By December 22, 2010

Nokia N8 Review

Nokia N8 Review Nokia, as we all know, are one of the biggest if not the biggest mobile phone manufacturer to date, so when they announced the new Nokia N8 handset I personally was super excited to realise that Matt had one in for review so I immediately snapped up my chance to review a handset of this stature.

What’s new about the N8 is the fact that it’s the very first Symbian device to have version 3 installed, this is huge news for all Symbian and Nokia fans alike because the operating system is more expansive and less boring than previous versions, so I asked the following question to myself…

‘Can Symbian version 3 compete with android, iOS, Blackberry OS etc?’

To find out more about this exciting device read on for the full review.


What’s in the Box?

  • Nokia N8 Handset
  • Mini HDMI to HDMI connector
  • MicroUSB to USB sync/charge cable
  • MicroUSB to USB adapter cable
  • Wired Headset
  • OVI Quick Start Guide
  • Handset Manual
  • UK 3-Pin Charger

The 10 Second Review:

  • Product: Nokia N8 Smartphone
  • Price: Various Contract deals from Free, pay as you go from £385 + Top up, SIM Free from £380 from various
  • Summary: A fantastic new operating system that is a long overdue update for Symbian, the hardware is superb on this phone also and I would have to say that very little disappoints.
  • Best of: Camera, Build Quality, AMOLED screen, Battery life
  • Worst of: OVI Store, buttons a little flimsy, weighty
  • Buy from: Various


Nokia N8 Review Specification:

  • OS: Symbian^3 OS
  • CPU: ARM 11 680 MHz processor, 3D Graphics HW accelerator
  • Screen: AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colours, 360 x 640 pixels, 3.5 inches
  • SMS (threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Email, IM
  • Browser: WAP 2.0/xHTML, HTML, RSS feeds
  • Radio: Stereo FM radio with RDS; FM transmitter
  • Colours: Dark Grey, Silver White, Green, Blue, Orange
  • Camera: 12 MP, 4000×3000 pixels, Carl Zeiss optics, autofocus, Xenon flash
  • USB:  microUSB v2.0, USB On-the-go support
  • Internal Memory: 16 GB storage, 256MB RAM, 512 MB ROM
  • Card slot: MicroSD, up to 32GB
  • Dimensions: 113.5 x 59.1 x 12.9 mm, 86 cc
  • Weight: 135 g
  • GPS:  A-GPS support; Ovi Maps 3.0
  • TV-out (720p video) via HDMI with Dolby Digital Plus sound
  • Anodized aluminium casing
  • Active noise cancellation with a dedicated microphone
  • Digital compass
  • GPRS: Class 33
  • EDGE: Class 33
  • 3G: HSDPA, 10.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 2.0 Mbps
  • WLAN: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, UPnP technology
  • Bluetooth: v3.0 with A2DP




On top of the handset are 3 things, on the left we have the 3.5mm headphone jack, in the middle there is the Mini HDMI cover and when you remove the cover over the HDMI slot you will see the IMEI number as there isn’t a removable back cover on this device. Finally next to this on the right is the power button.

Nokia N8 Review-top


On the left hand side of the phone there is from the top, the flap covering the MicroSD card slot and directly underneath this is the SIM card slot covered again by a secure flap. A little further down the left side we come to a tiny dot which isn’t a design floor it is in fact a tiny LED light to notify you that the USB cable is charging the device, and obviously below this LED light is the MicroUSB slot and a screw that holds the device together.



Onto the right side now then and here is where the Up and down volume rocker is, along with the volume rocker is the lock/unlock mechanism, underneath this is the dedicated camera button and then another screw that holds the phone in place.



The bottom of the device is where the Nokia charging slot is and it is conveniently placed right in the middle which makes it sit nicely on a surface, also on the bottom is information about where the phone was made and it’s model number etc.



On the back of the N8 is something quite remarkable to be honest and this is of course the 12 Megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash and 720P video recording, and also attached to this is the loudspeaker and below this is the Nokia Nseries logo.




