Nokia N800 Internet Tablet: A New Nokia without a Phone

Mobile Device ReviewsDevin Balentina

I’ve had the Nokia N800 for a month now, enough to write a very extensive review and that’s exactly what I’m going to do, just like my previous N93/N93i Review! But let’s start from the beginning, shall we? During the Las Vegas CES 2007 Summit in January 2007, more specifically on January the 8th Nokia introduced the N800 Internet Tablet, the successor to their well-known 770 Internet Tablet. Just like its predecessor it’s pitched as an Internet-centric device that allows quick access to Internet services. But with your Desktop at home, your laptop on the road and even Nokia’s own Symbian S60 based phones is there even a place for the N800? Is the N800 doomed to be just a niche-market product? How does it fare as an Internet device, is there space for improvement or has Nokia released its full potential? These are the questions I asked myself when I first got the N800. During the time I’ve had it so far I’ve come to find the answer to these questions. Read on to see my findings.
Like always let’s start the review of with the specs:

General

Access the Web on a portable internet tablet-High-resolution widescreen display

-Opera 8

-Flash 7

Internet communications

-Internet calling with integrated webcamera

-Instant Messaging

-E-mail client

-Full screen finger keyboard

Access to internet media at home and on-the-go

-High quality stereo speakers

-Media player

-UPnP architecture

-Expandable mass memory

Size

-Volume: 137 cc

-Weight: 206 g

-Length: 75 mm

-Width: 144 mm

-Thickness: 13 (/18) mm

Color

-Silver front cover and matt black back

Display

-High-resolution (800×480) touch screen with up to 65,536 colours

Memory and Storage

-RAM 128 MB

-Flash 256MB, 128 MiniSD with extender included in sales package

-Two internal memory card slots, compatible with SD, MicroSD, MiniSD, MMC, and RS-MMC. Compatible with cards up to 2GB. Configurable up to 4GB.

Operating Times

-Battery- BP-5L

-Browsing time- up to 3.5 hours

-Standby time- up to 12 days

Form and Function

-High quality stereo speakers and sensitive microphone

-High-resolution widescreen display

-Integrated desk stand for on-table-use

-Ergonomic keys for Internet usage

Operating system

-Internet Tablet OS 2007 edition

Internet Tablet OS 2007 edition

-Key applications (additional applications available)

-Web Browser (Opera 8) with Flash player (v7)

-Internet calling with video

-Instant Messaging

-E-mail

-Media player

-Internet Radio

-RSS Feed Reader

Connectivity

-Auto-connection to saved Wi-Fi hotspots or through Bluetooth compatible phone

Input methods

-Full screen finger keyboard

-On-screen keyboard

-Handwriting recognition

Display functions

-Zooming, full-screen and panning functionality

Utilities

-Application installer

-PDF viewer

-Sketch

-File manager

-Backup/restore

-Image viewer

-Notes

-Calculator

Supported file formats

-Audio: AAC, AMR, MP2, MP3, RA (Real Audio), WAV, WMA

-Image: BMP, GIF, ICO, JPEG, PNG, TIFF, SVG-tiny

-Video: 3GP, AVI, H.263, MPEG-1, MPEG-4, RV (Real Video)

-Internet radio playlists: M3U, PLS

Connectivity

-WLAN: 802.11b/g

-Bluetooth specification: 2.0

-For Internet connection and file transfer via phone

-Profiles supported: Dial-up Networking, File Transfer, Generic Access, SIM Access, Object Push Profile, —Human Interface Profile and Serial Port profiles

-USB 2.0 high speed device mode for PC connectivity

Language

-User Interface: British English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, American English, Brazilian Portuguese, Canadian French, Latin American Spanish, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Russian, Dutch, Norwegian, Portuguese

-User’s Guide: British English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, American English, Brazilian Portuguese, Canadian French, Latin American Spanish, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Russian, Dutch, Norwegian, Portuguese, Arabic

Package Contents

Standard Sales Package Contents

-Nokia N800 Internet Tablet (RX-34)

-Extra stylus

-Battery (BP-5L)

-128MB MiniSD card with extender (MU-17)

-Stereo headset (HS-48)

-Travel charger (AC-4)

-Pouch (CP-136)

-Data cable (DKE-2)

-Quick start guide

-Safety, warranty and other product information

Accessories (Available separately.)

