back to article Nokia N800 internet tablet

The original Nokia tablet, the N770, was something of a departure for the Finnish phone maker: here was a device without cellular connectivity, running a Linux-based OS, and generally unlike anything Nokia had produced before. So here we have an updated version, the N800. But is it a phone or not, that is the question? The …


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  1. James Methley

    Review? What review?

    What's the purpose of this review? It's simply a description of the N800.

    Did this reviewer actually get one to review? No notes on usability, speed, battery life or comfort. Just a description. I'm willing to bet this reviewer hasn't actually held one.

    Was he late in submitting this article? It looks like he's rephrased the catalogue description two hours before the deadline.

    Poor work, Reg.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stability a major issue

    I have one. The device has a gorgeous screen & the Opera browser is lovely, as is the Rss feed. The article fails to mention the myriad bits of Open source software that can be downloaded for free from the Maemo website - this a big plus.

    However It resets itself several times a day & within 3 days of use I've had to return it to Nokia as it now constantly reboots and won't go past the start-up screen. In a PC I could debug it but on this device there's no option but to return it to Nokia.

    This version is a miss until they deal with the stability issue whether that turns out to be a hardware or a Linux kernel upgrade.


  3. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

    Re. Review? What Review?

    Sorry, James, you'd lose your bet. Reviewer Bill Ray had the N800 for rather longer than you suggest. I had a play too. I think the write-up of his experiences with the gadget cover all the areas you mention.

  4. John Lapper

    Has not crashed once

    I have to say I'm surprised by the comment and the review of the N800 frequqntly crashing as I have been using the device daily without a single problem since the first day it was released. I've even been installing software from the prior version Mistral repository (the current is Bora) and having most of the software work just fine. When a mistral package does crash it has not locked up the device.

    Overall, this is a wonderful device and I would personally rate it much higher. It connects easily via wireless networks and has a beautiful easily read screen. When wifi isn't available I've been connecting to the net via bluetooth on my phone. I've installed GAIM clients so I can IM on ICQ, AIM and Yahoo. I've also installed Python libraries and a shell for programming. I've even been able to remote my windows desktop at home with a VNC viewer over wifi with remarkable speed for such a small device. I can access a multitude of music via Streamtuner and I've tried different applets such a CPU and Process manager.

    I think you guys need to play with the N800 a little more and really start exploring what you can install and do with it.

  5. Jason Alcock

    Labled Nokia and not a mobile phone

    I'm about to buy one (bugs permitting) so hopefully I'll have more to contribute, but for me the N800 is more an UMPC than a phone. For a phone I prefer it compact and straight forward.

    What defines a UMPC? Running software you want? Third party S/W market? Multi-function device? Desktop/laptop (semi)replacement?

    N800 is yes on much of this. Also, in common with iPhone, provides insight on why smart phones are not so smart.

    Point is, if you expected a phone you may have been reviewing the wrong device.

  6. Rob

    Sorry to say I agree with James

    This reads more like an overview of a product with a bit about battery life tacked on the end. There are many more things I'd want to see in an ACTUAL review, such as camera quality, audio quality, battery life under a LOT of conditions (what if I want to use this as an MP3 player for instance), what about a more in depth look at the OS, what other devices can I share the memory card with.

    This feels like someone scrubbing google for 3 pages of copy the afternoon before the deadline. Very sloppy. The Register can do better. If it was posted under the title of an overview, or a sneak peek I'd be happy but to my eyes this just won't fly under the banner of a full review.

    D- try harder.

  7. Connor Garvey

    - Internet - tablet

    Maybe the reviewer forgot to read the front of the box. This is not a phone. It shouldn't have been reviewed as such. I'd like to see another writeup focusing on the PDA functions rather than speculation about whether this is a prototype for a phone.

  8. Jonathan Richards

    There are three whole pages, James

    James (Review? What Review??) writes

    > I'm willing to bet this reviewer hasn't actually held one.

    but the review clearly states "...whilst wandering around London with the N800 in my pocket it had been downloading up-to-date information without my knowledge." (page three).

