For the last 2 days I’ve been re-familiarising myself with the Nokia N810 and using it as an online presence, notification tool, microblogging tool and communicator. I’ve got the email client hooked up to Google via IMAP, Mauku tracking twitter, the built in chat client connected to Gtalk and OVI, the built-in Skype client running (voice works too), weather updating on the home page and the RSS reader loaded with feeds. Oh, and because of the very nice sounding audio quality, I’ve been using it as an Internet radio. Canola is loaded with the last.fm plugin and I’ve even considered fitting the car mount and subscribing to the navigation system. Oh, I almost forgot, FBreader is installed now and I’m planning to start reading with it. (Nokia and Amazon should get together for an offering on the Nokia Tablets.) When used in this mode, as a screen-off presence and notification tool, it will last for 7 hours on a single charge. (That’s about 3-times more efficient than the best Intel MIDs.)
There are problems though. Firstly, when you get an interesting RSS entry or tweet and you click through to the URL, the device slows to a crawl on the web and the experiences takes a nosedive. The N810 isn’t a good browsing device at all, despite the good technical capability of the browser. (A proxied browser service like Opera Mini would have been much better for this platform.) The second problem is connectivity. WiFi and Bluetooth are your only choices meaning it’s not really a mobile device. Tethering to a mobile phone for on-the-go usage will give you battery life issues on the phone although spare batteries for mobile phones are generally quite cheap now so if you’re able to share your phones data connection easily, this is an option.
I love the N810 design, enjoy the keyboard and predictive text input, am impressed by the way Nokia, Maemo and the community has remained active on this platform and because of those advances in software, consider the N810 to be more useful now than it was when I first tested it over a year ago. It’s still not worth the 450 Euro I paid for it, mainly because technology has moved forward since then, but it is definitely worth what Expansys are asking for it in the UK now.
This is going to sound like an out-and-out advertisement but believe me, I had started using the N810 before I had any idea that Expansys were going to drop the price to just 180 pounds. That’s just over 200 Euro at today’s exchange rate. Even with being limited to slow or mobile-site browsing and having to tether for your out of hotspot experiences, its a bargain.
It’s very rare that I put affiliate links in news items but I’m going to do it here because this is a great entry-level into the world of Internet communications and microblogging.
Nokia N810 on offer – Expansys UK. £179.99
Tip: InternetTabletTalk is the place to find the Maemo and Nokia Tablet community once you’ve made your purchase. Try Android, Ubuntu and other software stacks if you get bored with Maemo!
More info on the N810 including specs and links, in the product information page.