Nokia N800 first impressions
Well, I broke down and bought one of those new-fangled Nokia N800 internet tablets. It's the size of a closed NIntendo DS Lite and has an 800x480 LED touchscreen, dual SD-card slots (can use SDHC cards if you patch the system) with support for mini-SD, micro-SD, etc. through adapters. Has built-in Bluetooth 2.0 (no "stereo" bluetooth though), built-in 802.11b/g with full on WPA/TKIP support, stereo speakers on the front that sounds really good for a device this size, and has a built-in standard 3.5mm headphone jack for plugging in your favorite pair of headphones and also doubles as the line-in jack for a microphone. The headphones that come with the device itself suck, don't even bother using them.
A quick rundown of the featureset as taken from The Inquirer:
* 330MHz Texas Instruments processor
* Volume: 137cc, weight: 206g, length: 75mm, width: 144mm, thickness: 13(/18)mm
* Colour: Silver front cover and matt black back display
* High-resolution (800x480) 4.13" touch screen with up to 65,536 colours
* Memory: 128MB RAM, 256MB of Flash ROM
* Two internal memory card slots, compatible with SD, MicroSD, MiniSD, MMC, and RS-MMC. Compatible with cards up to 2GB. Configurable up to 4GB
* Operating times: Browsing time- up to 3.5 hours, standby time- up to 12 days
* Operating system: Internet Tablet OS 2007 edition (Linux Maemo/Debian)
* Input methods: Full screen finger keyboard, on-screen keyboard, handwriting recognition
* Connectivity: WLAN 802.11b/g, Bluetooth specification: 2.0, USB 2.0 high speed device mode for PC connectivity
* Support file formats:Audio: AAC, AMR, MP2, MP3, RA (Real Audio), WAV, WMA
* Image: BMP, GIF, ICO, JPEG, PNG, TIFF, SVG-tiny
* Video: 3GP, AVI, H.263, MPEG-1, MPEG-4, RV (Real Video)
* Internet radio playlists: M3U, PLS
* Retail package additional contents: 128MB MiniSD card with extender, extra stylus, stereo headset, pouch, data cable
(pics not mine, taken from other reviews on the net)
(yes, that's the rotating mini webcam that's built-in to the device itself. It pops out of the housing and rotates a full 180.)
I just got it a few days ago and since I've been busy travelling for work, I've had a lot of time on-the-road/plane to play around with it.
It's got built-in bluetooth and 80211b/g and the cool thing about the wi-fi is that if you've already setup and configured a wi-fi network with it, when it detects it within range it will automatically connect to it. Really useful as I go from one side of my apartment to the other since I use a wireless bridge to connect the two sides of the apartment (it's a big apartment).
Right now I use it mainly as my podcast device (gpodder), VoIP phone (Gizmo), and video call device (GoogleTalk) but it's also my main RSS news reader as well. The wi-fi radio in this sucker is strong at 100mW and it picks up wi-fi signals from long distances. I was able to pickup the wi-fi AP from a Starbuck's located half a mile down the road from me! My Macs and other wi-fi gear cannot even pick that up without assistance from one of my cantennas. I was able to sit at the local Starbuck's and have a video call with a friend of mine back in Kansas City with the Arabian Gulf as my backdrop. The quality was pretty damn nice, with very little video lag.
The OS kernel on the N800 is basically Debian Linux and the built-in application installer GUI lets you add your own software repositories on it for seamless install of most programs. If it sees a program needs a dependancy that you don't have but is listed in one of the online repositories it will download and install that with the program you want. In other words, long-time Sharp Zaurus (and Linux) fans will recognize the application installer tool instantly. Since it is based upon the kernal similiar to that found in the Zaurus, many folks have been busy porting over software to the N800, and the software repositories grow larger every week.
THe built-in applications aren't too shabby either, with Opera as the web browser and almost full-on flash support. Yes, this thing will do YouTube.
Just to make sure, a minute ago I went to the main YouTube page and watched the number23 Jim Carrey thing. Worked well, even if it was frame-skipping a lot on the video, the audio was perfect. I expect them to fix this is a future software update though since Adobe just released a newer mobile flash player.