-Navigation kit for N800

-Wallet and case for N800

-Memory cards

-Mobile charger DC-4

-Charger adapter CA-44

-External Bluetooth keyboard

-Stereo headphones

-Extra Stylus pack

The N800

The Nokia brand is synonymous with phones so it would not

come as surprise when most people expect the N800 to be a phone. When using my gadgets family members and friends are always commenting or asking questions about my devices and in the case of the N800 the first thing they ask about it is what brand it is. When I tell them, this would be followed by them commenting: “Oh it’s a Nokia, so it’s a phone or PDA right?” I would then have to explain what it is and they would then comment that they didn’t know about this type of product. So if the N800 is not a phone what is it? It can be best described as an internet appliance or Internet-centric device; more specifically you could call it an Internet Tablet and is running Linux-based Maemo 3.0 in the form of Internet Tablet OS 2007. The form factor can be considered monoblock and it’s available in just one color scheme: Silver front/matte black back. Looking at the N800’s name you’d expect it to be the flagship of the Nseries line when in fact it’s not. This is especially true when looking at it from a feature and specs point of view, the flagship position is of course reserved for the Nokia N95. In most product lines the higher number means better product, this is true when you compare the N800 to the old 770 model. But the same can not be said compared to the rest of the Nseries models as it’s not a phone. The “800” was obviously brought up to position it as the “newer and updated” 770 Internet Tablet, adding it to the Nseries line of devices requires it to have the mandatory “N” prefix, hence the usage of “N800”. Seeing that it’s an Internet tablet they added that to the name.

How does the N800 differ from the 770? First of all the design has been re-done sporting a much nicer exterior while you can now use both your finger and the included pen as input method, the N800 now even adjust the display depending on the usage of the pen or your finger , but more on that later on. What else has been improved? Just as previous 770 users requested, the RAM can now be bumped up to 128mb instead of the previous 64Mb. The internal Flash memory has doubled in size going from 128 to 256Bb and most importantly the N800 now sports Texas instruments’ impressive 330 Mhz OMAP2 2420 single-chip applications processor, the same speedy chip used in the in the N93, N93i and N95. The 770 used the 220MHz OMAP 1710. On the connectivity side Bluetooth 2.0 is being used as compared to Bluetooth v1.2 in the 770 and 802.11g has been added. New to the N800 is a pop-out VGA camera for video chatting and taking pictures. The N800 also has two SD (Secure Digital) flash memory card slots, whereas the 770 only had a single RS-MMC (reduced size multimedia cards) slot. One of these slots is located as an internal slot under the back cover, and the other is located under the memory card cover on the front corner of the tablet. Both memory cards can be hot swapped in and out while the unit’s powered up. In theory, each card can hold up to 2GB of data for a total of 4 GB. There have been some early reports that the slots can handle 4GB SD cards each. I can’t confirm this as I haven’t tested this out and 4GB cards seem to be hard to find. If you tried 4Gb card on the N800 let me know in the comments section.

Design and Package

The N800 comes in the now familiar looking package,

similar to other Nseries devices sporting a grey and white design. The front of the package (just like the N93) is adorned with pictures of people using the product in different scenarios while on the back you can find the usual feature list and an overview of the different components of the N800. Overall the package is quite complete and includes almost everything needed to get the most out of the device, I only wish if they had included a larger memory card for storage plus an extra 128mb card for virtual memory purposes, as the N800 can use memory cards up to 128Mb as RAM, allowing you to effectively run more apps at once. Nokia has been making it a habit to include large memory cards with their products; both the N95 and N93 are evidence to this. Why only include a 128mb card with their tablet? I was surprised to find a pouch in the package, it’s very basic as it doesn’t have a strap or belt clip but it does protect that beautiful screen and it’s always nice to find these extras. The included earphones are similar to the ones you find with other Nseries devices: they do the job and sound ok, but if you truly want to get the best out of it I would recommend getting better earphones like those from Shure or Etymotic.

The Standard Sales Package Comes with:

-Nokia N800 Internet Tablet (RX-34)

-Extra stylus

-Battery (BP-5L)

-128MB MiniSD card with extender (MU-17)

-Stereo headset (HS-48)

-Travel charger (AC-4)

-Pouch (CP-136)

-Data cable (DKE-2)

-Quick start guide

-Safety, warranty and other product information

Before getting the device I looked at many videos and pictures of it online and to be honest I thought it looked kinda plasticky and large, but when I got it totally different story! There was no trace of that “plasticky” look; but it gives you more the impression of being a sleek sophisticated device with a nice industrial looking design. I’m used to Nokia’s excellent build quality, but the N800 just exudes an even higher quality when compared to other mobile devices and goes way beyond what I’ve seen so far from most Nseries phones. The material s used and the way this thing is built is just excellent and feels as if it was made from one piece. I tried the good ol’ flex test holding the unit with both hands and trying to flex it: not a single squeak! Not really part of the test, but I did accidentally drop the N800 and although it was left with a few scratches here and there it survived; showing its excellent build quality.

