Home > Nokia, Nseries, Symbian, Video > Channel 5’s The Gadget Show reviews the Nokia N8

Channel 5’s The Gadget Show reviews the Nokia N8

The Gadget Show is a very popular tech show in the UK that’s broadcast on Channel 5 (One of the original 5 terrestrial channels) and also on catchup at YouTube. This is reviewed by Jon Bentley of which the transcript is pretty much below and is accompanied by my own rants (agreeing with Jon and clearing things up on different circumstances)

  • Like many N8 fans, Jon was also a user of the beloved Xenon wielding N82 and has been very keenly awaiting he N8 to replace it.
  • On paper looks very impressive – camera very impressive. Sensor larger than most mobile phones (I think all? – and even many compact digital cameras no? I think Nokia should have stressed this more as this is one of the nice verbatim phrases folk regurgitate)
  • Great colours even in dark condtions – it has a proper xenon flash unlike the ones you get on the IPHONE 4 so you don’t get that lurid, horror movie look to your night shots.
  • You do get a virulent dose of red eye (yup, I get that so often in night shots. Mostly green eyes actually – but would rather this than shitty LED lit night shots) Jon says in camera editing software manages to deal with this very effectively.
  • Video camera pretty good too. With very good stereo sound. Not as good as the stills. (Nokia should have made the whole “The Commuter” thing more prominent)
  • However, it is only a phone camera – I don’t think it’s a replacement for a decent compact camera – lacking optical zoom (video digital zoom is just as good as optical. Another thing Nokia SHOULD have pointed out), shutter speed read out (I don’t really use that – I doubt most digital camera users do and probably just point and shoot). It doesn’t remember when you switch the camera off and back again whether you’ve left flash on (my major annoyance with the N8 camera is the frustrating unimproved camera UI. I like that it’s feature packed. But. Why the hell does it NOT remember any of my previous settings. It doesn’t even remember that I’ve left it in either video or stills)
  • Movie editor not a patch on iMovie app for iPhone (well it is free)
  • Enough of the complaints – it is the best camera I’ve ever seen on a phone.
  • That’s not the only good thing about the N8 – The styling is refreshingly different.
  • Very well made – dropped accidentally on a hard surface and not only does it still work – there’s not a scratch on it.
  • HDMI out with high quality audio (first ever Dolby Digital plus please)
  • Battery life is excellent for a smartphone – 2 days without a problem
  • Very good FM radio
  • BIG BUT with the N8 – the user experience (oh noes…I hear should be like Android/iPhone comments approaching. BTW User experience is NOT just UI, It’s the hardware combined. User experience is great. I have my always excellent media capabilities and decent smartphone features. UI could see improvement in certain areas, but overall User Experience – no major problem)
  • Nokia have improved the Symbian Operating System but haven’t improved Symbian by much.
  • If you’re going from N97 to N8 you’ll notice the improvements and will be quite pleased.
  • But if you’re coming from one of the better Android phones or an iPhone you’re gonna feel as though you’ve stepped back in time (Note in terms of UI – In terms of features,  iPhone took a step back in time to 2006 to grab video calling, folders, 5mp camera with flash, an attempt at multitasking and wallpapers. And yet Symbian is still more feature packed. Fortunately for now, Nokia, the majority of people are not coming from iPhone or Android so there’s time to fix the UI to give it that superficial eye candy modern folk love and expect)
  • For all sorts of reasons – one of which is the keyboard – in portrait mode you just get this alphanumeric thing – (not so in upcoming firmware) – and you do have Swype.
  • In both landscape and portrait kb cases, you’re divorced from the application which you’re typing in. (Not so in upcoming firmware – man it annoys me that the delay in N8 was supposed to NOT make us wait for the next firmware so soon)
  • Whole thing feels slow and unresponsive – not sure if it’s the relatively slow 680 MHz processor  (oh dear, no realization of GPU driven UI and the powerful GPU – annoyingly there’s poor design in N8 UI that makes things appear slower than what they can be, e.g. homescreen swipe which is gonna be fixed in upcoming fw. Rotation speed could be faster please Nokia.) – the software or the screen – not quite sure
  • Whole thing makes the phone unFUN to use.
  • Web browsing is OK but not as convenient as  the best.
  • Of course you’ll be short of apps compared to Android and iOS and the ones you do have probably won’t be as easy to use. Perhaps that’s why Nokia have supplied a rather eccentric collection of apps with our N8 (oh dear, Spark beta. I uninstalled that days after trying it. It autostarts and just annoys- yes beta I know – has potential)
  • All of which makes it very hard to recommend the N8 unless you’re very, very keen on one of its particularly good features – camera or battery life.
  • This gives Nokia a problem in that it still doesn’t have a competitive top flight smartphone.
  • Leaves Jon with the problem that he doesn’t think N8 is good enough to be his next phone.

