Archive for July, 2008

By July 23, 2008 Read More →

Nokia N810 Internet Tablet Review

The chances are that if you are reading Matt & Tracy’s blog then you will need little introduction to the Nokia N810 internet tablet. I confess to being the owner of a Nokia N800 internet tablet so, when Matt invited me to review the N810 I jumped at the chance. I was curious to see how the latest member of the breed measured up.

Nokia N810 Internet Tablet angled right open

The Nokia N810 Internet Tablet

Introduction

Internet tablets themselves are an odd breed that occupy a bit of a niche market. They are neither PDAs, mobile phones or laptop replacements, however, with a fully customisable Linux operating system they are real computers with great potential to act as converged devices. They are to my mind what the PDA always should have been

The N810 represents the latest evolution of a concept that began with the N770 in 2006 and progressed through the N800 in 2007. The 770 and the 800 have something of a cult following, but so far have failed to make a wider impact. Perhaps the 810 might change that?

 

Nokia N810 Internet Tablet specification:

 

  • Internet Tablet OS: maemo Linux based OS2008
  • High-resolution 4.13” WVGA display (800 x 480 pixels) with up to 65,000 colors
  • 400MHz TI OMAP 2420 CPU
  • 128 Mbytes RAM & 256 Mbytes Flash ROM
  • 2GB internal memory
  • Built-in VGA Camera
  • MiniSDHC Compatible memory card slot (up to 8GB)
  • Bluetooth® 2.0
  • WiFi: 802.11b/g
  • Built-in GPS receiver
  • Integrated QWERTY keyboard
  • High quality stereo speakers and microphone
  • Continuous usage (display on, wireless LAN active): up to 4 hours, Standby time: up to 14 days
  • Dimensions: 128x72x14 mm
  • 225 grams
  • Internet Calling with Video
  • Built in email client
  • RSS Feed reader
  • Instant Messaging
  • Media Player
  • Browser based on Mozilla technology
  • Flash 9 compatible

 

 

 

 

What’s in the box?

1. N810.

2. Plug in wall charger.

3. USB cable.

4. Stereo headphones..

5. Slip case.

6. Spare stylus.

7. Dashboard mount (for use as a GPS).

 

 

General

The form factor is similar to its predecessor the N800, albeit smaller. The device looks clean and modern with its brushed metallic aluminium style fascia. It feels reassuringly solid and well made, sitting easily in one hand whilst leaving the other free to use the stylus. If you’re left-handed like me then you might find that the stylus stored in the upper right corner is a bit awkward to access.

The controls are similar to the N800 but arranged slightly differently:

· On the top from left to right there is a switch for full-screen mode where toolbars and the taskbar can be turned on/off, a volume/zoom up/down control, in the middle is the on/off/standby power switch and on the right is the screen lock switch.

Nokia N810 Internet Tablet_top

Nokia N810 top view

· On the upper left corner is a multi-function led designed to give visual notifications of device status.

Nokia N810 Internet Tablet_camera

Nokia N810 camera and light sensor

· On the front fascia to the left are the home screen select and browser back navigation buttons. Above these is the webcam and light sensor.

Nokia N810 Internet Tablet front view

Nokia N810 front view

· To the right on the side, from top to bottom is a 3.5mm audio socket, power socket and, hidden under the stand, a USB2.0 micro socket.

Nokia N810 right side Nokia N810 USB connector

Nokia N810 right side

· On the bottom the mini-SD slot is hidden behind a plastic cover. Next to that can be found together with the battery cover release switch.

Nokia N810 bottom view

Nokia N810 bottom view

· On the back a brushed-metallic fastened panel hides the removable battery that is found in many Nokia mobile phones.

· Very little to be seen on the left hand side of the device beyond the loudspeaker.

Nokia N810 left side

Nokia N810 left side

· The QWERTY keyboard is accessed by sliding it out from the bottom of the unit in a fashion similar to some HTC Windows Mobile devices. Doing that not only gives access to the keyboard, but also context sensitive menu key on the lower left and a five-way navigator D-pad used for moving around various screens and menus.

Nokia N810 Keyboard

Nokia N810 keyboard

The N800’s two SD slots have been dropped in favour of one mini-SD slot. This seems like a backward step and reduces the potential for expansion, but Nokia provides an internal card with 2GB of file storage so, potentially there’s up to 10GB of space available and perhaps more with larger cards. A swap file can be configured on the internal storage to improve performance, but I can’t say I noticed any difference.

 

Highlights:

· Speedy performance.

· Excellent bright, evenly-lit and sharp screen.

· Quality construction.

· Powerful, highly customisable and reliable operating system.

· Connectivity.

· Open source community support.

Lowlights:

· Navigation is a backward step from the N800 at times requiring the keyboard to be opened up.

