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Nokia N8 Review

Nokia N8 8.5

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Internet and Connectivity:

With 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS on board, the Nokia N8 is, as expected, well connected out of the box to get you online. With an improved mail client, it’s a piece of cake to set up email accounts such as Windows Live, Gmail and Yahoo, and with Mail for Exchange support, inputting just a little more information will give you access to additional mailboxes as well as calendar, contact and task sync.

The Nokia N8 has an improved mail client - Nokia N8 Review
The Nokia N8 has an improved mail client - Nokia N8 Review

The Nokia N8 has an improved mail client


The on-board Symbian^3 browser is also improved, supporting pinch to zoom and displaying a search bar along with the URL bar. Text wraps to fit the screen well and pages are displayed accurately, however, the browser could be smoother when scrolling and pinching through larger web pages. A pretty decent alternative to the built-in browser is the free Opera Mobile 10.1, which offers a very fast and smooth performance, but unfortunately allows for just a single zoom level (which, in most cases, does the job).

Symbian^3 browser - Nokia N8 Review
Symbian^3 browser - Nokia N8 Review
Symbian^3 browser - Nokia N8 Review
Symbian^3 browser - Nokia N8 Review

Symbian^3 browser



The on-board GPS works well finding the Nokia N8’s position even when indoors. Coupling this with Ovi Maps makes for a very versatile phone that could double up as a GPS replacement provided you had a good data plan. Of course, with Ovi Maps you can also pre-load maps and use voice-guided directions with them off-line. The above average battery life of the N8 also means that using it as a GPS for 30 minutes won’t leave you totally empty.

Ovi Maps - Nokia N8 Review
Ovi Maps - Nokia N8 Review

Ovi Maps


Additional connectivity includes HDMI output to an HD TV. A microUSB cable to USB provided also turns the Nokia N8 into a USB stick reader, meaning that photos and videos can easily be transferred to and from the phone, and content can even be played from a USB stick directly onto a TV with just an N8 as the middleman.


Software:

The N8 doesn’t have a huge amount of software loaded on it, but what it does have is generally good. Take social networking for example, there is a social networking element from Ovi - Social. This integrates Twitter and Facebook, pulling up feeds into a widget on the home-screen, and linking it through to the installed Facebook / Twitter app. There is also Ovi Maps which as mentioned, does the job well of getting you from A to B. Quickoffice reader is also on the Nokia N8 as is Adobe PDF reader, but for the most part, that’s it. Even the on board YouTube shortcut is just a link to the URL. With the omission of things like games and other non-core software, Nokia may be encouraging N8 users to venture onto the Ovi Store. The lack of random apps also means that the phone isn’t loaded with bloat-ware which is a good thing.

Social networking on the Nokia N8 - Nokia N8 Review
Social networking on the Nokia N8 - Nokia N8 Review
Social networking on the Nokia N8 - Nokia N8 Review

Social networking on the Nokia N8


Ovi Store - Nokia N8 Review
Ovi Store - Nokia N8 Review

Ovi Store



71 Comments
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posted on 20 Oct 2010, 01:55

1. Donnie (unregistered)


"The on-board GPS works well finding the Nokia N8’s position even when indoors. Coupling this with Ovi Maps Nokia maps makes for a very versatile phone that could double up as a GPS replacement provided you had a good data plan." Ehm did you just happen to completely miss the most compelling feature of Ovi Maps ? You can preload entire countries to your phone after which you can navigate (including searching and voice-directions) completely off-line, not a single byte of data transfer required. Perfect in Europe where you'd otherwise end up roaming after a few 100 kms, and one of the major selling points over any other solution (remember it includes voice directions and search, not just map display, - offline)

