Down to the numbers

Nokia has packed the N8 to the gills with features and this trend continues on with the connectivity. The N8 boasts support for 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0 (both powered by a TI WL1271A chip), and yes, the N8 is a quad-band GSM and penta-band 3G/3.5G phone. What this means is that you will have complete voice and 3G/3.5Gdata coverage practically anywhere in the world. Looks like Brian has had his prayers answered! And if set so, the N8 can automatically switch between GSM and UMTS bands, depending on availability.

Nokia N8-00—Network Support
Penta-Band UMTS 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 MHz
Quad-Band GSM/EDGE 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
HSDPA/HSUPA 10.2Mbps / 2.0Mbps

But in spite of packing in so much hardware, the Nokia N8 put out some decent battery life numbers. And this is a bit surprising considering the fact that the N8 comes packed with the same 1200mAh BL-4D battery as the decidedly lower end E5!

3G Web Browsing Battery Life

3G Talk Time Battery Life

*Just like with the E5, the N8’s default browser would stop loading the AT test suite pages (only over WiFi) after a couple of iterations without closing the browser and manually restarting the test.

Although I couldn’t test it specifically, the GSM-only talk time battery life of the N8 seemed a decent bit more than the 3G battery life, as I was able to get away with moderate non-3G voice and data usage for about 2.5 days without having to recharge.

Now down to the performance numbers. As mentioned earlier, the N8 unfortunately has the same browser as the E5 and as such, shows similarly poor performance. 

Update: As pointed out in the comments by astute observers, the version of Opera 10 tested from the Ovi Store is incorrectly labeled 10.1 when it is in fact 10.0. We've installed and tested Opera 10.1 on the N8 and updated the graphs below to reflect the correct results for both 10.0 and 10.1. Browsermark shows an improvement of nearly 94%, and SunSpider has gone up almost 9x, which is a nice improvement to say the least. 

 SunSpider Javascript Benchmark 0.9 Rightware BrowserMark WiFi Performance  

As Brian pointed out in his GLBenchmark article, we’ve included some numbers for the N8. GLBenchmark does not yet officially support Symbian^3, and the version I ran on the N8 was for S60 5th Edition. Although I didn’t have any issues running other S50 5th edition apps, the Egypt test in the GLBenchmark suite refused to run on the N8. It would show the loading screen for some time and then exit to the home screen. I have included numbers for the PRO test below.

GLBenchmark 2.0—PRO

As you can see, while no SGX 540, the BCM2727 in the N8 is almost on par with the Adreno 205 and SGX 535 GPU’s, though the test runs at 640x360 on the N8 compared to 800x480 on most other devices we have numbers for. 

Apps - Ovi Store Conclusion and Final Thoughts
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  • alovell83 - Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - link

    "And with one such update promised for the N8 sometime in Q1 2011, it may be the device to recommend, after the update."

    Unfortunately, after the update this phone will be what, 6+ months on the market? With no more flagship phones running on Symbian I'd never recommend this OS to a friend, even if they are familiar with Symbian.

    Meego should be able to help Nokia remain competitive, this phone, unfortunately for Nokia and it's fans, wont be of great use to a consumer outside of the cameraphone aficionados.
    Reply
  • alovell83 - Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - link

    Also, in case anyone wants to say how easy it is to cross-develop apps for Meego & Symbian, from what I read, that much is true. However, I wouldn't want my OS to be reliant on Meego's adoption rates and apps when Meego has no hardware release dates and is showing up to this party quite late. Reply
  • deputc26 - Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - link

    Hmmm a little grandiloquent Reply
  • Antibios - Tuesday, January 25, 2011 - link

    A tad sesquipedalian Reply
  • anactoraaron - Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - link

    other reasons to not recommend: wifi pathetic, talk time sub par by today's standards horribly slow web browser (which is why you need more 3g battery life- the damn pages take forever to load!), screen res below what I would call the current industry standard (thanks to android devices), and lastly when you make an unlocked phone that you are trying to sell for ~$600US (typical for Nokia flagships) you DO NOT put in a 99 cent ARM 11 chip!! Can you say overpriced? And where the heck is the 1500 mAh battery found in almost every other nokia phone? I guess when you lose that much marketshare you can't afford to put quality components in your flagship. My guess is that Nokia already had this camera/sensor/flash prior to their imminent demise. Same with the 1200 mAh batteries now found on their phones. Sad really.

