The Nokia 770 Internet Tablet – Full Review

by Barry J. Doyle Reads (103,281)



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What is the Nokia “Internet Tablet”?

The Nokia 770 Internet Tablet is a device in a class of its own. It is not a Tablet PC. It is not a PDA. It’s not a phone or a portable gaming console. It’s not a “Palm Powered” or “Windows Mobile” device. Enough already! What is it then? We can best describe Nokia’s “Internet Tablet” as a small handheld computer that is a master blend – incorporating many of the best features you will find on many of the devices mentioned above.

Who is the Nokia 770 “Internet Tablet” for?

This device is a perfect sidekick for the professional or techie looking to stay connected on the go – without carrying an extra bag or pack. This user is seeking a better internet experience beyond what is offered by a Smartphone or PDA. Finally this device is complimentary to Linux users and enthusiasts since the operating system dubbed by Nokia as “Internet Tablet 2005 Software Edition” is based on a flavor of Debian Linux.


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In the box: Nokia 770 Internet Tablet, a sliding protective cover, carrying pouch, 64Mb RS-MMC card/MMC adapter, USB cable, a cool plastic stand, charger and user guides.

Specs:

  • Display: 800×480 touch screen, 16-bit color
  • CPU: 250MHz TI 1710 OMAP (ARM-based)
  • Memory: 128MB internal flash (64MB available to the user), 64MB via included RS-MMC card
  • Operating system: Internet Tablet 2005 Software Edition
  • Connectivity: 802.11b/g, Bluetooth, USB, memory card expansion (RS-MMC), audio out, AC power adapter
  • Size: 5.5in x 3.1in x 0.7in
  • Battery: 1500 mAh Li-ion battery, 3 hours browsing time, 7 hours standby
  • Language support: English (US and UK), French, German, Italian, Spanish
  • Supported file formats:
    Audio: MP3, MPEG4, AAC, WAV, AMR, MP2
    Video: MPEG1, MPEG4, Real Video, H.263, AVI, 3GP
    Image: JPEG, GIF, BMP, TIFF, PNG, SVG-tiny, ICO

Internet Connectivity/Experience

Internet Connectivity/Experience


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We hooked up to a Wi-Fi connection in a VERY rural area –
thanks to Calaman’s Computers in New Albany, Pennsylvania!


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The Nokia 770 Internet Tablet boasts a bright 16-bit, 4.13in. Touchscreen with a 800×480 resolution. The 770’s display quality and size features alone provide for an internet experience that most will find more agreeable to the eyes than the top PDA and Smartphone models available today. The 770 offers both built-in Wi-Fi and connectivity via any compatible Bluetooth enabled mobile phone.


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The Opera web browser is included in the Nokia 770 software bundled in the ROM and is complimented by a highly-functional email client, video, audio and internet radio streaming applications. Browsing the web seems significantly faster, smoother and more stable than Internet Explorer on Windows Mobile enabled devices. We found that the wireless range using the integrated Wi-Fi in all tested settings to be as good as any laptop and experience no issues or disruptions in connectivity.

The Nokia Internet Tablet provides the best web browsing performance we have seen on a PDA-sized device to date. Thankfully this is the case since Nokia’s decision to call the 770 an “Internet Tablet” implies that internet connectivity and functionality is a front-end feature.


Input

    Input options on the 770 are similar to most any PDA type device. Nokia graced the 770 with more hardware buttons than you will find on most any Pocket PC or Palm device. Better yet, the buttons are highly functional for use in most of the applications on the 770.


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    A navigation button (scroll key) is complimented by (top) power, zoom, full-screen, and on the front of the unit: escape, menu and home buttons which all provide the user with a feeling of being in control of the device, rather than the other way around.

    Tablet Functionality


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    The stylus and Touchscreen work together on the 770 the same way as passive screens found on Palm, Pocket PC and some Tablet PC devices. Passive screens don’t necessarily require a whole lot more pressure while writing than electromagnetic touchscreens, however the stylus or pen cannot be held above the display to move the cursor. The tip of the stylus must be used to physically tap or drag on the screen surface to navigate menus, windows and to open and close applications.