Keys and Parts

The N800 consists of:

1.Microphone, 2.Power Key, 3.Zoom-in Key, 4.Full-screen key, 5.Zoom-out key, 6.Web Camera, 7.Scroll Keys, 8.Escape Keys, 9.Menu Keys, 10.Swap Keys, 11.Looudspeakers, 12.Memory Card Slot,13.Mini USB port, 14.Deskstand, 15.Charger Connector,16.Stereo Audio-Out Connector and 17.Stylus

Let’s take a little tour around the N800 and see what we can find, let’s start from the back. The N800 only comes in one color scheme; metallic in front and black on the back. The back is mostly clear with a large battery compartment with a metallic looking latch to open it. There’s the mandatory Nokia logo on the back cover. The opening mechanism for the latch seems simple and effective closing and opening with a nice click. The battery compartment of the N800 is about the only part that feels less secure: putting your finger on it and moving side to side makes it wobble a bit, so this is a piece that could be more tight. On the top left part of the back we can see the component of the pen that sticks out allowing you to pull it out. While the stylus is inside the body only this metallic part sticks out, it integrates well with the body and design adding an interesting design element. The top part of the back has this bulge that runs from end to end; it is in this bulge where both the pen and VGA camera are concealed. The back part is made of this very hard plastic making it feel very sturdy, it’s only the battery compartment that feels a bit loose. While the material is not smooth it can not be considered textured either. In come cases the device can feel a bit slippery and it would have been a good idea if Nokia would have made this plastic a little bit more textured or use the same rubbery type material used on the N95 to add some grip. I didn’t consider this as a major gripe as the built-in desk stand can double as a secure way to hold the device. On the right side we can find the opening for the stylus, the very handy 3.5mm jack and charger connector. Pulling out the desk stand reveals the mini USB port which is hidden when the desk stand is in closed position: a very clever solution in my opinion. Compared to the busy right side, there’s not much to be found on the left side except for the integrated VGA camera. When closed the camera module fits flush to the body, the only indication of the camera location is this circle. The camera pops-out when pressing this circle, the same way it is pushed back in the body. The bottom is where the desk stand rests when in closed position, while the top is a bit busier with the microphone, power button, zoom-in key, full screen key and zoom-out key. The buttons on top are well positioned for right- or two handed use: holding the N800 with either two hands or left hand these buttons are always in the reach of the left fingers. Left handed users will of course be holding the stylus with the left hand and holding the N800 with their right hand and reaching for the top buttons will be a bit of stretch, maybe adding duplicate buttons on both the left and right hand side would alleviate this. Both the left, right, top and bottom of the device is in the same black plastic as the back. The front continues the simple theme in a metallic looking finish. The front is dominated by the large screen: this thing is just a treat to see measuring a whopping 4.1” with an ultra high resolution of 800 × 480. The outer edges of the front part are in done in a shinier, mirror like metallic finish. The rest can be best described as textured metall. There are speaker on both sides of the screen hidden behind tiny perforations in the metal. While the speakers themselves are not at the bottom, they decided to continue these series of perforation to add another interesting design aspect. On the left we can find the scroll button, escape button, menu key and swap key. There is not much to say about the button lay out on the front, it follows a simple and logical layout. The screen is slightly recessed and in most cases this should provide some protection, but I found that in some cases it’s more of a hindrance. There are times when you want to touch something on the screen and it just happens to be near the edge of the display, like for example the close button. While using my fingers I would find myself trying to squeeze it between the “edge” and where my finger should be. This could have been resolved if these buttons would get bigger just like the rest of the UI when it detects that your using your fingers. Same thing with the stylus, when trying to reach things near the display I would find myself hitting the raised edges. This would have been lessened if this edge would have been slightly less high. While the screen is extremely bright with vibrant colors and the high resolution used makes for some crisp text and graphics inside, as soon as you step outside the screen does become difficult to read due to the reflective nature of using touch screen technology. This it not Nokia’s fault as this is a problem with all touch screen displays. Neither the N93 nor the N95 have a touch screen and have extraordinary screens that look good and readable even outside in the brightest sun light.

In the design department the N800 leaves the impression of being a well assembled product excelling above most Nseries devices, being similar in quality to the likes of the N91 or N70 which were of excellent build quality. It’s just feels as it was made from a one piece; the only exception to this is the battery cover that feels a little flimsy. There are small things that in my opinion can be fixed; these are the deeply recessed screen creating an unnecessary edge. The material used for the back does feel kind of slippery so the use of a more rubberized material like used on the N95 would have been better, but this not that big of an issue as you can use the desk stand to hold it in your hand. The package is typical Nseries with the necessary needed to get you started; my only complaint is the inclusion of a memory card with such a small capacity. The device is capable of using memory cards as RAM, this should have come as standard in the package. The screen is very reflective outdoors, but this is the nature of touch screens, so I won’t hold this against the N800.

