Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Nokia N800 Internet Tablet Review

I'd first like to thank WOM World for giving NET9 the opportunity to review the N800. I look forward to working with these guys more in the future.

This is not meant to be a super in-depth review, as there are a bunch of those already out on the web, and I honestly don't have the most time in the world these days. There were some improvements from the 770 that caught my attention that I think are worth mentioning. Of course there are a few things about the device that bugged me a little, so I'll talk a bit about those too.

The Hardware
The N800 looks like a much more polished device when compared to the 770. The round corners, ergonomic back, and even the brushed metal front make this a more human friendly product. The attached stand and speaker placement also make this a more presentable device for sure. The only gripe I have about the design is the size and quality of the buttons and the absence of a hard cover case like the 770 has. The face buttons aren't too bad, but the power, full screen toggle, and zoom buttons are a small step back from what the 770 has. The introduction of a VGA camera and not one, but two SD card expansion slots extend the capability of the tablet in a very good way. It was the speed of the CPU and improved touchscreen quality that I love the most about the N800. I don't know what Nokia did to the touchscreen, but it's a lot sharper and just plain feels better than the 770 screen.

The Software
The N800 uses a much improved version of the Internet Tablet OS. The web browser is much faster, and the inclusion of Adobe Flash Player 9 makes the web experience smoother than before. There's been a lot more commercial applications stepping into the Internet Tablet world lately, which add a richer experience for both devices, but even more so for the N800. Skype and Navicore bring their services to the tablet in a big way. And of course the Maemo platform has some of the most skillful developers the world over producing some very amazing programs for the device as well, breaking the limits of the N800 functionality. With apps like Canola, VNC, X Terminal, and a slew of others, the community surrounding these devices have convinced Nokia that the idea of the Internet Tablet is a good one to keep pushing forward. I loved the user interface of the tablets from the very beginning, and a lot of hard work has been made to make it better over time. However, considering how I use these devices more for it's Internet capabilities than anything else, I missed seeing a large enough difference between the basic functions of the two Nokia tablets.

Final Thoughts
I think I'd purchase an N800 (especially now that the price has dropped dramatically) if my 770 stopped working, but it hasn't yet, and a new tablet from Nokia is soon approaching. I took the wait-and-see approach to the N800, and even now I'm satisfied with my decision. The N800 still has a lot of potential for Nokia and the development community to tap into, and I don't see any device out there that can do the many things the N800 can. I truly enjoy having the chance to work with the device, and I'm convinced Nokia has a very solid foundation to build on with the Internet Tablet line.


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