If you need a trusty companion that can satisfy your daily dose of the Internet when you're out and about, the new Nokia N800 Internet Tablet could be it. Replacing the outgoing N770 Internet Tablet, the updated model is also born to provide consumers with a product that they can use to complement their mobile lifestyle.
First sighted and announced at the Las Vegas CES Summit in January 2007, it has taken Nokia about a good half a year to make ready the Nokia N800 Internet Tablet for retail. Making up for its lack of conventional telephony function, there is now an integrated webcam that can be utilized for video conferencing and Skype functions. The latter in particular, is one of the strong suits of the device; in the same way as its desktop and notebook equivalents, the Skype application in the Nokia N800 Internet Tablet also lets you save on costly international IDD calls by making calls through the Internet when you're overseas.
Though the latest Nokia handheld resembles an UMPC, its operating system is not your usual Microsoft flavor. Instead, to make it more affordable, the Nokia N800 Internet Tablet uses Linux, but rest assured that the installed version is not the least bit frightening to use.
Being a new model, the Nokia N800 Internet Tablet brings with it much more than just wireless Internet browsing via Wi-Fi. Most notably, the build quality is a marked improvement, giving the impression that it'll survive the rigors of traveling and commute easily. Even the styling is more pleasing to the eye, but above all, there is now a pretty fast 330MHz processor under the LCD screen, which should return a snappier experience than the old model.
Storage on the Nokia N800 Internet Tablet is handled by not one, but two SD card expansion slots, allowing it to provide room for files upwards of 8GB. To maximize space however, one of the slots is located internally and under the battery.
Being a portable device, screen size was always going to be an issue, particularly for old folks and those with hyperopia. For the majority of the population and its intended group of users however, they should find the screen size to be just right. Due to its design, the bulk of interaction with the tablet is done through the touch screen and stylus. Buttons can still be found, but these are mostly for triggering common functions such as zoom, scroll, back and desktop.
It wouldn't take long for anyone to start appreciating the visual quality of the 4.13-inch QVGA screen – same as the Sony PSP. Clarity remains even under direct sunlight, which is good news given the tablet is meant to be carried around. Also a delight to the eyes is the improved design that is now sleeker and more avant-garde – thanks to the chrome lining running along the edges.
In using the Nokia N800 Internet Tablet, the Maemo platform was not just a joy to use but also extremely cost efficient. The latter can be explained by the strong, ongoing community development whereby active contributions provide free software upgrades and enhancements that are both streamlined and complementary to the Nokia N800 Internet Tablet. Under real world usage, applications were loaded without stretching our patience. Video playback was the one real gripe as it was a mostly choppy affair, indicating perhaps a need for a faster processor in future revisions.
Other than that, the Nokia N800 Internet Tablet was a smooth performer with all major mainstream multimedia formats. Worth noting is that audio and video files could actually be streamed wirelessly. Unfortunately, since the Nokia N800 Internet Tablet is not geared for office productivity, you will not find any software provision for common office documents. On the upshot, a PDF reader is available out of the box for viewing PDF documents.
The one usage that really brings out the best in the Nokia N800 Internet Tablet is mobile Internet. Other than the obvious lack of a keyboard, browsing the Internet was actually a very intuitive experience. Popular sites such as Digg, Flickr, CNN, BBC and MySpace were all loaded very quickly with no notable hiccups. So too was RSS, Email and Instant Messaging – tested using Google Talk and Skype.
For what it's capable of, the Nokia N800 Internet Tablet is very competitively priced at about S$698. Some might be quick to disagree but when you consider that applications for the device are constantly being developed by an enthusiastic community, possibilities with the tablet is almost next to infinite.
In simple terms, the beauty of owning a Nokia N800 Internet Tablet is that you'll never have to be in a compromising situation of either lugging around a notebook or straining your eyes while browsing the Internet on your Pocket PC/mobile phone. If it's just a casual Internet lifestyle and communication you seek, all you need are a bag, your mobile phone, and the Nokia N800 Internet Tablet.