Nokia N8 Smartphone Review

Nokia introduced the latest smartphone, Nokia N8, as his flagship
towards Symbian OS 3. The raw data announced by the manufacturer: 12
million pixel camera side (more than Leica M8) and HD (720p and not in
1080, anyway ) put this phone on the ranks of specialized equipment in
their field, such as high-end compact camera, a handbook, or notebook
video of another. The Nokia N8 enables people to create compelling
content, connect to their favourite social networks and enjoy the latest
on-demand Web TV programs and Ovi Store apps.


To begin with, it is light. To be compared to a N97 classic, the
difference is obvious. This lightness is accentuated by its metallic
appearance that suggests a weight result. The edges of the device marry
very well the curvature of the closed hand, it is very natural.

The N8 is wide but "not too much". It’s just what it takes. In
comparison, it is wider than an iPhone but less than N97. This is
important for comfort in hand, finally, the N8 has a good ratio of width
to screen size.

The side buttons do not stick out too much and do not feel in the hand.
Note the hand positions depending on the terrain at the rear. This is
done naturally, the index is set up below the "block" of the camera.

Finally, this pleasant feeling also comes from the fact that the device
radiates solidity. You’re not afraid to shake your hand, you do not feel
crackles. The assembly forms a homogeneous solid but light.

The whole unit is in two main subjects: the aluminum anodized and the
plastic (not including in the glass for the screen). Finally, the N8 is
in a coat of aluminum with plastic ends (the plastic is not hollow, it
finally felt that we had).

In a lot of devices you’ll find chrome areas, particularly at the camera
or some buttons. This effect is accentuated in the metallic gray


The 3.5" touchscreen uses AMOLED technology making it much more vivid
colors and blacks more black. The screen of the Nokia N97 side was pale.
The glass screen takes some fingerprints, but this is not a big
problem. The screen is surrounded by a slight relief.

Buttons, connectors and sensors

The Nokia N8 has a lot of buttons, ports and sensors!

In front, you will find a menu button (the Touch Button answer/shut down
like in the N97). This button does not appear much and does not require
a lot of pressure. It remains to be confirmed by daily use, but a
little thicker might have been better.

At the top of the screen, we find the visio lens and light sensor. We
noticed that in some versions of prototypes of the Nokia N8, the
proximity sensor was visible, and others do not. Apparently, the sensor
should always be on the phone, but it will be filled in completely, so
you will not see it.

On the right side, you can find the zoom buttons and volume (a long
button with raised ends), these buttons do not need a lot of pressure to
activate. The slider locking/unlocking the phone is used with the thumb
for right-handers. The button is ultimately rather wide and hangs a
right. This seems an important detail, but because very often you will
use this button.

You are also having a button for the camera, which is long but does not
appear. It is quite different from that found on other phones. It sinks a
lot and has a feeling "a little soft". Good or bad point? No idea yet,
it will be the preference of the user.

Note the presence of a screw star (with a second left side) to access
the battery.

At the left of the device, we find the cache for the SIM and that for
Micro SD. These are rather impractical to handle, to open the cover of
the SIM card, you must first open one of the micro SD card. In other
words, without nails, is not simple. After that, maybe with a little
practice, it is done there. Not to mention that you will not access
these sites every day. Note that the Micro SD port is hot swapping,
which lets you insert a card when the device works.

You will also find the Micro USB port with small light beside that
indicates whether the phone is charging or not. Without forgetting the
second screw.

On lower end, there is nothing very interesting except for a port to
load the phone with a Nokia Classic AC charger. It is a strange choice,
because on the latest high-end Nokia devices, you can find micro USB
chargers, sometimes, micro – USB AC adapters. Here, Nokia preferred to
give the choice.

There are also some writing. These are normally listed at the battery
but as it is difficult to access, the obligation to put here. This is
not particularly annoying (aesthetically speaking). We learn in passing
the first name of N8: RM- 596.

On top of the device, the Power button (which does not appear at all, is
not always easy to support, but it is quite common on the buttons of
this type), the 3.5mm (AV) and hides for the HDMI mini port. In this
regard, note that you will have in the box of a mini HDMI cable
adapter/HDMI (picture at the end of this part).

