Nokia Booklet. Specification Update. Price. Thoughts on Battery life / Performance.

Posted on 25 August 2009 by



The Nokia Booklet is really just another netbook but there’s a few things that make it worth analysing. The brand, the battery life claims and the ‘HD’ element. We’ve just had some confirmation about the specs and now we have enough to go on in order to analyse the Booklet and highlight some important aspects.

The specification update comes via All About Symbian the well-connected UK-based lads who are confirming that the CPU in the Booklet will be an Intel Atom Z530 1.6Ghz part, the same as you’ll find in a Fujitsu U820. There’s also news that the HDD is 120GB indicating that it’s probably a 2.5” part. There are 120GB 1.8” drives (again, the Fujitsu U820 has one) but I have my fingers crossed that they don’t have it inside the Booklet. More about that below.

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Pricing information comes from Sascha at Netbooknews.de. He’s been given a $799 price which, when considering that this is a netbook, is shocking but if it comes with Windows 7 Home Premium, HDPA, A-GPS, HDMI and all the other specs as promised, including the huge battery life, it isn’t bad. Expect a 200 $/Euro discount through a carrier. 350 Euros in Europe on a 24 month contract might tempt quite a few given the brand, style and the huge number of sales channels that Nokia have.

Full specifications have been updated in the Nokia Booklet Product Page.

So how is this baby going to perform compared to other netbooks? Well, it just so happens that I have a mini notebook here that runs a 120GB drive on an Intel Z530 CPU with 1GB of RAM. I’ve also got it running Windows 7. It’s the Fujitsu Loox U/B50 (U820/U2010.) and I use it a lot so I feel confident about making some guesstimates about speed, video performance and battery life.

Performance.

Windows 7 is good but it’s generally not as fast as Windows XP. With double the amount of processes running in about double the amount of RAM it’s hardly surprising that it’s a bit slower but compared to Vista, it’s a dream. In fact the difference between W7 and Vista on the U820 is the same as usable and not-usable. The U820 even runs a low-speed 1.8” drive! If the Booklet has a faster, SATA-based 2.5” drive then things will hum along quite nicely. 1GB RAM is a worry but for everyday browsing and basic computing, it shouldn’t be a problem for most people. A fast SSD would be even better and on the Kohjinsha SK3 I have, a Z520 (1.3Ghz) Menlow-based device, it works wonders.

In summary, if the Booklet comes with a fast 2.5” drive then Windows 7 should be acceptable. No faster than a standard netbook running Windows XP but certainly acceptable.

ports

Video.

There are two elements of video to consider. Browser-based and media-player based. I’m happy to say that under W7, the support for video playback on the Menlow platform is much better than on any other operating system. H.264 playback is hardware accelerated and, if the drivers get better, so is WMV and Divx/Xvid. 720p at low-cpu load should be easy and if everything is optimised well, 1080p should be possible. It makes me wonder if Nokia are going to sell HD video content through the OVI store.

The other aspect of video is Flash. That CPU-heavy software that finds itself in every nook and cranny of the web is going to be a tough challenge. It is possible that Adobe release a W7/DXVA capable update but until that happens you’re stuck with standard quality YouTube with slightly stuttery (although watchable) HQ content in full screen. Forget HD content on YouTube until a flash update arrives. Hulu is apparently a problem on Menlow. I can’t confirm as it’s not available here in Germany.

Battery life.

12 hours battery life is a tall order. But not for a marketing department;-) In my tests I average about 7w drain from the 1.6Ghz Menlow platform under hard web usage. On a standard netbook battery of about 30wh it’s 4hrs. However there’s a good possibility that Nokia have put some high capacity batteries in. 40wh is achievable in 1250gm and that would bring just under 6 hours. The trick here is that the Menlow platform idles down to extremely low levels. 5W is easy to achieve and if the radios are off and the screen on a very low brightness, the battery life can be doubled. 12hrs is a marketing figure. 6 hours active on-net battery life is what you should be expecting in the real world. Watch out though because Windows 7 is very good at shutting down Menlow when it’s not being used so by the time you read the battery meter it’s gone into a quiet-state and it showing more battery life than you will really get!

Location-aware.

One of the biggest issues with XP and Vista in the web2.0 world is that the operating system isn’t sensor-aware. GPS hardware remains as an unidentified com port and applications wanting to access it require user configuration. In Windows 7 that changes to make geo-aware apps a real possibility. It is possible that Nokia could deliver an interesting maps and social networking application through OVI on Windows 7. In addition to HD content, maybe Nokia will be selling navigation and maps through Ovi.

Is it worth it?

I’ve been having a little discussion on Twitter about the $799 value of the Booklet and as an entry price, I think Nokia have got it right. HSPA + A-GPS + Aluminium body +  HDMI out + Hi-resolution + Windows 7 + Style + Brand adds up to a lot of extra value over the existing netbooks. For sure the next generation netbooks from the likes of Asus and Samsung will have Windows 7 and could introduce some very nice features on top of it but I think Nokia will react to bring the price down soon after launch. A $699 Christmas price and a $599 summer 2010 back-to-school price seems like a sensible way to roll it out and when you add $200 discounts through 3G carriers and the occasional special-offer street price and 2010 specification refresh, it all seems reasonable to me. I also suspect that the $799 price at Netbooknews is a European price converted into US dollars putting it at 560 Euro including taxes here and about $599 in the U.S. We’ll have to wait to see if I’m right about that though.

