Nokia N8 - A New Approach

Launch SRP: S$785


The Little Additions

When we look at the unique features of the N8, there are two aspects to consider - software and hardware. We explore the former for the specific significance it has on the N8.

Within the N-series, the N8 is the last of a long lineage of Nokia smartphones powered by the Symbian operating system (OS). In the bigger picture, the N8 represents the first of Nokia's future devices on the revamped Symbian^3 platform. Maybe, using the word revamp is too strong in this case. The late entry into the touch screen arena, via the Symbian S60 version 5, was something Nokia had to wrestle with a year ago with the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic.

More than twelve months down the road, we are looking at the renamed, and supposedly restructured, Symbian^3. Aesthetically, there are differences, particularly in its home page. Tossing two additional pages to its repertoire, we also see more widgets being populated within the N8. And if you're someone who needs to manage your apps usage, the task manager gets a new look with a more detail image of its running apps. Speaking of apps, the N8 is preloaded with apps that differs in each region. This gives you apps that are catered to your location, such as news apps from your local stations, or even localized apps such as Makansutra on the Singapore N8 phones.

The addition of two pages to its home screen gives more room for new widgets such as Missed Notification. Not by much, but it's better than nothing.

The task manager gives you a more detailed thumbnail of background apps, and the option to shut it down with just a single tap.

Specific local apps, such as Makansutra, are pre-loaded within the N8.

In line with the growing social network presence, the N8 is also equipped with a social network app. Popular networks such as Twitter and Facebook are included within. During our testing period, the app felt unpolished, often taking way too much time to even load the data feed from either Facebook or Twitter. The interface felt too clunky and cumbersome, which doesn't bode well for users who want a no-frills experience.

We won't deny the practicality of including a social network app. What we do question is its performance and usability which we found lacking.

Hardware-wise, the N8 is loaded with 16GB of internal storage, with an expandable capacity of up to 32GB via its microSD slot. As if it's trying to keep up with the times, the N8 is equipped with an OLED screen, and should that prove insufficient for your viewing pleasure, a HDMI output is also available for big screen viewing.

The HDMI-out, located at the top, lets you connect the N8 to a HDTV to enhance your visual experience and treat the device as a media player.

Receiving the most hype on its hardware front, would be the 12-megapixel camera. Compared to both the earlier Samsung Pixon 12 and Sony Ericsson Satio, the N8 is clearly late into the scene, and in the tech industry, it's all about the timeliness. Better late than never, we say, and if you believe in that, there is something to look forward to with the N8's 1/1.83-inch imaging sensor size, a fairly large size compared to its competitors. With the expected better dynamic range and imaging quality associated with its sensor size, and the promise of 720p video recording, this is where the N8 is hoping to stand out. The truth will be revealed in the upcoming performance page.

On paper, the N8's 12-megapixel camera, armed with a 1/1.83-inch sensor and Xenon flash, could possibly produce impressive imaging results. We'll let the images speak for themselves in the Performance section.

Overall rating 7/10
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The Good
Good 12MP camera with attention to details and sharp imaging quality
Good viewing experience with OLED screen
The Bad
Sluggish and unpolished user interface
Below expected battery mileage
Poor design/placement of often used buttons

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