You've heard me rave in the past about the excellence of the camera in the Nokia N8 - the 12 megapixels, the Xenon flash, the huge sensor. And you've heard me reel off a long list of tech gadgets that are onboard the device. But here I wanted to highlight 10 design points that haven't got the credit they so far deserve. In a nutshell, the N8 is better than you already thought it was.
Recent Features - Symbian 3 - Page 28
The AMOLED (used in all of the new Symbian^3 and Anna phones, apart from the E6) bottom line is that, because every pixel provides its own light, a bright/white display uses up to fifteen times as much power as a dark/black one. With battery life being a big issue with modern smartphones, you'd have thought that factors of fifteen would make OS and application designers sit up and pay attention. Alas, no. Here's a look around the Symbian world at what has and (usually) hasn't been done to take AMOLED's characteristics into account.
The Nokia N8 has ruled the roost for almost nine months of course - and I don't think anyone reading this is going to expect it to be toppled even by the best of the rest, tested here. But what I was interested in was how much other devices and systems have closed the gap, as at June 2011. Surely the current batch of 8 megapixel-toting smartphones have good enough cameras for most users these days? I wanted to gather some data points, looking right down at pixel level, at four photos in four different scenarios/light levels, for each device.
Reading Slashgear's thoughts on Good Companies and Bad Products this morning, I was struck by one of those moments of "ooh, we've seen this before." Right now, a lot of people are looking at the decision of Nokia to bring Windows Phone into their portfolio while continuing to push Symbian and S40 as a bad idea, and are drawing lots of comparisons to companies like Ratners and Osborne Computing as this being a silly thing to do - why not just polish Symbian and Meego a bit more and keep selling smartphones running those?
It's never easy finding an exact match across different smartphone platforms for these head to heads, but these two devices are certainly surprisingly close. Nokia's X7 is here now in retail form, while the older Nexus S has been available now for almost six months but retains its 'pure Google, latest OS' reputation. Appropriately, the X7 too has the latest Symbian OS, in the form of the Anna software. Matched at every level then, how do the two smartphones stack up?
Cloud Computing is, of course, the new big thing. At least if you listen to the Silicon Valley crowd. And, being an advocate of Google Mail, Google Documents and Dropbox, I seem to have moved much of my own workflow into The Cloud too. But that's mainly from the desktop, i.e. with access primarily from a big-screened, broadband-connected computer. To what extent is The Cloud relevant to smartphones, what are the pros and cons, and in what state is Symbian access to this new world of online data and services?
Guest author Nick Anstee here. I'm on the crossroads of deciding whether to continue with Nokia devices or make the transition/leap to Android - I like the idea of using Google for Contacts and Calendar, etc. But before making the transition to Android I thought it prudent to take a few minutes to properly analyse and consider what I would need to replace in an Android world, at the same time it made me think just how amazingly efficient the Symbian homescreen really is. As my current device is a Nokia N97 (classic), there is only one homescreen, so it is important to extract maximum functionality out of every ounce of the screen real estate. I believe I've done this and hoped readers here might be interested in how I've set things up.
Maximising battery life has been important for all smartphones since time began (2002!) With the Symbian^3-powered Nokia E7 and N8, both with slightly underwhelming battery capacity and no easy way for a user to swap cells, it has become an all-consuming, critical obsession. Which is why we're doing everything we can to help you eke out the milliamp hours... In extreme cases, by implementing all of the dozen measures detailed here, you can even double the battery life of your device - I did!
I know, I know, I promised to go quiet on the subject of EDoF for a while - but I was out and about in glorious weather with the Nokia E7 and Samsung Galaxy S II (recently named the no. 1 smartphone in the world in Phones Show 140) in my pocket - and I couldn't resist a direct comparison. Both units have cameras of similar size and resolution - the E7 has EDoF and the SGS II auto-focus, but I wasn't majoring on macros shots here - more on raw performance. Full images are shown and available below - which do you think are best? How does the business-focussed E7's camera fare?
Tomi Ahonen, like me, has been a heavy Nokia Communicator user over the years. And so our opinions on the Nokia E7 should be pretty similar. He has just published his long term critique of the device and, in typical Tomi style, there's no holding back in terms of volume of words (so get yourself a coffee before settling down to read). While we do agree on many aspects of the E7, both good and bad, there are many, many notable criticisms made by Tomi that are well, well worth a response in the device's defense.