Features and Specs

Just like its phone-based siblings N93, N93i and N95, the N800 also boasts the impressive OMAP 2 2420 single-chip applications processor. The OMAP 2420 includes an integrated ARM1136 processor (330 MHz), a TI TMS320C55x DSP (220 MHz) and 2D/3D graphics accelerator by Imagination Technologies’ PowerVR MBX core. The OMAP2 also has added imaging and video accelerator for higher-resolution still capture applications, multi-megapixel cameras and full-motion video encode and decode with VGA resolution of 30 frames per second.

An added TV video output supports connections to television displays for displaying images and video captured from the handset. 5-Mb internal SRAM also boost streaming media performance.

Interestingly it seems some of the OMAP2 features specifically the TV-out and the ability to take multi-megapixel pictures and VGA video capture have been left out. I can understand the omission of VGA video and the multi-megapixel as the N800 is not an imaging device but an internet gateway. But why leave out the TV-out? As I found when using N93 or N95 this is a very handy feature and can turn any TV into a very nice way to enjoy multimedia and internet. I’m also wondering about the status of the 3D side of things. The OMAP2 is supposed to support this but yet there is no mention of it with the N800 and it doesn’t come with any preinstalled 3D games like System Rush.I was able to find the old DOOM game and it played smoothly on the N800.

Looking past the chipset used, the N800 is just a feature packed device giving you anything from browsing, email, VOIP, chatting video chatting, video, taking pictures, music and games. The amazing thing is that all of this can be done with the standard out-of-the-box software, yet more functionality can be added through the installation of applications and this to me is the key part of this platform. This makes it ideal for both the non-techie and advanced user. Mom can use all these features without ever having to fiddle with app installation, while the more advanced users can install applications and customize the device exactly the way they like.

Software

The N800 is running Linux-based Maemo 3.0 in the form of Internet Tablet OS 2007.

The User Interface is available in: British English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, American English, Brazilian Portuguese, Canadian French, Latin American Spanish, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Russian, Dutch, Norwegian and Portuguese. First thing I did is to make sure I got the latest firmware update and at the time of writing this was OS 2007 edition v. 3.2007.10-7. This particular updates introduced very important improvements and additions, these included:

-Video and Flash performance and quality

-Bluetooth connection

-Browser stability

-Activating touch screen and keys lock

Most notably for me is the improvement of flash performance and quality. This is especially important seeing that many sites are starting to get flash-heavy, some are even totally dependant of flash like YouTube being one of the most popular examples. That’s why it’s critical for such an internet device to have good flash performance. I’m glad to report that the updated OS 2007 edition v. 3.2007.10- really has improved flash video performance compared to the previous version. I’ve seen video of flash playback done on the earlier version and I must say it looked choppy; the current performance is perfectly acceptable, even though a few more frame rates need to be squeezed out of the N800 for it to be just perfect. I’m sure this can be done seeing that N800 has very capable hardware underneath its hood. The user interface looks like a cross between Symbian S60 and the Windows Operating system. Just like both examples multi-tasking is at it’s core and is one of the strong points for this platform. Starting from a cold boot it takes about 30 seconds for the device to start and become available for usage, most of the time it can just remain on stand-by and be instantly available with the touch of the stylus (or finger). While using the device I didn’t have the need to turn it off as the stand-by time is excellent.

When the device is started or when it comes out of the stand-by you are greeted with the “Home View” this is similar to the Windows Desktop or Symbian S60’s Active stand-by screen. The stand-by screen consists of 7 areas: the task navigator, application title area, status indicator, minimizes and close buttons (when an app is open and maximized), application area, toolbar and application switcher.

Touch screen

The touch screen consists of the task navigator (1), the

application title area (2), the status indicator area (3),the minimize and close buttons (4),the application area (5),the toolbar (6), and the application switcher (7).

The Task Navigator

The task navigator is customizable in the sense that you can choose the order of the icons. The taskbar navigator is located on the left and consist out of 4 parts: 1)Web (here you can choose web related apps like the browser and bookmarks), 2)Contacts(here you can choose apps that fall in the communication category like chat, mail, contacts and internet call etc), 3)Application which acts like a menu button to get access to all apps, options and services and lastly it has the 4)application switcher to switch between open applications. The application switcher shows the last 4 running apps, if you have more then 4 programs open you can just press the icon at the bottom to see all open apps. The same can be achieved by pressing the Home button.

