Text can be entered via the keyboard, or with a finger tap on the text area of the screen you can open up the truly excellent and well thought out full-screen virtual keyboard. A stylus tap opens up a smaller keyboard that also allows for handwriting input.
A tap brings up a full-screen virtual keyboard
The N810's media player has its strengths and weaknesses. Format support for video extends to 3GP, AVI, WMV, MP4, H.263/4, MPEG 1 and 4, and RealVideo, and for audio MP3, WMA, AAC, AMR, AWB, M4A, MP2, RealAudio and WAV. Most image file formats are supported too.
Audio quality is generally good and on a par with any iPod even though the player lacks anything in the way of alterable EQ settings or boosters. For some reason, our 810 refused to play the WMV files we loaded on to it but a quick trip to maemo.org, the spiritual home of OS2008, to download the Canola2 and MPlayer applications - which between them play just about anything under the sun - soon solved that.
Playback of an Xvid video file with a resolution of 672 x 288 using MPlayer showed up some weakness though with significant lag and stutter forcing us to reformat to 400 x 240 using Nokia's open source Vista/XP2 video re-formatting application. So perhaps we shouldn't push the idea of the N810 as a PMP too hard.
Storage-wise you get 2GB on-board but the Mini SD slot supports SDHC cards up to 8GB which is enough for a reasonable selection of music and video.
Moving files to the N810 using Windows Explorer is a simple if not exactly rapid operation, with both the internal memory and removable flash card showing up as two separate locations. Faster by far to stuff your Mini SD card into your laptop and copy across media that way.
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.