Finally on the front of the device there is the 3.5 inch AMOLED capacitive touch screen, a menu/back button underneath the screen at the bottom left of the device itself also just at the top of the device is a very small hardly noticeable speaker for use during calls, also just at the bottom right of the screen is the noise cancelling microphone. Next to the Nokia Logo is the front facing VGA camera for video calls.

















To say that I was excited about reviewing this Smartphone would be one of the biggest understatements of the year because to be quite honest with you I would put it towards the top end of the mobile phone market because of Nokia’s stature as a company but also because of the awesome specifications that the N8 has. So for me to be given the opportunity by Matt to review this handset was immense to say the least, so as you can probably imagine when I received the phone in the post I was straight into the box checking out the device.

What I found when I first laid eyes on the handset is the sheer beauty of it, I mean it is elegant yet sexy at the same time now I know that sounds a tad weird but it really has the feel of an elegant and sophisticated phone that would suit anyone, the build quality is nothing short of amazing! The Anodized aluminium casing looks stunning and also feels amazing in the hand, it makes the handset feel really sturdy and what also makes everything feel iPhone like in build quality is also the fact that this also, like the iPhone range has a built in battery as opposed to the removable ones that we are so used to seeing these days.

The design of a mobile has almost become a must for the consumers of today because if a device has the looks, has been designed with precision and also has amazing build quality then it makes for the perfect phone for anyone looking to spend their hard earned money on a contract. The N8 doesn’t disappoint when it comes to design because as you will have seen in the photographs in the General section of this review, the buttons are placed really well, the memory card slot is directly next to the SIM card slot on the outer area of the device instead of having to remove the back cover and then the battery to gain access, so as I mentioned earlier what makes a great phone isn’t just what it can do as regards software it must look good, feel good and have an overall feel of awesomeness and the Nokia N8 ticks every single box for me!

I would now like to talk about something that I don’t often talk about, accessories. The reason for me talking about the accessories is because with the device there are some really cool things that normally you would have to pay quite a hefty price for, the included accessories are: Mini HDMI to HDMI cable/connector, MicroUSB to USB cable/connector, MicroUSB to USB sync/charge cable, brilliant headset! Now as you see there is a lot for your money, normally with a phone of this type you would expect to get a charger, a sync/charge cable and a headset but with this you are getting an extra USB cable and a HDMI cable which I know from personal experience that for phones they aren’t cheap at all! So what an absolute bonus to get all of this with your phone, I would be in absolute heaven if I had all of this stuff because I knew that if I ever needed a replacement USB cable I already had one at hand and also because the N8 has 720p video recording that I had a HDMI cable to show it to my family/friends on the HDTV. Fantastic Nokia!


I shall now move onto something that has been a major surprise for me, Symbian OS^3 there are a few reasons for it completely surprising me but the biggest surprise for me is the fact that the home screens are customizable! What’s even cooler though is the way that they are customizable, what the new OS allows the user to do is fill in up to 6 spaces on all 3 of the screens, the kind of things that you can put into these spaces include any applications that you have installed on the handset both pre-installed and downloaded ones which is very similar to other operating systems on the market at the moment which is obviously a step in the right direction for Nokia and Symbian as an operating system!

Once the screen or screens have been customized there are a couple of restrictions, one of these is the fact that you have to choose the edit screen option to move anything around to suit you which can get annoying but it’s not too much of a big deal, another restriction with the actual customizations is that although you can put shortcuts to your applications on the screen you can’t actually randomly move them around the screen like you can with android for example, one thing that is possible though is that you can choose what apps you want in your shortcuts list (of which there are 4), also you can choose to just have application shortcuts on your screen which would mean customising all of your different shortcut rows to your liking.

One other thing that I should mention about the widgets that you put on your screens is the fact that there is a choice to put them all to online mode which means that if you have for example, the social networks application in a space that it will use the internet connection to update your tweets and facebook news feed, and the cool thing about that is that any of the other widgets that require a network connection will use online mode too which is all well and good if you have mountains of data on your contract and you have a strong Wi-Fi connection, otherwise your data charges etc will go through the roof rapidly!

