The Nokia N8 is the Nokia phone everyone has been talking about. Why? It’s the first Nseries phone to be released following the N97 Mini in September last year, it will debut Symbian^3 and it will be the first Nseries to use a solely touch-based interface. It’s fair to say there is considerable anticipation surrounding the Nokia N8, as this high profile release has plenty of competition and Nokia need a winning device to maintain their position as the world’s number one handset manufacturer.
The early renders that appeared on the Internet didn’t do the Nokia N8 much justice. The 2D images made the design look dull and uninspired and the spec list, although impressive, didn’t capture the headlines thanks to an almost silent official release day. Has this general apathy towards the N8 ruined its chances? We don’t think so, as when you really take a good look at the Nokia N8 you’ll see that it’s exactly what an Nseries should be – subtle, beautiful, powerful and perhaps most importantly of all, desirable!
Perhaps the most important thing of all concerning the look and feel of the N8 is the material used in its construction. This is a premium device for Nokia, so they have shunned the plastic used for some previous Nseries phones, and shied away from good-looking by fragile alternatives like glass; instead settling on hard-wearing and attractive anodized aluminium.
The metal frame will be available in five colours; dark grey, silver white, blue, orange and green and the pictures of the N8 show that none of these are overbearing, but rather subtle shades that give the phone a real individual style. The use of aluminium hasn’t added to the weight either, with the N8 tipping the scales at 135 grams – around the same as an iPhone 3GS.
Visually, the phone is dominated by the 3.5″ capacitive touchscreen. It has a resolution of 360×640 and is an AMOLED item capable of displaying 16 million colours.
Nokia haven’t shouted about the processor running the N8, and that’s because it’s not a 1GHz chip like so many other top-end smartphones on the market today. It’s a 680MHz ARM processor, which is still speedy enough and a big step up from the 434MHz chip used in the N97 Mini! Processor speed isn’t everything though, as here it will be combined with 512MB of ROM and 256MB RAM, plus 16GB of internal memory. There is also a microSD card slot to boost this to 32GB.
As we mentioned earlier, the Nokia N8 is the first device to use the Symbian^3 operating system. This new version is an evolution of Symbian S60 that we’re familiar with today, but with plenty of performance and interface tweaks, multi-touch support, improved graphics and three customisable homescreens, just like Android.
With Symbian^3 comes support for HDMI-out, and the N8 has a mini-HDMI port hidden under a cover in-between the 3.5mm headphone socket and the power button along its top edge. Inside the box there will be an adaptor to allow you to plug the N8 directly into your TV. Why would you want to do this? Read on…
The sleek lines of the Nokia N8 are broken only by a raised plinth on the back of the handset, which houses the lens and flash unit for the camera. Rated at 12 megapixels and sitting alongside a xenon flash, this is no ordinary camera for the snap happy, as Nokia have designed this with the keen photographer in mind. The 28mm wide-angle Carl Zeiss lens has autofocus, a manual shutter and allows ISO settings up to 1200, aperture at f/2.8, macro focusing from 10-60cm, and has an ND filter for improved low-light shooting, plus face and smile detection.
The camera also shoots video in 16:9, at 25fps in 720p, which is exactly the reason you’ll want to connect this up to your HD TV! Videos can be saved as either H.264 or MPEG-4 files and when using the HDMI connection, the N8 also supports Dolby Digital Plus audio.
It’s also worth mentioning that the N8 has a front-facing VGA camera for video calls, that works over 3G.
What Else Can it Do?
Connectivity. The Nokia N8 is a 3G phone with HSDPA and HSUPA. The built-in Wi-Fi supports 802.11 b,g and n standards and can be tethered to another wireless device.
Battery. The 1200mAh cell offers 390 hours standby and 720 minutes talktime on 2G, and 400 hours and 350 minutes in 3G. The device can be charged using a regular Nokia pin connector or via the micro-USB.
USB Connection. By using an adapter, the micro-USB port can be used to read a Flash drive.
GPS. The Assisted GPS uses Ovi Maps with free turn-by-turn navigation. It also has a digital compass for precise positioning.
- Bluetooth 3.0
- Music and video player with DivX/XviD support.
- FM Transmitter.
- FM Radio.
- Proximity sensor.
Aside from Symbian^3 being an unknown quantity at the moment, there are reports indicating the N8′s battery will be non-removable. While this does keep the shape and lines of the casing neat and tidy, it may prove annoying to heavy users. Perhaps this won’t be the case when the phone is finally launched.
The Nokia N8 looks fantastic and is sure to be a delight to hold in one’s palm and provided Symbian^3 is a step forward, the highly impressive camera specification should attract plenty of newcomers to the Nseries range. As for the dedicated fans of the Nseries, they’ve got nothing to worry about, as the N8 is shaping up to be one of the best yet.