Finally, after some 8 months or more of speculation and rumors that the N8 would get a 2.0 firmware update, it happened. ‘Anna’ arrived.
For customers that spent 500 Euros on an N8 last year it’s a huge sigh of relief. For those thinking about a new cameraphone, I can tell you that there’s very little to moan about now. The software is mature, the price is right.
Portrait keyboard, simpler browsing, a re-worked icon set (that my wife says is cheap ‘like Linux’, I think it looks good!) and fixes all-round. For example, my OVI store now works again after being out of action for a month or more.
The N8 is still no high-end smartphone but as a media phone, the value for money here is amazing. Recent price drops have brought the device down to near €300.
My masterful plan to use the Nokia N8 and the Galaxy Tab for some photoblogging for Carrypad and UMPCportal via the wordpress application failed at CES in Las Vegas. Internet connectivity was terrible (despite having a Sprint MIFI) and so I abandoned it quickly. Barcelona should, if last year is anything to go by, be a lot better so stay tuned for a lot more posts. I’m going to be trying hard no to post photo after photo without any information. That would be boring.
Again I’ll be dragging along my trusty old Canon S2IS with its simple video capability that allows me to edit on Windows Movie Maker and to connect via USB for live blogging. I still can’t find a combination that beats it. It should allow me to upload some videos fairly quickly too.
Total kit list goes something like this:
Samsung Galaxy Tab
Gigabyte Touchnote netbook (with ssd and 2Gb upgrade)
Universal power pack (50wh)
Total weight is still going to be in the ‘backpack’ range unfortunately.
One extra service I want to try out this time is Audioboo. I’ve been testing it on the Galaxy Tab and I’m impressed. The audio quality is fine and it slots nicely into my Twitter stream. I won’t be including it on the website though as I want it to be something unique for my Twitter followers. If you haven’t heard of Audioboo, check it out. It allows you to record a piece of audio, in my case through the Samsung Galaxy Tab built-in Mic, and send it to their servers in a single press. They then send it into your Twitter stream and make it available, with RSS, in your own channel. You can find a few segments I’ve done with the Galaxy Tab here
Join me over at Carrypad and UMPCPortal over the next week. It will he fun!
What a perfect test it was to be away from home for 5 days. I took the Nokia N8, the Galaxy Tab and my Gigabyte netbook with me for Christmas in England and all three were needed. Convergence doesn’t exist.
The N8 makes a perfect phone. Voice calling is strong and reliable. It’s a perfect pocket, internet-connected camera too. In typical low-light, moving kids scenarios it beat my old N82 hands down. Video footage has been great too. I’m confident that there isn’t a better personal camera out there. Try having a compact camera ready for all the moments I captured! As for maps, well it wasn’t the best. I didn’t have to do much with turn-by-turn and when I searched for an address offline. I couldn’t find it. I had to go online to resolve that problem. Clearly I need to download the local map again but with Google maps supporting caching now, the advantages for OVI maps are fading. MP3 capabilities are good, the always-on clock is useful and timed profiles are a winner. Structurally I feel its going to last and although internet is relatively slow compared to my Galaxy Tab, it’s there if needed in an emergency. I used Gravity quite a few times.
The Gigabyte netbook came out twice in the last 2 days and I’m glad I had it because I had a server issue. Try ssh, server testing, ping, traceroute and submitting a ticket on the Tab. Under pressure, it’s no use in these scenarios at all. For admin work, there’s no way you can survive without windowing, a full browser with mouse and keyboard. No way!
As for the Tab, it became my buddy. Used way more than the phone or netbook it was used for comment handling on my blogs, emails, chat, sms, Facebook, Twitter, maps, contacts, calendar, ebooks, casual web, RSS reading, games, photo presenting, pdf reading (stored itinerary) and this – blog writing. I even used it for remote access to my PC although that was more of a more webcam experiment than anything else.
I knew there was a space. Carrypads are here, are valuable and show just how much fits into the ‘tweener’ space. The Origami concept of 2006 was spot on. Shame they didn’t have the technology to actually make it happen back then!
Anyone else out there, enjoying the three-device strategy?
My mobile reporting kit will change dramatically for CES 2011. I’ve just heard that ill be able to borrow an N8 to partner with my Galaxy Tab which, considering I’m doing a lot of mobile blogging on the Tab now, gives me the opportunity to try something very different indeed. How about a no-bag challenge? The would mean leaving the Netbook and main camera in the hotel during the day and doing everything on the N8 and Tab. Of course its possible but the question is, what is the quality going to be like and will it be efficient to try and write posts on the Tab.