We’ll probably get the first hands-on thoughts from a few lucky bloggers soon but we won’t need to wait long for the full situation-report. Expect the Booklet to launch next week with availability as soon as Windows 7 is out. With a bit of luck we’ll be seeing it at the Intel Developer Forum in 4 weeks so I’ll be sure to bring you my updated thoughts then.

My only open thought is that I hope Nokia fill in the gap between the N900 and Booklet with a 4.8 and 7” offering. That would give us a great range of Nokia devices to think about.

So there are my thoughts. What are yours? Value? Shocking? Exciting? Let me know in the comments below.

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14 Comments For This Post

  1. Steve 'Chippy' Paine says:

    New article: Nokia Booklet. Specification Update. Price. Thoughts on Battery life / Performance. http://cli.gs/HA465

  2. teltarif.de says:

    RT @chippy: #Nokia #Booklet. Specification Update. Price. Thoughts on Battery life / Performance. http://cli.gs/HA465 – nice article!

  3. Dave Block says:

    Nokia Booklet. Specification Update. Price. Thoughts on Battery … http://bit.ly/2S9MyB

  4. Nick Doucet says:

    After just recently purchasing a Viliv X70 (with 3G and 32 GB HD) I can say that this doesn’t excite me in the least. I am looking forward to the Tainell T500.
    The only thing that did excite me was 12 hour battery life, and like you say isn’t realistic.

    I am looking forward to a 4.8 inch device from Nokia witch I believe isn’t far off, the only question is if will be running Windows 7 or Meamo?

    Care to share some light on what you think Chippy?

  5. .thomas says:

    i’m not buying anything from nokia that comes with windows. quite the opposite: maemo on the n900 will be a strong reason why i’m most likely buying it. what matters to me is the vertical os that eldar has been talking about – and i already have linux (mint), which i am *not* giving up. so my hope is that maemo at least in the future will work well with my debian based distro.

    Chippy Reply:

    Actually I think most people reading UMPCPortal would say the same thing. I’m certainly not interested. There’s nothing this device can do that my Touchbook can’t (I don’t have an HDMI-capable TV) now that i’ve got a spare battery.
    However to many people in Europe, Nokia represents a very reliable brand. I really hope the dollar price was a Euro-retail price conversion and not a US price.

    Beomagi Reply:

    I can get that going linux can give a lighter feel, though the n800 and n810 – while I rather use that than a limiting ebook reader are prone to crashing.

    This has me believing maemo isn’t very stable – or is it the nokia hardware?

    If that’s aluminum, that netbook looks… delicious :)

  6. Antoni Veciana says:

    Seams very interesting, for my point of view OVI is key word. The problem is mobile operators fares at least in Spain were I live.

    Chippy Reply:

    The same applies to Belgium. I wish we could have more pricing harmony in Europe with cross-border contracts.

  7. tino says:

    I actually see this as a sign of Nokia has finally lost it.

    Releasing a Netbook so late in the game with so little new features to bring to the table is just lame. In fact it might as well be an ODM MSI wind.

    That and the N97 (getting very little interest due to its HTC form factor) and N900 (running on Maemo 5 which is a dead platform as Nokia is moving to a different Liunx toolkit) signal that Nokia smartphone managerment is in complete chaos under the iPhone/Blackberry attack.

    Had Nokia release the n900 directly without the n97, it would at least signal a clear upgade path of the future. Now its just confusion.

    I aint buying any new Nokia product that’s for sure. I may pickup a used n810 on the cheap though.

  8. George says:

    The build and materials appear to be top-notch – the design is simple but elegant. The keyboard is in the chiclet style, which I’ve come to love. It simply looks like a slim, premium netbook.

    Ultimately it will come down to price – which I suspect is going to be very high for the spec, even in consideration of the build and materials used.

    Windows 7 isn’t the turn-off that Vista once was. I’d be happy with this on a netbook device – although my preference would still be for XP or a polished Linux OS.

    However, the impending arrival of some other interesting mobile devices makes me want to hold off for a bit.

    In particular, tablet devices from the likes of Apple, Archos, and Fusion Garage (CrunchPad) are likely to be launching soon – and I believe they’ll be far more suited the to ‘browsing on the move’ I’ve previously used a netbook for.

    It does seem to me like a very odd move for Nokia.

  9. Arnolfo says:

    For $799, I would expect at least a multitouch 1366×768 screen or a faster CULV processor with full 1080p capabilitie

    Beomagi Reply:

    Agree with resolution. Culv would be nice, though I’m not sure it’s totally necessary. At $800 it would be nice…

  10. Emin Tolga Özdemir says:

    Nokia Booklet. Specification Update. Price. Thoughts on Battery life / Performance http://bit.ly/Wwqx9 (via feedly)

  11. Mandula says:

    Is there really NO any mic port (only headphone line-out), you know, the pink one, or i’ve just missed it? Or is it built-in somewhere? I cannot find in description… Or should I buy a headset with only one jack-plug on the end for this booklet, and that will fit to this one headphone port, in and out in the same time like in telephones?

    I like Nokia anyway, if this little sweetie comes to Hungary… mmm… :)

  12. Alex says:

    The specs looks okay especially the hot swappable SIM slot, this would eliminate me from using the dongle, one thing that makes me think twice is the $799 price. I wish this would go down eventually.

  13. beomagi says:

    Are you guys using SIMs on notebooks in the states? if what what carrier? Here I worry about ridiculous limits and charges.

  14. Bern says:

    With No VGA output and Wired Network Card, I dont think this measures up to the standard mini laptops. The design is cool though. But I dont think I want to buy a mini or netbook without VGA and Wired network card. What if I want to connect to external monitor or projector, what if I dont get a wireless internet but have access to wired internet?