Saturday, January 29, 2011

[N8 REVIEW] Part 6 : Connectivity !

Posted on 16:32 by SlipKoRnSaad

After the multimedia review, here's the connectivity part of the N8's review, in which i'll highlight what the N8 offers to make us swearing that Nokia is still "the king of connectivity" devices, the N8 offers all kinds of network connectivity at the user disposal !

Data and Operating frequency

First of all, the Nokia N8 is a:

- Quadband GSM/EDGE operating at 850/900/1800/1900
- Pentaband WCDMA operating at 850/900/1700/1900/2100

And of course, automatic switching between WCDMA and GSM bands is supported.

And also is support GPRS/EDGE class B, multislot class 33 and HSDPA Cat9, maximum speed up to 10.2 Mbit/s, HSUPA Cat5 2.0 Mbit/s, something missing? i guess not !

But i've found the automatic switch between 2G/3G is hazardously managed, nothing close to the N900 !


Of course, the N8 supports WLAN with a large security options including WEP, WPA-PSK and WPA with EAP (PEAP, TLS, TTLS: EAP GTC, EAP MSCHAPv2, MSCHAPv2) and can automatically switch from mobile network's packet connection to WLAN once you get in its range but not as smoothly as on the N900 for example ! it happens that even if WLAN is available, the N8 keeps to prioritize the 3G/GPRS connection ! this have to be avoided at all costs and use Wi-Fi when Wi-Fi is there, and go to 3G when not, is this your definition of a SMARTphone Nokia?!

Anyway, the N8 supports also the Wireless n, which means x12 faster connection speed, but honestly, i don't see an immediate benefit because i'm still using a b/g router, also another point in which Nokia wasn't clear is the n standard can be on 2.4 or 5GHz?  I would guess that only 2.4GHz is supported, if they supported 5GHz as well, then I would have expected 802.11a to be included; which was on the 5GHz from that start.

Ps : you can read the test done by folks over gsmarena about wireless n.

USB 2.0 High-speed

The micro connector which rates the N8 at high scores when it comes to transfer speed, but not as higher as the N900 which remain the King of transfer speed !

Connecting the USB cable do not pop up the classical requester as on previous S60 phones asking to choose the connection mode between Nokia OVI Suite (e.g. for synchronization), Mass storage (for fast data exchange), Multimedia Transfer (synchronization with Windows Media Player or Nokia OVI Player etc.) Or Pc Online (use the N8 as a modem) which in the same time "good" (if you often use the same mode, so you won't choose each time in which mode you'll be connected) and "bad" (if you often change the connection mode, which is my case)...

Anyway, In theory, the N8 is capable of writing data speed of 12 megabits per second according to my non scientific tests, but in reality, the N8 achieved (In Mass storage mode) a maximum rate of +9MB/s which is "good" in comparison to other symbian after the break :

Ps : Ovi Suite in its latest release (v3.0+) throw Windows 7 into the mix and you've got a fantastically fully featured connection suite for the Nokia N8 ! (will talk about that later).

Last but not least, this micro connector support USB Battery charging (more on that in a dedicated part)

USB On The Go :

Virtually every portable device now uses USB for PC connectivity. As these products increase in popularity, there is a growing need for them to communicate both with USB peripherals and directly with each other when a PC is not available.

That's why the N8's micro USB port support the USB On The Go ! hum?
 In other words, with the help of the offered adaptor that convert the N8's microUSB port to a full USB connector, you can plug in USB sticks and hard drives and then you can transfer large files easily without a computer, as simple as that !

Devices that supported USB OTG are (among others) the Nokia 6600 slide and Nokia N810 Internet Tablet, so it's not something "new" for Nokia !

It's interesting because the N8 will act as a host and will power these devices. It is not a desktop PC so there are certain limitations. First of all, being a phone it cannot supply as much power through the USB port as computers, with some hard drives (or some other peripherals) you need an external power supply, and Nokia suggests that in case of any device drawing more than 200 mA of power and that's correct: the 2.5" hard drive I tried to connect to it (without external power supply connector) couldn't even start rotating.

On the contrary, all USB storage memory devices (like pendrives) worked just fine and without any problems, getting instantly recognized and accessible, I also managed to successfully connect a digicam and get access to all images on its memory card.

Once you connect a pendrive, File Manager launches automatically and lets you browse/manage the connected storage device.

All "fully plug&play" devices will work without problem, while devices requiring installation of specific drivers will not be recognized, just because of lack of...drivers...all in all, out-of-box you get support for pendrives and other devices like e.g. memory cards in digicams properly connecting as mass storage without requiring specific drivers. Support for other devices depends on driver availability.

The other limitation is with the filesizes, Mass Media Storage must be FAT formatted (ie. not NTFS, ext2 etc) so it's limited to max 4GB/file.

Nokia PR guys are telling us about USB OTG but only in context of Mass Media Storage mode (USB sticks and hard drives). but how about use other peripherals? Video after the break !

Also you can use :  

- The On-The-Go Mobile TV add-on cable plugs into Nokia's micro-USB port and brings you any available DVB-H signals !

- An USB Audio headset (as shown on video) or speakers.

- An USB Pico Projector or USB monitor (usb video display).

- A wireless USB to HDMI Video Adapter.

- Printers.

- Car stereos.

All in all, you can imagine all USB peripherics to perform somehow correctly !

Conclusion, you are only limited by your imagination to what people can do with the USB OTG and HDMI combo… USB hub + keyboard + mouse + external HDD and that all hooked to a big TV in your living room. Pure geekness, thanks Nokia !

Bluetooth 3.0

What's interesting is that N8 supports Bluetooth 3.0 that uses the 802.11 radio protocol to exchange data, which is the same as used by Wi-Fi !

What this means for us is that Bluetooth 3.0 will pair the two methods of transferring data, but actual data transfer will take place over Wi-Fi at around 24Mbps (not over the Bluetooth link itself. Instead, the Bluetooth link is used for negotiation and establishment, and the high data rate traffic is carried over a collocated 802.11 link) That means file transfer will be much faster than present Bluetooth speeds, but sadly, this is true only if you make transfer with Bluetooth 3.0 enabled device, otherwise you'll stuck to Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR transfer rates, i was comparing transferring the same files trough my 2.1 EDR enabled laptop and my N900 and N8, and the speed was almost the same, with a slight advantage for the N900 as you can see on the video below !!

So you guess it right, Bluetooth 3.0 is backwards-compatible, so you'll be able to use new devices with your existing Bluetooth 2.1-toting gear, and also it's worth to mention that my BH-905i and BH-503 work just great with my N8 than with my N900, no twitch, no nothing !

Another advantage is that the power savings is increased due to enhanced power control built in.

Last but not least, is the included Sniff mode, i.e if you want to transfer a file you simply have to ask to send it, the phone asks to turn Bluetooth on, sends the file and then quietly turns off Bluetooth again - nice touch !

What's hot !

- USB 2.0 hi-speed with major improvement of transfer speed in comparison with previous symbian devices 

- Support of USB Battery Charging. 

- USB OTG with plethora of plugins support out of the box and "unlimited" combination connectivity

- HDMI (which we talked about on the multimedia part).

- Bluetooth 3.0 with support of bluetooth keybords and mouses out of the box, sniff mode, and overall stability.

What's not !

- No Infrared port, so no universal remote controle applications...which i'm enjoying with my N900 !

- No DLNA integration like previous symbian device, unless using some applications like SymSMB, so no wireless remote and multimedia sharing out of the box

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