Friday, 11 February 2011

Nokia N8 is in da hauz!

So I'm lucky! Once again I have been given a brand new mobile phone free! This time thanks to Social Media Week event sponsored by Nokia and related Twitter promo action by folks at @WOMWorldNokia, shiny silver Nokia N8 has landed in my hands. :) Many thanks!

In fact I am double lucky, as I was quite fancy to get N8 in my hands pretty much since it has been released. Not necessarily to have it (as it doesn't have hardware qwerty keyboard, for starters) but to get to know it and see how the latest incarnation of Symbian OS works out. Both N8 and S^3 have been receiving mixed press since the release and I feel it was mostly negative. That alone made me more eager to see it myself. Plus, I am looking very forward to see how N8's famous camera performs.

As I've had quite hectic afternoon and evening today, I didn't have much chance to play with N8 just yet, so my first impressions are quite sparse. But here's what I've got so far.

  • Size-wise N8 is just a bit smaller than HTC Desire Z that also have, but it just tiny bit smaller and I'd say both devices share pretty much the same footprint. Weight-wise N8 is noticeably lighter than Desire Z which was slightly surprising to me, given very solid, aluminium body which gives quite "heavy" impression at first.
N8 vs. HTC Desire Z
  • Display looks very nice, bright and reasonably sharp although I will never understand why the 640x360 resolution has been used here. With modern mobile displays of that size, 800x480 is absolute minimum to have these days. Nonetheless, N8's display is still quite impressive.
  • Symbian^3... well, I didn't use it that much yet (very little since I got it in my hands today, in fact), so I don't want to judge or anything but here's what I've noticed so far:
    • Nice thing upon first power-up was Nokia Account (Ovi) activation prompt. Unfortunately I couldn't proceed as I didn't have appropriate connection set while I was on the train, yet this tells me that Nokia tries to follow Apple's/Google's path to have their devices integrated with (their own) cloud. Perhaps Ovi cloud isn't that sophisticated and well-known as Google's cloud yet, however I like the direction Nokia is going with it.
    • Symbian's user interface in N8 seems to be much polished up since S60v5 (aka S^1) which I see in my wife's Nokia X6. Revamped home screen, much nicer dialogs and notifications etc. But it all doesn't feel substantially different or better so far.
    • UI responsiveness is quite OK. It's not perfectly fast and I've encountered few minor lockups already but nothing really major. It doesn't feel that fast and slick as Android in my Desire Z, tough.
    • OTA firmware update to the latest PR1.1 was just a breeze (over 3G!). I love OTA updates!
  • Camera. I took just few shots in low-light conditions and I was impressed by camera's speed and its flash. Man, that flash is able to put things on fire! Some shots are well over-burnt, tough - like the one below for example. Interestingly, photos look much worse on N8's screen than after closer inspection on my laptop LCD, which is exactly opposite from the experience I have on HTC Desire Z. Generally I see camera has a lot of potential as for a mobile phone and I'm looking forward to test it further in various conditions. 
Sample photo taken with N8 - flash power is impressive
(well, a bit too impressive I'd say, at least for that table)
Click for full-res copy.
  • HD video recording, again in low-light conditions, didn't impress me too much but I'd say it is just OK for a mobile phone (and still, much better than HD video in Desire Z) as it's hard to expect a quality comparable to dedicated, AVCHD-enabled camera that I also have in-house.
Well, that's pretty much all I can say about N8 so far. I'm going to use it myself for the next few days and gather more thoughts on the device and Symbian^3 overall, so stay tuned for more.

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