Sunday, November 14, 2010

[N8 REVIEW] Part 1 : Intro and Design !

Posted on 00:51 by SlipKoRnSaad

Well, after highlighting some results of the main selling feature of the Nokia N8 (Look here, here and here) i'll drop my general first impressions as part one of the 13th parts N8 Review and will highlight what could you expect and what changes will be noticed if you have/had a Symbian^1 (symbian 5th edition) already :

My brief conclusion : you'll not be disappointed and the N8 will do exactly what it's designed to offer and in most case brilliantly !

What i'm going to say will remind me my N900 review's introduction, where i said :  

Flagships have a tough time in the phone world. Designed to include every function under the sun and to appeal to the most knowledgeable and tech-hungry users, they inevitably come up short !

But is N8 the Nokia's flagship or not? That's the question (or not!) !, it is a tech-head PMP with phone functionality, some kind of continuous work in progress !

PMP? huh? Yep, a Portable Media Player :

--> Featuring Carl Zeiss optics and xenon flash, the N8 is the first Nokia camera phone to utilize a 12 megapixel camera sensor size of 1/1.83″, making it the largest image sensor in a camera phone at the time of its launch.

--> The N8 display features a 3.5-inch (89 mm) 360 x 640 pixel color touchscreen,

--> The first Nokia smartphone to run on the Symbian^3 operating system with single-tap interaction, featuring the addition of multiple home screens, customization abilities, and multi-touch capabilities with gesture support.

--> Among its connectivity features are HDMI out, Dolby Digital Plus sound, and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n support; the N8 is also the first device to feature a Pentaband 3.5G radio.

Wait, wait, there's another cool feature : USB OTG, what's that?

The N8 is a true GSM world phone. It will work on any GSM network on the planet, whether 2G or 3G.

The highly anticipated Nokia N8 in one word is awesome ! How's that? Simply, it's one of the best Nokia ever build, the monobloc design/philosophy is just great (like the iPhone for example), everything (almost) is made from just one piece of material but in reality, there're severals parts that are tightly joined wich gives this great feeling when holding it.

the smartphone is a nice size 113.5 × 59 × 12.9 mm : Big enough to have a sizable screen but thin and compact enough to make it easy to carry and hold.

There's also a bit of iPhone-esque thought in here too. The N8 is the first Nokia device we can recall equipped with a battery that cannot be swapped out (directly) by the user. It also lacks physical send and end keys, a design attribute not common to Nokia handsets (except the N900).

From the left to the right : Nokia N900, N82, N8, iPhone 4, 3Gs

- Screen size: 3.5" / Resolution: 16:9 nHD (640 × 360 pixels, not so hot for a 2010 device...) / 16.7 million colours

- Capacitive touchscreen with Active-matrix OLED technology (No CBD) and Multi-Touch cabable: Very readable under sunlight (not as readable as on the iPhone 3Gs/4)

- Orientation sensor : Nothing special here, like other Nokia devices (portrait / landscape / turn to snooze / turn to mute)

- Digital Compass (Magnetometer) : As accurate as the iPhone's one for example (which is great) and in OVI Maps, you can activate or deactivate it with a touch of finger ;)


From the left to the right we find :

- Proximity sensor : as on the first s60 device, the 7650, or some of recent Symbian touch devices like the 5800XM, N97, Omnia HD etc. So when you hold the N8 up to your head the display turns off and then when you pull it away the display turns back on, also when device is on your pocket, to prevent accidental manipulations and to save some battery life during a call ;)

- Ambient light detector : the best ever on any mobile i own or have owned, it adjust light screen quickly and intelligently than all known devices having this feature !

- A front-facing VGA camera lives above the display

On the left side there are SIM and memory card slots (protected with covers) 
and High-Speed USB 2.0 Micro USB connector with USB charging (not covered) 
and a LED charging/low battery indicator

on top you can find the Power/Profile button, the HDMI mini C connector 
(under the protective cover with HDMI logo) and 3.5 mm Nokia AV connector

HDMI : High Definition Multimedia Interface

High definition multimedia interface or HDMI for short is a more compact videos and audio interface that transmits uncompressed digital data. It offers digital connection alternatives to analog connections such as RF (Radio Frequency) coaxial cable, S-video, composite video, SCART, D-terminal, component video, VGA, etc. there're unlimited use of this feature that i'll talk about in details on a dedicated part.