posted on 07 Oct 2010, 11:52

4. Stoli89 (Posts: 333; Member since: 28 Jun 2010)


Fully Agree, OVI maps is a great value and a wonderful and cost effective tool that does not require a network to operate. That said, if you happen to have an unlimited data plan...the N8 can also use Google Maps. I disagree with the reviewers opinion about Symbian^3 and more specifically that last portion of the OS stack called the User Interface. The changes under the hood are immense (over 250 in total vs S^1). The fact that S^3 is fully compatible with Qt means all current AND future apps developed for both Meego and Symbian^4 (^5..) will remain compatible. The fonts, themes, icons are familiar to Symbian users...which I find convenient. For those of us who want a change...the nice thing about Symbian is you can easily do this with 1000's of choices available...many of them for free. With its hi-end graphics chip, multi-touch/single-tap selection, and smooth capacitance interface...I find this phone's UI to be quite good and certainly up to date. A more detailed list of these changes is located here:http://www.allaboutsymbian.com/features/item/12104_Symbian3_devices_are_imminent-.php Lastly, the reviewer is comparing this phone to flagships at higher price points, even though this N8 is not marketed nor priced as Nokia's flagship model (we'll have to wait for the N9). Considering the quality and performance of this device...it's a steal IMO.

posted on 07 Oct 2010, 11:44

2. Nokia 4ever (unregistered)


Yay, Nokia is never a let down like RIM, I so love this phone!!! I don't care if the built-in browser is not smooth enough, it still has opera mini or if its UI is "dated", is still functional, Nokia doesn't care about making a mobile OS that is graphically beautiful but resource-hungry, this is an example that even with little specs the new OS runs smoothly compared to different OS's who needs more specs and do almost the same things (OS6). Os's user and Nokia haters, even though your beloved android and IOS phones are "better than any other mobile OS", Nokia's still a great company and may not be perfect (no one is), but they keep improving their product. Long life NOKIA !!!

posted on 07 Oct 2010, 20:07

22. B (unregistered)


Hey, thanks for the feedback. Having reviewed the N8, we really, really liked it. In fact, we loved it and genuinely want Nokia's handsets to do well, they're a fantastic company that make fantastic hardware. The changes to Symbian are evident with everything running smoothly, but that's just not enough as the interface is visually underwhelming. The hardware of the N8 is perhaps the best we've seen on a smartphone but as smooth as Symbian^3 is, it's not as inviting as other OSs. For example, despite having a shiny new N8, subjects given the choice preferred to play with a much lower specced android phone, simply because it offers more versatility in a more visually stimulating package. As mentioned, we can whole-heartedly recommend the N8, it's very good and well worthy of that 8.5, and on multimedia alone is a 10. Nevertheless, as with iPhone and Android, it has its issues. It just so happens that the N8s issues cropped up a lot more often. Regards, B_Phone Arena Reviewer.

posted on 07 Oct 2010, 11:45 2

3. yann_ (unregistered)


Phonearena did it again - proof their loyalty to boss Steve. No words for unique functions that are completely missing on iOS or Android phones. Example - USB on the go, HDMI out with Dolby digital... Losers. What to expect from lamers that gave to iPhone 4 rating of 9.5 - the phone with call/antena problems?

posted on 07 Oct 2010, 12:36 1

6. jpropin (Posts: 152; Member since: 20 May 2010)


8.5 isn't bad from a U.S Website that like all the other U.S Based Websites sucks the teet of Apple & Google. I was expecting no higher than 6.5. So I'm quite surprised. Just wait and see what the tools at CNET give it.....LOL

posted on 07 Oct 2010, 12:43

7. DontHateOnS60 (Posts: 867; Member since: 20 Apr 2009)


They'll give it a 3/5.

posted on 07 Oct 2010, 12:16

5. rafael.roque (Posts: 78; Member since: 03 Jul 2010)


I can't wait to get mine; regardless of any review... Simply put; I don't like Google's intrusive OS, RIM's mundane OS, Apple's my way OS. If you want control of your smartphone; then Symbian gives you that. Point and case, if I want the Sense experience found on HTC's Android smartphones on my Symbian phone, then I simply install SPB Mobile Shell and now I have 1-10 home screens with customizable widgets and shortcuts... If you can't handle Symbian, then you might as well stick to feature phones.