Fortunately for Symbian fans and new Symbian OS owners, you’ll be getting the UI refreshments of the what was then Symbian^4.


Categories: Nokia, Nseries, Symbian, Video Tags: , , ,
  1. Georg
    October 30, 2010 at 11:49 am

    >>Not so in upcoming firmware – man it annoys me that the delay in N8 was supposed to NOT make us wait for the next firmware so soon

    Yep, that’s what I have been saying all along and got stupid comments for from die-hard fanboys.
    The N8 already was so much delayed (again, this was admitted by Mr. Elop himself) and still there are many points that need to be fixed which must have been obvious before, such as browser and text entry.
    Add to that than in many European countries it won’t be available before the second half of December and you get why I’m frustrated.

    The whole shakeup in Nokia execs and at Smybian may bode well for the future but it’s also an admission that there were huge mistakes made in the past, contrary to what many people here may say.

  2. alex68
    October 30, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    I have been testing the major update with the homescreen improvement, I can say the slow and unresponsive feeling on N8 screen was a software issue and now with the new software on the same hardware, it improves really a LOT and a totally different experience.

  3. Moyi084
    October 30, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    alex68.-
    Good to hear this!, just a question:
    Is this major update supposed to be released in mid-november?

    • alex68
      October 30, 2010 at 3:08 pm

      No idea about the schedule at all. I guess only it is in the mind of the project manager who really has a control and oversee the project progress daily very closely.

    • Jim
      October 31, 2010 at 12:39 am

      I don’t think any major update will come until Q1 2011.

      • alex68
        October 31, 2010 at 10:01 am

        You are too pessimistic…

        This is for major update 2. It should be before year end, I suppose.

  4. Mannion
    October 30, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    Is Swype for N8 still available. It seems to have been removed from OVI?

  5. GordonH
    October 31, 2010 at 3:33 am

    I have been using the N8 for over 2 weeks now. Here’s my cons on the UI…

    1) Making a phone call from contacts takes too many steps. Making calls from the dialer isn’t simpler. The green and red buttons does feel missing. 5800 and N97 was better at making calls.
    2) Destination was hard to find.
    3) Homescreen often goes mistakenly into setup mode.
    4) One MMS is still hanging in my outbox . Cannot delete or move mms to drafts.
    5) Still confused on the widget connection management setup.
    No complaints on the portrait QWERTY and browser cause i know a new one should be coming up.
    The N8 is full of features and I don’t fully expect all the features to be user friendly. But improvements are required … some urgent, some not so urgent.

    • James
      October 31, 2010 at 9:44 am

      Yes, I really fail to understand the “improvements” on newer OS versions. With S60r3 as in the N82 or the E71, one can simply dial in the alphabets on the N82 as if dialing a number or key in the alphabets on the E71’s QWERTY and the phone would start listing all the corresponding contact names with those alphabets as well as having the numbers ready to dial should the call choose to call the number instead of selecting from the listed contact name. This was one of the biggest advantage of Nokia phones over any other brands! Comes S60r5 and now S^3, we loose this function! Go figure.

    • alex68
      October 31, 2010 at 12:50 pm

      I remember I also had a problem with MMS. After I set the setting correctly, it can send out successfully.

    • alex68
      October 31, 2010 at 12:52 pm

      About dialer and search, it offers smart dialer and search. I feel it is rather good. I am wondering if you use them correctly or I may not understand your problem properly. I have had no experience with Nokia old models ie 5800 or 97 before.

  6. James
    October 31, 2010 at 9:36 am

    “It doesn’t remember when you switch the camera off and back again whether you’ve left flash on (my major annoyance with the N8 camera is the frustrating unimproved camera UI. I like that it’s feature packed. But. Why the hell does it NOT remember any of my previous settings. It doesn’t even remember that I’ve left it in either video or stills)”

    Well… it does. Just set your Manual mode setting selections with the flash set to off and then set then set the Manual mode as the default startup mode. Then every time you switch on the camera, it uses the Manual mode with all the presets ready including the (off) flash mode selection.

  7. j singh
    November 9, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    im useing nokia n8 from last 2 week…but im faceing 2 problem….1 is how to delet dial numbers??? and 2nd is if my handset is hanged wht can i do in tht stage??? v cnt even remove the battery…????

  8. November 14, 2010 at 7:52 am

    N8 is very cool
    i like this mobile phone
    but i dont have enough money to buy it now…
    maybe next time ill buy it^^

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