the shipping box I was transfering some pics I had taken with the N8 to my memory card… then disaster, the N8 died just like that. Would not turn back on. Despite that the n8 performed pretty well, nice camera, nice gps, music player. Too bad a defective unit had to come to me. Here some vids of the issues and death:

October 27, 2010

The n8 is the nicest piece of cellphone hardware I have ever seen, better than iphone 4 because it is more damage resistant, camera etc. I find it short sighted of such a large corp to be too cheap to put more resources into the os, don’t they realize it is most important to have an easy to use experience? The n8 is like installing windows 98 onto an intel quad core i7 computer

November 11, 2010

after three broken iphone 4s (same contract but they replaced the phone each time one broke) i thought about a change from apple products, i chose an n8, it’s now lasted longer than each of the iphones which for me makes it better, the camera is in a different league, the music player through the stock Nokia headphones is meatier and better sounding than the iphone (which shocked me) and the text messaging is lovely. On the down sides, the web browsing is rubbish, the apps are limited, there are few apps that come with the phone that are any good (you have to download from the ovi store, most are free but still they should come automatically loaded), the dictionary won’t allow the ‘s’ word you have to type it in every time you use it, and finally ovi maps are not as good as i thought they would be. I think the Nokia n8 is a little let down by not having android or windows on it, symbian lovers are going to love it, those just starting with smart phones might love it too, but this phone isn’t going to suit android or windows users, and its not ‘cool’ enough for apple snobs. If you need the best camera phone out there, then go for the n8, if you you’re not bothered by the camera, look elsewhere.

Aron Ski
January 9, 2011

Well i have had a Nokia N8 Since November 1st official release date in Australia. Since then this phone is the bomb. Facebook widget is awesome and uploading photos is a breeze no aps necessary. the ovi Maps is also the Bomb and it acts as a GPS click drive and boom its better than my wifes GPS Garmin as her satellite drops all the time. Predicitve text is ace. people dont get the speed i can sms compared to a squished qwerty keyboard. Camer and videos forget about it its the works. only let down is web browsing sometimes massive fonts sometimes smallfonts and youtube videos suck. But you can transfer any videos and then upload them onto your N8 the way you do to a memeory stick. Ovi Player is hit miss it needs to be worked on.
Apps are coming along graphics are there etc but Apps need improvement.
But the one main thing you can change the themes of your phone what colour buttons etc which makes it more personal.

the N8 is not for kids like the iPhone you pick it up and play its designed for adults where you learn and grow with it and it grows back mature and elegant.
Oh did i mention how awesome it looks The metal finish is ace. You will need a rubber clear case so you dont scratch timber objects that you place the N8 on. Only issue i have is the headset sound is distorted after i get above level 3 sound. Will get that fixed soon. But the speakers are very load without headphones.

That is as honest as you can get. if the phone does drop Hold the power button for 10 seconds or until you feel 3 vibrations then restart it.

January 21, 2011

Dude fuck this shit…
M using nokia N8 from couple of week.Its all updates are good.Improving its quality better to best.Its social widget was creating problem but i will request people not to uninstall or hard reset your cell, Its again working now.Rest its 12 mp camera is wonderful u can never get such snaps from any other.With fast processor n good ram rom.Software’s provided for N8 are so cool that i don’t need to swtch from one software to another for a single work.
So I say Nokia you rock.Others Jealousy is your appreciation.It happens every time when nokia gives answer to all shits in the market.

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