The Media Guru

Oct 21, 2010



It’s here. The latest Nokia Nseries flagship with the largest camera sensor ever put on a phone - the Nokia N8.

Almost 3 weeks after its release, thanks to the kind folks at WOMWorld, I finally have my hands on a brand new N8-00. Previous devices I’ve reviewed are the N97 & the E72.
To recap, the N8 is a big leap forward for Nokia, worthy of the N95, in terms of software & hardware. The N8 is powered by open-source Symbian^3 & features a 12MP camera with Xenon flash, HDMI out, internal batttery, anodised aluminium unibody & a capacitive AMOLED screen.



So let’s start with the unboxing. The box itself was quite light compared to what I’ve received previously.


Note how the outline of the N8 has been etched on the box.


& here’s the N8. Of the dark grey variant.


Underneath the phone, there’s this quick guide on how to insert the SIM (no SIM under battery here) & MicroSD.


The rest of the package contents.


The sales package includes the following:

  • Nokia N8 mobile computer (with Nokia Battery BL-4D inside)
  • Nokia Compact Travel Charger AC-15
  • Nokia Connectivity Cable CA-179 [USB]
  • Nokia Stereo Headset WH-701 [In-ear - yay!]
  • Nokia Adapter Cable for HDMI CA-156 [HDMI Type C to Type A]
  • Nokia Adapter Cable for USB OTG CA-157 [MicroUSB out to USB 2.0 in]
  • Ovi Brochure and Quick Start Guide
  • Nokia N8-00 Manual

So what’s missing? The Ovi Suite CD, 3.5mm-to-AV cable, a strap-in cord & cleaning cloth. A touchscreen phone not coming with a cleaning cloth is quite an omission, but the even bigger one is the lack of PC software. Actually, what Nokia did was add the software directly on the N8. So that when you connect the N8 to the PC for the first time, the Ovi Suite installer autoruns. Nice. :P




& here’s the phone.


First Impressions


This is the first time I’m spending more than a few minutes with a capacitive device with multitouch, an AMOLED screen & a 12MP camera with Xenon flash. 
The screen is fantastic. It’s viewable at all angles. & the black is really true black. The touchscreen layer isn’t as responsive as an iPhone.
The hardware is top-notch, built to last for decades. Scratch the aluminium & wipe it off with a cloth. Same for the gorilla glass screen.
The software is quite buggy. Taps not being registered, accelerometer sensor not precise - it leaves the app to hang in one mode. I especially had problems with the photo gallery being painfully slow. The Qwerty keyboard is quite unusable without predictive text (I spent 5 mins looking for those settings). The web browser deserves all the criticism it has received – I tried the Engadget site, couldn’t browse around until it was fully loaded 2 mins later. Given that the N8 is brand new, there is no firmware update yet to fix these bugs. Hopefully, there’ll be one soon before I hand back the device.


& now to the most important part – the camera. Here are a few shots I took.




It should be noted that the camera is by default in 9MP mode, in 16:9. You have to manually change it to 12MP. & I find it peculiar that 12MP images are only 2MB in size…



Using the camera shutter button meant that each time I took a photo it came out blurred because my hands were shaky. So I had to use the on-screen button, which meant I had no way to lock the focus. That’s the USB, HDMI & in-ear headset with controls above.


The quick start guide.



Took a trip outside, it was near 6 pm, so it’s low-light condition, at the limit of that large sensor.




The AMOLED screen should come with a disclaimer - colours appear more vivid that they actually are.


Look at the amount of noise! Larger sensor = more noise. (& maybe jpeg compression artefacts?)





A few close-ups. The N8 has no problems at all tackling red flowers (unlike my L20), although the last photo does appear to be slightly oversaturated. There is a definite lack of vibrancy (goes unnoticed on that AMOLED screen).


The N8 couldn’t handle this sunset at all. A variable aperture would have been handy here.


& this is where another bug hit the camera. It defaulted back to 9MP. I was also perplexed why the camera app was crashing each time until I realised I was holding my thumb near to the Exit button (ah, capacitive…).