Considering I just wrote this one in under 5 minutes using the wordpress app. on the Tab, while sitting on a sofa keeping an eye on my baby, I think it will be surprisingly good. Watch out for a detailed post on Carrypad soon.
I don’t usually cover standard smartphones on Carrypad but seeing as Nokia were kind enough to spend 2 hours demonstrating the N8 to me in DÃ¼sseldorf last month, I’ll be kind enough to comment on it and provide you readers with some thoughts.
[Photos, video and brief N82 photo comparison below.]
As someone who’s heavily into mobile and connected photography, (N82, X10i owner) the N8 interests me. As someone who’s also into a full, fast internet experiences, the N8 doesn’t interest me. ‘Step away from ARM11’ is my advice for anyone looking for a fast and full web experience and a few minutes with the iPhone 3, a well-optimised ARM11 web experience, will prove that even an optimised webkit browser isn’t up to the quality and speed of current high-end smartphones. Yes, Nokia will call the N8 a mainstream smartphone but at 450-Euros it comes in above the HTC Desire which is my benchmark for a 2010 smartphone.
My hands-on with the N8 left me with the feeling that it should be approached as a 3G media-camera rather than a smartphone. It’s more exciting if you think of it like that too â€“ a gadget. HDMI-out, 720p playback (I experienced a reasonable, but not stunning, playback), Dolby surround support with digital output is also exciting although I’m not sure who’s going to be selling content for that! Add in a quick and high-quality camera for static and video image work, a built-in editor, high quality 3G support, fast user interface and, something that I really value, a fast, scalable and high-quality MP3 manager and playback utility. There are a few other things too:
Ovi maps â€“ Free offline maps and turn-by-turn is invaluable for anyone that travels borders (try using Google Navigation when roaming on an Android phone!)
Quick access to SIM and MicroSD
AMOLED Screen (Great colour. Should save battery life in many cases over an LCD screen. Basic clock standby screen is always-on. Not that good in sunlight though)
On screen keyboard seemed good in portrait mode
USB On-the-go (USB hard drive access)
Potentially good gaming graphics
High quality YouTube playback? (In my opinion more valuable than Nokia TV)
12MP is impressive but does it perform. In my brief tests I was able to do a few N82 comparison photos and judging by the results (looking at ISO, shutter, F-stop settings used) the N8 is on the same level as an iPhone 4 when it comes to light sensitivity. I’d guess that it’s 2x more sensitive which sounds a lot but isn’t that significant when it comes to low light work. With the high quality optics, fast camera UI, video recording capability and high-power Xenon flash though, it definitely takes the lead as far as cameraphones go.
Sample Photos (8MP)
N82 Comparison â€“ Low Light Flash â€“ 8MP photo (More N8 images and sample photos at Flickr)
N82 (Left, 4:3 format, Original at Flickr) and N8 (Right, Original at Flickr) If you check the EXIF data on Flickr, you’ll see that there isn’t much of a difference in light sensitivity between the N82 and N8 although the N82 is probably using some heavy processing and of course, it has firmware that has been matured over 2.5 years! A crop of the two photos shows good quality on both cameras although this is only at 8MP. A 12MP N8 pic would obviously provide sharper images at larger sizes. N82 crop image on left.
Overall, the N8 gives much better camera experience with quicker response, faster preview, better ‘viewfinder’, better features and overall better results. It’s clear that it’s a worthy upgrade to the N82
The N8 is not a do-it-all smartphone or a no-brainer consumer smartphone like the HTC Desire or iPhone because it’s aimed at a market of mobile media users and creators who like to share with quality; People wanting a productive web experience with a choice of tens of thousands of apps need to look elsewhere. Having owned the N82 for over 2 years I know that the N8 can replace a compact camera and because it’s in the pocket, you’ll end up with more of those ‘real-world’ shots that are so satisfying. In family and friend situations, it’s a real advantage.
The N8 is a flexible, connected media partner and in a few months when the price drops by 10-15%, should be good value too. I certainly can’t think of a better connected camera in the market right now and it’s tempting to swap out my Xperia X10i for it although I know there’s a lot I’d miss.
[Sidenote: If anyone reading this in Europe buys an N8 and fancies swapping with an X10i, either temporarily or permanently, let me know because i’m prepared to give it a try.]