posted on 19 Oct 2010, 13:10

52. Mash (unregistered)


Palm's webOS is good too.

posted on 07 Oct 2010, 12:48

8. cristianer (Posts: 42; Member since: 20 Aug 2010)


Nice. But it is expensive for me.

posted on 07 Oct 2010, 13:05

10. jpropin (Posts: 152; Member since: 20 May 2010)


It is expensive, but for an unlocked phone with as many features and capabilities that it has, it's pretty much on par with other unlocked devices. What really pushes the N8 over the top IMO is that it's compatable with both AT&T & T-Mo's U.S 3G Signal. If your a T-Mo subscriber like me the money you save from not having to have the mandatory data plan with a subsidized smart phone basically pays for this phone and more in the two years you'd be under contract. I can get unlimited Web for $10 a month or just use WiFi and pay nothing. The C6-01 & C7 which both have alot of the same features as the N8 will hopefully be coming out not long from now and hopefully will offer a less expensive alternative to the N8

posted on 15 Oct 2010, 00:37

48. cristianer (Posts: 42; Member since: 20 Aug 2010)


Yeah. Anyway I'm waiting the milestone 2, I hope it will be cheaper.

posted on 07 Oct 2010, 13:04

9. Emix (unregistered)


Thank you phonearena for fair and detailed review! I expected 9 or 9.5 but 8.5 is good! This is my next phone!

posted on 07 Oct 2010, 14:00

11. yeah (unregistered)


wow it is right. they gave 9.5 rating for iphone that does not perform like a phone let alone a smartphone. jeez such a bias website. shame on phonearena

posted on 07 Oct 2010, 14:47 2

12. why I bought an N8 (unregistered)


I just bought an unlicked N8. I decided to go for the N8 after using an HTC Magic (rooted) for 1.5 years. Android is a nice platform, but hey, it gets slower and slower after a few months. Unacceptable. IPhone is not for me - do not like Apple's manias. So, back to old Nokia and yes, I am happy. It is a phone, has to allow me to call, freely, without forcing me to depend on a charger. I have a fast internet connection. GPS. I only would like to see a better Mail for Exchange, with the compelling Google sync. Other than that, bye bye, Android/HTC/Samsung and company...

posted on 07 Oct 2010, 15:00

13. thatdude1 (unregistered)


Great handset! I do not agree with everything the reviewer said, but 8.5 is much better than I anticipated from phone arena. Definitely my next Nokia handset as that is all I use lately. Should have given it at least a 9.0.

posted on 07 Oct 2010, 15:42 3

14. GIO (Posts: 2; Member since: 07 Oct 2010)


This phone shouldn't get higher than 8/10 in business staff, but it should get 10/10 in in multimedia, so they should have given it 9/10 at least...

posted on 07 Oct 2010, 16:50

15. RVM (unregistered)


Nice review, thx phonearena. Im Nokia fan, but i have to admit Symbian^3 still need some more eye candy, hopefuly S^4 will fix it. I am definitively gonna buy N8, that phone is just amazing (for my needs) !

posted on 07 Oct 2010, 17:18

16. Wreckone (unregistered)


Yeah I cannot wait for my N8, I'm currently using a 580O! The N8 is like a dream come true for Nokia lovers! I live in the US and the reviews are mostly skewed here favoring IOS phone and Droid OS. I like being different and have enjoyed both my E71 and 580,0 but I really am exited about getting my N8. The hardware alone cannot be matched (as a package!) and a upcoming firmware updates will replace browser and Symbian 4 is just around the corner too...

posted on 07 Oct 2010, 17:18 1

17. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


Well, at least the N8 seems to have dramatically improved. Although still not good enough to compete with the likes of the iphone4 and galaxy s. I see the N8 as a great mid range smartphone.