The Application (menu) is similar to Symbian’s application/application switcher and is the access to all standard programs and those you installed later on. It also provides access to all the customizable options of the N800. It’s in here you’ll find things like Help, Search, Tools including Application manager, Control Panel and Backup/Restore.

The Application Title Area

The application title area displays the app title and houses application specific options and the usual copy, paste, cut, help and close.

The Minimize and Close buttons

The minimize and close buttons are self-explanatory and the concept is similar to the ones used in windows and are located at the top right part of the screen. I just wish these buttons would be

a bit bigger when using your fingers.

The Status Indicator

The Status indicator is located at the top right part of the screen and can consist of the battery status indicator,Alarm and clock indicator, Connections(allows you to manage your connections), Sound (allows you to mute, lower/increase the volume) Bluetooth connection status, Display brightness, your presence status in the Google talk app, Alarm, PC connection (USB) and web mail notifier. I used the word “can” as all of this is again customizable allowing you to choose exactly what icons you want have in the status indicator.

The Application Area

The application area is where the active/opened app resides. When there is no app open or when they are minimized your are in the Home View and it shows the applets or widget type application that you can remove from the screen or customize.

The Tool Bar

The tool bar contains the command buttons for the active applications, this is of course dependant of application or task at hand.

The menu system is logically placed and is quite easy to navigate: the basic things are placed closer to the Home View and the task navigator, you have to dig a bit deeper to find the more advanced settings. This makes the menu very simple looking and intuitive, yet it can be customized. This makes the N800 a device that you can quickly pickup and start using without knowing much about PC’s or mobile devices yet advanced users will feel right at home with the ability to install apps and customize the device to their liking. When I first got I didn’t read the manual (something I usually don’t do), yet I was able to quickly familiarize with the menu system and setup a WIFI connection to start browsing in a few minutes. While menus pop-up instantly the standard apps take about 2 seconds to open, while third party apps can take as much as 5 seconds.

The N800 comes with all the standard apps like browser, email client, media player, radio RSS feadmanager etc etc.Like I said before the strong point of such “smart” devices is the ability to install applications. This way more functions are added or the basic functions of the built-in apps are improved with third party apps that have a better user interface. A good example of this is Canola, a media player that has a superior UI to the built-in media player. Antoher example is how the N800 didn’t come with a MSN chat client, I was able to install a free third party app called GAIM messenger to add this functionality. While the N800 is not a phone just installing the GIZMO Voip client essentially enabled me to make phone calls wherever there was a WIFI connection. But the app that impressed me the most is Rhapsody by Real Networks, this thing is amazing! I’m not a fan of subscription services but this thing really made me think about it and I probably thjink I will sign-up. Basically it’s a program tied to the Rhapsody music service with an online database of over 3.5 million songs. You While the N800 does come with a few games like Chess, Blocks, Mahjong and Marbles, there are tons of free games to found online. I can keep going naming apps but you get the idea, almost every functionality you can think of can be added through apps.

Another thing worth mention is the way Nokia integrated sound notifications in the overall experience, the sounds use are very discrete and added to the overall pleasant experience

There is not much to say about the software overall, it’s easy to use and has enough eye-candy for it not to become boring. It’s perfect for almost anyone from the beginner to the most advanced users. The beginners can just use the standard apps, while the more advanced users will definitely like the ability to add more functionality through the installation of more apps. The only things lacking in my opinion is the out-of-the-box support for MSN (both chatting and voice) and Skype. If they were able to include Google Talk I think both MSN and Skype should have been included. While the browser does support Flash, I was unable to view Java content. All of these things can easily be added through a firmware upgrade so I hope Nokia is working on this and releases an update as soon as possible. Nokia has almost used the full potential of this device, but omission of java, msn and Skype makes the N800 two steps of perfect.

Web Experience

The N800 is an internet centric device, that’s why web access is critical to get the most out of it. Sure, you could use it as a Media player but I think 80% of its potential will be left untapped. One of the main uses for the N800 is browsing. The browser used is Opera 8 and is equipped with Flash 7. The browsing experience on the N800 can only be described as almost perfect. It’s just a treat to use such a huge screen with its high resolution on a fairly compact device. Up till now my mobile browsing experience has been using the S60 mobile browser on my previous phones like Nokia N80, N93, N93i and now N95. While these browsers are capable of displaying web pages just like on your PC, it is the screen size that’s the limiting factor as these range anywhere from 2 to 2.6’’ which is enough only for casual browsing. Using the N800 you really get spoiled as you don’t have to carry your big laptop nor are you have to use your mobile phone’s browser with size being the obvious limitation. I found myself carrying both the N800 and N95 as I wanted to use the multimedia capabilities of the N95 yet when it came down to browsing the N800 would be an obvious choice. While the N95 has one of the most capable browsers in the mobile world and the screen is big, it still can’t play flash content like its bigger sibling and the N800’s screen beats it hands down.

