Nokia N8 (and Symbian^3) Review
Excitedly I opened the box of my new Nokia N8. Although I’m sure anyone would be excited getting a new phone after using a brick for the last two years. Anyway, it was a tough decision over the Nokia N8 (of course) and the HTC Legend, a popular Android phone. Conscious that the Legend was starting to get a bit dated, I went for the newly released Nokia smartphone.
What first strikes when you look at the Nokia N8 is its design. With its 3.5″ screen (resolution: 640 x 360 pixels) and anodized aluminium casing, it looks quite nice. On the downside, the phone is quite thick (12.9mm) but this has a lot to do with the massive 12 megapixel camera poking out the back. Let me say this now, the N8’s camera is simply amazing. With autofocus, face recognition and flash, not to mention the 720p video recording, this camera could quite possibly replace you digital camera. It did for me. Along with the photo capture button, there are also volume control and a sleep/wake toggle switch on its side. On the other side, there is a USB port which is a brilliant way of sharing files and putting music on the phone’s 16GB internal memory. At the top of the N8 there is also a HDMI port for showing your photographs and HD movies on a Hi-Def screen. Processor wise, the N8 isn’t a powerhouse, and although the software never demands much from it, it can sometimes be a bit slow. The telephone itself is perfectly fine. It’s not anything special but neither is it lacking it anything important. The messaging system is good too, and has a handy conversation system similar to that of the iPhone.
The phone is fairly heavy (135 grams with battery) but this gives the N8 a solid feel, something you don’t always get with the latest phones. I have had a couple of instances where I’ve pressed buttons with my ear while on the phone, but I think this may be more user-error then the phone itself. I do squeeze phones against my ear a bit. However, I don’t think the Nokia N8’s hardware could get much better. Apart from not being scratch, water or shock resistant, it is pretty good. It of course has everything most modern smartphones offer, including an Accelerometer as well as GPS and Wi-Fi capabilities. For complete specifications, visit the Nokia N8’s official website: http://www.nokia.com.au/find-products/all-phones/nokia-n8/specifications
Although the N8’s hardware is fantastic, the software does let it down. Nokia’s latest Symbian^3 software has the functions, but not the same style as its Android and iOS competitors. Symbian^3 has three customisable home screens that support application shortcuts and widgets, which isn’t innovative, but still pretty cool. All the menus and built-in applications are fairly decent but again, nothing spectacular. Also the UI features (big clocks and menus) are a bit of a copy-paste from Android and iOS, but they just don’t have the same smoothness. On the plus side, the N8 does have access to the Ovi Store, similar to Apple’s App Store where you are able to download further applications. Although the application count on the Ovi Store is far below that of the App Store and the Android Directory, it is increasing everyday. In the hardware section of this review, I raved about the camera the N8 packs. Well the camera’s software is just as good. They are a few very addictive editing tools, which I’m sure any budding photographer would make some cool images with. Although it is a step behind iOS and Android, Symbian^3 does have potential, and a lot of room, for improvement.
It’s fair to say the Nokia N8 was a bit of a disappointment for those anticipating its release. Although the hardware is actually pretty good, the Symbian^3 software can not possibly compete against Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android. I haven’t mentioned it previously in this review, but cost is also a factor. The N8 may not pack as much punch as its competitors, but is a bit cheaper then the likes of an iPhone. If your looking for a phone with good compatibility, camera and decent enough communication the Nokia N8 would be a good choice. Although, if your looking for a good business phone or a phone with sleek UI features and a large selection of apps, I’d look elsewhere first.