· Unfinished feel to some of the software.

· Only one memory expansion slot.

· Brushed metallic finish is susceptible to scratches and greasy finer marks.

 

Review

In use the N810 generally feels very responsive with applications launching quickly and menus popping up on command with little delay. The fact that it’s a Linux device should not put you off – it’s easy to use, configure and very intuitive.

As the name intimates, the N810’s primary function is web browsing and in this respect it’s pretty much on the money as far as mobile devices go. The Mozilla based browser is quite speedy with support for Flash, and the large 800 x 480 pixel screen allows web pages to be viewed in full without having to scroll around like you would on a PDA or phone. In this respect it is light years ahead.

As you would expect for an internet-enabled device, connectivity is excellent with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth v2.0 built in (no bluetooth stereo audio though). There is support for WEP and WPA-PSK encryption for secure wireless connections and setting up a connection to a hotspot or your home network is easy with the ability to have several configurations available. Equally simple is establishing a bluetooth connection to a 3G mobile phone for go-anywhere internet access. Rather surprisingly the N810 like the N800 seems to have an uncanny ability to hold onto a Wi-Fi signal for far longer and more reliably than any Windows pc I have ever used.

Out of the box there is no decent PIM application other than a rudimentary contacts manager, but to be fair Nokia makes no claims regarding PIM functionality.

As a media player the N810 is competent and possesses some excellent features such as an internet radio application and the ability to play media streamed from a server. The built-in media player is somewhat basic, but it does a reasonable job of things and there’s good support for a wide variety of audio and video formats including mp3, WAV, AAC, WMA, WMV, MPEG 1-2, mp4, avi etc.

Sound quality is good and on par with a decent mp3 player. Quality headphones enhance the experience further. Video playback is superb: smooth and sharp on the large screen making it much better than any mobile phone or PDA. Watching an entire movie is a reasonable proposition. Occasionally, playback can stumble on high resolution video files but transcoding to 400 x 288 pixels soon sorts that out and Nokia provides a free utility for optimising videos.

The email application is fairly basic, but allows multiple POP3 and IMAP4 mail accounts. I found that it does slow noticeably with large volumes of mail.

There is no sim slot and therefore the N810 can’t be used as a standalone mobile phone, nor can it access the online world without a hotspot or phone to hand. For some people this is a major omission. For me it isn’t an issue. With excellent Wi-Fi performance to rely upon free Skype-to-Skype calls were of decent audio quality with minimal lag.

Physically, the keyboard is what differentiates the N810 from the N800. It slides out smoothly from the bottom of the unit and locks into place. It adds a new dimension to the device that makes data entry less of a chore than it is on the N800. Writing mail, short notes and documents, and instant messaging becomes more realistic. However, you will struggle to touch type on it or write a lengthy document.

Nokia N810 open

Nokia N810 in the open position

Inevitably, the addition of the keyboard has forced some compromises upon the o/s in terms of navigating the user interface and on occasions when I found myself using it, I was still forced to resort to the stylus. Conversely, when I wanted to just stick with the stylus I was forced to pop out the keyboard. This was slightly frustrating and could probably be overcome with familiarity, but in this respect I feel that the N810 is slightly behind the N800 in ease of use.

Battery life in use for media playback is borderline acceptable at about 3-4hrs depending upon settings and the quality of encoded files. In general use it fared much better. I was pleased to discover that the charger is a standard Nokia phone affair because the battery is also a standard Nokia item, obtaining replacements or spares ought to be cheap and easy.

Software

There’s nothing new here which hasn’t already been covered elsewhere in this or the N800’s review except the GPS functionality. The GPS and mapping software itself is a bit clunky. Getting a satellite lock was slow and the maps seemed to be quite low on detail compared to dedicated GPS units.

 

Nokia N810

Nokia N810 closed position

Conclusion

Has the 810 moved things on and would I recommend one? Not much and almost is the answer.

You really have to want an internet tablet to be able to reconcile cost against performance and convenience. If you are looking for a laptop replacement and for something that can be used for regular web access then you are probably better off looking at a sub-notebook such as the Asus Eee PC which is much more capable and cheaper.

If you are like me and don’t like to be carrying several devices, then it’s tantalisingly close to achieving that nirvana as an all-in-one replacement for a PDA, mp3 player and mobile phone. This in itself is worth paying good money for.

