Nokia N8 smartphone review

By on October 28, 2010
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Is it too late for Nokia

Editor's Score
The Verdict:
Excellent hardware is sadly wasted on sub-par software.

When Nokia originally announced their flagship Smartphone earlier this year, it was pretty much as high-end as it could get from a hardware perspective. Now that it’s finally here, we find out if the delays have marred the Nokia N8 or whether is still stands a chance against the offerings by Apple, HTC and the like.

Packaging & Build Quality

The Nokia N8 comes packaged in a flat box about the size of a small pizza box. Included in the packaging is a mini HDMI to HDMI converter cable as well as a mini USB to USB converter cable along with the charger and a headset with media playback controls. The headset is of a much better quality than many other bundled ones that we have looked at and comes with silicon pads and media controls.

The Nokia N8 can be charged through the small round Nokia power connector or the USB port. A quickstart guide is also included though surprisingly Nokia hasn’t bundled any applications CD. However a Windows installer is present on the phone, accessible through a USB connection.

Design & Hardware

The build quality of the Nokia N8 is superb and feels very solid in your hand. There are very few phones that feel as well constructed as the N8 and Nokia certainly deserves all the praise in this area. While we received the dark grey version, Nokia has a bunch of colors such as green and blue that you can chose which is always a good thing.

The top of the device has a power button, a 3.5mm audio output jack as well as a mini-HDMI connector which means that you can directly connect the N8 to your HDMI capable TV and watch high definition movies. On the right side, you have the volume rocker as well the sliding lock button which feels a bit redundant since you already have a power button on top. Below that lies the two step camera button which is a pleasure to use after touch screen based cameras that often result in me taking out of focus pictures. The bottom side has the charger slot as well as the microphone and a pair of pretty loud speakers.

The left side has sockets for your SIM card as well as a MicroSD card. I generally don’t take out my SIM or SD card out of my phone but accessing these slots could be a bit frustrating for those of you that keep replacing your MicroSD cards often. Below these slots lies the USB connector that is used for charging the device as well as acting as a USB host meaning you can plug in a USB drive and access its contents on the N8. An LED above the USB slots lights up when the something is plugged in.

The front of the Nokia N8 features a 3.5” capacitive touch screen with a resolution of 360×640 which is a bit on the lower side compared to the new Android devices. Below the screen sits the sole button towards the left side that takes you to the home screen when pressed or the main menu if you’re on the main home screen. Not sure why Nokia decided to keep this button the left side as it can get a bit inconvenient to reach at times. A very cool looking LED surrounds this button and breathes for notifications.

About the only thing that doesn’t look in place is the back side of the Nokia N8. Here, you see a slider type layer where the camera is located- except that layer does not slide but is fixed and houses the 12.1 MP lens along with the dual Xenon flash lights. My guess is that Nokia needed a bit of extra thickness to accommodate the extra large 1/1.9″ sensor with a Carl Zeiss lens.

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Abbas Jaffar Ali is the founder of and a blogger, geek and self-declared tech pundit who can't stop talking about technology. Find him on twitter as @ajaffarali

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  • sideswipe

    The hardware is great, the applications are great for the most part but the overall UI experience is marred by the outdated Symbian OS. Nokia needs a major revamp and Symbian just doesn’t cut it in today’s world of smartphones. If only the N8 came with a choice of OS then it would be a hit.

  • shk @ Myliteraturetechlife.COM

    wow,,this is quite a nice cell phone but outdated OS is decreasing its attraction.

  • Laurent

    Well, I was an early adopter of the N8 – as my E65 was dying. After the “Waou”, “Superb”, my 3 weeks of intensive use of the N8, I discovered a list of ALT (Anoying Little Things) that frustrate a user.
    1st, I am a Nokia user for day 1; and 90% of my previous handsets came from the Fin.
    Battery life: phone and only phone great. Start using GPS, Camera and you need to go back to the plug.
    Ovi Suite issue: huge debate on Nokia discussion forum, finally found the answer, thank to some zealot.
    Latency: big issue on my handset, sometime the phone freezes for over 10 sec – an eternity
    Black screen: I knew the Windows Blue Screen, thanks to Nokia, I experienced the black screen.
    I don’t know the exact N8 technical architecture, but the resource management in term of cache or bus (thinking like a computer) need a serious improvement.
    OviStore: need more business like applications

    Overall, does the N8 was ready for market? Well they had to provide an answer. It is more like a high end mid range phone, not in the league of the Android world in particular vs. the HTC devices.
    Nokia is promising some firmware upgrades that will bring new enhancements.
    My conclusion: looking forward for the Nokia E7.

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  • Ali Jibran

    N8 is a good phone. I like it :)

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