Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Nokia N8 - A few weeks on...

After using the Nokia N8 for a few weeks, I have to give a balance report. There are good and bad things about the Nokia N8 which it is understandable. We do not know for sure that such problems were due to the immature Symbian ^3 or the third party software itself.Let's start off by reviewing the Hardware, shall we?

Hardware Review
The Nokia N8 does not disappoint with the in build hardware. The 3.5" AMOLED screen is perfect under sunlight (not much sunlight lately) and the 12MP digital camera is both superb on taking pictures and also videos. The biggest selling point of the Nokia N8 would arguably be the 12MP digital camera. I have to say that given the track record, the N8's resolution is much better than the 5MP on the Iphone 4 on both the pictures and video quality. No doubt the N8 is a clear winner over here. Not even the mighty Sony Ericsson Satio can match the N8's quality. It's superb!

However, you would need to understand that if you want to take a full 12MP quality, you would have to to do away with the wide lens. The f/2.8mm is just perfect! I have only received praises for the N8's picture and video quality. I'm impressed! There's only one problem with the lens though. Nokia did not include a lens cover, unlike the Nokia N95. Just be careful when you are using the Nokia N8 or else you might have some scratches on the lens itself. Ouch! That's not what you would like to have though.The bluetooth on the N8 works perfectly, same goes to the HDMI output. Although the introduction of the usb on the go is not a new idea, nevertheless it shows how much Nokia is paying attention to details. With the usb on the go, you can use the N8 as a flash drive! It is useful if you need to transfer a large file from your mobile phone to your laptop via cable.

Besides, it is usb 3.0 compatible! 
I don't like the Ambient Light Sensor as I always have a problem with it though. Like many N8 users, I have, on many occasions, accidentally hang up on other people without notice. That is bad though. I am sure that the successor to the N8 should have a redesigned ambient light sensor. If you noticed, the front facing camera is just next to the Ambient Light Sensor. I've not tried video calling but I'm hoping for Skype to introduce video calling on the Symbian ^3. After all, they have done it on the Apple's Mac OSX for the Iphone, am I right? If there's one thing which I like so much about the N8, it will be the capacity of the N8. It comes with a 256MB NAND memory and a massive 16GB onboard memory. You could also buy a 32GB microSD card to make up the 49GB of storage for your N8. I'm so pleased with Nokia that I've tried using a 32GB microSD card and it works! The inbuild and hard-to-replace-1230mAh-Li-Ion battery is considered to be sufficient by Nokia but not to me.

I do feel that Nokia should have placed a 1500mAh battery in it (e.g. on the E71,E72 and E90) instead. At this moment, I have to rechage the phone every 15 hours if I am running Skype at the background (on standby) on 3G without making or receiving any calls. This is just crazy! Some users have questioned the idea of having a 1230mAh battery instead of the meaty 1500mAh battery. Why not the 1500mAh battery instead? If that is the case, a single charge of the battery will most probably last the N8 for more than a day under moderate usage.
Before I talk about the software on the N8, I would like to stress out that the 680Mhz ARM cpu is sufficient for everyday use. Couple with the Broadcom discreet graphics, it runs 3D games quite smoothly. I did not encounter any problems in playing 3D fighter games at all.

Software Review 
Like many other things, you do need the software to run a piece of hardware. It is like having the latest Intel Core i Series cpu (Sandy Bridge) on  your laptop but you do not have an operating system to run it. What's the point, am I right?

Similarly, with the N8, it comes with the new Symbian ^3 OS. I have nothing against the amateur OS but it annoys me all the time. This comes the fun part. I would always have a "frozen" N8 whenever someone tried to call me via skype while I am playing with the phone. Worst of all, I would have to switch off the N8 before restarting the N8 on numerous occasions just to enable Skype to run properly. I had a feeling that it might be Skype's fault as their software is not fully compatible with the Symbian ^3 or it is just the way how insonsistent Symbian ^3 is. The funny thing is that I don't get such a problem if I am using Nimbuzz or Fring. It bags the question of whether it is definitely Skype's problem.

