Nokia N8 First Look

The Tech65 crew visits Nokia to take a close look at the Nokia N8 smartphone, Nokia’s first Symbian^3 device, which will be available in Singapore in a few weeks time.

Special thanks to our friend Preetam, who lent us his Panasonic Lumix GH1 when our camera ran out of battery.

  • Roger

    Hi guys,

    Just to make a few points about your review:

    1.) You say web browser and keyboard were two main interests. Well you should know that the browser is shortly to be replaced by a major upgrade or whole new browser on the N8, and it’s due in October, or possibly by N8 launch time. It is supposed to be MUCH better than the existing one you tried. Secondly, although it’s FlashLite in the browser (and rest of the OS) that does in fact support most Flash on most sites, just things like the more advanced Flash games won’t work.

    2.) The keyboard will have the new Swype system at launch which is even fast than T9. You also mention English predictive text dictionary several times. I would be very surprised if different countries didn’t have the right dictionary for them, they’re not all going to English.

    3.) You say “quite a good camera”, which is funny. It’s basically the most advanced camera by a long way ever seen on any mobile device, and the results are incredible, both for photo and video – they leave all competitors in the dust. Much more info here:
    and here:
    The N8 camera is in a league of it’s own, better than many standalone digital compacts.

    4.) You missed a LOT of the stand out features of the N8 that differentiate it from it’s competitors – HDMI out, true Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound out, bluetooth mouse and keyboard control, USB On The Go, the fastest GPU in any mobile phone in the world.

    Look forward to an in depth review when the phone is released!

    • Hi Roger,

      Thanks for your points. Just thought I’d clarify some things though.

      1. Actually, we were not told anything about any new browser, and we are actually too close to its retail launch for them to actually update the browser that drastically before retail. In fact my team has seen an earlier build of the phone, and I’ve been told that the N8 we played with yesterday has been updated quite a bit already. I guess the most we will see are changes in the form of a software update after it goes on sale, but I don’t think that it will be that much better to be frank.

      As for Flash, Flash Lite and Flash 10.1 (which is on Android 2.2) is actually very different. Flash 10.1 runs significantly better than Flash Lite. I still think that it’s better for them if they didn’t add Flash Lite support, or let you turn it off, as it affects the browser performance drastically, just as you saw in the video.

      2. Swype was also not mentioned at all in our press kits or at the event itself by any of the product managers. It seems too big a deal for Nokia to “forget to tell us”. I will check with Nokia about this. It would be good if they do come with Swype. Their current text input solution just feels very clunky to me.

      3. I don’t doubt it’s the best camera phone in the market. You’re absolutely right. Like I mentioned in the video, the F2.8 is just insane.

      4. I actually beg to differ that those features differentiate the N8 from it’s competitors. The N8 isn’t the only phone with HDMI out, and Dolby Digital 5.1. The Motorla Milestone XT, for example, has HDMI out too. Also, both Samsung and LG have phones which support Dolby Digital 5.1. By the way, you need to have a proper surround sound system that supports Dolby Digital 5.1 to even be able to use it. Nokia, for example, bought a 5.1 surround sound system yesterday that wasn’t using the right standard (which they apologised for), so they couldn’t show us the 5.1 surround capability. That means most people who buy this phone won’t even be able to take advantage of it. Bluetooth mouse and keyboard control is also not new. Sony Ericsson feature phones, for example, have supported this feature for half a decade now. To be realistic, most consumers will hardly use the HDMI out, or the mouse and keyboard control features. Nokia phones have supported USB On The Go for several generations already, and most smartphones today (all Android phones in fact) support USB charge + data transfer. So in our opinion, those features still don’t really mean much to us, and we don’t think that makes the phone stand out that much.

      You’re right. We forgot to mention the GPU, which is supposed to be 3D capable. What we were told, though, is that 3D rendering won’t be enabled until a later software update as apparently Symbian^3 still doesn’t support 3D rendering yet. This is, however, the first time I heard someone say that the N8’s GPU is the fastest in the world. I’ll go find out about this, but once again I’m a little sceptical. Most high end smartphones today such as the Samsung Galaxy S, the iPhone 4 and Motorola Milestone have pretty powerful 3D rendering capable GPUs already.

      If you follow our content over the years, you will know that to us, the user experience matters more in a smartphone than the specifications, because even high specifications mean nothing if the user experience isn’t good (the N8, by the way, is not using a very powerful CPU, clocked at just over 600Mhz, compared the 1Ghz on the Galaxy S, and 800Mhz + on an iPhone 4). As such we would spend more time taking a look at the software than at, what I like to call, “bonus” features.

      We do, however, acknowledge that different people have different priorities on what they look for in a phone. As such, we usually spend more time revealing the phone’s performance and usability then telling you if we think the phone is good or not. I hope this clarifies the video better.

      Thanks so much for your support!

    • Hi Roger,

      Nokia has responded to some of the queries and has this to say:

      “Nokia will not be able to comment on whether the N8 will come with the Swype keyboard system (it’s Nokia’s policy not to comment on third party apps)

      Nokia will not make any claim that the Nokia N8 has the fastest Graphic Processing Unit (GPU)

      Nokia has not heard of any updates that will be made to the browser on the Nokia N8. The current browser version is BrowserNG7.2.7”

      I’m curious to find out, though, where you might have heard about these things. Do you mind sharing your sources?


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  • ayim

    when is the nokia n8 be available for singapore?? just curious

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  • Shoshin

    There is a lot of things missed out on the First Look of N8. Is there a possibility you could do a more detailed review on this device and give us a bit of its pros and cons?

    There was a recent update on Symbian 3 which is v1.1 that I heard was a disappointment.

    • Hi there, what kind of information would you like to know, if we do receive a review unit? We actually haven’t gotten one by the way.

      Yea, that’s what I heard too. It was on engadget just yesterday.

      • Shoshin

        It is more raved for its camera which is the best there is out there at the moment but its downfall has been its OS as some would say. It is like saying that you can’t get everything in one unit. So I guess, a more balanced review on your side especially the OS and what it needs to update. There are some little nitpicks that people need to see. It is not to make them not buy the phone but rather make them decide for themselves if they can live with these little things and actually see the good part of the unit and somehow overshadow whatever bad parts it has.

        Good job by the way! The details you have been giving in your review are “user like.” Watching the Video clips make me feel like I am really the one testing the unit out.

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