Along with the home screens being customizable the lock screen is also customizable but on a much smaller level, you can change the screen saver to show a slideshow of your photos, show the clock, show the music player or show animations of which there aren’t any already on the handset. Although it is customisable I just chose to have the analog clock showing because it just looks and works better.

Below I have provided pictures of all of the home screens along with the lock screen just to show you what is possible regarding the customisation aspect.

Home screen 1 Home screen 3 Home screen 2 Lock screen















Symbian operating systems on past Nokia’s have always provided a ridiculously simple menu to navigate through which includes the settings too, and with the N8 this is no different because the menu is still very simple and the settings are laid out in such a way that anyone could understand how to do even the most tasking of things. The menu has a few different sections to it and the first one is the initial menu which has the standard things in it such as, calendar, contacts, messaging, web and some others too as you will see in the below pictures. The second section of the menu is applications which can be accessed via the initial menu section as the icon is at the bottom right of the screen and here is where all of the applications that are installed on the phone are plus there’s the camera and clock there too, everything that the user downloads will automatically be placed underneath everything else at the bottom of the list, as you will see in the below pictures the interface is just as simple as previous versions of Symbian which is a big plus for Symbian fans that the newest version hasn’t changed that drastically.

Menu 1 Menu 2


















Instead of telling you a bit more about the settings I thought I would talk about some applications because well I have found some of them to be amazing to be honest.

As you can see in the above pictures there are a number of icons that initially don’t mean anything, until you open them that is and then within the office icon are things like Adobe PDF reader, ZIP, calculator etc which are all very useful applications for many people plus it also proves that the N8 has Flash! Which is obviously a major bonus, the Zip application is quite interesting actually because it allows you to not only open zipped files on your phone but it also allows you to create your own zipped files so that they are easier to put onto a PC, now for a business man I would suggest that this is a great feature as this will allow them to edit their work on their mobile phone using Quick Office and then zip it and export in a few simple to do steps.

There are just a couple more of applications that I’d like to talk to you about and then I will move onto the settings, the first application is actually a game…Need for Speed Shift now the reason that I wanted to mention this to you is firstly because it is a full version of the game and it is FREE to download from the OVI store! How flipping amazing is that?! And when you actually play the game you realise that it is a total and utter bargain! It’s fantastic, unfortunately I don’t have a video camera otherwise I would have definitely shown you what it looked like but you will have to take my word for it I’m afraid.

The way in which you play the game is very much the same as Real Racing on the iPhone or iPad so if you haven’t played that game then read carefully, basically this game utilizes the handsets’ fantastic accelerometer in such a way that it allows the user to turn the car left and right simply by tilting the phone left or right and it has an auto accelerate option but you have to push on the screen to brake, to be honest I am a great lover of mobile games and this one is a must download for this phone because the 3D accelerator allows for smooth and fun gameplay.

The final application is something that so many people bypass because it has a cost attached to it but I would worship anyone who can find a better music streaming service that also offers an offline playlist mode than Spotify! I am a premium subscriber to Spotify simply because I am addicted to music of all types and basically the database that Spotify has is packed full of all types of music that anyone could hope for, you can also add your own files into Spotify which is also very cool because I know for a fact that since I started using the service I have added files that weren’t previously available from them and now they are so it shows that they take note of people’s music.

The reason that I wanted to talk about this is basically because the phone application is simply awesome! It is a free download from the OVI store and all you then have to do is sign into your account, synchronise your playlist or playlists via the PC or MAC and allow offline mode so that you then have a choice of streaming your music or having your own personal offline playlist as if you were using an iPod or mp3 player.

Below I have provided some pictures of the application with my sign in just to show you what is available if you don’t already have it that is.

Spotify 1 Spotify 2 Spotify 3 Spotify 4 Spotify 5 Spotify 6











Now onto the settings section of the menu and as with previous versions of Symbian OS this section is also extremely simple to understand and to use, I have chosen to mention just 2 of the sections from the settings because the ones I’ve picked are personally the ones that I visit most often and I also think that it is important to show you the interface just to give you an idea.

