Conclusion

Now is not a good time to be Nokia. Once the king of the (smartphone) hill with an overwhelming majority of the smartphone market share, the lack of evolving to changing consumer demands in a fast enough manner has seen its smartphone share plummet. With Apple and Google thoroughly beating Nokia in its traditionally weak markets (North America for example), and taking the fight to its traditional strongholds (Europe and Asia), they don’t seem to be showing any signs of slowing things down. In fact, it almost seems too little too late for Nokia with the N8 and Symbian^3. Had the N8 launched at the end of 2009 or the beginning of 2010, before the explosion of Android slate devices and the iPhone 4, the N8 would have clearly been the best smartphone with little competition.

But it’s not all so gloomy. Nokia still commands massive brand recall in a lot of major markets. And the N8-00 is a solid smartphone; hands-down the best mainstream phone Nokia has put forth to date (again, ignoring the outlier than N900 is). In fact, Nokia sells the N8-00 as a ‘mobile computer’ and while I’ve always thought of this as being a marketing gimmick for their Nseries devices, I am fairly convinced that the N8 actually befits this tag. With most definitely the best camera ever seen on a mobile phone, the N8 is a worthy replacement to basic point snf shoots. With excellent media handling capabilities, HDMI out and the very useful USB-To-Go capability, the N8 actually fulfills basic HTPC duties with no fuss. And Ovi Maps, a definitely capable replacement for dedicated navigation devices. As is clear from this review, Nokia has made sure to implement whatever features it has included in the N8, with great attention to detail. And thankfully this time, this attention to detail has also mostly translated to the software side of things…traditionally Nokia’s weakness.

Symbian^3 is a definite and marked improvement over the previous Series 60 5th Edition without any doubt. With Symbian^3, Nokia has finally entered the modern smartphone market and it makes a strong showing here. There still are issues that Nokia needs to fix ASAP—the browser, mail application and Ovi Store being the major ones. If Nokia executes on the continuous and ongoing incremental updates to the Symbian^3 platform that it has committed to, in a timely manner, we may finally have a Nokia device that we can recommend without any obvious compromises or flaws. And with one such update promised for the N8 sometime in Q1 2011, it may be the device to recommend, after the update.

As an interesting side note, the Nokia C7 is a cheaper alternative to the N8. If the top-notch camera in the N8 doesn’t pique your interest and you’re willing to forego half the storage (now 8GB), you will get everything else the N8 has to offer, potentially better battery life, plus NFC-support, for a decent amount less than the N8. 

Battery life and Performance Benchmarks
POST A COMMENT

119 Comments

View All Comments

  • 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

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now