Tuesday, February 17, 2009

N86 Announced

After Samsung had released a 8MP S60 camera phone called the INNOV8 and Sony Ericsson announced their Idou 12MP Symbian phone, Nokia announces their 8MP phone the N86:

For those holding a N82 or N79 and hoping for an upgrade, the N86 only features dual LED and no Xenon flash.

In case you're still interested, here are more quick details:

N86 Datasheet
Name: Nokia N86
CPU: Freescale MXC300, 434 MHz ARM1136JF-S RISC + StarCore SC140 DSP
RAM: 128 MB (user accessible: 71 MB)
Network: EGSM 850/900/1800/1900 WCDMA 900/1900/2100 or WCDMA 850,1900,2100
Weight: 149 g
Dimensions: 103.4 x 51.4 x 16.5 mm
Battery life (stand by): up to 11.5 hours (WCDMA), 13h (GSM) (these values seem too low so the datasheet might have a typo)
Battery life (talk): up to 234 minutes (WCDMA), 378 minutes (GSM)

As in all Nseries, the N86 will include 802.11b/g WiFi connectivity, support video capture at 640x480 up to 30fps, feature a Carl Zeiss Tessar lens, and support Nokia's ngage gaming service. Luckily the N86 features the amazing 2.6 inch OLED display that got high praises on the N85 and it also integrates a FM transmitter that was a strong selling point of the N79. The N86 includes 8GB of internal memory and supports microSDHC up to 16GB.

Spec-wise it's a strong phone but something I would've liked to have seen last year. For all those Nokia users that have been asking for better materials on the Nseries, you'll be happy to know that Nokia's added a chrome trim on the sides of the top half. The design looks a bit like the N97 but the number pad reminds me of the older Motorola T720 from almost a decade ago.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Nokia 5800 XpressMusic Preview

I was in Manhattan this past weekend and dropped by the New York City Nokia Flagship Store just to see what was new. Inside they had the stylish 7610 Supernova powered by S40 on display. Nokia was also showcasing one of their key products to compete in the touch screen cell phone market, the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic:

My initial impressions of the 5800 XpressMusic were "this is a really nice screen and I really like the simplistic icons". The phone fits my hand comfortably.

Quick facts:
Name: Nokia 5800 XpressMusic
CPU: Freescale MXC300, 369 MHz ARM1136JF-S RISC + StarCore SC140 DSP
RAM: 256 MB (user accessible: 81 MB)
Network: GSM 850/900/1800/1900 WCDMA 850/1900
Weight: 109 g
Dimensions: 51.7 x 111 x 15.5 mm

Follow the jump to find out if the 5800 XpressMusic is worth buying.

Navigation & Touchscreen
Scrolling throw lists and menus works like any other S60 phone so you have to scroll with the scroll bar and you can't just flick your finger as you do on the iPhone. As most people have mentioned, it's annoying that some buttons require a single click while others require a double tap. This was my thought process when the menu didn't respond: the phone wasn't responsive, didn't catch my click, or I needed to double tap. That left me with an overall impression that the UI was very slow and needed a lot of work. It also incorrectly determined where my finger hit the screen a few times. To be fair, the 5800 on display was still running on initial firmware. Nokia has better get it's phones updated as first impressions are very important and firmware upgrades make a big difference.

The 5800's CPU is either not up to the task or its firmware needs a lot of work. Rotating photos took more than a second to perform, opening up the Batman Darknight trailer took a few seconds to load, and scrolling through Nokia Maps was horrendously slow. I felt like I was using a S60 phone from 3 years ago. Nokia Maps annoyed me so much with it's slow response times and incorrect gesture sensing that I turned it off after a few minutes of use. Clicking on the top right Media Bar button took a while to pull up the media bar. I came away feeling this phone wasn't ready for prime time.

The 5800 sports a 3.2 inch TFT display. It's narrow and wide. A little more narrow than the 16:9 widescreen format used by most movies so playing the Batman Darknight looks really small on the screen. To me it wasn't much better than watching movies on my E71. Although it's a resistive screen (requiring you to push the screen as opposed to just touching like the iPhone), it's fairly strong so it doesn't distort too much when you push on it.

The 5800's 3.2 MP camera produces better photos than the E71 but doesn't compare to the N82 I used to take the photo above. It's a decent camera but it's not going to win any awards. One of its strength is its video capture capability that records up to 640 x 480 pixels at 30 fps.

I was fairly disappointed by the performance of the 5800 XpressMusic. Using the touch screen was frustrating as it was either slow or unresponsive. Rotating a photo required more than a second and playing a video required a fairly annoying loading time. I would never consider this phone a replacement for either of my N82 or E71. After trying out the 5800 XpressMusic, I would never consider recommending this phone to anyone and would likely recommend people to avoid this phone. I just hope the N97 improves a lot over this first S60 5th edition phone.