 

Review by: Nigel

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By July 23, 2008 Read More →

September for the N96

n96sep Whilst the n95 is no bad thing, in fact, a pretty funky phone, I couldn’t help a yawn slipping out as I read this brief report about the n96. Nokia seem to be releasing a new phone every single month and you can barely keep up with them. The n95 has been around for a while and I believe it is possibly the most popular phone around the UK at the moment. A bold statement, but count just how many there are. N96 is coming whilst all those n95 fans are still in contract so will probably disappear quietly. Specs after the break:

Posted in: Phones
By July 22, 2008 Read More →

New version of Windows Live for Windows Mobile

image Microsoft has just released an updated version of Windows Live for Windows Mobile, from the Windows Mobile Team Blog site "The latest bits for Windows Live Client for your Windows Mobile are available for download. To get yours now, point your mobile browser to http://wl.windowsmobile.com.

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By July 22, 2008 Read More →

Aiptek AHD Z500 Plus HD Camcorder unboxed

Aiptek is a brand name that I only recently came across. They are probably a little better known in the USA than on this side of the pond.

The other day I got my hands on the Aiptek AHD Z500 Plus HD Camcorder to have a look at. The Z500 is a budget HD Camcoder that records up to 1080p on SD or SDHC memory cards.

The RRP of the Z500 is £250 which ir pretty amazing for and HD camcorder and so far I have been very pleasantly surprised by both the quality and specification. The HDV21X has a 5 megapixel sensor which can record up to 30 frames per second at 1080p or 720P at 60 frames. You’ll be able to record up to 8 hours of 1080p video on a 32GB SDHC card. As for still images, the Z500 shoots at 8 megapixels and even sports a macro mode for both video and still. Also on board is a 3x optical zoom, CIF mode for easy YouTube uploads and a 2.4-inch swivel-mount TFT LCD

Does this all sound too good to be true? Well you’ll have to come back in a week or so for Nick’s review of the Z500 and we’ll also include some sample footage to help you make up your own mind!

For now you can have a look at the unbox video below:

Aiptek AHD Z500 Plus unboxed
Aiptek AHD Z500 Plus HD Camcorder

Aiptek AHD Z500 Plus HD Camcorder

Aiptek AHD Z500 Plus Specification
● 1440 x 1080 H.264 Video @30fps
● 1280 x 720 H.264 Video @60fps
● Personal Media Player & Recorder
● Up to 8 Mega Pixel Digital Camera
● .MOV Video Format
● 3x Optical Zoom w/ Auto Focus
● 2-inch Macro Zoom
● Flash w/ Red Eye Reduction
● Night Shot
● LED Lights
● HDTV Component Output
● 2.4″ Swivel-Reversible LCD
● Easy Charging via AC or USB
● 32GB SDHC Card Slot Expansion
● Remote Control Included

EDIT: Our review of the Aiptek Z500 plus is now live.

Posted by: Matt

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By July 22, 2008 Read More →

More Samsung phones in the pipelines

teaser_samsung What is the Samsung i908? Global Certification Forum have given it GSM compliancy. The Unwired have an article that guesses this is the North American variant of the Omnia. Hope this means everything is on target for the August release date. This certainly looks like one of the most exciting phones of the year.

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By July 22, 2008 Read More →

HTC Diamond v iPhone 3G browser speed comparison

image Just been tipped off about a video from hdblog.it They have done a great side by side comparison of the Opera Mobile 9.5 browser on the HTC Diamond and the Safari browser on the Apple iPhone 3G opening web pages and rendering speeds. Its a very interesting watch and shows the two browsers are very similar in speed. Of course what we do not know is what speed the HSDPA network is operating at as the HTC Diamond is capable of HSDPA speeds of up to 7.2mb/s against the iPhone’s 3.6mb/s. Full video after the break.

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By July 22, 2008 Read More →

Three offering mobile broadband for £7.50 per Month

image Three are offering mobile broadband with free USB modems and a 5 Gig allowance for £7.50 per month with an 18 month contract. This is an amazing deal and the links can be found after the break. We recently reviewed this mobile broadband and found it to work great in City Centres but not so good outside of these areas. Full details after the break.

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By July 22, 2008 Read More →

Update Dension Gateway and iPhone 3G

image We posted a while ago about the problems we were having with the Dension Gateway 100 iPod car adaptors not charging the new iPhone 3G, well thanks to one of our readers Gabe we have some answers on what caused the problem and what the solution is if you have a Dension Gateway 100. Details after the break.

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By July 22, 2008 Read More →

iPhone WordPress application available for download

image The application is now available in the app store and WordPress have just announced that it is available now. "WordPress for iPhone just launched on the App Store. Download it now and get to blogging. Video after the break showing it in action.

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By July 21, 2008 Read More →

iPhone WordPress Application

image We posted recently about an upcoming iPhone WordPress application and they have just given us an update on it’s availability, nothing firm as yet but the app has been finished and submitted to Apple for inclusion in the appstore. from WordPress "Just a quick update that we’ve successfully uploaded the app to the iTunes Store, and the status message “In Review” indicates that the Apple team is conducting their testing procedures.  We have not been provided with an ETA — so it could get approved at any time."

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