The N8 is Nokia’s most pre-ordered device till date and this means that those of you who pre-ordered late, might have to wait a week or more for the devices to reach your door. If you are in India, my educated guess is that the N8 should be in stores by the end of the first week of October and certainly by the 10th, well in time to cash in on the Diwali and Dussehra festival season. You can also pre-book your N8 here.
A look inside the factories that produce the N8 is always welcome and Nokia Conversations has very kindly published pictures of the first batch of devices leaving Nokia’s factories in China. Enjoy.
Consuming high megapixel photos on a mobile is never fun. The phone, no matter how fast it is, can never seem to keep up when you start flicking through them in the gallery. The Nokia N8 takes humongous 12 megapixel images, which as you can image must be a nightmare to load.
Even the latest 1 Ghz Android devices with their 5 Megapixel Cameras have trouble making those images fly, so you can image what it must be like on the supposedly ‘low spec’ N8?
Its blazing fast. You can keep swiping and the next image will keep on coming. I tried the Photos app on the N8 with over 400 images and video already inside it and it just kept throwing one photo after another with no lag whatsoever. Don’t believe me, watch this video in glorious HD.
The only nag that I could see was that the pinch to zoom was not as responsive as it is on a few other devices, you need to go a little slower and then things workout fine. May be its the way Nokia’s made it. That being said, the device I had was still not running commercial software so things might change by the time the N8 hits shelves.
At Nokia World, Nokia gave out 1000 N8’s to all those who attended the first developer session. The devices have the production hardware and the PR 1.0 software, however even the PR 1.0 on those was not the commercial version with which the N8’s will ship soon.
I was unlucky to miss out on the handsets, fortunately my friend Iain Wallace at Do It Different was able to get his hands on one and was kind enough to let me have a go at the N8 for the entire time I was in Edinburgh. Soon we concluded that the N8 is a little better than you expect in all departments and this came as a very pleasant surprise. The way he summed it up was ‘You get the iPhone and are immediately wowed, and with time you start to notice the shortcoming and get frustrated. On the N8 you keep liking it more, the more you use it’. I completely agree and I have to say that I liked the N8 much more on day three than I did on day one. It is definitely a device that grows on you and the sheer number of underlying improvements to Symbian^3 make for a huge jump in the overall user experience.
Anssi Vanjoki wasn’t kidding when he said that you should use the N8 before passing judgment on it. Get past the similar looking homescreen, the underlying experience will make it worth it. Without further ado, here is my first look at the Nokia N8 in glorious HD.
I personally am not too bothered about the alleged delays, Nokia is bent upon doing a good job with the first firmware and an additional one/two weeks is a small price to pay for a stable device.
So how did the new Ovi Maps feel on the N8 in real world situations?
To see how it the N8 performed, Iain Wallace of Do It Different and I set out on a drive around Edinburgh and I’m glad to say the N8 lived up to the expectations. After getting a fix in about a minute (cold start, first fix) the Ovi Maps performance was stellar, taking us to where ever we desired and even look for nearly places to eat and drink.
Since we weren’t carrying a car mount for the N8, the device soon found itself in the compartment just under the stereo and to out pleasant surprise it still managed to keep a fix and we could just rely on its very good audio navigation to get around.
Another good thing that shone here was the N8’s screen which coped with the bright sunlight very well. I will be bringing you more on this in another post, for now lets back to maps. In addition to the new functionality that I have demoed on video, the new 3.06 beta also brings:
Visually refreshed main menu and icons,
New maps with public transport lines (as a new map layer) for subways, trams and trains in 80+ cities around the world. Just click the map toolbox icon and select Transit lines,
Improved search experience – find places and addresses around you – or anywhere in the world – fast and easily. Browse places or enter a keyword in the search box. Now with suggestions and “did you mean?” functionality,
New place pages with description, reviews, pictures and places nearby. Interact with places in a whole new way – you can check in, contact, navigate, save, rate, share, report or see place on the map,
Share a place – send a place to your friends via SMS or Email. The SMS contains the address and a link to the place page with description, ratings, contact, URL and a mini map. The link opens up on the mobile browser (also on non-Nokia devices),
Check in – keep your friends up-to-date with where you are and what you’re up to. Check in to places and share it with your friends on Facebook and many more social networks. See places you’ve been to in your check in history,
New Drive assistance mode with live traffic flow – after clicking Drive, you’re instantly in drive assistance mode with live traffic flow and more. Once you start moving, get safety camera alerts and speed limit warnings,
More folder with many rich content services relevant to your location. Personalise your Ovi Maps by selecting the services you’d like to keep on your main menu for instant access.
All in all, the whole navigation experience on the N8 is extremely satisfying and I would never think twice before ditching a dedicated GPS unit in the N8’s favour. I also have a tried Google’s Navigation of the Android powered Galaxy S but its not a patch on Ovi Maps, which still works without a data connection.
One of the new things that the N8 brings is a completely revamped Ovi Store which offers a much more pleasing experience that not only makes finding content easier, also makes sure that you don’t have to go through hoops trying to download an application.
Gone are the options within menus, the overall speed of the Ovi Store is much faster and easily comparable to the competition. It is finally something that you would expect of a company like Nokia. You can seamlessly transfer old purchases to the new phone and that is a major win for the customer and Nokia alike. In the following video I look at the new client in detail, so without further ado, here is Ovi Store 2.0 on the Nokia N8.
I have wanted this on my smartphone since 2007 and when I finally had the N8 in my hands, hooking it up via HDMI and connecting a bluetooth mouse and keyboard was the first thing I did. At first I glance the ability to connect a bluetooth and mouse seems like something you wouldn’t use very often. However, over the last few days of sight seeing around Edinburgh, I have found the N8 plugged in to the television more often than not to see how the day’s photos and videos had gone. In such a situation, a bluetooth mouse would mean than you don’t have to sit bang next to the TV an can control the phone from a distance and enjoy the media with ease. Also great if you use the N8 as a portable HD player with its HDMI out and Dolby 5.1 sound.
I have put together a demo of how this is done, what options are available and what shortcuts you can use from the mouse and the keyboard when connected. Once you look at how easy browsing through images and video this makes, you agree this is a pretty cool feature.