Some of you have asked if I have had the opportunity to touch and feel the upcoming Noka N8. I would have, had I not missed the last few Nokia blogger events. Some personal commitments still take priority. And thanks to your inquiries, I have gathered enough courage to give Text100 a ring to see if a demo can be arranged with the Nokia team. This post is a brief write-up based on my hands on experience with a Nokia N8. There will be a follow-up article after I have received the review unit, within this week or so.
Before you continue reading this post, I would like to share a stop-motion animation video with you, shot on a Nokia N8 by Sumo Science at Aardman. I was skeptical initially because there are many mobile or handheld recording devices that claim to produce amazing video quality. But this one is special. On top of that, it is an entertaining short clip. Watch it on HD if you can.
N8 comes with a new design. Slimmer, as you can see. The casing is made of high quality aluminium. During the demo, the Nokia product manager took out his keys and made some insane scratches onto the phone. My heart sank as I saw the scratch marks. And then he used his hand to rub them off. The phone was good as new. I probably would not try that on my phones. But I think the point is made. Onto the glass surface, I am told that N8 uses gorilla glass – something of a higher spec. Fortunately, he did not smash the phone in order to show me how durable it is. Nothing that dramatic. I am willing to take his words for it.
The crown jewel of the N8, perhaps is the high quality camera, the vibrant screen display, and the HD capability. The lens is Carl Zeiss Tessar optics with a xenon flash. The sensor is 12 megapixels. Video capturing up to HD 720p. I have seen some of the scenic photos on the Nokia product manager’s personal phone and the details look promising, even when zoomed in. I love the new and slick photo browser. I was tempted to ask him to show me photos of those girls he took in a party but I resisted. Not too professional eh? Back to the phone, image quality does come with a trade-off on the overall design. The lens mounting area at the back does not appear to flow with the overall slim design of the phone as the package requires a certain minimal thickness. However, if the phone does capture images as good as those I have seen (and videos like the one showcased above), I can happily live with that.
New to the Nokia suite of phones is the USB on the go. It is one nifty functionality. There is a dongle provided to connect the N8 to a USB thumb drive, even to another phone for data transfer. Taking about connectivity, there is another dongle that connects the N8 to a flat panel TV via HDMI cable for HD video playback of a good range of formats. The N8 plays Web TV too. Installed with the phone are some of the more popular channels such as CNN, National Geography, and E! Entertainment. There are local channels like Channel News Asia. If Cynthia gets to read this, she would likely to further monopolize our home TV to watch YouTube and web TV online via the phone on our TV. Nightmare!
Nokia N8 is powered by the new Symbian^3 operating system. The phone supports the popular “pinch-to-zoom” function like other mobile and laptop devices these days. There are three home screens, each comes with 6 widgets. The capacitive touch (by heat) seems OK in terms of responsiveness. Probably need a bit of getting used to. It is precise enough to recognize the Chinese character input by strokes. Rotating the phone seems responsive in switching between landscape and portrait modes. There is auto-switching between a full size virtual keyboard and a virtual traditional phone pad depending on orientation. Nokia N8 comes with the free OVI Maps too. I have always enjoy using their free navigation service. Note that Nokia N8’s battery is now concealed by the casing. Whether this is a wise move or not, perhaps too early to say (so long as I don’t need to pull out the battery to switch off the phone should it hangs due to unstable apps that I install, I am OK with that because batteries these days last). 5 colors are available here in Singapore. They are dark grey, silver white, green, blue, and orange.
Nokia N8 is now available for pre-order in Singapore. If you have queries, write to me or drop me a comment here. To pre-order, you can visit the SingTel site at www.singtel.com/n8 or the Nokia pre-order site at www.nokia.com.sg/n8 and click on the “pre-order” tab.