So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Nokia N810 Internet Tablet
A powerful and mobile touch-screen Internet device
- Excellent display, intuitive user interface, Wi-Fi, good Web browser, 3.5mm headphone jack, 2GB internal memory with miniSD card expansion slot, GPS
- Cramped keyboard, extra for turn-by-turn navigation, flimsy rear battery cover, slider isn’t smooth
The N810 is an excellent mobile Web device thanks to a fantastic browser and a great display. However, despite all its strengths there are plenty of flaws.
Price$ 689.00 (AUD)
Nokia's latest Internet tablet boasts a convenient slide-out QWERTY keyboard, a built-in GPS receiver and a stunning 4.1in touch-screen display. Although this device won't appeal to everyone, early adopters and gadget-keen consumers are sure to be impressed.
The N810 is a sleek and stylish device. For a unit boasting a large, touch-screen display and slide-out QWERTY keyboard, the N810 is quite slim and fairly light. The combination of silver edging and etched metallic blue front and rear is a nice combination. Our only complaints lie with the flimsy rear battery cover and the fact that the slider doesn't feel very smooth when opened; however, both are minor issues. The flip-out stand is a nice touch.
The N810's display is excellent. Although Nokia includes a stylus, the responsiveness of the display means you'll rarely need to use it as your fingertips will suffice. Although not as intuitive as Apple's iPhone display, the N810 screen remains impressive. At 4.1in, it's quite large and despite its reflective surface it handles sunlight glare surprisingly well and has an impressive viewing angle. An ambient light sensor adjusts the screen's brightness depending on your environment. Also impressive is the display of text, making Web browsing and the viewing of documents a generally pleasant experience.
The slide-out QWERTY keyboard is a welcome addition, although it is slightly cramped. The main issue is the minimal amount of space between the bottom of the slider and the top row of keys, which makes these buttons difficult to press — the same applies to the rather small five-way navigational pad. There is also only a little space between each key, so inadvertently bumping the wrong button is an all too common experience.
The N810 runs the Internet Tablet OS 2008, based on Linux. Though it's intuitive from a user perspective, the biggest issue is speed. When opening and switching between running applications, the N810 is a little too sluggish for our liking. A 400MHz TI OMAP 2420 processor powers the unit, but combined with the obviously taxing OS, it isn't enough to ensure a smooth experience. On the plus side, the layout of applications is easy to navigate and the home screen can be customised with a variety of backgrounds and themes. A nice touch is the fact that you can conveniently drag icons around the home screen and place them wherever you like.
Connectivity is excellent with Wi-Fi 802.11b/g, Bluetooth 2.0 and USB 2.0 all present. Naturally, the N810 performs well for Web browsing thanks to the Web 2.0 browser which features the Adobe Flash plug-in. Even the most graphically intense sites loaded well and the touch-screen display made it easy to navigate, although we found it more comfortable to use the stylus rather than our fingertips for this. For Internet access on the move, you can connect a Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone to the N810.
The N810 is also a handy email device, supporting POP3, IMAP4 and SMTP protocols. Setting up an account is fairly simple thanks to the included wizard; we had no trouble sending and receiving emails. You can also make VoIP calls thanks to Google Talk and Skype, though keep in mind that the quality of calls depends largely on the quality and reliability of your Internet connection.
There is also an integrated GPS receiver that includes Australian maps. Unfortunately, in order to receive full turn-by-turn navigation you'll need to purchase the Wayfinder application. GPS performance was adequate, though not as responsive as a portable in-car unit.
Other features include a file manager, PDF reader, notepad and calculator. Notably lacking is a calendar — a strange omission to say the least. A 3.5mm headphone jack is a godsend for those wishing to utilise the N810 as a portable media player. The unit is a fair but not outstanding multimedia device, with basic playback settings and playlist support. Videos are excellent thanks to the display. Sound quality is reasonable using a quality pair of headphones; the external speakers are mediocre. Users can store files on the 2GB of internal memory, or the miniSD card slot can support a further 8GB of memory.
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