The N800 can use either Wifi or your phones web connection to connect to the internet, the latter is done through the use of Bluetooth. The Browser can be accessed by going into the Web icon on the task navigator or you can press the Application button and access it from there. The Web icon also provides access to a bookmark manager. The web browser opens fairly quickly (about 1.5 seconds) with the opening of the browser triggering the device to look for and connect to a nearby connection. If you have a default access point it will try to connect to that first: you can also access the connection manager at the top right part of the screen just in case you want to switch connections. The browser itself is simple and easy to use: The toolbar is located at the bottom and houses the URL bar and buttons to refresh, back/forward and page zoom. When you press the URL bar the on-screen QWERTY keyboard appears: the size of the keyboard depends whether you’re using the stylus or your finger. While using your finger a huge QWERTY keyboard appears covering the entire screen giving you enough space to use your fingers. This is ingenious and one of the things I liked a lot about the N800, not only does the keyboard size change but the menus themselves change depending on your use of either the stylus or finger. This is done in most menu options, while some areas like the control panel stay the same. At the top part of the screen we can still see the status indicator on the right, this is a good thing as I still want to be aware of things like my Bluetooth connection, my web connection and battery life while I’m browsing. On the top left part of the screen we can see the application title area that tells you the name of the application and houses options specific to the application being used. In the case of the web browser it tells you “Web” with the information of the page being accessed while pressing the application title area gives you things like the ability to open new windows or switch between them, tools, navigation, edit etc. There are three dedicated buttons on top of the N800 to allow you to set full screen mode and zoom in and out of pages. These are very convenient as I found myself often switching to full screen and zooming in out and out of pages wherever the text appeared too small or too big, this is also perfect for the elderly as they can quickly zoom into pages with small text and images. Scrolling can be done using the scroll button, the stylus or your fingers. I think one of the most asked questions about the device is if it can play flash content, specifically YouTube. I tried Youtube and it worked, but as I said earlier a few frame rates more should make the experience ideal. I also ran few more flash tests that consisted of Badgerbadgerbadger and Addictinggames. The badger site passed with flying colors while on addicting games some games didn’t play, but most did like Bow Man. I also tried some Java content but that just didn’t load. I did read somewhere that java might become part of the software in future releases, but right now the pages will just tell you that you need to have Java installed to view the content. Pages are loaded quickly and the ability to open multiple pages at once in different windows is just a treat! When I was using the N800 I made sure it used a 128mb card as RAM, this makes the device a multi-tasking heaven, not once did I get any out of memory messages due to complex sites or when opening multiple pages and apps at once. The N800 could easily handle my extreme test opening more than 10 web pages with several other programs running at once while I was installing applications in the background, very impressive!

Besides browsing the N800 can access your email, has an RSS feed reader and both chatting and internet calling is done via the included Google talk. Both work as described and is quite easy to use. I was especially impressed with the voice quality during internet calling. Two things missing are Skype and MSN messenger, why include Google Talk while leaving out these two key apps? I just think that these should get included in the next firmware Thankfully the N800 is able to install application and the wonderful GAIM internet messenger was able to cover my MSN chatting needs. A recent addition to the N800 standard apps is the GIZMO VOP app, that in my case quickly has replaced Skype for my VOIP calls. What about battery life? During intensive web browsing with music playing in the background and multiple apps open I managed to get a battery life ranging from 3-4.5 hours which is about equal to your standard laptop these days.

The web experience can be summarized as almost perfect being able to do anything that is possible on the PC or laptop yet with the convenience of an ultra-mobile app. With the larger screen you can sit for hours using the N800, something that can not be said using most mobile phone with screen smaller then 3’’. With the use of a 128 Mb SD card as RAM the N800 is a multi-tasking monster being able to open many apps at once without getting any out of memory notices or apps closing by themselves, this is something Nokia’s own S60 based phone can learn from. With the standard software the N800 can cover other internet activities like email, chatting and internet calling yet more functionality can be added. If it is so good, why call the experience almost perfect? For starters, there browser is capable of showing Java content while I would have liked to see both MSN and Skype included as standard apps. The overall Flash performance needs a few optimizations to get it just right. Remarkably all of these “shortcomings” are not impossible and can be easily added or fixed with a firmware update. If Nokia manages to fix these things then I doubt anything can stop the N800 except a full-blown PC, but until then I will be waiting.

