It’s been 15 months since Nokia gave me an N8 for a long term test. The N8 is now available with Belle, for about 260 Euros. Not bad at all for the best cameraphone quality out there. Here’s an update on how I feel about it today and how it affects my thoughts about the Nokia 808 – an awesome camera, with the same OS.
The truth is that the N8 operating system is now so far behind that I’m struggling. My main issue is a simple case of being able to share photos and text online and to other applications. Nokia Social is a joke. I can’t share to Flickr, to Gplus, to YouTube. After 15 months, you still have to start up another application for image sharing, if you can find one. Ovi store is slow and has very few up-to-date apps in it. Whatsapp and Pixelpipe have dropped out of the store. Other apps are stagnating.
The N8 is not an Internet phone. The MP3 player and headset, on the other hand, great! build quality is fantastic too.
- Battery life – 1 charge every 2 days. The thing is you don’t load it up and use it as much as other smartphones so of course the battery life is good!
- Screen – nearly 100% scratch free.
- Casing – Some paint rubbed off. Drop marks.
- I’ve used the DLNA feature a number of times. HDMI out is something I never use now though.
- I’ve used the N8 as a voice recorder a number of times. I like the audio recording quality.
- Nokia Maps still works well although Google Maps and Navigation still has the best search and up-to-date locations.
- UI Speed and usability – Great since Nokia Belle came along. Swift, easy, quality.
Nokia 808 Pure View
The 808 will run the same OS ‘core’ as the Nokia N8. It’s a huge problem. While Nokia Belle is way better than the original OS shipped with the N8 it’s still not good enough. The huge app issue should be no surprise to most of you reading this. No-one will find a business case developing a Symbian Belle application. If Nokia can’t even plug the APIs for Flickr, Instagram or G-Plus/Picasa into ‘Nokia Social’ for an camera-focused product the Nokia 808 will end up as an unconnected camera. That’s not what it should be and that’s not what I want from a camera in my pocket. Pocket camera communities are growing at an amazing rate and if the 808 doesn’t look like it will keep up, I’m not buying. Many others are probably going to feel the same, especially as the IOS and Android option are moving into ‘good enough’ territory with their cameras.
The N8 remains a cameraphone (and even a WiFi camera – sometimes I don’t have a SIM card in it!) I use but it sits alongside other connected smartphones and is being pushed into the darkness. Literally. One of the few advanced use cases left for the N8 is low-light pocket photography. At least when I reach for it, it’s usually still got a good amount of battery left in it!