Nokia N8 Review
This is a global GSM phone, it can be used with AT&T and T-Mobile USA.


The 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.

Nokia N8 360 Degrees View:



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)

4. Stoli89

Posts: 333; Member since: Jun 28, 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: 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's a steal IMO.

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 !!!

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.

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?

6. jpropin

Posts: 152; Member since: May 20, 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

7. DontHateOnS60

Posts: 872; Member since: Apr 20, 2009

They'll give it a 3/5.

5. rafael.roque

Posts: 78; Member since: Jul 03, 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.

52. Mash unregistered

Palm's webOS is good too.

8. cristianer

Posts: 42; Member since: Aug 20, 2010

Nice. But it is expensive for me.

10. jpropin

Posts: 152; Member since: May 20, 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

48. cristianer

Posts: 42; Member since: Aug 20, 2010

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

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!

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

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...

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.

14. GIO

Posts: 2; Member since: Oct 07, 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...

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) !

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...

17. 530gemini

Posts: 2198; Member since: Sep 09, 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.

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.

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. =)

20. jpropin

Posts: 152; Member since: May 20, 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

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.

21. jpropin

Posts: 152; Member since: May 20, 2010

Very nice comments about the N8 on The Street.Com 37528001 Pretty rare that Nokia gets a positive endorsement on a U.S Financial Website.....LOL

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

24. orielwindow

Posts: 109; Member since: Sep 23, 2010

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

25. pathmarkpolice

Posts: 102; Member since: Feb 05, 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.

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.

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.
  • Display 3.5" 360 x 640 pixels
  • Camera 12.1 MP / 0.3 MP VGA front
  • Storage 16 GB + microSDHC
  • Battery 1200 mAh(5.83h 3G talk time)

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