Nokia N8 Review
Nokia N8 can be likened to the second coming, not because it’s necessarily salvation in a phone, but more so because it’s taken a really, really long time to get here. Since it was officially announced back in April 2010, with leaks out in September 2009, we’ve all been waiting for Symbian Foundation’s follow up to S60 V5, and Nokia’s follow up to the Nokia N97. Finally, here it is, in all its anodised aluminium glory, with a 12MP camera with Xenon flash and an OLED screen, the new Nokia flagship phone for 2010/2011 - the Nokia N8.
In the box, as well as the phone itself there is a charger, a miniHDMI to HDMI connector, two microUSB to USB cables (one female USB, one male USB), a set of headphones, a power charger and some literature on the phone.
The Nokia N8 feels special. With an anodised aluminium body, it delivers a really luxurious cold metal sensation when you pick it up, and a fantastic weighting behind it. It is truly a tactile pleasure to hold and fondle and would still be even if it didn't switch on.
You can compare the Nokia N8 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.
The only areas of the Nokia N8 not encased in anodised aluminium are its ends. Both top and toe are instead covered by slick, super-glossy plastic strips sporting the headphone jack, miniHDMI port, and power button at the top with the bottom end containing the proprietary Nokia charging port. These offer a visual and tactile contrast to the rest of the phone's body, however, like most things glossy, love fingerprints.
The Nokia N8's front side marries glass and aluminium, with the screen, front facing camera, light sensor and menu button found on the fascia. A thin, semi-gloss 3mm strip of metal frames the glass front, inside which is the 3.5-inch AMOLED screen with a resolution of 360x640 pixels.
The screen of the Nokia N8 shines. There is little jaw-dropping about it in terms of specs, with similarly spec'd screens having been available on phones for nigh on two years (i.e. the Samsung OMNIA HD). The N8's screen nevertheless performs exceptionally well with above average pixel density, very vibrant colours and fantastic viewing angles. 3.5 inches is a decent size for the screen of the phone touted as Nokia's multimedia powerhouse. Well, of course, a bigger screen with a higher resolution would better show off the on-board 12MP camera and make web-browsing that bit more enjoyable, however, Nokia have decided to go with 'pocket-friendly' rather than 'computer in the pocket'. In turn, what you're left with what is distinctly a phone, not a PMP or a tablet wannabe, but a smart phone with a good, sharp, bright screen.
The anodised aluminium body has a novel shape, like something out of a Megaman videogame, it's got a retro look coupled with a futuristic feel. In addition to looking and feeling refined, it's also quite practical. The flat top and bottom make it easy to pick up, handle and even stand in portrait orientation. The curved edges feel complementary as they are smooth for comfortable hand holding, an ergonomic touch that makes the buttons on the right hand side a breeze to press. On the right is a volume rocker, a small, ribbed sliding button to lock / unlock the Nokia N8, and a camera button. There are no buttons on the left of the phone, however you will find the microUSB port which remains uncovered, as well as the SIM card and microSD card slots located under two flaps. These flaps close nice and flush with the N8's body and despite being plastic, have the same matted feel as the aluminium body, making for a smooth, unnoticeable addition. With no removable battery, there are also small screws visible on either side of the phone, which are neither here nor there. While we are tempted to say they add to the industrial, sturdy design of the Nokia N8, they also manage to detract from the minimal finish.
Another component that detracts from the minimal design, and at the same time, reiterates the aesthetic novelty factor of the Nokia N8 is its back. Flat and clean for the most part, it is almost a simple reflection of the phone's front, except for a curiously raised rectangle of functionality jutting out of the top half, housing the camera, flash and loud speaker. As with the rest of the Nokia N8, the finish is such that it feels too solid and considered to question. The raised element on the back means the phone won't sit flat, but this has been needed in order to make the larger sensor possible. One thing that is for sure though, love it or hate it, the N8's build quality is way, way up there with the best.