posted on 07 Oct 2010, 17:28

18. DJ (unregistered)


Never owned an iPhone so I can't comment, but I did own a Samsung Galaxy..... The Vibrant. VERY, VERY , VERY overrated. I had boffo issues with features that did not work as advertised. And I knew alot of others who did as well. The Samsungs look great on paper, but aren't so great in reality.

posted on 07 Oct 2010, 17:54

19. Hazel (unregistered)


It all now depends on the personal taste of the user. This is the kind of phone I'd recommend for people who want a touchscreen smartphone with simple interface and navigation plus a great multimedia experience at the expense of an originally beautiful screen that does not need any shells of any sort, a good speaker, and many available apps. Like, say, my father. But for me, I still prefer the upcoming HTC Desire HD with Android 2.2 Froyo. There is something to be said about the not-so-perfect home screen customization of the N8 (and its minimum of 3) and the not-so-good speaker phone IMO. I am particularly fond of the Desire HD because it is not only visually stimulating with its HTC Sense + Android interface but the whole personalization + customization of the home screens, the skins, and the modern look... They are all very attractive to me. I want something that would be a definite eye-catcher but is still more than it looks. I need the speaker to be loud and proud like with Desire HD's Dolby Mobile with SRS because I use my phone as an alarm clock and if it has crappy speaker, then how is it supposed to wake me up? Basically, I want an all-in-one phone: Something that plays music as well as videos well that will make me forget about getting an iPod, something that takes pictures well that would make me forget about buying a digital camera, something that would make me not want an iPad because it can read e-books, surf the Web, etc. easily. I want something that has Navigations and GPS, a capacitive touchscreen and a multitude of apps available while yet still being durable compared to others. This is not to say that the N8 isn't an eye-catcher but the Philippine mobile market being Nokia largely dominated by Nokia... I imagine this will be fairly common in some people's hands soon. That's why I'm going with the Desire HD as well. I want to be the only person using an awesome, expensive, high-end phone within a large sight radius--- and I want them to know I love my phone. That it's not just for show. That, basically, it really is awesome. =)

posted on 07 Oct 2010, 18:18

20. jpropin (Posts: 152; Member since: 20 May 2010)


You are right It is a matter of personal taste. I want a device that gets it done. A device that will do as it says and doesn't make promises it can't keep. But most of all, I want something solid that I can hold in my hand and squeeze and not worry about it busting into 1000 molded plastic pieces. Something that is built to last and I can rely on when I need it

posted on 08 Oct 2010, 07:00

30. Hazel (unregistered)


Yeah, and truthfully I'm happy to see that Nokia has finally caught up on the whole smartphone trend with a device that doesn't lag up once you get any data inside it. I almost bought myself an N97 mini a month ago and thank goodness I did my research! Otherwise, I'd end up frustrated real bad. I'm also glad because a new Nokia phone model released means prices for the earlier released phones will drop sooner or later and I would like to have either a RIM Blackberry Curve 8900 or Nokia E72 (will mostly like go for the E72) for instances when I have to rough out and I don't want to risk my Desire HD getting scratched, broken, wet, snatched, or even mugged away from me. And as I mentioned, the Philippine market is largely dominated by Nokia, I expect prices are going to drop soon in spirit of the many business competitions battling it out for consumers (and bottomline: profits). Another thing is I've always respected Nokia's easy to navigate interfaces during those pre-smartphone times. Hopefully they'll pull through. When it comes to mobile phones, competition is good. Otherwise, there would be little evolution and very little numbers of high-class phones as compared to if there were competition. So yeah. I'll stick with Desire HD. The thing isn't likely to break in pieces anyway since it has a unibody aluminum frame. =) And much rarer over here. Very much rarer.

posted on 07 Oct 2010, 18:47

21. jpropin (Posts: 152; Member since: 20 May 2010)


