Nokia isn't foolish enough to think that its line of Internet Tablets is going to attract everyone. The company has readily admitted that these are for a certain audience -- gadget lovers and early adopters -- and we certainly agree with that statement. However, with every successive model, we also see more appeal in such a device.
latest Internet Tablet, the Nokia N810, features some nice improvements, including
a full Qwerty keyboard and integrated GPS. There's also a more robust
Web browser and improved interface, courtesy of the latest Nokia
Internet Tablet 2008 operating system.
The Nokia N810 Internet Tablet is available now for £295.
With each iteration of the Internet Tablet, Nokia has improved on the design, and the Nokia N810 is no exception. It carries a smaller footprint than the Nokia N800 Internet Tablet at 128 by 14 by 72mm but weighs the same at 226g, which is admittedly on the heavier side. Still, it's compact enough to slip into your bag or purse, and the sleekness combined with brushed metal finish makes it one sexy device. The N810 is sure to garner a few stares from onlookers.
On front, there's a 104mm (4.1-inch) QVGA touchscreen that displays 65,000 colours at an 800x480-pixel resolution. It was a pleasurable experience checking out Web sites and viewing images, thanks to the sharp definition and vibrant colours. It's readable in various lighting conditions, and there's an ambient light sensor that will adjust the screen's brightness depending on your environment.
The user interface is different than the N800, and while it's still not completely intuitive, it's easier to navigate and the applications are neatly organised by category. You can also customise the home screen with various themes and background images, and you can conveniently drag items around the page to create a layout that suits you.
To the left of the display, you'll find the webcam, a Home screen shortcut, a back button and a status LED. The navigation control pad that was found on the N800 has been relocated (more on this later), but we missed having this on the front of the device to more easily operate the device. You can use the included stylus to manoeuvre through the menus and select items. The touchscreen is responsive, though there was some lag but this was more of a performance issue rather than a problem with the touchscreen.
One of the biggest and most noteworthy additions to the Nokia N810 is the new slide-out Qwerty keyboard. To access it, just push up the screen, which locks into place with a satisfying click. While we love having the keyboard since it makes emailing, instant messaging and entering Web addresses easier, we did have a couple of complaints.
The individual buttons are fairly large, but there's very little spacing between the keys, which makes it cramped. In addition, the top row is lined closely with the bottom of the front cover, so our thumbs endured a few hits.
The keys are also soft to press and didn't give us the best tactile feedback. To the left of the keyboard, there is the aforementioned navigation toggle and a menu button. The former is cramped, and if you want to press upward, you're going to run into the same problem of hitting the bottom of the screen with your thumb.
The top of the unit has a key for minimising/maximising the screen, a zoom in and out/volume rocker, a power button, a lock switch and the stylus. Along the right spine, you'll find a 3.5mm headphone jack and power connector, and there are speakers on both sides of the device. On the bottom, there's the miniSD card expansion slot and the battery cover release.
Like the N800, there's a kickstand so you can prop up the N810 on a flat surface, but we found that when we went to put it back, the kickstand would sometimes catch the edge of the expansion slot cover and pull it open.
The Nokia N810 Internet Tablet is about Internet on the go and touts itself as a Web 2.0-friendly device. As with previous models, the N810 relies on Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) technology for connectivity, or you can pair the device with your Bluetooth-enabled phone and use your mobile network.
The included Nokia browser is now based on Mozilla technology with Adobe Flash 9 plug-in and Ajax support, for access to all your favorite Web 2.0 sites like Google Docs, Flickr, Facebook and so forth, plus RSS feeds.
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.