The N800 as a media device performs reasonably. However the clear lack of support for some codecs does mar it a little specially in the video department. It failed to play mp4 videos recorded on the N95. Since I have been carrying these devices together for a while now, I wanted to play some video I’d just shot from the N95 and when it failed to play I was almost shocked. A modern smartphone such as the N95 can handle most formats thanks to a great third party application called the Core Player; the N800 is based on a open source platform and it is surprising that an effective video player for it is not out yet. Some 3rd party options include Canola, Kagu Media Player and UKMP. Another great application is UKTube which gives smooth YouTube video playback, however these may not be needed soon due to OS 2008 coming! Its apparently available ‘unofficially’ even now!
Comparison Shot From Here.
The only way out is converting video which I’m not a great fan of. This is a waste of the gorgeous screen. However things are not as bad as they seem for there is a silver lining, the new 2008 OS which the N810 will ship with is also coming out for the N800. It promises wider codec support amongst other things; a clear reason to rejoice for the existing owners.
N800 v. iPod Touch
The N800 is also similar to the iPod Touch which is basically an iPhone minus a GSM radio. With the right codecs (OS 2008) it can easily beat the iPod due a bigger widescreen and thus great video capabilities. Memory is also not an issue as the N800 with two memory card slots can accommodate 16GB currently (expected to rise to about 64GB with 32SDHC cards becoming available in the future!). It unlike the iPod packs a FM radio too. The audio quality on the iPod will be a tad better however the web browsing experience more than makes up for that. The iPod cannot do full fledged YouTube! Nor can it use another phone as a Bluetooth modem.
This comparison table from the Tablet Blog really defines the debate. Have a look:
A Few Major Positives:
– Video Playback
– Web Browser
– FM Radio
– Expandable Application Set (Open Source Advantage)
– Stereo Loudspeakers
– External GPS Support
– Audio Quality via Headphones.
– Inbuilt Music Player and lack of a good PC companion like iTunes. (I personally hate iTunes!)
– Size to an extent.
The N800 gives you a rich internet experience, installable applications and a wider variety of functionality. The iPod is a slim & attractive media player with web browsing included and it seems as if the iPod will never have any real applications added via the 3rd party development that the iPhone is benefitting from. If I would be a prospective buyer and was looking a media centric device it would be a toss up between Beautiful and Hackable for me and since I’m no audiophile N800 wins it for me.
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