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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Review: Nokia N800 Internet Tablet

Nokia N800

Nokia N800 Review
Manufacturer: Nokia
Price: £279

What's In The Box
  • - Nokia N800
  • - Protective wallet
  • - Headset
  • - USB Cable
  • - Power Cable
  • - Memory Card
  • - Spare Stylus
The Nokia N800 is an internet tablet device which allows quick, easy access to the internet and internet services. It's an interesting hybrid device, being smaller and quicker to start up than a laptop, but giving a bigger, more usable experience than a mobile phone.

It has a modified Linux distribution as the OS, and you mostly work from a "home" page which allows you to drab new widgets and applets onto it. The N800 comes with the Opera Browser as standard, and also has Flash installed.

Straight out of the box you can connect to Google Talk and Jabber networks for instant messaging, and the handy webcam pops out of the left hand side to enable video calling. I made a few internet phonecalls to other Google Talk users and the quality was excellent, with the people I chatted to reporting that I came through nice and clear. A Skype application is still forthcoming but that will be a very useful addition when it's available.

Nokia N800 Camera

The camera rotates and has a nice feature whereby if you rotate it 180 degrees, the image is flipped so that it's not upside down. A stand releases from the back which allows you to position the N800 standing on a flat surface - ideal for conference calls or for watching movies on.

You operate the tablet through the touch screen. There's a stylus neatly slotted in the back of the device and a spare one in the box. With it, you can click and drag intuitively on the screen. Inputting text has three modes of operation - a virtual keyboard, handwriting recognition and a larger virtual keyboard which can be operated with fingers rather then the stylus.


The N800 has Wifi onboard and I was able to pick up more Wifi access points than are seen by the the internal wifi adaptor on my Sony Vaio. If you don't have access to a WLAN, you can connect to the web by using a Bluetooth connection to your mobile phone. Also included in the box is a USB lead for PC connectivity. Unfortunately the USB cable doesn't allow you to charge the device down the wire.

Media Player

The display and sound are crystal clear and it actually makes a very good portable media player, for either playing files stored on memory card or streaming media. One of the standard applets on the desktop is an internet radio player, and the sound quality is great. The basic functionality can be extended with the software downloads that are available. Applications are available which will turn it into an FM radio (using the headset as the antennae) and also to use it to connect to a media streaming server on your local network.

The standard applications it comes with include an RSS feed reader, email client, contacts manager, calculator, PDF reader, sketch, notes, and games like chess and mahjong. Checking out the software to extend the device is one of the best things about it, and there's also a burgeoning gaming community and I was able to play a great port of the classic first person shooter, Doom.

I was impressed with the battery life on the machine, having to charge it rarely despite leaving the internet radio player on for prolonged periods.

The device - a successor to the N770 - is a nice size and the large screen makes browsing the web a doddle with it's 800 x 480 resolution. Many websites now have fixed width designs for larger screens, but these can easily be managed by just dragging the window from left to right. Be default, your browser occupies only a portion of the visible screen, but a button on top of the device can switch to full screen mode, and there are other buttons for zooming in and out.

The Nokia N800 measures up at 140mm wide and 75 mm tall, and about 15mm deep. See the picture below to see how it compares size-wize to a Sony Ericcsson K800i.

Nokia N800 and Sony K800i

My initial reaction to the N800 was "meh", but the more I've used the N800, the more fond of it I've grown. It's truly portable device and gives you the full web experience not some cut down, mobile version. Starting the device from cold takes about 30 seconds and being able to just get online anywhere around the home or office in a way which is much easier than even a laptop makes this a great device for anyone who's a heavy or frequent web user.

Nokia N800 Price Check*

Update: Also check out the successor device: Nokia N810

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