[maemo-users] Nokia n810 user review

From: tanguyr tanguyr at gmail.com
Date: Mon Jun 9 17:13:28 EEST 2008

A friend of mine recently took a short vacation to the US and didn't
want to take his laptop with him. Seeing as how he's a stone cold
gadget freak, i leant him my n810 in exchange for his promise to write
a review of his impressions. He's back, and here's what he thinks of
the device:

Thanks again for the opportunity to use your webilicious tablet
thingy...  Et voici le vote du jury belge:
- form factor is fantastic - adored the little stand at the back
- built quality is great
- battery life is good, unless you're using the wifi, or (worse) it's
trying to connect to a wifi network, but can't because there ain't any
- keyboard is really bad: keys too flat, too close to each other, too
hard to press - and the layout sucks. Ended up using the onscreen one
instead, which was fine, really. Made me reconsider my need-real-keys
mantra - more on that later.
- lack of external volume is shameful
- lack of intuitive scrolling method, ended up scrolling the whole
page by dragging the stylus in the middle page while trying not to
click - difficult and clumsy... where's the "scroll scroll scroll with
my fat greasy fingers" ease of use of the iPhone?
- built-in camera blows chunks
- built-in microphone and speakers are surprisingly good
- screen resolution kicks major ass
- browser is fast enough for common use, and quite stable - no complaints
- most sites downgrade well enough to the limited resolution
- Canola serially killed the gadget - hated it. Besides, it doesn't
respect the overall UI themes, which ends up being annoying. Hated it.
- built-in media player is basic, but at least it works. most of the
time. with most of the files. Mostly.
- most of the built-in apps are indeed disappointing. The superiority
of the Palm platform here is quite clear.
- the OS UI feels sluggish, and I ended up taking the battery of more
times than I though possible.
- having Linux in your pocket felt more like a threat than an enabler
to me. Must be a personality thing, but I wasn't even tempted to dive
into the console, just frustrated at the unpolished angles and
frequent reboots. Made me miss my PalmOS, and crave OsX. Seriously.

Now to what I think about the preciousss: this is a GREAT device to
carry with you on a trip! The mini-big screen + wifi + real browser
combo is a killer. LOVED it. Cigdem wanted one. Right away. Checking
email through the browser was not a problem in the end. Actually, it's
even better than having to deal with yet-another-email-client. Gmail
"almost" works fine - well enough for what I needed, and that was way
cool... But the REAL surprise came from the impeccable Skype client -
IMHO, it's the killer app. Ended up chatting with colleagues
(read:employees) without restrictions, calling Cigdem's mom (using
Skype on pc) during 1/2h for free, and even calling local and
long-distance phone numbers, hands free, for pennies... instead of
being robbed blind by the hotel. It felt easy, convenient, natural.
FANTASTIC. Shame the video calls are not available - why not? The
hardware is there, the software is there... grrr.
Now for the so-so: managed to watch two IT CROWD episodes, but it took
so many reboots it drove me crazy. And I couldn't get it to play third
one, period. But it was great while it lasted! Pissed myself in the
plane (the low-pressure cocktails helped) while my neighbors were
stuck with yet another Friends rerererererun. The image was a bit
jerky and seemed slightly blurry (resized?), but nothing unacceptable.
And the media browser sucks - the iPod still rules when it comes to
carrying your entertainment around.

Conclusion: the gadget (the name Cigdem and me settled on) still feels
a bit 1.1-ey (and is way too expensive), can be infuriatingly unstable
sometimes and frustratingly sluggish at times... but ends up being a
very very yummy addition to our "free wi-fi" hotel rooms, and a
fantastic companion on holidays (if you're traveling for work, you're
probably carrying a laptop - I would prefer a mini computer in that
case. Possibly an AIR from the fruit company. It's too sweet to
resist). To be honest, the  whole experience made me badly want to
purchase a iPod Touch - only the lack of Skype (and of microphone),
and the annoying brand cult managed to stop me. Another way of saying
that it can only be beaten by an improved iPhone (3G, MMS, more apps)
with Skype - sounds like June will be an exciting month. Thin ice,
Jerry: thin ice.


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