The N8 is a valiant effort from Nokia and definitely its best high-end smartphone to date. However, Symbian^3 is a big letdown and, while the N8 will satisfy multimedia and Nokia fans, it could struggle to attract business users against competition from the BlackBerry, iPhone, and to a lesser extent, Android devices.
Great camera; decent battery life; impressive multimedia option
Disappointing Symbian^3 OS update; poor touch screen keyboard; frustrating internet experience; cluttered interface
£419.99 SIM-free or free from £25 per month on Vodafone
Symbian^3 OS, 113.5mm x 59mm x 12.9mm, 135g, 3.5in Amoled capacitive touch screen, 16GB internal memory, up to 32GB SD card support, HDMI output, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 3G.
Nokia's N8 handset has finally landed, boasting the all-new Symbian^3 platform. Unveiled in June, the N8 boasts a dazzling array of multimedia features in a bid to tempt mobile buyers away from Android, BlackBerry and iPhone handsets.
Nokia hasn't skimped on the specifications, and the 3.5in 640 x 360 Amoled touch screen offers a visual experience close to other high-end devices, such as the Samsung Galaxy S.
With dimensions of 113.5mm x 59mm x 12.9mm, the N8 fits nicely into the palm of the hand, and it's not too heavy at 135g. The scratch-proof anodised aluminium casing gives the device a stylish appearance and protection from everyday use.
Symbian^3 is an improvement over previous versions, but it is still not at the level it should be. There are three home screens packed with widgets and applications that can be viewed in landscape and portrait modes, a nice touch that many other smartphones lack.
Each home screen is divided into four rows, which can house four application shortcuts or display one widget such as email or social networking updates.
We were disappointed that the widgets cannot be expanded to take up the whole screen, as people now want as much information as possible crammed onto the screen. The same problem was apparent in the Nokia C6, which runs on an older Symbian platform.
In our tests we found that customising the home screen was a bit of a chore. It was not possible to move widgets between panels. Instead, each of the three screens has to be customised individually, and even then it was fiddly. There is no sense of integration like there is with Apple iOS4 or Android home screens.
Pressing the Home button brings up a more detailed classic menu catering to Nokia fans, and the company has been generous with the apps it has preloaded onto the phone.
Bloomberg, iPlayer, Skype, Spotify, Wikipedia, Yell and YouTube are all there from the get-go. Ovi Maps with voice guided navigation as standard is a bonus, and Nokia's Ovi Store also houses thousands of apps.