Nokia N8 review: Director of photography

GSMArena team, 12 October 2010.

Final words

The Nokia N8 is the best Nokia has to offer. A few years back thousands of people would take this to mean the best on the market. Things are not that simple today and Nokia has been learning it the hard way. But the company has been learning.

Itís been a long losing streak for Nokia in the game of touch phones. You canít expect it to suddenly turn the game around and start beating the snot out of the competition. It makes much more sense to try and be better one step at a time. The best camera in business is one such step.

Weíve given up looking for the ultimate smartphone, havenít we? The Nokia N8 most certainly isnít in contention there. And Symbian ^3 is not the best touchscreen experience you can get Ė although whatís fair is fair Ė itís an improvement over S60 5th. And the Ovi store isnít the best app market, but the guys behind it try really hard.

Symbian sucks on touchscreen Ė yeah, but there are some nice multimedia features. The web browser is not that good Ė yeah, but you get USB-on-the-go. There are better screens out there Ė but no better cameras. Not necessarily in this order.

The Nokia N8 seems capable of sustaining balance. In one particular area, itís the unquestioned winner. Elsewhere, itís just fair Ė there are ups and downs all along its spec sheet. As always, it boils down to picking your priorities.

Now letís take a look at the competition to put things in perspective.

The Samsung S8500 Wave wins a few points against the N8 on pricing and comes with a much better (though slightly smaller) display. The Bada OS offers better touch experience than Symbian^3. Again, itís the camera that helps the N8 strike back and this time it even has the apps count in its favor. Not to mention that unlike Samsungís Bada phone, the Symbian smartphone has a very decent and free SatNav solution in the face of Nokia maps.

Samsung S8500 Wave
Samsung S8500 Wave

The Motorola MILESTONE XT720 is the best full-touch cameraphone that the American company has to offer and the N8 wonít avoid comparisons to that one either. The Milestone matches the HDMI capabilities of the Nokia and offers a superior screen (though no AMOLED). Unfortunately, the MILESTONE XT720 is not as impressive as the N8 in terms of image and mostly video quality. Not to mention the rather limited system storage for installing third-party apps. This is a really serious drawback for any Android smartphone that doesnít use the latest Android OS ver 2.2.

Motorola MILESTONE XT720
Motorola MILESTONE XT720

You might also want to consider the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 as a potential alternative to the Nokia N8. With a larger and higher res-screen it also packs a very decent camera (though no HD video, at least for now) so itís a viable option if youíre shopping for a smart cameraphone. Itís still Android 1.6 though and the XPERIA X10 is more expensive and thereís no HDMI or DivX/Xvid support on that one either.

Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10
Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10

So with free lifetime navigation, some great multimedia features, impressive build quality and little (but important) perks like USB-on-the-go and HDMI, the Nokia N8 can stand its ground against the competition. Itís also only just about starting and Nokia has a reputation for delivering major software updates to its smartphones on a regular basis.

The combination of all the things above is a unique selling point on its own, but itís the camera that puts the Nokia N8 in a class of its own and changes the nature of the competition altogether. The ultimate cameraphone will always be compared to the best in business.

The N8 puts the Nseries back to the top where it belongs. Nokia can be proud but they must know itís just the beginning. Right now they have a winning cameraphone set in pole position. It will be a while before they have one phone to rule them all, if ever.

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