    The greatest shortcoming of Nokia’s first generation “Internet Tablet” is the handwriting recognition. There are two options for input of letters and characters. The on-screen keyboard option is typical of any Touchscreen device. Users who commonly use this method for writing will have no gripes using this feature on the 770 to write. However, if you are like me and prefer to utilize handwriting recognition to write, you are in for some disappointment.

    In first attempting to use the handwriting recognition functionality on the 770 I was immediately surprised at the poor performance. After discovering that there is a handwriting training function, I felt hopeful. I excitedly spent all the time necessary to carefully work through each letter and symbol, feeling confident that this was going to make handwriting recognition next to perfect. The confirmed response that I received after each letter was “recognized” – just the way I write was reassuring. However, once the training process was complete I attempted to write again. I am sorry to say, the experience showed minimal improvement. In a nutshell we found that the 770’s handwriting recognition is the weakest link in an otherwise excellent device. Too bad.

    Applications/Software


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    Outside of the Opera web browser and email application, the 770 ROM is loaded with the following applications:

    • Audio player
      Plays the popular AAC, MP3, WAV files and more. Allows the user to create playlists and listen to audio streams from the internet.
    • Internet radio
      A real pleasure to use! It is a blast to be able to listen to the radio in the background and run multiple applications at the same time. There is no noticeable lag on the system using this feature, making you feel as though you are getting notebook or tablet computer performance unlike the common slowdown you would most likely experience on a PDA or mobile phone.
    • Video player


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      Plays MPEG’s, AVI and Real Video formats. The framerate is excellent and the large display and loud integrated speaker does video justice. Streaming video content from the web can be viewed through this application as well. A trailer for the movie “Ice Age 2″ is included in the ROM.
    • Images
      The image viewer will display BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG and TIFF files. Images look fantastic in full screen mode on the 770’s bright, clear display.
    • News reader
      Easily view RSS feeds by copying XML or RSS links into this application.
    • PDF reader
      Just like the name says – you can view PDF files in this snappy viewer.
    • File manager


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      This handy app. is just what you’ll need to copy, cut, paste, move and manage your files between the 770 and memory cards, mobile phones and a connected PC or Mac.
    • Connection manager


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      Here’s the application to use to create connections to Bluetooth mobile phones and Wi-Fi networks while on the go.
    • Calculator, Clock
      Just what you’d expect.
    • Notes
      This one is a biggie in regards to the Tablet functionality of the Nokia 770. Unfortunately as we discussed earlier, the handwriting recognition functionality leaves little to be desired. At any rate the “Notes” application is the word processor on this device. We say stick to the onscreen keyboard and although it will take awhile, you’ll get the job done smoothly.
    • Sketch
      A basic drawing application. Files are saved in a .png format and can be attached to emails.
    • Games
      Chess, Mahjong and “Marbles” are preinstalled and ready to go.

    Ports

    Left to Right: AC in, USB (to attach to PC), headphone jack. To the left (not pictured) is a MultieMediaCard (RS-MMC) slot.

    Battery Life

    The 770 comes with a user replaceable 1500 mAh Li-ion battery. True to the manufacturer’s claims, we found that real world use (with Wi-Fi on) will get you about 2.5-3 hours of battery life. Keeping the screen brightness to the lowest tolerable level and turning off the Wi-Fi radio while it is not in use will give you another hour or so. This is good to keep in mind while traveling on a long flight. The battery cannot be charged via the USB port which would be a nice feature to add to the next generation of these devices.

    Conclusion

    The Nokia 770 Internet Tablet is an impressive concept and this first generation model is a great option for the consumer in need of internet connectivity on the go. The $400 price tag is in our opinion just right for what you get. The handwritng recognition flaw is the only outstanding issue that we advise the potential consumer to consider before shelling out the cash for this device. The outstanding internet experience would be the compelling reason to buy the 770. If you are already carrying a small Tablet PC or notebook and like what you have, we say “hold out” for the next model. The possibilities for future models that lie ahead are intriguing to say the least.

    Pro’s

    • Great display
    • Stable Linux-based OS
    • Outstanding internet experience

    Con’s

    • Poor handwriting recognition

    Pricing and Availability:

    The Nokia 770 is available from Amazon.com for about $400


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