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Old 17-05-2010, 06:40 PM
slitchfield slitchfield is offline
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Nokia N8 - hardware hands-on first look

During a recent visit to Nokia's London design office, I had the opportunity to spend a few minutes with a Nokia N8. The device was a prototype and we were asked not to switch it on as the Symbian^3 software is still being worked on. However, I thought it would still be worth sharing a few initial impressions and pictures of the hardware below. The N8, which was announced in late April, is due out at the end of the summer.

Read on in the full article.

  #2  
Old 17-05-2010, 07:02 PM
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If anyone has specific questions I will do my best to answer them, but please bear in mind I had limited time with the device. And to re-emphasise - this was a prototype and this piece is just looking at the hardware (did not switch on device).
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Old 17-05-2010, 07:25 PM
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Nice walk-through the exterior of the device.

I'm not sure what I think about the styling. Initially, I thought the two tone colors and the Sidekick-ish design was off putting, but less so now. Whether you like it or hate it, it IS different.

Glad to hear about the robustness of the aluminum shell.

Still though, these days it's pretty much about the marriage of the hardware AND software, with the software playing a bigger part. We won't have a clue how the device really fares until we see Symbian^3.

Don't get me started that in the U.S., the only way to get a hands on look to test the N8 is to actually fully pay for it, then return it for a refund/RMA, to say, Amazon. The issues with Nokia and the carrier stores aside, electronics retailers don't stock unlocked Nokia phones here. I still think that shelf space at most Best Buy locations would do wonders for the phone, but what do I know....
[/RANT]

  #4  
Old 17-05-2010, 07:26 PM
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Wink

That screen certainly does stand out...
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File Type: jpg N8_hands_on.jpg (102.3 KB, 19 views)

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Old 17-05-2010, 07:34 PM
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Rafe, did you happen to find out if the battery is soldered, or does it have a connector to unclip? I'm quite happy taking out screws to get inside a phone, but going inside with 190 centigrade soldering tip is a bit dodgy.

Non user replaceable is acceptable if the replacement services is a reasonable price and the turnaround is reasonably quick - which is not what we get with other non-replaceable battery products.

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Old 17-05-2010, 07:40 PM
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Jimmy1 - I had mixed feelings about the design before I saw the N8. Like a lot of phones it does look better in person than in the 101 pictures you'll see of it.

And you're absolutely right about it being software and hardware. That's why I made it absolutely clear that this piece is just about the hardware and is only based on a short time with the device. Still if you don't have good hardware, the software becomes more or a moot point. The best devices need to be good in both areas.

Agree about the two colour style (I think you mean the two greens). However (and I should have said this in the article) I think this might be a prototype thing. Its much less apparent on other devices and (for the green one) in press photos.

On the US thing - look on the bright side - at least it has 5 bands - no need for a NAM variant with non-updating firmware (small comfort I know).

morpheus - you couldn't resist could you Respect to your photoshopping skills though!
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Old 17-05-2010, 07:42 PM
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Make sure Nokia add a loop to one of the top corners.

It needs a loop at one of the top corners. Even more so because of it's smooth styling. Especially when I go on holidays, I like to have my N82 looped around my neck and sitting in my front pocket, and on holidays is when I take most of my photos.

Last edited by dohouch; 17-05-2010 at 07:44 PM.

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Old 17-05-2010, 07:43 PM
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Smile

This is the best way to appreciate Nokia touch smartphone - don't switch it on :-)

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Old 17-05-2010, 07:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
Rafe, did you happen to find out if the battery is soldered, or does it have a connector to unclip? I'm quite happy taking out screws to get inside a phone, but going inside with 190 centigrade soldering tip is a bit dodgy.

Non user replaceable is acceptable if the replacement services is a reasonable price and the turnaround is reasonably quick - which is not what we get with other non-replaceable battery products.
I didn't ask about that specifically. The prototypes have standard batteries and are not soldered in. However this is, of course, subject to change.

I think a lot of people on this site would be OK with removing a few screws, but I can imagine the majority would not. The prototypes have Phillips screws, but I think this may change to the star shaped Tork screws in final production. So I'd agree that a clear replacement process is a must... I suspect this will need to be done by a Nokia service centre - who should be able to do this instantly - but I have nothing definitive on this.

Of course these days battery lifetime is better - I wonder what percentage would actually get replace / need replacing over the lifetime of the product.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dohouch View Post
It needs a loop at one of the top corners. Even more so because of it's smooth styling. Especially when I go on holidays, I like to have my N82 looped around my neck and sitting in my front pocket, and on holidays is when I take most of my photos.
One of the things I like about aluminium is that its more grippy than stainless steel. But you'll be pleased to know the final design does include a wrist strap hole. I think it is in the bottom right.
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Old 17-05-2010, 07:56 PM
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Of course these days battery lifetime is better - I wonder what percentage would actually get replace / need replacing over the lifetime of the product.

Current specification for the other product is 400 discharge cycles reduces the battery to 80% capacity, it then falls off quite quick after that. So, potentially a little over 1 year, not good for all those 24 month contracts.

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Old 17-05-2010, 08:10 PM
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One downside to a hidden battery

Ask Steve Litchfield about my old E61i: This survived two full immersions in water because I was able to yank the battery instantly as I got it out of the water and then strip the phone down to dry it out.

If I get the N8 I'm going to have to be a lot more careful (or luckier) with it.

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Old 17-05-2010, 08:14 PM
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Rafe, any idea why this menu key is located far left instead of in the middle (symmetry wise). Is it related to ergonomics, or pure design decision?

Cheers,
Miki

  #13  
Old 17-05-2010, 09:00 PM
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Yeah, i'm also having concerns about the placement of the menu button. Feels like i would easily flip the phone and drop it while trying to operate the phone with one hand.

Another concern would be leaving the camera without a lens cover. And i don't mean that transparrent scratch resistant plastic over it.

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Old 17-05-2010, 09:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonquirk View Post
If I get the N8 I'm going to have to be a lot more careful (or luckier) with it.
That's not a factor I had thought about... Water can definitely get in given the slots and ports. I will also need to be more carefully - I've dropped more phones in water than I care to remember! So another downside to integral batteries.

Quote:
Originally Posted by miki69 View Post
Rafe, any idea why this menu key is located far left instead of in the middle (symmetry wise). Is it related to ergonomics, or pure design decision?
I can't answer specifically for the N8. However for the N97 I think I was told this was to do with ergonomic positioning, especially for the thumb (for right handers), when using the device one handed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
Another concern would be leaving the camera without a lens cover. And i don't mean that transparrent scratch resistant plastic over it.
I did ask about this. This is because a lens cover would add extra thickness. Also it was mentioned that an increasing number of applications need to capture images and a lens cover makes it harder to do this instantly (e.g. Augmented reality, live streaming, sharing pics to social networks). This is a design compromise I guess and a personal thing. Personally not that bothered as tend to phone in a case anyway.
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Old 17-05-2010, 09:31 PM
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This isn't meant to sound facetious, but the main concern I'd have with the non removable battery is the opportunity to pull the battery when the phone freezes.

OK, so we all hope this isn't going to be a twice a day thing like the N97 experience, but I used to have to do this quite a few times with my N95 and N95 8GB too.
 

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