Nokia N8 – The Review!

I have had the Nokia N8 for about 3 weeks now. It’s a sexy phone. Sleek design with a large, bright screen and minimal physical buttons all come together nicely in a very well built metal body that gives the phone a very sturdy feel about it.

This is Nokia’s big boy phone. Its not for the faint hearted and packs some serious hardware & serious software. Running its newest (and greatest OS) Symbian^3, which is designed specifically for touch devices with high definition multimedia and not the old Symbian S60 v5 which Nokia tried VERY hard to take v3 of S60, retrofit it for touch devices and hope that it worked. It did work, but it worked as well as it deserved given the effort that Nokia put it into it. It wasn’t bad, but it definitely wasn’t even close to great either.

Symbian^3 is different. You can feel it. Nokia has taken all the lessons learnt with the N97 and N97 mini and correct them. Its very clear that this is Nokia’s “once bitten, twice shy” device. It manages multi-tasking like a dream, so running multiple apps simultaneously is not going to slow the phone down. Its no longer impractical to listen to music, browse the web on the phone and have the sudden need to take a quick photo and email or MMS it. This phone does all of this, all while geo-tagging your photos, editing them and uploading them to a social network.

The phone is the best device that I’ve used so far, except for 2 issues that I have with it.
The first:
is that it crashes, A LOT. This is a firmware issue and I’m told by folk at Nokia that it will be solved with the first firmware release, so I’m not going to hold this one against them.

The second:
This issue is quite a dof problem, but to me, its a big problem.
The speaker is at the back of the phone, so when its laying on its back with the screen up, like most people would, things sounds muffled. It becomes a real problem, when you rely on your phone to wake you up in the morning, but you can’t hear it, because it gets muffled. Its pretty obvious that the hardware designers screwed up on that, but otherwise, everything else is awesome.

Things that I hate:

  • It crashes a lot.
  • Speaker is on the back.
  • Spell check sucks and not half as good as its competitors.
  • Landscape typing is slightly slower than portrait typing.
  • QWERTY keyboard layout of special characters have been reorganised again (This is now different on every Nokia device and has no standard)
  • HDMI plastic cover flap feels cheap and seems to have been an afterthought.
  • SIM removal is not easy.

Things that I love:

  • 12 Megapixel photo camera
  • HD Video Camera
  • HDMI out (i.e. plug it straight into your HD tv)
  • USB in (Play video from USB dongles, ext HDDs, etc.)
  • Large bright screen with multiple home screens
  • Great widget collection
  • HTML mail support with multiple mail services accessible via widgets
  • Calendar management.
  • Mail & Calendar syncing with Mail for Exchange is VERY simple to set up
  • Message preview widget gives you a summary of missed events, like meetings, missed calls, SMSes, etc.
  • Social Network app integrates Facebook & Twitter natively into the phone.
  • Angry Birds! :) :)

Would I buy it?
Yes! As soon as the firmware update is out, this phone is undoubtedly the best piece of mobile hardware available today.


Dee Chetty is a South Africa- and India-educated web junkie. Focusing on strategy and new developments, Dee finds himself pushing the limits of innovation with his ideas. Dee loves open-source, mobile technologies and location-driven applications. He is an Apple fanboy & a die-hard Audi fan.

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3 Responses

  1. Des says:


    Justgot my N8 yesterday. Overall it is excellent device once you get the hang of it. One major problem -at least for me – how do I activate the qwerty keyboard?

  2. Dave says:

    You seem pleased! Good for you.

    What is the display like in direct sunlight?



  3. DChetty says:

    @Des – I’m sorry for getting back to you so late. Switch the turning controlling on and then turn the phone to landscape mode. Or, hit the small icon that looks like a keyboard. It will give you a few options to select from.

    @Dave – The ambient light sensor is pretty good. when moving from a dull room to bright sunshine, the screen adjusts its backlighting very quickly. Besides the tendency to get lots of finger prints on it, the screen is pretty good.

    Enjoy it! I did!

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