Multimedia

The N800 is aimed at being an Internet device, but doubles as an excellent media player being able to handle pictures, videos and music. Most media players out there right now can’t access the web, let alone do VOIP calls, chat, take pictures, record videos and install applications. The N800 can easily be one of the best Media player out there offering extras that few offer, it’s only weak point is in the storage department as it’s pretty common today for media players to support 30GB or more of storage. While I’m not aware of its support for SDHC cards, it still supports a respectable total amount of 4GB (2x 2GB cards). I’m sure they could have added a hard drive but this would undoubtedly drive up the price, but for your average user 4GB should suffice. It would be nice though if they could somehow add SDHC support, adding this feature through firmware upgrades is not uncommon as I have seen several manufactures add this via a simple software upgrade. More specific parts of multimedia will be covered in their respective categories.

Camera/Pictures

The N800 has a unique swivel camera that can turn 360 degrees to take self-portraits or any odd- angle shots, when not in use you just push it inside and it will fit flush to the body, with only a circle indicating its presence. It’s capable of taking pictures at VGA resolution (640×480): while it won’t win any awards it’s acceptable for this type of device. When opening the Internet calls (videos) app the camera is automatically initiated, but I was surprised to find that there was no application to only take pictures. I had to go in the application manager and download it there. Again this should have been installed as standard especially when your average user will not bother to go in the apps manager to download the picture app. The picture app allows you to take shots and that’s it, no picture editing or organization. I don’t think this type of device needs this either, especially since at the VGA resolution supported is useful only for blog/web usage or for usage as your avatar. The N800 supports the following picture formats and is able to display: BMP, GIF, ICO, JPEG, PNG, TIFF and SVG-tiny. In the picture area the N800 just average, but on this type of this device it should be seen as more of a bonus then a feature making it perfectly acceptable. The picture app should have been standard though and maybe picture rotation would have been nice. Here are two N800 picture samples taken with the VGA camera:Sample 1Sample 2

Camera: Videos

The N800 has a video camera and can playback 3GP, AVI, H.263, MPEG-1, MPEG-4 and RV (Real Video) video. Video is used when doing Internet calling, but the camera app itself is not able to record videos, but I’m sure there’s a third party app that can do this.

Music

On the music front the N800 can playback AAC, AMR, MP2, MP3, RA (Real Audio), WAV, and WMA. This can be done through the excellent stereo speakers or using your headphones using the 3.5mm audio jack. You could also obviously hook it up to any audio source like your home theater or car stereo system. The audio quality through the 3.5mm jack is excellent and could rival any MP3- or Media player. I tested it using both the Shure E4C and the Etymotic ER-4P and the audio quality was superb with no serious audio flaw or any annoying hiss. The N800 offers only basic music playback with the included Music app though, with no equalizer, audio effects or playlist. I would recommend the free Media player app called Canola that is much better then the built-tin app with a much nicer UI. The N800 also supports streaming radio or your basic over-the-air radio broadcast. It also supports UPNP to stream media from your PC. The radio does need the headphone as it acts as an antenna, strangely enough I did read that the N800 has a built-in antenna, but I’m unsure why this is not being used or maybe they are planning to enable it in the next update. Before I forget the stereo speakers on the N800 are just superb and easily sounds better then anything else in the Nseries, even the N95 or N91. They sound amazing for such a small device. I will doing some serious listening comparing the audio quality of the N800 compared to N95 and N91 8GB, so check back soon.

Overall the N800 could easily be one of the most feature-packed media players, with extras that make it comes closer to a full-blown PC then a media player. It’s only weak point is the maximum storage amount of 4GB, this while most media players out there have 30Gb or more. If Nokia manages to add SDHC support this would definitely alleviate this shortcoming. While the built-in apps offer some cases basic features these can easily replaced by more advanced software, this is in the case of the Media player. It has good playback quality but has a basic feature set, adding the more advanced Canola is recommended.

For who is the N800 recommended?

With your Desktop at home, your laptop on the road and even Nokia’s own Symbian S60 based phones is there even a place for the N800? Is the N800 doomed to be just a niche-market product? These are the questions I asked myself when I first got the N800.

