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zivan56

Nokia N800 Internet Tablet

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I was looking for something to allow me to browse the internet and read e-mails without lugging a laptop around. However, it also had to have PDF support and have at least some other installable software. After looking through various Windows Mobile and Palm models, I couldn't find anything that did all 3 of these tasks very well. In fact, most of them had quite a small screen and had a phone built in (which I did not need). After searching around for a while, I found the N800, which seemed to do all of these things and was very hackable (runs Debian Linux). However, it was not so cheap ($430 USD/CAD) on the Nokia site! Fortunately, a local store had it for quite cheap: $250.

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The first thing I noticed when I unboxed the N800 is how big the screen is! 4.1 inches! I was looking for something like this for a long time, but could not find anything with the same screen size and functionality (Archos 604 may match in size, but nowhere near close in terms of functionality).

The box comes with the N800, headphones, 256MB SD Card (for internal use), battery, usb cable, charger, thick cloth protector, and an extra pen. There is also a free Skypeout 3 month trial as well.

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The N800 has 256mb of flash memory and 128mb of RAM. It's primary storage (for programs) is the flash memory. However, for data, 2 SDHC slots available for putting in music, video, etc. As of today, you could get it up to 16GB with 2 8GB SD cards for relatively cheap; that's quite enough, as movies encoded for the N800 use only 400mb or so.

As I mentioned earlier, the N800 runs Linux. The interface doesn't look like the classic Gnome interface (which it uses), instead, it looks like a couple of previous N series phones. On the side you have 3 primary icons: Internet, E-Mail, and Applications.

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There are quite a number of default applications, for which I will not go into detail.

Connectivity wise, the device supports Bluetooth 2.0 and 802.11b/g. The 802.11 support includes most authentication methods (WEP/WPA/WPA2), but does not support some enterprise extension such as EAP-TTLS/PAP; which I actually need to use in some cases. I did contact support to ask for help, and was told to call in. Range is quite good, and it detects a number of networks that both my laptop and wireless PCI adapter do not. The N800 also has a mini-USB 2.0 cable connector on the side, along with a standard 3.5 mm headphone jack. The headphone jack supports headphones with built in microphones, and one is provided in the package. There is also an external microphone on the top of the device. A small web camera is included as well, and can be used on Google Talk/Jabber.

In terms of multimedia, the device supports the following codecs out of the box:

# Audio: AAC, AMR, MP2, MP3, RA (RealAudio), WAV, WMA

# Image: BMP, GIF, ICO, JPEG, PNG, TIFF, SVG-tiny

# Video: 3GP, AVI, H.263, MPEG-1, MPEG-4, RV (Real Video)

# Internet radio playlists: M3U, PLS

However, since it runs Linux, you can easily install mplayer via package manager and play quite a number of others as well. In some cases, it was able to decode a backup 700mb DIVX in real time. Watching movies on the 7 inch screen is quite easy on the eyes, and I see it as being quite useful on long trips.

Speaking of running Linux, you can install almost anything that runs on Linux. Some examples are: Kismet, Evince, GAIM (MSN/IRC/AIM/etc), X Terminal, SSH server, RDesktop, VNC Viewer/Server. The list goes on?

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The base suit for Internet and E-mail is Opera (with Flash 9 support) and a custom E-Mail program. The web browser looks like the Opera browser you would find on many devices such as this. It is not the best browser (not compatible with some sites), but loads very fast and renders everything quite nicely. A Mozilla based engine can also be downloaded called MicroB. Overall, the browser is quite full featured, and worked on any site I went to. I was surprised that with 128mb of RAM, it was able to load forum pages with over 100 pictures of various sizes (at least 640x480). Neowin also looked exactly as it does on a PC, but was a bit slow to render at the start (navigation worked fine after loading). Sites with intense Flash usage may not be quite usable however, as this device does not have a graphics accelerator. Speaking of Flash, YouTube works fine in the browser, and is not too slow either.

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The E-Mail client on the other hand is a bit disappointing, as it often crashes. It supports all the needed security extension and such, but IMAP support almost always causes it to freeze and crash sometimes. I found that the solution to some of the crashes was to force it to download the whole message, and not just the header.

Functionality wise, the N800 has some issues. One good thing is that when you use your fingers instead of the stylus, the N800 automatically makes menus very big. This allows you to easily navigate to any application you want without taking out the stylus (which fits into the side of the device). However, the close button on all applications and the taskbar are not usable with your fingers, unless you use your fingernails to press. There is also a virtual keyboard which can be set to big and normal mode. In big mode, you can easily touch type on the screen (like the iPhone). In normal mode, it also had a number pad, but you need to use the stylus. There is also a D-Pad on the left side with a center button, along with 3 buttons for Home, Menu and Back.

The N800 has decent battery life, and lasts about 3-4 hours when heavily used (WiFi, browser, PDF, etc). However, if you don't use it, but keep it on, it can last up to 5-10 days.