At this moment, I have tried installing the latest Skype software on the N8 with the software version It tends it run alright for a few hours before the N8 freezes again. I don't want to use the "three finger salute" as they call it as both Ovi Maps and Ovi Store will disappear from the desktop. I have tried to use Ovi Suite's reinstallation of the N8's firmware and restore device for a start. So far so good as I have no problems for this moment. Actually I am using both Nokia PC Suite and Nokia Ovi Suite for installation of softwares and backup purposes. I would use the Nokia PC Suite to do a backup of the phone as it will allow a backup of 99 years unlike the Ovi Suite for the longest 12 months!

I do use the Ovi Suite to install the latest maps and softwares. If you are keen in using Nokia's PC Suite, you need to use the version. Any later version of the PC Suite will not be able to recognise the N8. 
The next selling point of Nokia is actually the Nokia Ovi maps. It allows a user to install voice guidance navigation of many countries for free! Similar softwares would have cost a user around £400 (if you are looking at a standalone TomTom World). With Nokia Ovi maps, you can delete the maps which you don't need to save space and install those maps which you need. It will get updated as time goes by. Perfect!

Any last words?
The N8 is a monster with very nice multimedia functions but it is a shame that it gets bog down with a cripple OS. Until and unless Nokia software developers come up with updates to the N8, I'm afraid that we would have to bear the "freezing" of the N8 for sure. I read on the internet that the PR1.1 is already being distributed via Navifirm 0.4 but it is no longer available as of 15/01/2011. I guess that we had to wait patiently for the upgrades. It is a shame that the N8 does not excel in its apps but their hardware is spectacular! A Nokia N8 user would also have to be patient with the capacitive screen. It is not as responsive as the Iphone across the range. I think it is down to the Mac OSX. It's perfect! 
Before I stop, it is good to know that by shutting down the theme effect will speed up the N8's menu. I am having some problems with its WLAN capabilities. It does not seem to register my house's wireless at all. That's strange.

Now, if you are using Skype, you might want to install skype version It looks promising though as I have not experienced any "frozen" N8 so far. Anyway, I will be waiting patiently for Nokia's next major upgrade to the N8. Come on Nokia... Where's the power of Nokia?

26/1/2011 - There should be an update from Nokia for the Nokia N8 i.e. PR 1.1 but I have yet to see it. Damn...30/1/2011 - After searching through many webpages and also a few days of research, I have managed to solve the problem of a "freezing" Nokia N8. As far as I'm concern, there's no MSN Messenger for the N8 for the moment. This is an addition to the Skype installation which I have mentioned earlier on. It will be good if you were to use Fring or Nimbuzz. However, if you are thinking of using either Fring or Nimbuzz, make sure that you would have to reboot the machine after installing them. Otherwise your N8 will just "freeze" when you initiate the application.

Personally, I do feel the Nimbuzz is not as stable as the Fring on the N8. 
I would advise people not to use FringOut on the N8 as the sound quality is choppy. I will start testing on Nimbuzz out in a few days time. One good thing about Fringout is that they don't charge VAT! That's fabulous! 

31/1/2011 - I have managed to try out Nimbuzz Out and guess what? It is stable running on the Nokia N8! Please bear in mind that Fring Out might have solved the existing problem with it's freezing on the N8 when their new and updated firmware is released. At this moment, I will put my bet on Nimbuzz as it is working perfectly. However, you will have to pay VAT when you top up. It's the same with Skype but not with Fring. It's your call.
05/2/2011 - Ever since Nokia has announced an update of the new Symbian ^3 OS from PR1.0 to PR1.1, it is reported that only C6 is getting the update now. Nokia N8 and C7 users will have to wait for next week to be able to receive the updates. Oh well... at least there's an update...

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