Nokia N810 internet tablet
Fills a gap you didn't even know you had
Review Nokia's approach for the N810 is pretty simple: phone screens are too small for decent web browsing, so surely a separate portable device that has a bigger screen and Wi-Fi connectivity is needed for serious portable web access.
Nokia hasn't regarded size and weight as such restrictive factors. At 228g the metal-cased N810 certainly isn't light, nor at 128 x 72 x 14mm is it small. On the upside, it's very well bolted together and has a very high quality feel to it. If it was any smaller, the 4.13in, 800 x 480, 65,536-colour screen wouldn't fit.
Nokia N810: not a phone, OK?
A quick fiddle with the externals reinforces the impression that this is not a budget device. Slide the top of the 810 up and a full Qwerty keyboard is revealed, and quite a keyboard it is, looking and feeling like the keyboard on a HTC TyTn only twice as big and twice as easy to type on. The fold away metal stand is a nice touch too.
The heart of the N810 is a Linux-derived OS called OS2008. As far as operating systems go it's nothing too flash but it does the job with a minimum of confusion and ambiguity, and more to the point does it quickly. Basic system navigation is performed using a series of tabs and menus accessed on the touch screen. Two further controls on the front left of the device are used, respectively, to bring up a list of currently active applications and to move you back through the current menu tree. All in all it's pretty intuitive and a piece of cake to use.
Set up is ball-bouncingly straightforward. Within moments of opening the box we had the N810 talking to the office WLAN and the home screen set to show a BBC World RSS newsfeed, a web link to the Register Hardware home page, a Google search window, the time and a link to the Radio Paradise web stream. We even found some themes and colours we liked once we'd installed the latest firmware from Nokia.
More Grunt == Less Battrey Life
Garry Byrne: The OQO 01+, although a nice device, is nearly twice as thick as the N810 and weighs nerly twice as much. The only thing the OQO has over the N810 is more storage out of the box and more poke in the CPU department - both coming at the cost of greatly decreased battery life. I'd only recommend a Windows UMPC is you *really* must run Windows apps.
I have a nokia 800
How many people reading the article didn't pick up on the fact that Nokia didn't intend this to be a phone? Why? Maybe it's because S60 (uck!) is too entrenched? Maybe because it avoids having to do many regional variants? Maybe because they want you to buy a phone with bluetooth to act as mobile data gateway?
I've never found a smartphone to be any good, TBH, either too big and bulky, or if usefully compact then is too small to have an adequate display - the N800's 800x480 display makes my Zaurus's 3.5" vga display seem a bit, well, stingy!
I also have zaurus 3100, & palm t3. I use the Zaurus for experimenting with Android and hacking TomTom to run on it!
The Palm is still in use as a PIM - *nothing* beats datebook5 (well, datebook6 does).
The N800 gets the most use
- the bright clear hi-res screen makes it fabulous for mobile web surfing, reading eBooks etc.
- the built in webcam works nicely with googletalk, I can video chat (when I want to be a sad geek) with my brother in california
- with USB host or bluetooth I can connect a nano keyboard if I wanted to enter lots of text
- with bluetooth (PAN) or wifi I can connect via any phone or any hotspot
- stereo speakers make it useful as a media player, built-in radio is a bonus; SDHC card can carry a hell of a lot of files!
- can play radio and TV streams - BBC News 24 live works well (but don't tell TV Licensing!)
paris - because she needs people to RTFA for her too.
I have an n800 - had it for a year or so now, and it has come on in leaps and bounds with each new firmware release. I mainly use it for portable IM (there's a version of pidgin that runs well on it - the full-screen virtual keyboard is excellent once you get used to it) - and ebook reading - using FBReader and Evince (FBReader used to be all I needed, but they seem to have reduced pdf compatibility - though there is a pdf reader in the standard build, I prefer a 3rd party app). If you can afford the n810, I would definitely go for that, mainly due to the hardware keyboard, but now that it has been superseded, the n800 should be coming down in price. For an inquisitive geek, there's no better gadget.
Is that a Nokia logo? Then it must be a phone...
It's hard to see past the Nokia logo isn't it? Think of this as a mobile linux PC with excellent wi-fi, built in bluetooth and a thriving development community and all of a sudden it doesn't seem like so much of a lame duck.
Python? Check. Perl? Check. Want apache running on it? No problem. Hell you can even get Ruby on Rails on the NiT and throw metasploit on it for a lovely little pentest device you can chuck in your backpack - or fit comfortably on the inside pocket of a suit jacket.
Did I mention the imminent arrival of Google Gears?
Think outside the "phone" pigeonhole.
/mine's the one with the N800 in the pocket, and a 3G phone in the other.
You forgot to mention it is Linux
Nice review. I have the older n800 (no keyboard, no GPS, two SD slots) and it is the most useful gadget I have.
But you forgot to mention a key point - that the OS is Linux-based and, with a bit of guidance from maemo.org, you can do almost anything you want with it, for instance running perl scripts from the command line.