Nokia N8 Review: The Nokia N8 represented Nokia’s first genuine foray into challenging the new order of Apple and Android. Released in 2010, the phone was one of the first Nokia phones to feature a full multi-touch screen that was on a par with the higher end phones on the market.
The path towards the N8 was somewhat inevitable. A couple of years beforehand, Nokia had released a phone without a keypad – the Nokia 5800. With a resistive touchscreen, this relied on a stylus for users to gain accuracy and was an inferior alternative to the multi-touch screens. The next flagship was the Nokia N97, but the keypad could not be ditched entirely and came in a slide-out underneath the handset.
But these type of phones were dying out quickly. Brand new apps such as Swype negated the need for any type of physical keypad. And so in 2010, Nokia went to multi-touch. As always there was a range of models that came out at roughly the same time. The Nokia X6 and Nokia C7 were high mid-range phones, with the Nokia C5 below that. The entry model did not gain this feature just yet: the Nokia 5250 had much of the design of these models but was resistive touch.
An upgrade was needed in terms of software: it had become clear that touchscreen technology had outgrown what Nokia had available. Having had a couple of years to observe what needed to be improved, a new Symbian version of software was available in time for launch.
The Nokia N8 was the flagship model and had the best specs behind it: a 12MP camera, 16GB storage as default + microSD were ahead of its brothers and more importantly the main competition of that year, the Samsung Galaxy S and the Apple iPhone 4.
These multi-touch screens were here to stay and would form the backbone of Nokia’s remaining time in phones. The Nokia N950 was released the next year. After this, the high-end phones began to be featured in the ‘Lumia’ series.
Nokia N8 Review Pros:
The phone had some kickers over it’s competition: the 12MP camera was better in terms of resolution and featured many aids only seen in standalone digital cameras. The camera at the time was arguably best in class. For some, this was reason enough to go for it.
Build quality was high as could be expected. The phone was also available in several coloured variants which also added to the appeal.
Many features were built in for media consumption such as on-board video players, TV/HDMI out and a rarely seen on board FM transmitter which allowed music to be broadcast on the car radio.
Nokia N8 Review Cons:
The screen was a let-down relative to the rest of the device. A 360 x 640 resolution was no better than the Nokia 5800 and whilst adequate on its own ranked well behind the Super AMOLED and Apple screens which featured a higher resolution.
The Symbian experience was improved over previous iterations but still lacked polish and ease of use compared to Apple and Android. With Nokia still keen to make its mark, it pushed its own music, maps and application services, which were inferior.
Quite rarely for a Nokia phone, the model also lost its ease of customisation: the back (or front) was not removable and the battery soldered into the phone.
Current Pricing and Future Prospects
The phone’s camera and 16GB storage are still fairly relevant today, and the phone still has some usage left. It may always be remembered as a first-generation smartphone, and hence be quite memorable.
Where can I get one?
Interested in more phones? See a list of phones I own here.