Cables supplied

We do not yet know the exact contents of the box, but what is certain is
that you will receive two handy cables: Mini HDMI – HDMI and USB
microphone – USB socket for USB On-the-go! Small reminders, the first
cable allows to connect N8 to your compatible TV with HDMI (and
broadcast in full HD on HD televisions and HD ready).

The second allows to connect any device for mass storage (USB key or
other) Nokia N8. Examples: a friend has a file on a USB key, you do not
have a computer, you can take the file directly on your N8. Another
thing, a movie encoded in MPEG is the USB key (or an external hard
drive) you can read on the N8 and even broadcast on television. Finally,
and with Dolby Digital and more, your Nokia N8 is a kind of multimedia
station. We rather liked these possibilities.

with N97 and N900

We took a N97 and N900 and have the opportunity to take some shots that
compare the three terminals.

Level height, the N8 is very similar to the N97, a bit shorter. Wider
sure, but not as much as the N900 which is the thickest of the group.
Despite his 12 mpx camera, the N8 is not a big phone, compared to his
two colleagues, its the finest and because it has no physical keyboard

We deliberately compared black versions, and we see that the black
around the screen is similar to that on the N900. Not like on the N97
which has a rather dark gray.


The Nokia N8 possesses three different homepages. You can remove one or
two easily if you do not want to have as much. Simply go to the
homepage, select "options" and delete the home screen.

Knowing that the output of N8, you will not find widgets localized
content pre- installed. However you can go and download them from Ovi
Store. Why? Doing so will cause no delay on the updates.

You can navigate easily between pages by sliding your finger
horizontally or pressing the 3 round bottom. The effects are rapid and
fluid. It is possible to display a different wallpaper on each page.
When we change the home page, there is a nice fade effect to switch to
another screen).

Each home page can contain up to six widgets. All the widgets currently
available on the Nokia N97 will be compatible on the Nokia N8. To add a
widget, you just keep your finger on the home screen until the mode
"editing" appears. It is then easy to add, move or delete a widget.

It is possible repeatedly to put some widgets, as the widget e-mail, or
contact shortcuts. For the case of e-mail widget, you can add a widget
for each email account you have configured on your phone. However, you
can not put more than one widget news as Metro, Target, etc.

As in s60 5th edition, you can access some menus directly touching
certain parts, be it widgets, and also the upper right corner provides
access to configuration settings and some notifications. A new option
appears in this menu: the battery saver. In selecting this feature, the
phone turns into a mode that consumes less (decrease in brightness,
disconnecting widgets, etc.), just to keep his camera as long on. Note
that this mode is activated automatically when the N8 has a bar of

Last general note, the kinetic scrolling is implemented throughout the
device. This is the finger scrolling with consideration of force.


Nokia offers us a very traditional menu, the icons have been slightly
modified (not all). So we find rows of icons, it is possible to move and
sort them into folders. Interestingly (and valid in a majority of the
N8 interface), when you switch the device to landscape, the lower bar
"Options" and "Return" is positioned at the bottom, completing the big
bar on the right of S60 5th edition. This is a better way of seeing
things in order to provide as much space as possible.

Globally, Nokia has revised the way it interacts with its interface with
a much suited to the touch. Most lists and menus work in "single tap",
no need to select an item twice to get there. The double tap allowed to
access the options of an item, but it is still possible through support

A glance into the memory of the aircraft revealed approximately 180 MB
of free internal memory to a Nokia N8 new and empty.

Other retail general texts in the bottom bar are centered. Yes, it’s a
detail. Moreover, in this bar, it is also displayed the time and the
"mode" connection, HDMI or WiFi standard.


Compared to Symbian ^ 1, there was no great upheaval chart. The calendar
now appears in greater which is much more readable. Everything else
seems very similar. You can add a category to each new entry you add to
the agenda, and associate a color. We will have the opportunity to
present the organizational functions further.

and social functions

You can create your "business card" with your information (name, phone,
address, etc…). Useful if you want to send your details to a person

The contact list is pretty well organized with the display Photos of
each contact on the left followed by his name.