When I first got it seemed to me that those at who the N800 was targeted (Mobile gadget lovers) would be better of using a combination of both their mobile phone and laptop. Now I consider myself to be a gadget lover and advanced user so I’ll try to talk about my findings, is this thing useful or even needed at all for a user like me? At first I didn’t think so, that was until I started using it. Obviously mobile browsing on the N800 is better then the N95, so I found myself using the N95 less for mobile surfing and leaving that task for the N800. I found that the two complimented each other just perfectly; the N800 handled the browsing while the N95 handled video, pictures and the rest in the multimedia department. To cover what the two can do I would have to carry a laptop, camera, video camera, mp3 player, media player, radio ect etc. While all of this can be done on the N95 alone, the N800 enhances the mobile browsing and should be considered a companion to any mobile phone. The N800 can effectively do just about anything t a laptop can, but it’s less of hassle to carry and can easily be put in your jacket. It’s socially more acceptable, I could easily take N800 on a night out and just as easy put it in my jacket or coat, the same can not be said about a laptop. Sure you could take your mobile phone, but the overall browsing experience on the N800 is above and beyond that. The N800 should not be considered a competitor to your mobile phone but rather a companion. The N800 proved itself useful in a non-mobile environments: I would find myself sitting in the living room area and needing to quickly look up information about a movie I was watching or TV-guide information. I could look it up on my PC or even take my laptop in the living room, but again the N800 excels at quickly being able to look something up and can just as quickly be discretely put away from view. It’s not a type of device with a specific use, rather a device that once you have it you do find many ways of using it. It may sound corny but that’s actually what the N800 is about. A good example of what I’m trying to explain is this: while browsing the large online database of music and sounds on Rhapsody music service app I found recorded nature sounds like waves or bubbling creak. Every night I would set the N800 near my bed and let the nature sounds create a peaceful ambience. I think true tech users love a customizable device that not only comes with a preset feature set, but one where more functionality can be added. This is what the N800 is about. Sure it won’t replace your mobile phone, but it will complement it. It can do any internet related task like your laptop but in a much easier and convenient way.

I didn’t think that the N800 would be appealing to the non-techie crowd, but even this turned out to be wrong. My mother and sister usually don’t bother with gadgets and technology, but I did borrow them the N800 to see what would happen. I was surprised how quickly they were able to start surfing without ever needing the manual. They would even ask to borrow the N800, something that they never would do with any of my gadgets. My mother quickly started using it as her “kitchen mate” to quickly look up recipes or find alternatives to something she was preparing. I can see someone not comfortable with PC using a device like this to look up info and send email rather then getting a full-blown PC.

To summarize this section I can recommend the N800 to anyone: from the most advanced user to those starting to get comfortable with technology. Surprisingly I found that both the advanced users and the non-techies found different uses for the N800. For the advanced users like me it offered an expandable feature list, while the beginners will like its simplicity and ease of use. It can do just about anything your PC or laptop can, but in mobile package that’s more comfortable then most phones out there.

Conclusion

The N800 is not a phone, but an internet centric device with a much improved design when compared to the 770 internet tablet. The overall build quality is excellent, with a few minor gripes like the loose battery compartment and high screen edges. The package is typical Nseries with all the extras, well except for the memory card used as they only included a 128Mb card, maybe a 512mb or even 1Gb card coupled with a 128 Mb for RAM would have been perfect. The N800 has a huge feature list with impressive hardware running it all, I’m talking here about the OMAP2 chip, too bad that the TV-out and 3D rendering part have been left unused, again the hardware and feature list is good, but adding these two things would have made it perfect. On the software side of things it uses a powerful platform with multi-tasking at its core. Together with a 128Mb for RAM this thing is a multi-tasking beast allowing you to run an insane amount of apps at the same time. This is something that even Nokia’s other phones can learn from. The software caters to all users, having most functionality included in the basic package, while more can be added to expand its capabilities. The N800 is a well-rounded media player offering all the basics plus adding things that most media players can only dream of, like a camera, chatting, installation of apps. It also has an exceptional audio quality using either the stereo speaker or the 3.5mm jack. It’s only weak point is that most media players tend to use hard drives with much higher storage capacity. If Nokia can add SDHC card support this could then be alleviated a bit. The N800 is recommended for anyone from those just getting comfy with technology to the most advanced mobile gadget lover. The N800 is a good device to access internet services and double as a media player. This coupled with its compact size already proved it to be useful, but its true potential is only limited by what you can think of. This is one of the very few devices other then a PC/laptop that will prove its usefulness in many and varied situations. The N800 get’s a well deserved 8.9 out of 10.

Cons

-Wobbly battery compartment

-Screen almost unreadable in bright outside conditions (typical of touch sensitive screen)

-No Java support in browser

-Does not come with standard software for MSN

-Where’s Skype and voice chatting for MSN?

-Has OMAP2 yet no TV-out

Pros

-Excellent build quality overall (except for battery compartment)

-Excellent browsing experience on ultra high res-screen.

-Feature packed

-Supports Flash in browser

-Excellent stand-bye and operation time

-Screen adjusts itself depending on use of stylus or finger

-Integrated stand doubles as holder

-USB cleverly hidden behind stand-

-Sleek design

Written by Devin

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