Post Windows Phone, my two weeks with the N8

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It's always interesting to see people switch platforms in a direction other than the obvious - in this case to take advantage of superior hardware. Daksh Srivastava (happily more easily known as 'Archer', it seems!) has moved from his Windows Phone 7.5 Samsung Omnia W over to.... a two year old Nokia N8 running Symbian (Belle Refresh), and has written up his mostly pleasant experiences as a result. While Windows Phone fans might point Daksh to the newer version 8 of the platform and the better hardware on the current generation of devices, the article is a timely reminder that classics from a year or two ago can still delight even in 2013. Some quotes below.

From the article (and apologies for some of the English, which has been left as-is):

N8 in the hand looks pretty macho, it's designing is quite old but stands out in the crowd even today. As I used it over the coming days, I noticed that Symbian Belle was more suited to my usage pattern & it offered huge customization choices alongside a wide range of apps from the Ovi store. Yea, the Ovi store is still alive thanks to the Qt community. 

Unlocking the device

Starting from the first thing one does after picking up the device, the N8 offers two ways to unlock the device. With a little tweaking, one gets more ways to unlock it. I can either slide the side slider to lock/unlock in a flick, tap the front button to get a "unlock" button on the screen OR I can use SlideToUnlock which mimics the unlocking screen behavior of the Nokia N9 MeeGo device minus the double tapping part. Then there's the DzLock app which can literally unlock the phone without even the need to touch the device. Just go over the proximity sensor twice to unlock it. Pretty nifty & a hell lot easier than the Windowsphone unlocking method, which has no where to go, but up.
N8 arty

Social Integration

I must admit, I miss the feature of the WindowsPhone. People's hub is awesome with spectacular integration. Setting up integration on the N8 using Nokia Social is just pathetic.


This is one of the things which I did not notice earlier on. Unlike WindowsPhone, almost everything can be oriented to landscape on the N8 - The apps menu, messaging, settings, email, apps, everything - literally. This is something I like about my N8, I don't have to constantly switch between landscape and portrait which is a pain on the WindowsPhone. The start screen is in portrait, but the "Me" tile is landscape. The notifications are landscape but the people hub is portrait - It's verry irritating & sheer stupid OS design.

App selection

The hardware is as good as the OS it runs & the OS is only as good as the apps it supports. Symbian is a mature OS with thousands of apps built for it over the years. To all those who think Symbian does not have any apps in development, you are wrong. Symbian still has community support and apps are still being built on Qt. There aren't 100k apps to do the same thing like on iOS/Android/WP - There's just one & It's better than one could hope for. I was able to download a banking app ( unavailable on WP), eBay app (unavailable on WP), Situations app (Nothing like it available on WP), Blogger app (nothing like it available on WP), Screenshot app (nothing like it available on WP), Nokia Maps with navigation (unavailable on non Lumia WP). There are a bunch of apps which never made it to WP 7.5 & vice versa, but I'm fairly satisfied with the apps I have on the N8.

In addition, Daksh also comments positively on the N8's camera - of course. The Social criticism is harsh but fair, though there are many ways to get very social on Symbian - this was covered in my piece last week.

The N8, like the N82 before it - is still a classic device in my eyes and it's great to see it still being used productively in such a fashion. 

Vive le N8!

Source / Credit: Archer's Blog