Integrating social networks in this version of the software was
apparently not complete. Eventually, you will see on the credit card of
your contact’s Facebook profile or Twitter. Data recovery should be

If you press this part of your social contact, the phone opens the
application communities (temporary name, same for the interaction,
things can still change a lot on this side).

Beyond contacts, N8 includes an application that allows you to go on
social networking. As explained above, the application is called
Communitites (or communities). However, it seems that social features
with and without integration with the device are not finished yet and we
must expect a lot of changes out here.

Regarding instant messaging, while not a definitive solution, Nokia has
integrated "Chat" (Nokia Messaging for IM) in the N8 is a stable and

Music Player

This part of the phone is for us the most successful. Readers simple,
smooth and pretty. In the first screen, you have a list with Covers on
the side, the product name and the album. You can also read all the
random pieces. Also in this list, if you switch to landscape the N8
displays a mode of type "coverflow" jackets with large finger to scroll.
The scrolling is very fluid.

Mode was first the music player appears in a list, then when you select
an album, the coverflow wore appears with a list of songs on the album.

The quality loudspeakers sounds good, but we will do a full article on
this subject as soon as possible.

Note: The N8 was exclusive no feature of Internet Radio in native.

Web Browsing

For us, it is currently Nokia N8 weakness. Compared to all phone, web
browser does not have the same fluidity (for now?).

The web pages load fairly quickly with a Flash Lite 4.0 compatibility.
It also supports Pinch-to-zoom that works fairly well, although
sometimes a lack of responsiveness. But the big problem of the browser
is its fluidity and lack of features.

From what we have seen, there is no management of tabs. A long-press
shows no window, we were expecting a cut and paste feature, and have not
found. It’s a shame not to take the qualities of the browser in the
N900 Maemo 5 is still a benchmark in terms of mobile Internet.

Now difficult to get an opinion fully settled without handling the phone
on a daily basis. We return to this point in the weeks to come (to
confirm or refute our opinion).

Messages and

The messages/e-mail on the Nokia N8 is not bad at all and it results
from a desire on the part of Nokia to work extra hard in the Messaging.

In comparison to Symbian ^ 1, we note the addition to the Messages menu
"Conversation". This section manages your messages classifying them by
contact. Each contact has his picture to the next. You can then view
your messages as a conversation with the contact that you have chosen.

The messages show the smileys when it detects one and makes the
discussion more sympathetic reading.

Side e-mail, the N8 has undergone major work, and so much more! Farewell
the old Nokia Messaging for slow e-mail and not ergonomic. There are
now a more complete, stable and optimized. You can configure a number of
email accounts, the most classic (Gmail, Hotmail, etc.) to the IMAP
account. You can configure multiple boxes and follow straight from the
homepage, each with its own box widget (as explained above).

Once in an e-mail, we find that HTML is read and the multi-touch is
implemented, which allows you to zoom in/out in an e-mail using HTMLe
pinch-to-zoom. Good! We will go into further depth on that.

We confirm that at present there is no QWERTY keyboard in portrait mode
and it is highly likely that things are not moving. It’s a shame that
Nokia does not want to offer its customers more opportunities to enter a
message. Adding a function to a phone makes it more logically complete,
even if the customer does not use it, it’s always better to give the

A few weeks ago, we learned the absence of multi-touch QWERTY keyboard
in landscape mode. Nokia is of course aware and told us that the support
of multi-touch will be implemented. However, the date has not been
specified, hoping to have this out of the phone in about two months.


Photo is rather successful on Nokia N8 which is a coherent set
consisting of 12 mpx camera.

In gallery, the scroll between photos is very fluid and images load
quickly despite their weight. A long press on a photo to open a small
window where you have several choices such as changing the picture with
the image editor, or send the picture. You can also use the scroll bar
on the right to quickly navigate between photos and are classified by

The opening of a photo in 12 mpx is enough quickly well but with a
little loading time of the photo. The Pinch-to-zoom works quite well,
given the resolution photos open 12 mpx, and the image loads quickly
zoomed to display non-pixelated.

We have seen the rendering of images on a television connected to Nokia
N8 via HDMI cable. The quality of the photos displayed were very good
and we are pretty well enough to show the pictures to the family or
friends in this way.

