Nokia N800 Internet Tablet First Thoughts Review

by Ed Hardy Reads (49,031)

This week, Nokia announced the N800, its second generation Internet Tablet. I was able to put this brand new device through its paces at the Consumer Electronics Show.

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My first impressions are fairly positive. It has some nice new features not included in its predecessor, the Nokia 770, like a built-in web camera, dual memory card slots, stereo speakers, and a stand.

Hardware

This model has approximately the same form-factor as the 770 but it’s not exactly identical. It felt very comfortable to hold. On its back, there’s a bulge across the top, where the stylus slot and web cam are, so I don’t see how anyone could drop the device.

Speaking of the web cam, this located in a small, retractable arm that looks a bit like a cell phone antenna. It can be twisted around to face forward or backward. It allows N800 users to do video chatting.

The front of this handheld is dominated by the 800-by-480-pixel touchscreen. This device doesn’t have an integrated hardware keyboard, but Nokia engineers have worked hard to make one unnecessary. Here’s my favorite feature. If you touch the icon to open the on-screen keyboard with the stylus, you’ll get a small one suitable for use with a stylus. If, on the other hand, you touch the icon with your fingertip, a much larger keyboard opens, and this one can be typed on with a finger.

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I like the dual memory card set up. One slot is located externally, and is intended to let you easily switch SD cards in and out, while the second slot is under the battery cover, and is for more long-term storage. The N800 also has 200 MB of built-in storage.

This model includes both Wi-Fi b/g and Bluetooth 2.0, so it can be used near a Wi-Fi hotspot, or almost anywhere with a Bluetooth-enabled phone acting as its wireless modem.

Software

As its name suggests, the N800 heavily emphasizes Internet connectivity. As such, it comes with Opera 8 as its web browser, and has support for Flash 7, so users can play, for example, Google Movies.

Naturally, it includes email and instant messaging applications, plus the video chatting functionality I mentioned earlier.

This device also has support for Internet radio stations and station guides.

Speaking of multimedia, the N800 has audio and video players that support a wide variety of formats, including AAC, MP3, WMA, AVI, MPEG-4, and Real Audio and Video.

This is not a traditional handheld, and it lacks a built-in calendar. In addition, its address book is primarily intended to track email addresses.

Conclusion

From a software standpoint, I don’t think the N800 is a huge step-up from the Nokia 770. However, its hardware is noticeably better.

I’m glad to see that Nokia seems committed to making its Internet Tablet line the best that it can be.

More details on the N800 can be found on Nokia’s web site.

Additional Pictures

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