The N810 ships with Nokia's latest Internet Tablet 2008 operating system, based on Linux platform Maemo 4.0, and brings some of the interface improvements mentioned in the Design section. Built-in applications and utilities include a file manager, a PDF reader, a notepad, a clock, a calculator, and an X Terminal client. Unfortunately, we're once again disappointed by the lack of PIM tools, such as a calendar, which would go a long way for making the N810 more versatile and marketable to a broader audience. That said, there are plenty of third-party applications out there, thanks to N810's open platform. Check out Maemo.org for a nice library of titles or CNET Download.com.
For e-mail, the N810 supports POP3, IMAP4, and SMTP accounts. During initial setup, a wizard walks you through the steps for accessing your account, but we think the process could be easier. There are also advanced settings so that the device automatically retrieves your messages on a regular basis, plays a sound when new messages arrive, removes messages older than a specified number of days, and so on. There are instant messaging applications preloaded on the handheld, though they're limited at this point to just Google Talk and Jabber.
Voice communication will have to come by way of VoIP calls since there's no cellular technology built into the handheld. Once again, Google Talk and Jabber are onboard but now you also have access to Skype and Gizmo. We made a couple of calls using our Skype account, and had no problems making or receiving calls and chats. Check out the Performance section for a full report.
A completely new feature to the Nokia N810 is integrated GPS. The tablet comes with Nokia Maps for colored maps and points of interest. However, to get any sort of driving directions, you'll have to purchase the Wayfinder Navigator application, which costs $130 for a three-year subscription. You get a 7-day trial of the service, but in all, it would have been nice to get this functionality as part of the package given the already expensive price tag.
Last but not least, multimedia. The N810 now ships with Rhapsody support, so you can access the service's music catalog. The built-in media player is basic but functional. It supports a number of music and video formats, including AAC, MP3, WMA, WAV, AMR, RealAudio, WMV, AVI, 3GP, MPEG-4, and others. Transferring media to the device is a snap as it's a simple matter of drag and drop. You can also import playlists or create them on the fly, and there's a shuffle function. If you're looking for some fresh tunes, check out the Internet radio. Finally, the Nokia N800 comes with an image viewer (supports JPEG, TIF, BMP, and other formats) and four preloaded games (Chess, Blocks, Mahjong, and Marbles), and you can always download more. All in all, there's 128MB DDR RAM and 256MB Flash memory, and the miniSD slot can accept up to 8GB cards.
The Nokia N810 Internet Tablet is equipped with a 400MHz TI OMAP 2420 processor, but the handheld still felt a bit underpowered. There were slight delays when opening various applications and even with simple tasks like exiting out of a program. Web browsing on the N810 was excellent. We visited a number of sites, including CNET, CNN, YouTube, and Flickr, and while upload times could go on for a few seconds for more graphic-intensive sites, overall, we enjoyed quick page renderings. Moreso, we were impressed that the browsing experience was much like what would you expect on a PC.
Multimedia performance has improved over the N800, mostly in the video department. Music playback was smooth, but the volume was a bit weak through the device's speakers and lacked richness and bass. The quality was much better when we plugged in some decent headphones. We watched clips from our personal library and YouTube, and in both instances it was a pleasurable experience, thanks to the N810's beautiful screen. Pictures and audio were always synchronized without any hiccups.
As we briefly mentioned earlier, we had no problems making and receiving Skype calls or chats. However, the call quality was pretty bad. Our callers said it sounded like we were underwater, and we had similar results on our end and could barely hear our friends, even with volume at the highest level.
The N810's GPS capabilities are on par with standalone portable navigation systems. However, it took the receiver a little while--5 to 7 minutes--to get a lock on our position from a cold start. Once established though, the N810 accurately tracked our location and held a steady fix as we drove throughout San Francisco. We also planned a trip from the Marina district to CNET's downtown headquarters. Again, we wish we didn't have to pay extra to get driving directions, but we will say they were accurate and route recalculations were swift. The N810's weak speaker system does make voice prompts difficult to hear.
The Nokia N810's battery is rated for 4 hours of continuous use (with display and Wi-Fi on) and up to 14 days of standby time. It also claims 10 hours of music playback and up to 5 days of online time. We're still running battery tests and will update this section after we have results.