Menu 4 Menu 3


















Above you will see 2 pictures, the left of which is the initial settings page with the different sections that you can navigate through to find more settings, and the right of the pictures is the first of 2 sections that I will talk about and it is Phone which as you can see in the picture has some standard settings as well as some fairly unfamiliar ones to people who haven’t used a device such as the N8 before.

Below is the other section, connectivity now the reason for me mentioning this is because for any smartphone getting the connectivity settings correct can almost be essential and for this platform this is no different, after showing you the picture I will explain how simple it is to connect to a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth network.

Menu 5













As you can see in the picture the settings for the different connection options are displayed with nicely coloured icons and clear text along with them, this helps when choosing which settings to configure, to set up this handset on a Wi-Fi network is extremely simple as all you have to do is press the WLAN section in connectivity, and the handset will automatically find any wireless access points that are within reach and to connect to your home network all you have to do is press it in the list and a little menu will pop up at the bottom of the screen with 3 options, Start web browsing, connect and details. What you want to be pressing is either simply connect or if you want to go to the web you can press start web browsing and then all you have to do is enter your network key (if your network is a secured one, WPA-WEP networks).



Moving on now to something a little more interesting, the internet browser! For many of us who are vaguely interested in smartphones will know that having a good enough web browser and experience to go with it goes a very long way to deciding which phone to buy, so does the N8 have a good enough internet browser? And does it have the experience to go with it?

To be totally honest I wasn’t expecting much from the browser on this handset because on previous Nokia’s that I have used in the past the browsers have been terrible, but no word of a lie I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the experience that I got from browsing the net on the N8. The browser itself implements multi-touch for the first time on a Nokia Symbian device which I found to work great most of the time but not all of the time because at some points the browser slowed down a bit to a jerky experience but other than that I thoroughly enjoyed my time browsing, I actually really got used to it I ended up browsing on the N8 instead of my laptop or iPhone because it was that enjoyable.

Below I’ve provided a few pictures of the internet just to show you how nice it looks, one thing I will mention is that the AMOLED capacitive touch screen seriously makes the browsing experience so much better because of how vibrant it makes the colours on the screen which you will hopefully notice in the pictures.

Browser 1 Browser 4

Browser 2 Browser 3

Browser 5


Although the above pictures you cannot see the clarity that well take my word for it, AMOLED is a seriously great technology that I would definitely recommend checking it out if you haven’t already!

To browse the web there are 2 things that you can do, press the web icon in the menu and a list of choices will come up showing things like recently viewed pages, your networks home page, favourites etc or you can choose to search the web with Google or Bing and you do this by bring up the options list and you access this by pressing options at the bottom right of the screen and you then choose the go to option and choose whether to search the web or enter a web address, once you’ve typed your web address or search press go and away the browser goes and depending on both network signal and whether you are connected to a Wi-Fi network it will load very swiftly indeed.

Onto something that I really don’t want to spend much time on because it has disappointed me greatly during my relatively short time with the handset, the OVI store. The reason for it disappointing me is basically because it is lagging behind the competition (Android, iOS etc), it is quite rare to find a great application in this store unless you know for a fact that an application that you like is available, the interface is very boring actually and when I did manage to find a decent application such as Angry birds I found that it would have cost me £3.00!! When you can get this game for either 0.59p on iOS or FREE on Android I would never willingly pay for that game so I was definitely unhappy with the OVI store but I have provided some pictures just to show you how it looks.



Now you may be expecting me to talk about a brilliant YouTube application but unfortunately there isn’t one. What the icon in the applications list does is take you to the online version of YouTube so you don’t get the best experience as if you had an application that was specifically created for the phone that you own.

The experience of watching video content on YouTube on this device is what I would class as OK, the reason for this is because the videos require a double tap to actually be able to watch full screen and then when the video is playing in full screen the quality isn’t as sleek as on other smartphones on the market today so to be honest I haven’t been impressed with video playback via the misleading YouTube application.