One of dual charging connectors (the classic Nokia pin) 
in addition to micro-USB (previous picture...) 

This will open a number of possibilities especially when transferring data over USB. We have known USB data transfer over USB for long but Nokia N8 comes with USB on the go which will allow you to connect to other USB storage devices like USB flash disks or external hard disks or other USB peripherals... That will require more power especially if you are transferring large videos or a big number of photos for example. The phone can charge if you connect it through USB for data transfer but USB flash disks will not be powered and the Nokia charger will come into play then, more on this on a dedicated part also.

On the right side, there's a volume rocker, a lock switch, 
and a camera activation/capture button.

almost the whole front side of the device capacitive touch screen from Nokia, but the first with multitouch support and of 3.5" size

The screen is viewable by approximatively 168° which is very acceptable and good (the iPhone 4 performs well but it isn't an issue at all, the screen is very readable under all conditions, under Moroccan sunlight also :-D)

- And then we find in the back the infamous Autofocus 12 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics powered with Xenon flash and Focal length of 28 mm with Aperture of f/2.8 
and all in all pushed by Camera sensor size of 1/1.83″ 
- Then we have the very high quality and loud mono speaker, also you'll find a small microphone for ambient noise recording in video mode (not visible in this picture)

Nokia N8 is powered by the ARM1176 processor underclocked at 680 MHz. This is the second fastest processor used in a Symbian device (Sony Ericsson Vivaz/Vivaz Pro use a faster and more advanced one :  ARM Cortex-A8 @ 720 MHz). Additionally, it contains a Broadcom VideoCore III GPU (hardware graphics accelerator) for superior graphic performance (considerably faster than the PowerVR SGX530 GPU) with OpenGL-ES 1.1/2.0 support and 32 Mtriangles/sec, the iPhone 3G S for example is a 600 MHz Cortex-A8 with PowerVR SGX535 = 28 million triangles/sec.

In terms of wireless standards, the Nokia N8 supports :
- Quad-band GSM and WCDMA 850/900/1700/1900/2100
- Wi-Fi with support for 802.11n
- Bluetooth 3.0
- GPS and A-GPS receivers
- FM radio/transmitter.

Physical I/O as we saw earlier includes Micro USB with support for USB on-the-go (a.k.a., phone-to-phone connections) HDMI, and a 3.5mm AV jack. It also includes an accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light detector, and magnetic compass.

What's Hot :

- Anodized aluminium unibody shell
- Cold metal sensation when you pick it up
- The microSD/SIM Card slot
- The micro USB port (which doubles as the charger connection)
- Excellent level of feedback and a quality feel.
- Volume and size (mainly, thickness side)
- Capacitive screen with good brightness and pinch-to-zoom support
- Hardware screen/key lock
- All sort of sensors included
- Ambient light detector performance and precision
- Mini C HDMI connector
- 12MPix camera (and the xenon flash) with ability to make Video captures in 720p
- Dedicated 3D Graphics HW Accelerator
- WLAN IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
- Bluetooth 3.0
- Pentaband WCDMA and Quadband GSM/EDGE Operating Frequency
- Integrated GPS
- Two microphones for improved voice quality and noise cancellation
- Dual charging connectors (the classic Nokia 2mm pin) in addition to micro-USB

What's Not :

- The position of the home key is odd...
- The camera lens isn't protected, no excuse Nokia, you can take a lesson from Samsung with their INNOV8 :)
- No stereo speakers
- No OMAP3 processors (very important, i'll talk about that later)
- Clicking cards (SIM & MicroSD) in can be tricky without long fingernails.
- No Call/End Key

In summary,the hardware in N8 is outstanding and i'm happy to see that Nokia has pushed the boat out by offering a full metal chassis with anodised scratch-proof paint (rubbing keys on it produced almost no ill-effects) to give the phone a really high end feel., although the slider switch on the side can get its paint rubbed off over time.

I almost forgot to mention that we have a large range of toys in the box with the N8 - an adaptor to convert HDMI to mini HDMI, decent earbuds with an inline remote, a slim line Nokia pin charger and a USB lead with adaptor too to attach hard drives on the go..



This is all packaged in an eco-friendly slim box, and certainly looks premium and worth the money you'll need to be forking out.



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