The Running Commentary


Nokia N8 a streetview perspective (part 3)


This is the third of three in my series on reviewing the Nokia N8 device.  To recap, I have now had the device for a little of three weeks and I must say that it certainly growing on me.  It still rates very highly in the coolness stakes and a couple of commentators have favoured the N8 over my iPhone 4 !

I have really gotten to grips with the device over the past weeks and have seen many smaller refinements in the flow compared to the other Nokia devices I have had in the past.  I prefer using the device in landscape orientation as the responsiveness of the keypad is far better.

On that point I do think that the predictive text functionality could use some refinement.  I prefer being able to carry on typing a word, that the device does not recognise, as is that case with the Apple interface, whereas the Nokia baulks and you have to correct the word. This has been my main reason for retaining the landscape mode preference, with predictive text disabled. 

I have selected Gravity over the social media app that comes with the phone.  The interface on Gravity is far superior and gives the full Twitter experience, which the native client fails to deliver on. I did try Snaptu for a short while but thanks to Marc Forrest I was introduced to Gravity and find this to be the better solution.

From a practical point of view the N8 has given me superior battery life, but as a high end user I am quite used to phone life of a day or less.  Sound quality of the speaker is good, although I have experienced the odd dead spot.  As with my other Nokia’s devices it came with a number of fun theme settings and tones, so I have been able to personalise it to my hearts content. I have mentioned the camera before, but allow me to mention again just how good it is. The nifty on board picture adjustments are also really handy.

Borrowing from Apple the multiple home screens function is nice, and the refinement of being able to lay these out as you like is quite novel.  Nice to be able to trick out your phone! The slide between pages is not as slick as the iPhone 4, but it is still really good.

The screen resolution is great, but it appears that some of the developers have yet to realise this. To illustrate I have the game World Series of Poker loaded on both my iPhone 4 and the N8.  The N8 experience is really grainy and poor when stacked against the iPhone 4. Granted the N8 download is a mere 9oo(odd)kb compared to the 100mb download for the iPhone 4.  I am prepared though to have a bigger file size to have the better experience.

In terms of the mail client, I use the N8 for my Gmail service and it works really well. I have noticed some synch issues from time to time, but these appear to be user driven as opposed to anything else, probably more to do with the archive vs. delete function in Gmail.

Signal strength reporting, I put this in as it makes for an interesting observation.  I have noticed that the N8 is more forgiving on the signal strength compared to my iPhone 4.  I have a number of areas in my house, for example, where the N8 operates a full 3G signal, where my iPhone 4 drops to an edge connection.  For the users without wireless access, I think that this would be an important point. Also driving around town is slightly more forgiving on the N8.

In all I am very impressed with the device that Nokia have created.  Will it be an iPhone 4 killer? I am not sure about that, but for the folks who are not iPhone 4 users and want a rich smartphone experience then this device is certainly worth more than a cursory glance.

I guess I would sum up the experience as follows.  Nokia, in the N8, have stayed true to their roots in building a mobile phone to which they have added a huge amount of bells and whistle’s.  Apple in the iPhone 4, in my opinion anyway, has bolted a phone onto a computer. The choice of device will be determined by your mobile usage pattern.

AppleiPhone 4mobile phoneN8nokia

Mike • November 23, 2010

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  2. Andre de Beer November 23, 2010 - 3:17 pm

    So which one do you pick Mike?

  3. Mike November 23, 2010 - 4:21 pm

    Hi Andre,

    Thanks for taking the time to read. In truth I think that the iPhone is visually a bit more appealling and as my experience was with them first, the rest seem a little lost in the crowd. However for sheer mass market appeal and cost to buy the N8 is way better value.

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