Palm Pixi Plus camera

Short version. The Palm Pixi Plus camera is crap!

Long version. The Pixi Plus offers significant value with significant compromise. While the software is elegant and intuitive, the hardware is cheap and slow. Ditto the camera…

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Nokia 5800 XpressMusic

The Nokia 5800 XpressMusic may just be the most significant device to come from Espoo since the N95

The N82 and E71 were both worthy devices, and the N97 will surely be significant, but the 5800 marks the start of a new era for Symbian: touch.

It’s also packed with the kind of features usually associated with Nseries phones: 3.2 megapixel Zeiss camera (with auto-focus, macro and dual LED flash), 3G, WiFi, a micro-SDHC slot, and GPS. Most importantly, It’s affordable, and it’s here today!

I’ve been using the Euro/Asian model (UMTS/HSDPA at 2100 MHz) for a couple months now (thanks to Molly at Nokia Blogger Relations) – the US model (UMTS/HSDPA 1900/850 MHz) will be available soon.

So what makes the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic so special?

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Nokia N96 – a worthy flagship?

I really want to like the Nokia N96 – I really do! After all, it is Nokia’s flagship device, and based on its groundbreaking predecessors, it was supposed to be something special. And therein lies the rub – as much as the original N95 was revolutionary, the N96 is just evolutionary.

Take the N95 8 GB, add another 8 GB of built-in flash storage for a total of 16 GB, add a micro-SDHC card slot for external storage, add hi-speed USB support, add a DVB-H digital TV tuner, replace the single LED flash with a dual LED flash, upgrade the OS to Symbian S60v3 Feature Pack 2, and make it a bit thinner, using Nokia’s tasty new Nseries design language… That’s the N96.

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Etymotic Research hf2 review

I’ve already mentioned Etymotic Research, purveyors of fine canal earphones such as the wireless ety8, and the professional-grade ER.4 – one of my reference listening devices.

The hf2 are wired canal earphones similar to the ER.4, but designed primarily for use with the Apple iPhone. As such, they also function as a headset and feature a connector specially designed to fit the iPhone (reduced diameter body and 4-prong 3.5 mm jack).

While the ety8 are also designed for use with the iPhone, they don’t function as a headset like the hf2. Furthermore, both the ER.4 and the ety8 are more expensive than the hf2.

The hf2 are molded from a pleasant (both to the eyes and to the touch) soft black material. However, the headset, which is located on the right cord, detracts from the overall design by being rather bulky (see pictures).

I tried the hf2 with other devices and the earphones worked properly, but the headset only worked with the iPhone, and should work with some Blackberry devices (like the Curve). As for Nokia N-series devices (like the N95, N81 and N810), the hf2 can be used via the remote control (it should not be connected directly).

When used properly, the hf2 sound absolutely fantastic and attenuate outside noise extremely well. In addition, they operate exactly like the earphones/headset supplied with the iPhone.

I noticed an extremely mild difference in sound quality between the newer hf2 and my older (both design and age) ER.4. I prefer the high-end on the hf2, but I prefer the low-end on my ER.4. In fact, the transducers in the hf2 appear to have a similar frequency response the ones in the ety8.

The verdict? Great performance and great value – thumbs up for the hf2.

Pictures taken with the Nokia N81 8GB

I’ve already covered the pros and cons of the Nokia N81 8GB as a music phone. But what about its camera?

Like the other 2 megapixel N-series devices I’ve tested, the camera in the N81 8 GB features an LED flash, but no auto-focus or macro.

It takes similar pictures to the Nokia N75, but suffers somewhat from the green tint problem I experienced with the Nokia N76.

Compare the picture above with this one which I snapped at the same time with my Nokia N95-3 – note the difference in color balance…

In the world of 2 megapixel cameras without auto-focus or macro, the Blackberry Curve (and to some extent the iPhone, despite lacking an LED flash) takes better pictures than the N81 8GB.

Hopefully, Nokia can address this with future firmware!

Nokia N81 8GB music phone

As you’ve probably noticed, it’s been a bit quiet around here lately… But fear not. Despite being rather busy, I’ve managed to review some products and line up a few more!

The first one of these is the Nokia N81 8GB, kindly provided by Nseries WOM World. It’s a music phone with 8 GB of built-in flash storage, WiFi, and a 2 megapixel camera – the successor to the microdrive-equipped Nokia N91.

Take a look at my pictures and videos (1 and 2).

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See you in San Francisco

Watch out San Francisco – I’m coming back! Seattle is nice and all, but it’s not where my heart is…

Anyway, I apologize for the radio silence – life’s just been a bit more stressful than normal lately.

I’m currently evaluating the Nokia N81 8 GB which arrived last week. Expect some good stuff soon :)

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