A little more than a month ago (it seems), I made the investment to purchase a Nokia N8. Due to budget fun, my decision meant that I had to go with a used model over a brand new one, but the person I bought it from took great care of it, so no worries. In that time, immediately before which I had the Nokia Astound on T-Mobile for a few weeks, I’ve rediscovered what I’ve liked about mobile, and learned about this device some things that I (still) don’t.
A Brief Overview of the N8
The Nokia N8 is pretty much the “old’ flagship for Nokia’s Symbian devices. Many people will make the case that its still the flagship since it has the best camera, memory card slot, form factor that looks like Android/iPhone devices, and sees a reasonable amount of support attention from Nokia even though its just about a year old.
During my initial time with the N8, I felt in one respect that it wasn’t good enough for me as a day-to-day device. The software wasn’t consistent, even though it was improved in areas over my previous device, the N97. And there just wasn’t a feeling that its camera capabilities would be enough to compensate for that – though, in my case, those abilities weighed a ton.
However, when I looked at my needs, and what it was that I want to continue to do with mobile devices that have a phone attached, the N8 kept coming on top as the best device for my needs. And so, I chalked up those earlier experiences, and then took with a grain of salt the experiences that would come when its operating system gets upgraded to be what I knew from the Astound, and made the plunge. I’m honest in saying this, this is a mobile that works very well for me – and just works.
That (re)Comforting Feeling
Right before the N8 initially left my possession, I had it for about a month and was just starting to see the benefits of the(then new) operating system. I wasn’t sure that I’d feel the same way cooing from the Astound but I actually am feeling ok about most things.
Items that are comfortable include the browser opening and not crashing on every other link when I’m coming from another application. Heck, the fact that the browser has been able to hold open several webpages, then also keep open other applications, without a major slowdown in the overall usage has been refreshing. There’s the battery life, to which has been good enough to change my behavior from previous devices. I get good enough battery life with the N8 that it spends more time on the charger in my car than it does overnight wherever I’m sleeping. The “power saving” feature has even enabled me to push some weekend trips a bit as its been great in giving me an extra 3/4 day after the first day or so out and about.
I’ve been ok for the most part with applications on my N8. Nokia Bots was the first that I put on there. Nokia’s Sleeping Screen project has done wonders for keeping battery life draw at a minimum while keeping that analog clock ready to view. I’m splitting Twitter time between Nokia Social and Different Tack – the latter being the application that I’m just starting to simply appreciate for its approach. Sports Tracker and Mobbler remain probably my most used “other” social networking apps. Though LinkedIn, PayPal, and Skype are there when needed and I remember that I’ve got them versus the not-as-clean web interface. Lastly, I’m using two (of the possible 3) home screens. The first one basically showing my Nokia Bots widgets, while the second has my search, music, calendar and weather widgets as I like to refer to that information on occasion. The weather widget by AccuWeather is interesting here as it does the neat job of updating when I go to that specific widget screen of the weather report for the area I am. I’ve been traveling, that’s been a boon to me.
A Few Niggles
There are still a few niggles. Nothing major to be honest. I grew used to the speed and the clean UI of the newer web browser in the Astound, and so I’m always having fun with those expectations versus the current reality of the N8. The Ovi Store has been telling me for months that there’s an update for IM for Nokia, however installing the update doesn’t change that status – even if I sign out of the store and log back in. Speaking of which, the Ovi Store app doesn’t seem to hold/use the Ovi credentials… I’ve got to sign back in every time. Not fun.
The numeric keypad on the Astound seemed like it was faster to type from. And it also didn’t take up the entire screen. The current one on the N8, not so cool. I’ve also neglected adding Swype (beta) on the N8, because I think it will be included in the major update. That’s made typing a bit slower at times when using the N8 in landscape view.
Lastly, the camera. Yea, I know. This camera is really quite decent, and there’s little to complain about. However there’s something. Its very sensitive to movement – especially in macro mode. I’ve messed up plenty of shots with my shaky hand – which is a shame because I’m taking a ton more pictures. Its a practice thing, but I do have moments where I wish that this could be addressed. I hear though there’s a camera enhancement app out there, maybe I’ll find it and be able to see this piece addressed.
Not Perfect, Just Right
But, that’s how its been for me and the N8 this round. Its not that it is the perfect device (if fingerprint magnet were a rating, it would be perfect there though). Its the right device for me. I’ve not gone to using a case for it, and its taking one drop that scared me – but its made of metal (mostly) and is as tough as anything else. Its not the fastest device, nor am I even using email on it. But, it works well for me. I’m enjoying mobility again because the N8 has me in a position where I’m not asking “is this mobile going to make it through the day to meet my expectations?” It just works, and works well. That’s not necessarily perfection, but when you are making an investment in living as I do, it is something that fits just right.