Nokia N800 first impressions

I’ve been using Nokia Symbian S60-based Nseries phones (I mean multimedia computers!) for a while now and so now Nokia was kind enough to give me the N800 internet tablet.

It’s a member of the Nseries family but it’s not a phone and it’s not running Symbian S60, it falls firmly in the internet appliance category, more specifically it’s an Internet Tablet and is running Linux-based Maemo 3.0 in the form of Internet Tablet OS 2007. Normally I would do one huge review and that would be pretty much it. But this time I’m going to try something different. I will start of with the First Impression; this will later on be followed by a more extensive review similar to what I did with the N93 and N93i. After that I will continue posting reviews of apps for the N800, new experiences I had with the tablet, news, comments etc. I’ve had the N800 for about 24 hours now, enough for a first impression review, so let’s get started! The Package

The N800 comes in the now familiar looking package, similar to other Nseries sporting a grey and white design. The front of the package (just like the N93) is adorned with pictures of people using the product in different scenarios while on the back you can find the usual feature list and an overview of the different components of the N800. The standard sales package includes:

  • Nokia N800 Internet Tablet (RX-34)
  • Extra stylus
  • Battery (BP-5L)
  • 128MB MiniSD card with extender (MU-17)
  • Stereo headset (HS-48)
  • Travel charger (AC-4)
  • Pouch (CP-136)
  • Data cable (DKE-2)
  • Quick start guide
  • Safety, warranty and other product information

The package I received was almost the same but lacked an extra stylus and the Travel charger (AC-4). Neither of them was a problem for me as one stylus was enough and I had several of those Travel chargers (AC-4) laying around. This probably happened due to this being a ‘press kit’, but rest assured that retail packages will contains all the items above. Overall the package is quite complete and includes everything needed, I only wish if they included a larger memory card for storage (The N95 comes with 1GB) and an extra 128mb for virtual memory purposes. As the N800 can use the extra storage as virtual memory to run apps, allowing you to effectively run more apps at once. They included a nice looking pouch, but without a hook or strap it’s not that useful, although it does protect that beautiful screen.

The N800

Before getting the device I looked at many videos and pictures of it and I thought it looked plasticky, but in person it looks smaller and there is no trace of that ‘plasticky’ look, it looks more like a sophisticated device with a nice industrial looking design . I’m used to Nokia’s excellent build quality, but the N800 just exudes an even higher quality. I tried the good ol’ flex test holding the unit with both hands and trying to flex it: not a single squeak! Not really part of the test, but I did accidentally drop the N800 and although it was left with a few scratches on the right side it survived, so that was kind of a unofficial real-world test showing the excellent build quality.

When you first look at the N800 the first thing you’ll notice is the huge screen dominating the front of the device, turning the device on reveals a bright display with vibrant colors and the resolution of the screen makes it just pleasant to look at.

The user interface seems highly optimized for this type of device and is a huge departure from what I’m used to with Symbian S60. But I do recognize certain UI elements and the core idea is the same, making it easy for a S60 user to quickly pick up the device up and start using it. Just like S60 it has the stand-by screen, but it’s far more customizable. Overall the UI feels snappy and seems like a cross between the windows operating system and Symbian S60.

On the multimedia front I played some music and watched the included video sample and I must say I’m impressed. This has one of the best mobile stereo speakers I have heard and I’m starting to wonder how these would compare to the ones on the N95, as I’ve heard good things about N95’s stereo speakers. I will be getting the N95 soon enough so I can try this. The video looks great on the screen and there was no noticeable lag in audio.

Web Experience

The N800 is a internet centric device, that’s why web access is critical to get the most out of it.. Sure, you could use it as a Media player but I think 80% of its potential will be left untapped. I think one of the most asked question about the device is if it can play flash content, specifically YouTube. After configuring it to use my protected WIFI connection I tried YouTube and it works! It’s wonderful being able to sit back and use such a compact device to watch your YouTube videos. I say they could still squeeze more frame-rates out of the N800 through software optimization. I have seen videos of people playing YoutTube content on the N800 before the updated OS 2007 edition v. 3.2007.10-7 and the update really has improved flash video performance. The video frame-rate is getting close to the ideal frame-rate , so I have hopes that a future upgrade will do this.

I also ran few more flash tests that consisted of Badgerbadgerbadger and Addictinggames. The badger site passed with flying colors while on addicting games some games didn’t play, but most did like Bow Man. I also tried some Java content but that just didn’t load. I did read somewhere that java might become part of the software in future release and I also heard some hack that allows java support, but I will have to do a little more research on that.

So far so good, I’m impressed with the N800 and it ideally it makes a great companion to any smartphone, especially after surfing on such a compact device with such a huge screen it kind of is difficult to go back to browsing on the N93/N93i or even something like the N95. Also expect a first impression for the N95, while I’m right now working on a more extensive N800 review.

Edit: I would also like the opportunity to remind our readers that you can leave questions or issues you would liked to be addressed in the N800 review.

Written by Devin