Overall, the N800 is a fun and useful gadget, but it cannot replace a computer when one is needed. PDF, and djvu files with Evince, rendering can sometimes be quite slow and unbearable if you need to search through documents, but for leisurely reading it is just fine. Performance may sometimes be lacking in web browsing and other programsl but you have to keep in mind it only has a 330 MHz ARM CPU. Nokia will be releasing Internet OS 2008 soon for free to N800 users, and it will integrate some open source projects into the OS core (Mozilla browser and Mapping software just to name a few).

Rating: 8/10

Edited by zivan56

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Very good review (Y) I was thinking of getting one of these, and you answered most of my questions that I had.

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nice!. i was looking for a tablet pc or something of that sorts for taking notes in lectures etc. any idea if this can run onenote or any such software that allows for note taking on pdf files of lecture slides? im sick and tired of printing lecture slides on paper and taking notes on that paper. I am using ubuntu right now and attempting to get familiar with the linux os. So would crossover pro or such a software (wine) work on this?-->to allow an installation of office 2007?

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I haven't found anything to do that yet. Writing on the screen isn't really that good, so I never bothered with it. Maybe I just need to press harder on the screen though.

I doubt anything will run via WINE, because this has an ARM processor, not an x86 one. Not too sure how WINE works internally though. It would probably be too slow even if it worked though.

Nokia doesn't advertise this as a mobile workstation, the primary use is for e-mail and web browsing.

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oh ok. that explains a lot. thanks. i guess i will save up for another tablet pc. :D

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Yep, this is no way a tablet PC. It is strictly meant for e-mail, internet and a few other small things.

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That is sooo sexy.

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Was looking at this the other day, the best thing it has its that Skype has been ported to it, which is great.

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it's amazing ... and cost has reduces a lot ... may be i think right now it cost around $ 255-260 ...which is good ..........

thax to ZIVAN For sharing this good info......

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I saw this when I went to buy my laptop and was really tempted in getting this as well but decided I would have no real use for it.

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It really depends on your needs. I couldn't find anything close to this that I can just put in my pocket and take it out any time I want. Even a very small laptop wouldn't be able to do the same.

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I bought the previous version to the N800, the N770 a few weeks ago, and while the N800 has more advanced features, as you would expect, the N770 is still a handy device. Because if the imminent arrival of the N810, the price of the N800 and the N770 has fallen quite a bit. I picked up the N770 with the Sat Nav add on, Navicore, packaged with it, for ?145, from amazon.co.uk. Since i bought it, the price has fallen again, to ?139, which i think is a great bargain, when you consider a run of the mill sat nav will set you back about the same price.

You get Gtalk preinstalled on the N770, and you can download Gizmo and Pidgin for maemo also. One advantage the N770 has over the N800 is the aluminium slider case. I don't know why Nokia decided to do away with this feature on the N800, as it offers far better protection for your device if you should drop it.

I found Orb pretty useful on the N770. I could sit in the front room, and stream all the media from my PC to my N770, without any problems. It is definitely worth checking these out, if you are looking for a device to read emails, look at web sites, or even play MP3's watch some movies on, while on the move. The Sat Nav was a great added bonus.

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It actually has a 400mhz processor. The upcoming OS2008 release will unlock all the processor power

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Play.com have just dropped the price of the N800 to ?149 + free delivery. Get one while you can.:))

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Nice review. (Y)

It looks like a nifty device. Neowin seems to render properly on it at least.

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Play.com have just dropped the price of the N800 to ?149 + free delivery. Get one while you can.:))

They are finally in stock now.

I ordered one today to replace my N770. Worth noting that the N800 also has a built in FM tuner, which you can download the (Nokia approved) controlling software for from the Maemo site.

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They are finally in stock now.

I ordered one today to replace my N770. Worth noting that the N800 also has a built in FM tuner, which you can download the (Nokia approved) controlling software for from the Maemo site.

Yeah ive been watching the N800 on play.com also and i ordered one last night when i saw they were in stock. Can't wait to get it and try it out. I bet it gets delayed in the post because of Christmas. :p

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Just out of curiosity, can this thing run something like OpenOffice? Probably not.

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Yeah ive been watching the N800 on play.com also and i ordered one last night when i saw they were in stock. Can't wait to get it and try it out. I bet it gets delayed in the post because of Christmas. :p

Mine shipped today by ParcelForce - should be here in a few days

Roadgeek9 - no OpenOffice as of yet, it would be possible though.

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Just out of curiosity, can this thing run something like OpenOffice? Probably not.

Theoretically, it could. Practically, it wouldn't be very usable. There are a bunch of editors available though, like abiword. I just got the OS2008 beta build, and it is a WORLD of difference. It reacts faster/better, is more reliable, and tons of little annoyances have been fixed.

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Got mine, and it's now ?129 at www.play.com

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got mine a few days ago... loaded up os2008 on it. so nice :)

can't wait to pop this in my car with my bluetooth gps module

i'm waiting for maemo's package repository to stop being so bogged down so i can grab canola2

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What GPS software are you going to use? Wayfarer doesn't seem to be available yet, and rather disappointingly, Map (which is the free non-routing version of Wayfarer) has the same incorrect streetnames and missing roads that Navicore has had for 2 years, even though they have been reported by me and others...

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