I met with Nokia folks at the Dolby offices in New York City to preview the Nokia N8. I wondered about the location, but it made sense after remembering that the Nokia N8 is world’s first handset featuring Dolby Digital Plus. The whole ordeal was only an hour, so it left me wanting more. Read on for video and photos.
Nokia started by showing a clip of a surround sound test. A voice from the movie clip would say “this is coming from the left speaker… the rear speaker, etc.” It was cool, but it got even better when they showed movie trailers. The Nokia N8 was connected to the home theater system via the HDMI port. The picture and sound were incredible. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to enjoy this at home since I don’t have a home theater system.
Ira Frimere, the Product Manager at the demo, continued to talk about features and showed several aspects of the Nokia N8. I was sort of familiar with some of the stuff they showed thanks to Nokia Conversations’ three-part videos. My eyes were locked on the Nokia N8 during the presentation and was anxious to play with it myself.
Towards the end before another group of bloggers and journalists were scheduled to preview the device, I asked Ira if he can summarize for me on video what they showed us in 2 minutes. Take a look below.
I played with a green Nokia N8 for only a few minutes at the demo. The color was not exactly on top of my list. The black one looked better in my opinion. The N8 felt rugged, tough, and solid in the hand. It’s not the prettiest thing in the world, but I have a feeling it will grow on me.
I didn’t have time to dive deep into the OS. The interface of Symbian^3 felt expectedly similar to Symbian^1 found on the N97, N97 mini, X6, etc. The major differences I noticed during my hands-on were the multiple homescreens, Cover-Flow albums (not sure how Nokia calls it), and the visual multi-tasker. The homescreen widgets and app menus felt basically the same. Next time I have the opportunity to look at the Nokia N8 and Symbian^3, I would like to pay more attention to how it handles offline mode and switching between wifi and 3G connections.
There was multi-touch aka pinch-to-zoom on the photos and web browser, but not on Ovi Maps. It felt snappy! I was disappointed that I couldn’t test the web browser because there was no wifi and the AT&T services could not get a connection at the location.
I played with the camera on the Nokia N8 a bit. I’m a fan of wide-angle lens and the Nokia N8 has it! Digital zoom looks good. Objects didn’t appear blurry or pixelated on the screen when zoomed in. The face detection focus was pretty cool, too. I couldn’t give the xenon flash a proper test, but flash properly fired when I took a photo of an object against a large window with morning sunlight shining in. It looked good from the device’s screen, but I couldn’t upload it online for closer inspection.
Overall, I think the Nokia N8′s 12mp camera with xenon flash and HD recording will be the major selling point for me. Those who hate Symbian will most likely still hate Symbian^3. The UI changes aren’t noticeable but that was already expected. The Nokia N8 will be available late summer of 2010 for EUR 370.