Battery life? Pretty damn good if you keep the backlight brightness on low levels. Right now it's telling me I have 3 hours of battery life left with it in full use, and 9 days of standby. Standby mode kicks in after one minute of use and all it does is basically dim the backlight after 10 seconds and after one minute it turns the screen off. Pressing a button or tapping hte screen brings it back into full mode instantly, no delay. So if you're downloading a file off the internet and leave it alone, it will turn off the screen in one minute but still be downloading the file. It really does extend the battery life and it's completely adjusting in regards to the standby timing. You can set it for any time you want.
Right now the "killer apps" for this thing are it's built-in video call support for GoogleTalk, the gpodder podcast client, and Canola.
Ah, yes...Canola. This app is what turns the Nokia N800 into something resembling Front Row on Mac OS X.
It's the ultimate media player for the N800, and plays video, audio, internet radio, and podcasts (streaming only though) all from a slick-as-hell GUI. And since it's basically just a front-end to the built-in codecs and players on the N800, it's fast as hell too.
It works well with both bluetooth keyboards (tested an Apple wireless keyboard and a ThinkOutside BT keyboard, both worked flawlessly) as well as bluetooth GPS receivers (tested with a Holux GPSlim 240).
Maemo Mapper is a free download and uses Google maps and your GPS BT receiver to mark your location on satellite and street/road maps. No navigation suite just yet, but there is one that will be made available soon. It's currently in a closed beta test. But my phone running either TomTom, Navistar, or the recently-released FREE smart2go application for Symbian Series 60 3rd Edition phones are my main navigation/mapping tools on my Nokia N80i so this isn't usck a big thing to me. But that bright-as-hell and massive 800x480 screen displaying Google maps full-screen is pretty awesome. It's basically Google maps in the palm of your hand since hte approrpiate maps are only downloaded ONCE to your SD card as you browse/zoom-in/travel around to new sections of the maps.
All-in-all it's a nice device, but it does have "issues" which I will list below:
- no bluetooth support for headsets, period. (Nokia says they are working on putting that into a future firmware update)
- bluetooth support has a serious case of the dumbass. While I can browse my entire Nokia N80i mobile phone from the N800 and my Macs via bluetooth, I cannot browse the N800 from my Macs via bluetooth. In order to put large files on it I have to physically hook it up to computer itself via the mini-USB standard cable it came with where the computer then recognizes that two drives have been added (internal and external SD cards). Transfer is fast though, at USB 2.0 speeds. But still, this bullshlt lack of proper BT support gives Nokia a black-eye. My Sharp Zaurus 5500 I bought back in 2002 has better bluetooth support (read: drivers) for it and that was more than 4 years ago!
- the built-in contacts application sucks worse than a 2-dollar hooker. Here's what I had to do to get my Mac/phone contacts to my N800 contacts program:
1. Sync phone with Mac
2. Open contacts up on phone
3. Select "all" contacts
4. Send all contacts to the Nokian N800 via bluetooth as a batch job
5. Hold the N800 and tap, tap, tap, and ****ing tap some more to accept each individual file and save it on my SD card.
6. Highlight all the saved contact files and double-tap on the screen.
7. Tap, tap, and ****ing tap some as the built-in contacts software constantly asks me if I want ot import each one....****ing pain-in-the-ass. No way to mass import any-damn-thing. **** you, Nokia, for that particular bullshlt.
- no Mac support for syncing contacts/calendar via BT (yet more weak-sauce bluetooth support!)
- no "official" support for SDHC cards yet. Folks have gotten 4GB SDHC cards to work well on the device, but they had to patch the kernal to get them to work properly. Yes, there are folks running around there with 8GB of SDHC storage on their N800s and giving the iPhone the finger. Wait until those 8GB SDHC cards come out...16GB of storage space on the N800 sounds damn nice.
Myself? I'm currently running 2GB of storage but have two 4GB SDHC cards on order...
- no built-in .DOC, .PPT, .XLS viewer/editor. C'mon, my Zaurus had this.
- no built-in PIM suite (not even a tiny basic one!), luckily folks kind of "fixed" that by porting some over from the GTK side of the house.
I'm sure they're more, but I can't think of them right now. I'll update this thread/post with more "findings" as I run across them.
gAim runs great on it through and supports the AIM, Yahoo, MSN, Jabber, Gadu Gadu, IRC, Meanwhile, Napster, Novell, ICQ, and Zephyr internet chat protocols.