Moving on now to the social aspects of the N8 smartphone, there is application called not very excitingly Social Networks and I would have to say that this application is just as good as any other social networking application on any other smartphone platform. What this application does superbly is when you have both Twitter and Facebook signed in it gathers all of the tweets and news feed updates from both and puts them all into one list, you get to this page by simply pressing the All Activity icon and the list will pop up, very much like the Friend Stream application from HTC android devices.

Of course this isn’t all that the application does because you can also gain access to a specific Facebook and Twitter app, I would call it an application within an application which is a very good concept in my opinion.

I will begin by showing you the Twitter application, there’s no real reason for that other than it’s the application that I’ve used the most during my time with the phone, have a look at the below picture of the application along with the all activity page and hopefully they will give you a nice indication of what they look like.

Social 1 Social 2  Social 6 Social 5





As you can see in the pictures above the interface is much like what you will see on other smartphone platforms other than the fact that the different options like mentions, direct messages and my profile are on the top instead of the bottom, but other than that the application works exactly the same as other platforms. All you have to do to refresh your tweets is press the options icon and press refresh and your tweets will appear as if by magic, it is also very simple to find a friend or company that you know has a Twitter account because you press the magnifying glass icon and simply type in the Twitter name of your friend and press follow and you will be friends with them and you will see everything that they tweet and vice versa if the person follows you too.

Onto the Facebook application now and without sounding boring it is very much the same as on every other platform on the market, smartphone or not to be honest because let’s face it how different can you make 1 application really? There are some major positives for the application on this handset though because for one thing it is so nice and easy to use, it looks very nice and vibrant which can’t really be said for some other phone on the market with this application, one other positive for this application is the fact that it refreshes so fast you hardly know it’s refreshing. There are unfortunately a couple of issues with the app, the main of which is the fact that you can’t really read the text very well unless you have super terrific eyesight which I unfortunately do not have any more so I personally found it difficult to read anything at all, to show you just how small the font is take a quick look at the pictures below.

Social 3 Social 4




















Now onto e-mail, and I am sure that most smartphone users would agree totally with me when I say that e-mail is a major bonus and something that we use every day because of the convenience of being able to receive mails via mobile? So as you can imagine when I looked at the e-mail application on this phone I was expecting it to be a massive improvement from previous versions of the operating system but what I found is that it isn’t a massive difference but more of a marked improvement.

There are a couple of reasons why I’m not saying that it’s the best thing since sliced bread which to be honest aren’t huge problems just bug bears for me personally I suppose, the issues that I had with the application is the fact that it takes so long for an e-mail to come through but it’s much worse when the e-mail has attachments such as photos, this is the same for most phones I know but with this one it just seems to take that little bit longer to receive.

The other issue that I had with the application itself is that it didn’t really co-operate when I had 2 e-mail addresses synchronised to the device because for some daft reason the secondary e-mail address just wouldn’t receive e-mails at all no matter how hard it tried, so this annoyed me a lot considering I have a number of addresses for different things.

The e-mail application allows for a number of different types of e-mail address to be synchronised and they are as follows: Yahoo Mail, Gmail, Hotmail, Mail for exchange accounts and any other POP or IMAP e-mail addresses so providing you know you username and password you should find it very simple to set your e-mails up on this phone.

Below there are a few photos of the e-mail application to show you how it looks.

E-mail 1 E-mail 2 E-mail 3 E-mail 4 E-mail 5 E-mail 6


As with any decent smartphone there comes an also impressive and simple to use calendar, the N8 has a very simple calendar but one that is quite nice to use because of its simplicity. There are four views, today, week, month and to do list. As you can see from the pictures below it’s very easy to add an entry into the calendar, all you need to do is select your chosen day and fill in the categories such as subject, time and location, also I have provided pictures of the monthly, weekly, daily and to do list.

Calender 1 Calender 2 Calender 3 Calender 4 Calender 5 Calender 6


When you consider that GPS used to be a rare thing in phones it has now become almost a necessity in smartphones in particular, some of the installed sat nav applications from different platforms aren’t and haven’t been great in recent times so I wasn’t that hopeful of OVI maps being any better to be honest especially considering I’d never used it before so how did OVI Maps perform under testing?

