Today I finally got a chance to play with the Nokia N8. I got to use prototype hardware (still labeled C0) running early software (not even pre-release).
In short, I’m definitely impressed. But I’m still concerned that the N8 will not be able to compete with iOS and Android devices when it’s launched later this summer.
Read on for my thoughts…
Let’s get one thing out of the way: the hardware is fantastic. There’s absolutely no doubt that Nokia knows how to build top-spec phones, and when it wants to, top-quality hardware. The N8, even in prototype form, showcases the best fit, finish, and materials of any Nseries device to date.
The device is slim and light yet solid. The body and most buttons/covers are made of machined and anodized aluminum – only the plastic endcaps look and feel out of place.
The glass capacitive OLED display is beautiful and responsive. The features are impressive – 12 MP HD camera, penta-band 3G (including AWS for T-Mobile USA), WiFi b/g/n, HDMI output, USB On-The-Go!
The only N8 available for me to handle was the green one, which is not a particularly flattering color for this phone. The blue version I saw looked more attractive.
Unfortunately, my time with the software was pretty limited, but what I saw surprised me by being fast and slick. It’s clear that the user interface makes extensive use of hardware acceleration and that the user experience is a significant improvement over S60v5.
But will Symbian^3 be able to compete with iOS and Android? I’m not convinced. Despite multitouch support and streamlined controls, it’s still Symbian at the core. For users familiar with Symbian like myself, that’s fine, but for new users I think the learning curve is still too steep…
In terms of HD video recording, the N8 promises 720p at a consistent 25 fps, and I was able to confirm this claim after some brief testing. And the icing on the cake? The shutter button feels wonderful.
Fantastic hardware, promising software, and an unrivaled camera – that sums up the Nokia N8 at this point in time. Still, I’d prefer to see MeeGo on this device.
Here are a couple things I forgot to mention in the video:
– There’s a standard Nokia power connector on the bottom endcap (in addition to USB charging)
– There’s multitouch support on the capacitive screen (pinch-to-zoom in the browser, maps, and gallery)