    A turd is a turd, even if it is well built.
    Reply
  • Voldenuit - Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - link

    Firstly, it is not selling for $600. It can be found for $399 at a lot of places and newegg is selling it for $429. For an unlocked pentaband phone, that's not a bad deal, especially since it comes with a camera as good as found on $400 compacts (S95, LX5 are ~$400).

    Secondly, Mithun's 3G talk time results seem egregious to me. The GSM talk times are a lot longer (I've had hour long conversations on the phone that did not dent the battery gauge, sadly don't have the resources/money to test talk times like AT), and there's not much to gain from going 3G for talk anyway.

    The CPU is slow, yes, but it's not a handicap for the device in practical use. It's as snappy as a 3GS, and the GPU is great for gaming - played Angry Birds, NFS Shift and Galaxy on Fire with no slowdowns. It's also played 720p videos without a hitch - remarkably, the phone stayed cool to the touch even after a 1 hr+ video session with a 720p mkv for me.

    Slow webkit browser is slow, fortunately Opera Mobile is decent for general web use (as opposed to synthetic benchmarks). Definitely one area Nokia could improve on though.

    It may not be the Ferrari of phones, but it is a far cry from a turd.
    Reply
  • mythun.chandra - Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - link

    I actually tested the 3G talk time twice and it was about the same. As I mentioned in the review, I could get away with using the N8 over a GSM-only network with moderate usage for almost 3 days. So yes, the GSM talk time is better. Reply
  • Voldenuit - Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - link

    Thanks for clarifying, mithun.

    As an aside, you can force the phone to use GSM/Edge for calls by putting it in power saving mode (click on battery icon in top right hand corner, or push power button once and select from options).
    Reply
  • anactoraaron - Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - link

    <sigh> there's always a nokia fanboy that bought the phone and has to post to defend their purchase... Yeah newegg has it at $429 now but do you see the "was $549"? That would make it MSRP of $549 which last time I checked would make it "~$600" (just south of $600). My point is and still remains that if Nokia wants a NEW "flagship" phone it seriously falls short by today's standards (set by apple and android phones). And the 3GS is outdated. It came out in ~August of 2009. Is Nokia then trying to compete with 1.5 year old phone hardware?? No wonder they are losing that massive amount of their marketshare. If I want to play handheld games I will buy a DS or PSP due to large quantity of titles available for them. Let's face it, these days cell phones are for 2 main things.
    1: making phone calls. And I don't care about GSM talk time. I don't want to have to go through all of the menus to find the obscure option to switch to GSM every time I want to have a long phone call and then back again to get online.
    2: Quick web surfing, including posting tweets and facebook updates and the occasional youtube upload. And the numbers for Opera Mobile aren't that good either.
    I see you have no comment on screen res or wifi performance. Yeah it stays cool at the lousy res since anything higher will stress the "great GPU". It's the same as pc's- when you increase the res it's more demanding on the gpu. Sure it's got a great camera. Which is why nokia went out of their way to say it over and over so everyone would overlook everything else.
    Don't get me wrong, I'm not a Nokia "hater" as I have had numerous Nokia phones (most recently an E63). But I can remember the days that Nokia hardware across the board was innovative, not just feature packed. Using an outdated cpu, bad wifi, short battery life talk time (seemingly a nokia first), failing to get to 800x400... I basically already said these things. I expect better from Nokia (and so should you).
    The N900 is going for the same $429 right now. Why buy this phone? For the camera?
    Reply
  • Exodite - Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - link

    Pricing varies a lot between markets I presume.

    For the sake of comparison the Nokia N8 costs ~4000 SEK here while the Desire HD is ~5100 SEK (recently dropped from 5600 SEK) and the iPhone 4 16GB is ~7000 SEK (~8300 SEK for 32GB).

    I can't speak for the rest of the world but it offers high-end smartphone features at a price point significantly lower than the competition.

    Surely that's not a bad thing?

    At that price you really have to compare the N8 to mid-range smartphone, like the HTC Legend or Aria.
    Reply

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