You can geo-tag photos and share them. The sharing can be done by MMS,
Bluetooth or e-mail but also through services like Flickr or Facebook.
We could not see these functions running as the implementation is still


We have already talked a lot, N8 does not read DivX but you can watch
your movies before the encoding. In fact, Windows 7, when you try to
transfer a file not compatible to the N8 (I imagine via Nokia tools),
you propose to encode it.

The video player is very classical, they are sorted by release date,
captured and other videos. Then they are listed with a thumbnail, you
run it by selecting it. The screen is nice, the player is simple and you
will not be lost!

Interestingly, if you own an HD movie on your N8, you can broadcast in
HD on a TV via the HDMI mini cable, all with super Dolby Digital. Your
N8 could replace a hard disk multimedia easily.

Ovi Maps

Version of Ovi Maps currently used on non-final version of the Nokia N8
is the same as those present on other tactile devices like the Nokia N97
or 5800. The application does not therefore bear not the multi-touch
and it will therefore use the + and – buttons to zoom in and zoom out.
We do not know if a new version will be available at the launch of the
Nokia N8, but it’s expected!

We tested the GPS location on the Nokia N8 to see if it worked well. The
phone was non-connected mode, and we have located quite quickly. Nokia
will integrate more of the fix position WiFi. Of course, it is always
difficult to get an opinion on a GPS when you are indoors.


Camera application now opens via the camera button or by launching the
application from the menu. The camera works quickly, but the focus
primarily catches super fast. One gets the impression of having a real
digital camera, especially with the sound when active. We were not in
low light conditions so it will be quite complicated for us to tell you
if the flash was powerful or not. But we had already seen pictures taken
with the Xenon flash of N8 and had been blown away.

The N8 includes a face detection mode that works well, this mode allows
you to simply focus on the face of the person, all automatically.


For the moment, it is difficult to know which games will be present in
the device. Be aware that most great Studios are on the moveEA Games,
Gameloft among others. But as of mid-size studios like Rovio.

We have tested NFS Shift, and honestly it’s not bad at all. Level
design, not ultra impressive but a highly competitive level with the
competition. In terms of gameplay, NFS Shift is played with the
accelerometer and it is very accurate. After a few seconds of anything
big, we could enjoy the game and sensations. When you tilt the phone,
there is like a floating effect not obvious to explain. Overall it is a
game that will interest a lot of people.

Another game tested Angry Birds. Very experienced by iPhone users but
not only, Angry Birds is also available on the N900. The game is a
marvel, ultra smooth, beautiful, nothing to envy to the iPhone or N900.
The icing on the cake, the multi-touch is implemented in the game, you
can zoom in/out using the pinch-to-zoom. While it may seem trivial, it
means one thing: Nokia has already with the possibility for developers
to integrate Multi-touch in their applications, mainly through Qt.

Ovi Store

Ovi Store icon on the Nokia N8 led to the web version of the shade.
Should we expect a new version of the Store? Probably, but perhaps not
to the output of N8.



  • Size: 113.5 x 59 x 12.9 mm
  • Weight
    (with battery): 135 g
  • Volume: 86 cc

Display and user interface

  • Screen size: 3.5"
  • Resolution: 16:9 nHD (640 x 360 pixels) AMOLED
  • 16.7
    million colours
  • Capacitive touch screen
  • Orientation sensor (Accelerometer)
  • Compass
  • Proximity sensor
  • Ambient light detector

Keys and input methods

  • Physical keys (Menu key, Power key, Lock
    key, volume keys, Camera key)
  • Finger touch support for
    text input and UI control
  • On-screen alphanumeric keypad
    and full keyboard
  • Dedicated camera and volume keys
  • Possibility to use capacitive stylus
  • Handwriting recognition for Chinese


  • Silver white
  • Dark grey
  • Orange
  • Blue
  • Green


  • Up to three customizable home screens:
    • Widgets
    • Themes
    • Shortcuts
    • Icons
    • Menu
  • Customizable profiles
  • Ring tones: mp3, AAC,
  • Video ring tones
  • Themes

    • wallpapers
    • screensavers
    • audio themes
    • pre-installed themes
    • changeable colour themes

Power Management

  • BL-4D 1200 mAh Li-Ion battery
  • Talk-time (maximum):