Very nice comments about the N8 on The Street.Com http://www.thestreet.com/video/10881744/nokia-n8-smartphone-for-the-world.html?puc=_tscrss&s=1#6276 37528001 Pretty rare that Nokia gets a positive endorsement on a U.S Financial Website.....LOL

posted on 07 Oct 2010, 20:53

23. Himm34 (unregistered)


What I can't understand? You are buying a phone not the apps. Although the Iphone and others have some nice ones,but once you brake it down the software in the nokia want be dumb down like it is in the Iphone.Take the camera and look at the lack of features missing from the Iphone. And the nokia is built better as well. Do a drop test and see which one comes out on top. For my money it's the n8

posted on 07 Oct 2010, 21:29

24. orielwindow (Posts: 107; Member since: 23 Sep 2010)


Nice balanced review. I like that you gave credit where it was due while remaining critical about the "new" OS.

posted on 07 Oct 2010, 23:21 1

25. pathmarkpolice (Posts: 102; Member since: 05 Feb 2009)


Watch the video review of the phone on youtube (I think it's a 3 part review by mobileburn, it's really in depth). Don't go by words alone. See the phone in action. In terms of multimedia, the phone is an absolute beast. The 680 mhz processor does work pretty well and the phone can multitask, but the WAY it runs its tasks are annoying. For example, Symbian still refreshes your music list and displays that annoying message when refreshing the tracks. There were only 5 songs on the reviewers phone and refreshing the tracks took a little while. Also, there is some slight lag when switching between the home screens. The worst part of the phone is the texting. There is no auto correct option. I repeat, NO AUTO CORRECT. And forget about a portrait qwerty keypad, you're stuck with Alpha Numeric. Sending a text message or email or twitter response seems extremely laborious. If you're a texter, I wouldn't recommend this phone as there are extra steps and a lack of auto correct with the landscape qwerty that makes composing messages a nightmare. If you've used an iPhone or an Android phone, I think using the N8 would feel like a big step backwards. However, if you've been a die hard Nokia fan and have used their previous crappy, touch symbian models, this phone looks like it'll be a Godsend. Also, the full 3g band functionality is something I'd like to see ALL phones carry.

posted on 08 Oct 2010, 03:02

27. 6kle (unregistered)


I disagree with the hard words about texting. It does have auto correct in the portrait and if you can't turn on it for the landscape then it should be fixed soon with an update or a mod. Already several days ago there was a simple free app released that allowed also portrait mode qwerty. Also, when it comes to "not enough eye-candy UI" this OS is fully open and as such you can change and tweak the UI a lot. There are already plenty of good looking UI skins, including Nokia's own midnight themes that it released several days ago in an update (but isn't really noticed by any of the reviewers from what I've seen). The things that can be changed by apps/new firmware/mods are things like UI visuals and minor gripes like those with texting etc. What can NOT ever be changed by such things is the hardware. As said, Nokia hardware is fantastic. The software is great when you take some time to tweak it with mods to what you personally like best and wait a bit for firmware updates that are constantly being worked to iron out these MINOR gripes. This is a new OS and as such it still has updates on the way to make it better. No future update or mod will ever change bad hardware though so it's good to keep this in mind if you want to use your phone for a long time.

posted on 08 Oct 2010, 03:54

29. akk28 (unregistered)


Just to make one correction (don't have time to correct everything). N8 DOES HAVE auto correction, you turn it on while in landscape qwerty from the options tap (turn auto correct on). Reviewers mistake for not noticing so obvious option available.

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Nokia N8

Nokia N8

OS: Symbian Belle Anna Symbian^3
view full specs
Display3.5 inches, 360 x 640 pixels (210 ppi) AMOLED
Camera12.1 megapixels
Hardware
Single core, 680 MHz, ARM11 processor
0.25 GB RAM
Size4.47 x 2.32 x 0.51 inches
(113.5 x 59 x 12.9 mm)
4.76 oz  (135 g)
Battery1200 mAh, 12 hours talk time

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