The Deliverator – Wannabee

So open minded, my thoughts fell out…

Updated information about Nokia N810

Posted by Deliverator on October 19th, 2007

Thoughtfix just got back from the Web2Summit event where the N810 was announced. He managed to take home a retail boxed demo unit and held a live interactive video “show and tell” with the Internet Tablet Talk community using ustream.tv which allows for live syndication of video content using flash based video. You can chat with the host(s) of the show using an integrated flash based chat room. About 80 people showed up for Throughfix’s impromtu show and almost everyone came prepared with a ton of questions.

Here is what I learned from Thoughfix’s show:

-The 2 GB of flash that is built in is 80% full of maps to begin with and is likely fat formatted, so those hoping for expanded storage space for Linux applications can look elsewhere.

-The memory card slot is indeed Mini-SD. The slot insertion/removal mechanism is difficult to operate. The maximum theoretical overall capacity of the unit is 10 GB when combining internal and external flash.

-The battery door is difficult to open, but without an internal card slot there isn’t much point. Door is solidly in place and doesn’t rattle in its frame like on the n800.

-The top keys have been improved with the full screen and +/- buttons seperated as on the 770. There is a hardware lock key on the top that locks the device from coming out of power saving mode due to accidental key presses or bumping of the screen while it sits in one’s pocket.

-The camera appears to use a higher quality sensor than on the n800. I spoke with him over my n800 using google talk video during his show. There was very little “speckled” ccd noise evident in his stream, whereas my image was a noisy mess despite a lot of overhead lighting.

-The screen is brighter and also appears to be transflective a.k.a. direct sunlight viewable.

-The keypad has a nice back lighting feature that is activated/deactivated automatically by the ambient light sensor.

-The casing/construction is almost entirely metal and has a very solid feel to it.

-Despite not being an officially listed feature, the N810 paired with a set of Bluetooth stereo headphones (A2DP). When attempting to use for voice calling, got a lot of stuttering/poor quality noise.

-Would pair with a bluetooth mouse, but does not support the profile.

-The new Firefox based web browser seems to work better with a lot of Web 2.0 websites, but also crashed on a number of occasions.

-The revamped Desktop Applets/Plugins functionality looks to be cool and applets can now be resized and can overlap.

-The UI skins look nice and utilize transparency well. Best default visual theme of any NIT yet. Navigation and opening of programs was quite responsive.

-The GPS was able to lock onto five satellites indoors at Thoughtfix’s house. Software was extremely slow in plotting a route for a 600 mile trip within the same state. The 3d view still doesn’t show street names. The N810 comes with a cradle and a basic screw-type mounting bracket for in car use. It sounds like many GPS features will only be functional for an additional price.

-Keypad seemed to be slow and cumbersome as an input method due to chiclet sized keys with a very stiff response. Hitting keys along top row is somewhat difficult due to the overhanging lip of the screen. Several common keys like tab are simply not present (arg!). Many common keys including number keys are on a second function and there isn’t a function lock/sticky keys mode for more efficient entry. Nor will holding a key down longer activate the second function for that key. This has become a common convention on compact qwerty devices. Hopefully Nokia will improve this in a software update.

-The D Pad positioning is as awkward as it looks and the center “enter” key of the D Pad is too large. Hitting up on the D Pad is difficult as it is against the side of the screen when extended. It sounds like Nokia needs to make the slider extend more.

-The soft slip case is pseudo-seude leather and is made in turkey and better fits that N810. There is no official hard case in the works as far as anyone knows.

-The speaker volume seems adequate and the N810 has the same special jack that allows one to use a standard set of headphones or a special set of stereo headphones with a built in microphone.

-Expanded video format support has not been shown in my mind as the N810 crapped out on a number of attempts to play formats listed in the new specifications. I would like to see a systematic testing of a wide variety of formats under rigorous conditions. I would like to see an official statement as to what resolutions and bitrates the N810 is capable of playing and what subversions of formats are supported (i.e. if you state WMV support, does that mean WM8, 9, 11, etc.?)

-There is no FM radio tuner on the N810, a disappointment to many people that used that feature on the N800.

-Despite long promises of an improved email client, the default mail client on the N810 is the same POS as before. I recommend installing Claws Mail and forgoing the built in client altogether.