The simple answer to the above question is admirably, now for the longer answer.

The reason that I think OVI Maps performs admirably is because of the hardware that is using the application, what I mean is that because the N8 is so well built and has such strong credentials that it wouldn’t surprise me if some professional from Nokia told me that they had used an actual GPS chip from a Tom Tom in the handset, YES it works that well!

The application isn’t the most simple of things to use however as it took me quite a while to figure out whether to turn it to online or offline mode, and exactly how I navigate to a destination but once I got used to its function I found it very simple to use but I’m not sure that everyone would get used to everything as quickly as I did basically because I am kind of a tech geek! One thing I must tell you about the application is that turn-by-turn voice navigation is NOT pre-installed, you have to download it via the app for yourself and the way that you do this is as follows:

1. Press the spanner icon at the bottom left of the screen (As shown below)

2. Then select Navigation

3. Then drive guidance and it will come up with a list of all available voices from so many different languages.

4. All you have to do then is press the voice/language that you want to download and all that happens then (once pressed) it will ask you if you want to download the voice, press ok and it will download for you.


Below are a few photos of the application to try and indicate what it looks like.

Maps 1 Maps 2 Maps 3


As you can see above the interface is very bright and colourful and everything is clearly marked with clear text although it is a little small but still readable, to find your own GPS location is very simple because as you can also see in the left photo at the top left of the screen is an icon named My Position and basically all you have to do is press the icon and the GPS will find your location and show it to you on the on-screen map.

It is also just as simple to navigate to a location, all you do to do this is press the Drive icon and the 3 options in the right hand side photo will come up and you should then press the Set Destination icon and a search bar will come up ready for you to enter a postcode, street name etc into it and once the application has finished finding your entered location it will show you it, then you can press the location and navigate to it within seconds, Easy really when you get used to everything that is.


Onto the media features of the handset now then and as we all know, Apple pretty much dominate the music player side of the industry with their extensive range of iPods and obviously their iPhones but with other manufacturers now improving their technology maybe we are seeing Apple being knocked off of their perch a little? Is the Nokia N8’s music player just as good as an iPhone’s player?

Well the answer to the questions is a very big NO! But it does offer incredible sound quality and ease of use which is also what iPhones offer so we are definitely seeing a rise in the technology available with this handset and I am pretty sure that soon we will see other manufacturers other than Nokia providing major improvements to their music players.

Anyway enough rambling and onto music playback and I have to say that the sound quality through the loudspeaker is superb and much better than I expected, and through the provided headset the sound is even better because the headset is absolutely brilliant compared to other very poor efforts from other manufacturers, I think that the headset is so good because of its built in noise reduction so it makes the music sound so much more intense than if the headset was lacking noise reduction.

The music player application provides some nifty features such as the fact that it displays all available artwork from your music library, it has 5 equalizers to choose from which all offer something different, and it also supports the handsets’ multi-tasking which is also very cool.

Below are some photos of the music player to give you an idea of the interface.

Music 1 Music 2 Music 3 Music 4













In the above photos you will notice that everything is laid out in a basic yet effective way to ensure that anyone is able to use the player, after a while using the device as my MP3 player I came to a decision that surprised even myself a little and that decision is that the music playback is utterly amazing! I saw myself listening to it every day which isn’t uncommon for me but I usually use my iPhone for that but with this phone I could just play my whole library and enjoy every minute of it. Very impressed Nokia!



Onto the FM radio now and I have something negative to say for a change, the radio is very bad! Although the application possesses an automatic scan function it actually didn’t find any of the stations that I know are available in my area which I found a little odd, so I tried entering their frequencies manually and even then the radio antenna failed to find the stations so I thought to myself ‘Maybe the FM radio was an afterthought from Nokia?’ In the end I sort of gave up because there was no way it was going to find the stations I wanted so I resorted to listening to BBC radio 2 and found the playback to be ok at best, the interference was quite bad to be honest so I haven’t been impressed with this feature of the phone, there is one other moan that I have about the radio and that is as you can see in the left picture the application fails to display the station names until you actually start listening to them and even then it doesn’t always show up.

