About 2 months back, I had a chance to “hold” the N8 for a “test drive”. I was using the Moto Milestone/Droid then and I intended to put the two through paces. I never got to do much on the N8. My first touch experience on the N8 was a little disappointing (to put that mildly). The Milestone was a joy in terms of its experience and user interface (Call it the Android experience). I thought it best not to rate the N8 and let the jury come out with their votes. Little wonder then, that the jury also finds the N8 to be inadequate.
The N8 was the most anticipated Nokia launch which was to restore customer faith on Nokia smartphones. The N8 clearly does not do justice to its expectations. What Nokia doesnot understand and must learn is to live outside of its wonderland. A Smartphone is a combination of Hardware, OS and Applications. All of these three in equal measure contribute to make a great or a good smartphone.
Nokia is intent to taking the war only basis hardware. So it does well to pack up a 12MP camera with Xenon Flash that shoots at 720p, HDMI port that links up with the LCD, a direct hard drive access and other specs. It also does fair in terms of integrating Flashlite, Multitasking and Capacitive touch. “Fair” because the Flashlite experience is “lite” at best, Capacitive screen is a little low on responsiveness and the 16.7 Million colours do not measure up-to AMOLED screens doing rounds of smartphone specs currently.
Now for the pain-The UI. The Nokia N8 runs the new improved Symbian 3 OS.When was the last time Symbian was heard to be a smartphone OS? That would be in 2007 when Nokia launched N95. Since then Symbian has walked baby steps whereas the Android and iOS have taken the F1 cars to improvement.
What I had experienced in my brief fling with the N8 was a sluggishness, inconsistent response of the UI and the Navigation and Lack of Polish in user experience, Cumbersome software experience, lack of Intuitiveness and sophistication in the UI. So the 12MP takes a brilliant pic, which however cannot be directly loaded to Picassa or Facebook. Instead you have to go to the menu screen, figure out the Social networking icon and select the service, choose the pic and upload it. There… that is lack of intuitiveness and smartness! Point rests!
Smartphones are supposed to be the gateway to internet. Not so much with the N8 where the web experience is sub-optimal. As compared against the iPhone or the Androids, it is just about a few leagues behind! For a better browsing experience, one can choose to download the Opera and that has a greater polish than the N8 browser.
The third is about the Apps experience: The Ovi store. What could be better said than just the fact that Ovi store is not pre-loaded into the phone. A user needs to install that on the phone!!!!! Cant imagine an Android phone without the Marketplace?? The Ovi Apps store is not the best in business as we all know. The Music library is definitely great, but software library is a little below grade.
So there you have it: The Nokia N8 redeems itself of its past sins in some measure (Remember the N97 with a Resistive screen?). However it clearly doesnot do enough to get at par with the game boys of today (iPhone and Android). Bottomline: The Nokia N8 may be the best Camera phone yet, but it is an also ran in the domain of smartphones.