    • GSM 720 mins
    • WCDMA 350 mins
  • Standby time (maximum):
    • GSM 390 h
    • WCDMA 400 h
  • Video playback time (H.264 720p, 30 fps, maximum): 6 h (via
    HDMI to TV)
  • Video recording time (H.264 720p, 25 fps,
    maximum): 3 h 20 mins
  • Video call time (maximum): 160
  • Internal memory: 16 GB music playback time
    (offline mode, maximum): 50 h


  • Internal memory: 16 GB
  • MicroSD memory
    card slot, hot swappable, up to 32 GB

Operating Frequency

  • GSM/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900
  • WCDMA 850/900/1700/1900/2100
  • Automatic switching
    between WCDMA & GSM bands
  • Flight mode

Data Network

  • GPRS/EDGE class B, multislot class 33
  • HSDPA Cat9, maximum speed up to 10.2 Mbps, HSUPA Cat5 2.0 Mbps
  • WLAN IEEE802.11 b/g/n
  • TCP/IP support
  • Capability to serve as data modem
  • Support for
    MS Outlook synchronisation of contacts, calendar and notes


  • Bluetooth 3.0
  • HDMI
  • 2mm Charging connector
  • Micro USB connector and
  • High-Speed USB 2.0 (micro USB connector)
  • 3.5 mm AV connector: FM Radio; FM Transmitter

Software platform & user interface

  • Symbian ^3 for Nokia
  • Java MIDP 2.1
  • Qt 4.6.2, Web Runtime 7.2
    • HTML 4.1
  • Software updates Over
    the Air (FOTA) & Over the internet (FOTI)
  • Flash
    Lite 4.0
  • OMA DM 1.2, OMA Client provisioning 1.1


  • Key applications: Calendar, Contacts, music player,
    internet, messaging, photos, Ovi Store, Maps, Videos, WebTV, Office
    document editors, Video & photo editor, Mail, Chat, Radio
  • PC Applications: Nokia Ovi Suite, Nokia Ovi Player

Personal Information Management (PIM)

  • Detailed contact
  • Calendar
  • To-do list
  • Notes
  • Recorder
  • Calculator
  • Clock

Email and messaging

  • Easy-to-use email client with attachment
    support for images, videos, music and documents .doc, .xls, .ppt, .pdf,
  • HTML support for email
  • Unified
    email client for multiple protocols: Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, Windows Live,
    Hotmail and other popular POP/IMAP services, Mail for Exchange, IBM
    Lotus traveler
  • Editing of key office documents
  • Email web widget for home screen
  • Chat instant
    messaging support: OVI Chat, Yahoo, AIM, Windows Live, Gtalk, MySpace
  • Unified MMS/SMS editor
  • Conversational view for
  • Push email and expanded portal support available
    through Nokia Messaging for Email and Instant Messaging

Call management

  • Contacts: advanced contacts database with
    support for multiple phone and e-mail details per entry with personal
    thumbnail pictures and video clips
  • Smart dialling to
    find phone numbers quickly
  • Speed dialling, voice
    dialling (speaker independent) and voice commands
  • Logs
    of dialled, received and missed calls
  • Conference
  • Integrated hands-free speaker
  • Video calling

Browsing and internet

  • Full web browsing of real web pages
  • Web browsing with touch control
  • Supported
    markup languages: HTML, XHTML MP, WML, CSS
  • Supported
    protocols: HTTP v1.1, WAP
  • TCP/IP support
  • Visual history, HTML and JavaScript support
  • Flash
    Lite 4 will support a majority of Flash Player 10.1 content
  • Nokia Mobile Search
  • RSS reader
  • Support for streaming video
  • Unified home screen access
    to Facebook and Twitter through Ovi by Nokia Social client
  • Social networking profiles visible in phone contacts
  • Upload and view photos and video and see locations via Ovi by Nokia
    Social client
  • Social networking events visible in phone

GPS and navigation

  • Integrated GPS, A-GPS receivers
  • Ovi Maps with free car & pedestrian navigation
  • Wi-Fi Positioning
  • Compass and accelerometer for correct
    orientation of display
  • Use Nokia Ovi Suite to get the
    latest country maps for Ovi Maps on N8 for free