Below though are pictures of the interface for you.

Radio 1 Radio 2 Radio 3













Onto the feature of the N8 that excited me so much when I received the handset, the 12 megapixel autofocus camera with carl zeiss lens and Xenon flash and of course not forgetting it’s 720p video recording capabilities too!

As you can imagine for someone who hasn’t ever used a camera this good on a phone I was ridiculously excited to do so, so I got straight into it and started taking so many photos with every feature that I actually got myself confused because I’m no camera expert so I roped my partner into it and she was equally as impressed with it as I was, so what I decided to do so not to embarrass myself in a review was get her to take the photos with her steady hand for me and some examples of what the camera can do are below.

N8 camera pics 4 N8 camera pics 3


The photo on the left is shot on the same day as in the right picture but the difference between them is that the left picture is a macro shot, now as you can see the N8 camera performs really well with macros which to be honest didn’t surprise me at all because Nokia as a company generally go all out with their camera phones and provide awesome results for customers.

The photo on the right is taken without flash, with landscape scene mode on and with the ISO set to Auto and as you can hopefully tell the result is remarkable for a mobile phone, I was stunned when I connected the phone to a HDTV that both of these photos came out brilliantly with hardly any pixilation whatsoever.

N8 Camera Pics 1 N8 camera pics 2




The photos above are again macros but the difference this time is that one was taken with a flash and one was taken without flash turned on, obviously the difference is quite a big one here because as you can see the right photo is a lot brighter and more vibrant than the one on the left because of the Xenon flash being turned on for that photo. Hopefully the above photos have given you a good enough sample of the quality of this fine phone and even finer camera but now I’d like to actually talk about what the application itself has to offer.

First of all I will mention the fact that it obviously has a macro settings which can be easily switched on or off within the options in the app, also in that options menu are a few really cool features that you really don’t expect to find in a mobile phone and they are: Scene modes of which there are 7 (Portrait, Landscape, Close up, Night mode, Sport, Indoor, Pet), White balance settings of which there are 5 (Auto, Sunny, Cloudy, Fluorescent, Incandescent) also in the options are things like colour, and ISO settings which consist of Auto, High, Medium and Low for specific lighting situations. As you can tell this camera application really packs a punch and all of the features help to make using it the best experience possible.


Now that I have spoken to you about the sheer immense quality of the camera’s still photos I think I will move onto the 720p video recording and playback, I will say that I hadn’t used a HD recorder until this phone so my judgment might not be as good as from people who have experience with them but I have to say that it is brilliant quality all round! The video is sublime and the sound is also very good too I was in fact stunned by the quality of the recording when I played it back via HDMI on my HDTV, everything looked so nice and crisp and we mustn’t forget that this is in fact a mobile phone! Astonishing what manufacturers can do these days to be honest.

To get to the video recording function you simply press the little camcorder shaped icon on the right of the screen and it instantly switches to the recorder and you are away, there are a few settings that you can change within the application to further enhance the recording and one function that I tended to use most often was Image stabilisation, for no other reason than because I was quite shaky and it basically stabilised the video while I was recording which impressed me a lot. Some may be thinking that you have to record in HD format but you actually don’t because there are different resolutions available that aren’t high definition and I would recommend that if the video that you are taking isn’t of extreme importance to use a lower resolution video format because of the space that HD video takes up.




We mustn’t forget that with a camera/video camera there comes a Gallery and in the N8 the interface is quite nice as you will see below, the photos are put into albums automatically so for instance there could already be some pictures on the phone from factory so they will be placed into an album of their own and your own photos that you have taken will go into an album called captured, it works well to because it makes everything look tidy. The photo shown below is of the ‘All’ part of the Gallery, which is very simple because it literally displays all the photos both pre-installed and captured ones, nice don’t you think?





I bet you are thinking that that’s it for the camera section of the review but that’s where you are mistaken because there’s more, also on the device is an application that is a big bonus for blooming photographers out there and it involves both Photo and Video editing.

