Nokia N8 review: Director of photography

GSMArena team, 12 October 2010.
Pages: 123456789101112

Introduction

Weve come to take Nokia for granted in the low end or the business class but it seems it has lost the knack for killer phones, run out of royal blood. Its up to the Nseries to fix it all up. The Nokia N8 may just turn out to be the right cure. With that kind of hardware, its a smartphone youd be mad to ignore. For a change we are not talking netbook-grade processing power or loads of RAM. Nokia have instead given their flagship an industry-leading camera and stuff like HDMI port and USB-On-the-Go.

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Nokia N8 official photos

The Finnish engineers often like to make a point about Symbian being the most resource-effective OS. Weve seen it run reasonably fast indeed on even slower CPUs. This time though its Symbian ^3, so well have to see it again to believe it.

Key features

  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support
  • Penta-band 3G with 10.2 Mbps HSDPA and 2 Mbps HSUPA support
  • Sleek anodized aluminum unibody
  • 3.5" 16M-color AMOLED capacitive touchscreen of 640 x 360 pixel resolution
  • 12 megapixel autofocus camera with xenon flash and 720p@25fps video recording
  • Camera features: large 1/1.83 camera sensor, mechanical shutter, ND filter, geo-tagging, face detection
  • Symbian^3 OS
  • 680 MHz ARM 11 CPU and 256 MB RAM
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • microHDMI port for 720p TV-out functionality
  • GPS receiver with A-GPS support and free lifetime voice-guided navigation
  • Digital compass
  • 16GB on-board storage, expandable through the microSD card slot
  • Active noise cancellation with a dedicated mic
  • DivX and XviD video support
  • Built-in accelerometer and proximity sensor
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Stereo FM Radio with RDS, FM transmitter
  • microUSB port with USB On-the-go support
  • Flash and Java support for the web browser
  • Stereo Bluetooth 3.0
  • Nice audio reproduction quality
  • Smart and voice dialing
  • Scratch resistant Gorilla glass display

Main disadvantages

  • Symbian^3 is still behind Android and iOS usability standards
  • No video light
  • Camera interface is decidedly outdated
  • Relatively limited 3rd party software availability
  • No office document editing (without a paid upgrade)
  • Video player has some issues
  • Battery life is not on par with best in the business
  • Battery is not user-replaceable

Theres certainly a lot of pressure on the Nokia N8. People are probably expecting more from it than the very guys who designed it. But the N8 was never meant to compete with the iPhone 4 or the Galaxy S. At least, thats what Nokia will gladly have you believe.

You see, with the Nokia N8 its not about who the competition is. Not about the business benefits of a smartphone, not about the available apps. Its about the best camera in the business. Now, well have to see about that. Again.

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Nokia N8 at ours

The N8 already managed to put a dedicated digicam to shame in our recent blind test. But it will take more than that to get the thumbs up at the end of a full review. The camera is certainly impressive but its the overall balance and bang-for-buck that count most in our books here so the N8 better have more aces up its sleeve.

Update, 24.08.2011: We updated the phone to Symbian Anna - check out our impressions on Page 10. We installed the camera update too, our analysis and new video samples on Page 11.

Update, 08.02.2012: The Belle update arrived and we tested that too. Check out a hands-on video and our impressions on Page 12.

We pop the box open after the break.

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