  • 12 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics
  • Large 1/1.183" optical format image sensor
  • Fullscreen 16:9 viewfinder with easy-to-use touchscreen parameters
  • Xenon flash with automatic red-eye removal
  • Face recognition software
  • Autofocus
  • Focal length: 5.9 mm (equivalent to 28mm in 35mm film format)
  • F number/Aperture: F2.8
  • Still images file
    format: JPEG/EXIF
  • Zoom up to 2x (digital) for still
  • Zoom up to 3x (digital) for video
  • Secondary camera for video calls (VGA, 640 x 480 pixels)
  • Favourite settings feature
  • Still camera manual
    controls for white balance, scene mode, exposure compensation, colour
    tone, viewfinder framing grid, sharpness, contrast, flash control, light
    sensitivity (ISO), self-timer, face detection

Image capture

  • Automatic location tagging (Geotagging) of images
    and videos
  • Images automatically taken in the correct
  • Pinch zoom in Photos image viewer
  • View photos by tag cloud, month, album, slide show
  • Photo editor
  • Online Share with connectivity to
    popular sharing services


  • Internal memory: 16 GB
  • MicroSD memory card
    slot, hot swappable, up to 32GB
  • High-Speed microUSB to
    PC connectivity

Video cameras

  • Main camera
    • 12 megapixel with Carl Zeiss optics
    • HD
      quality 720p resolution
    • Shoot 16:9 videos in HD
    • 3x digital zoom
  • Video capture
    in 720p 25 fps with codecs H.264, MPEG-4
  • Ambient stereo
    audio recording in video (AAC 128kbps, 48 kHz sampling) plus new
    algorithms to reduce wind noise and control recording level in harsh
  • Settings for low light (reduced frame
    rate), video light, white balance, colour tone
  • Secondary camera VGA for video calls

Video codecs & formats

  • H.264 (base profile, main profile,
    high profile), MPEG-4, VC-1, Sorenson Spark, Real video 10
  • Streaming: H.264, Flash Lite 4 (Flash 10 compatibility for video),
    On2 VP6, Sorenson Spark

Video sharing and playback

  • HD 720p Video playback on HD TV
    through HDMI cable
  • Dolby Digital Plus surround sound
    when played with HDMI & a home theatre
  • Support for
    download, streaming, and progressive download
  • Video
    editing software
  • Videos application: collection of
    stored videos
  • On demand WebTV widgets to watch local
    & global internet streaming TV
  • Support for Flash
  • YouTube browsing and streaming
  • Video call support (WCDMA network services)

Music features

  • Flick scroll to browse the albums in your music
  • Comes with Music service on selected markets
  • Nokia Music Player
  • Ovi Music store
  • MP3, WMA, AAC, eAAC, eAAC+, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, E-AC-3, AC-3
  • Bit rate up tp 320 kbps
  • DRM support WM DRM, OMA
    DRM 2.0
  • FM transmitter


  • Stereo FM radio (87.5-108 MHz/76-90 MHz)


  • Use the touch UI to play games
  • Dedicated
    graphics processor with OpenGL 2.0 enables 3D graphics
  • Java games
  • Use the accelerometer to play games

Standard Sales Package

  • Nokia N8 mobile computer
  • Nokia Battery BL-4D
  • Nokia Connectivity Cable CA-179
  • Nokia Stereo Headset WH-701
  • Nokia Compact
    Travel Charger AC-15
  • Nokia Adapter Cable for HDMI
  • Nokia Adapter Cable for USB OTG CA-157
  • Nokia Stylus SU-36 (selected markets only)
  • Quick start guide


Overall we have been surprised. We expected a reworked on N97 and it is
not the case. The N8 promises real and not just for its specifications.
In use, we really felt that Nokia is making efforts, especially in terms
of responsiveness, and that’s great.

A strategic element for the success of a smartphone is the application
library. At present it is difficult to move forward on this, but
hopefully that Nokia makes the right choices and always contains good
tools for developers. In fact, we liked the two games tested, NFS and
Angry Birds, but must now follow the other (which seems to be the case)
to avoid finding themselves in the same situation as with the N900,
where you had a great game in 3D pre-installed (Bounce) and nothing has


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