The Xenon flash. It’s not very powerful, but it does its job brilliantly (do note the noise). I’d take the loss in battery life any day over the complete uselessness of a LED flash.



So that was the unboxing of the N8 & a small preview of the photographic capabilities of the N8. Definitely there seems to be a problem with the noise level in the photos. Nothing that a firmware update can’t fix. On a side note, I loaded two videos of Top Gear (one in Xvid avi, the other in 720p x264 mkv) on the N8 &… they played without any glitch. :D 
There’s  still a lot more features to be discovered as I’ll spend more time with the N8 over the next 3 weeks. As always, if you have any questions about this device, do ask…. :)


Update: Nokia N8 available in Mauritius, priced at Rs 20,000 (VAT inclusive).

Update 2:
Hands-on review is here -

Nokia N8 Review:

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Yashvin said...

Nice but I don't find myself spending thousands of bucks on this one. It doesnt have that 'wow' factor.

Kurt Avish said...

On Facebook: Carrot Madman VI went from being "single" to "in a relationship."

On his blog: Tone fini retire so linge tou :P To rapid :P

Awaiting your next review of the mob.

Rwishi said...

Ok. Now I totally am envying you -_-

I haven't received the PC suite/Ovi suite cd's since the E75, Nokia usually installs them on the memory card or in the this case the phone itself

From what i've read there is going to be v12 is expected within the next few weeks.

Strange the didn't include the variable aperture from the N86 :/

btw, you want to compare the N8 to some other devices, maybe the N97, N900 or iPhone for comparison shots etc? Let me know, ill see what I can arrange.
The N900 has the same wide angle as the N8, we can try and compare the 2 camera's...

carrotmadman6 said...

I forgot to mention it, but price is around £450.


12MP vs 5MP would be quite unfair. I'll test the N8 against what it's being aimed at - entry-level compact cameras. :)

Selective Apathy... said...

Nice, I was looking forward for you to get your hands on this one.
No case in the box either?
How does it feel in the hand? Size, width, weight?
Look forward to a battery life verdict too.

carrotmadman6 said...

@Selective Apathy
No case either. Nokia are cutting costs...

It's exactly the same size as the E72, but much thicker & slightly heavier.

Nitish said...

I hope these bugs will be remedied later by nxt releases of symbian^3. :P. Hey i've seen vids about the N8 which is apparently gud for 3D gaming. Electronic Arts has been working in close collaboration with Nokia and they intend to release a stripped down version of NFS shift and the Sims 3.

If you have any chance of testing a 3D game on the N8, let us know how it feels! ;)

carrotmadman6 said...

I'm currently playing the NFS Shift, it's very addictive (really like a stripped-down version - drift, tuning, nitro, etc.), graphics are impressive, but it drains down the battery enormously.

Yasir said...

taaaaaaaa seryer net bans grafix la :D komien tone payer??

carrotmadman6 said...

Free. :P

It's a review device, to be returned back in 3 weeks time. :(

Sandeep said...

Next time make a comparison of N8 vs Iphone 4 in terms of processing?.. 680MHz vs 1Ghz (: till now Nokia hasn't released any 1Ghz phone..

carrotmadman6 said...

I don't have an iPhone 4 on my hands, so can't do that.
In everyday usage, it's not only the CPU speed that matters. For example, it has a GPU which is more powerful than that of the iPhone 4. :)

PS. They will release a 1Ghz phone next year.

Anonymous said...

Hey could you help on the Trial a Nokia . I just filled out the form on the Nokia Site but still haven`t got any mails?

carrotmadman6 said...

If they don't contact you within a few weeks, fill the form again. :)

Anonymous said...

Ok thanks ..!! Thought that they would contact me immediately !!! :)

Earl said...

The first time I laid eyes on the Nokia N8 (a month or two ago), I know I just got to have this phone. :D I'm still in-love with it, though.

Gouthaman Karunakaran said...

@Rwishi They don't have to give us a CD with the PC Suite application. We've got the internet to download the latest version available.

Earl said...

Nahhh... I'll get by just fine with the N8. :-) There's nothing a little Photoshop can't do. Thanks for the unboxing picture. Really helpful... and I really had my eye on the N8 for a long time now.

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