Both of the sections of the application work fantastically because they allow you to do all sorts of things to make the photo of video shine that little bit more, for example in the video editor you can add a backing track, split your video into sections and then save and play it back as a whole new video. With the photo editor you can edit things like the colours so you can change the background colour to darker, lighter and even fluorescent colours just to make it look funkier I guess.

All in all I’ve been quite impress with both bits of the application and I would recommend that anyone who owns the N8 be trying them out if they haven’t already because it is so much fun!

Nokia N8 sample video

We must remember that this is in fact a phone so let’s talk about the phones calling and texting capabilities.

Now as with any SIM free phone that I review I have used my own Orange contract SIM card and I have to say that the signal on this phone is actually better than my iPhone 3GS because it is what I would call prolonged awesomeness, what I mean is that I haven’t lost network once in 2+ weeks which compared to my iPhone is the greatest thing in the world! The N8 manages to sustain 3G signal nearly all of the time which obviously has impressed me so much.

Now onto calling and I have to say again that as it’s Nokia I expected voice calls to be superb and I was not to be disappointed as no matter where I was or where the other person was as regards signal strength, the call was brilliant and It was almost like they were stood right next to me, the noise cancellation works fantastically to block out any sound other than the phone call which I personally haven’t experienced before so I was pleasantly surprised that it works so well to be honest.

To make a call is really simple and there are 2 ways of doing this, the first is by going into contacts and choosing the contact that you wish to call and opening their information and pressing voice call and away you go, I tended to use this way of calling because it’s just much more the norm for me as I use an iPhone every day. The second way of calling someone is by pressing call at the bottom right of the home screen and the on screen number pad pops up as shown in the below picture, now on this screen there are 2 ways of calling someone, 1 is if you know their number you can just type and call but the other is by pressing the contacts icons next to the keypad and it takes you to your contacts page and you can just choose the contact that you wish to call again. Something else that the phone has to make a phone call more personal is a proximity sensor which turns the backlight of the phones screen off when you put it to your ear, on the N8 this feature works absolutely perfectly every time.


Contacts Number pad












Onto messaging now and I have to say again that I can’t fault this feature as I couldn’t with calling, I actually preferred to text on this phone than any other phone I’ve used that has a full touch screen because it is seamless, the touch screen is so good that it just makes texting an absolute pleasure! There are 2 on screen keyboards available when texting, 1 of them is a typical alphanumerical keypad and the other is a slightly unconventional QWERTY keyboard I say unconventional because although the letters are in the perfect place when you choose to enter numbers on this keyboard they are bunched up on the left side of the keypad so to make some symbols available to the user, I didn’t like this very much so ended up using the numerical keypad all of the time because I actually surprisingly found it to be much easier and much better than the QWERTY for most types of text message. I think that I preferred to use this keypad more because the capacitive touch screen is so amazingly responsive that you can finish a long text in seconds and because it is actually a joy to use.

Messaging 2

Messaging 5 Messagin 4






Now with smartphones these days the average battery life isn’t generally that great, so you can imagine that when I managed to get nearly 4 days with a decent amount of use out of the N8 I was absolutely stunned! I never expected it to be this good but then again it is Nokia and they have generally been renowned for their long lasting batteries in phones. I do think that it helps having the battery built in as opposed to having it removable because I imagine it gives you greater stability regarding the battery being safer is inside the casing of the phone.






Here we are again at the end of another eventful, fun packed review that I hope you have enjoyed reading as much as I have enjoyed using this phone.

Overall I think that the N8 is a great phone worthy of calling itself a smartphone in today’s market, I’m not saying it is perfect because it does have a couple of issues like a slightly slow internet browser and it has a mere 680MHz processor but to be honest you forget all of that when you are using it because it is just an absolute joy and I honestly would recommend it to anyone!

It’s one of the cheapest handsets to buy on a contract at the moment and for me you would be grabbing yourself a bargain!


Reviewed by: Chris Vesey

Posted in: Phones, Reviews
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About the Author:

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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