    I'm willing to bet this reader didn't read past the first page of the review :)

  9. Paul

    review failed to find the right audience

    I think the reviewer failed to find the audience. It's clearly not a phone, but is also too big to be a PDA. It's clearly not an ultraportable laptop or UMPC.

    The review didn't regurgitate tech specs, but could have referred to them in some way.

    The most interesting part was about the screen clarity, device's solidity and probable battery life.

    Sure, it's another geek dream gadget... but what it failed to do was suggest how the average business user might make use of it, what would it replace? Not your phone, not your PDA and not your laptop!

  10. Marc Goldman


    Not at all convinced by the review.

    I've had an N800 for a couple of weeks now, and it is a great device. A big step up from the 770 and has reduced my tech lust for a UMPC considerably.

    Firstly, it's not meant to be a phone, it's an internet tablet.

    As a browsing tool, there is nothing handheld that comes close. The 800x480 screen with Opera works a treat for a real web surfing experience. After trying a lot of PDAs and phones it is a joy!

    Media support out the box is pretty good but once the mplayer people optimise their (free) software for the N800 it will be a great portable video device too as the screen is fantastic. And I use it with Orb to stream stuff from my PC.

    It needs a better email client, but there are some great free ones coming along nicely, and the the RSS reader seems to be a bit flaky right now, but at least for me, these are very small points.

  11. This post has been deleted by its author

  12. Kim Rasmussen

    Hotspots in London?

    "whilst wandering around London with the N800 in my pocket it had been downloading up-to-date information without my knowledge"

    Are open/free hotspots common around central London?

  13. Bill

    The reviewer responds

    I did like the N800, and had one with me 24 hours a day for a week. I wasn't able to test every aspect of it; it's a very capable platform which can do a whole lot of things.

    We spend quite a bit of time judging the appropriate length of reviews, and perhaps this one was a little too short to include everything the device could do. I hoped I had mentioned that the screen is top; really clear and high resolution. I've used the web on hundreds of different mobile devices, and this was certainly the best experience, though the competition wasn't always up to much.

    I certainly should have mentioned that the device comes with a free month's use of The Cloud and it's those hot spots I was connecting to around London.

    Paul is right though: I couldn't find the right audience for the N800, if it came across that I struggled to understand what this device would replace or what problem it solves then that's as it should be. It's fun, I liked it, but I don't really understand what it's for.


  14. Rob

    re: Hotspots in London?

    It would be nice if there were some free hotspots about the place. There are quite a few pay hotspots here in Glasgow, the only free one I can think of in the city centre is in the public library. Even the ones in the dreaded franchise coffee places are all £5 for 10 minute jobbies - that's no good to me.

    It seems like pure greed to me to charge someone so much for something that costs so little. I'm astonished how many people are prepared to pay for the "convenience" of using a public wifi hotspot

  15. Mel Carnahan

    Handheld Linux Multimedia Computer

    The perfect UMPC replacement. The e-mail client supports multiple accounts but not multiple inboxes. Otherwise, this device stands above almost all other mobile gadgets. Pair it with a bluetooth phone and build on Linux instead of a weak, proprietary phone operating system. My Nokia smartphones crash but this Maemo device never has more than an application glitch. Would be nice to see a port of Firefox and Thunderbird but it's hard to see how even the iPhone or any phone will provide a higher resolution internet browsing experience than this device. Still difficult to find in the shops, though.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    N800 Video

    Here's a video of it that I found

  17. Glenn Meyer

    Wrong question!

    Your review wasn't so bad, once I had read the whole thing, but the first page had me incensed. Is it a phone or not!?! Bloody hell, just because it's a Nokia product doesn't mean that the issue of a phone ever has to come up!

    It's not a phone, it was never meant to be a phone, and nobody who's looking for a small but not miniscule internet tablet for browsing and handling e-mail while traveling would ever need it to be a phone. My tiny cell phone works just fine for phone calls, but I would never use that damn small screen for either internet browsing or e-mail. (Yes, I'm over fifty, so what?)

    To get back to the point, it's called an internet tablet for a reason. It's aimed at people who travel a lot but don't necessarily need their laptop with them. I want to be able to browse and check my e-mail, but that's about it. I need a reliable connection, and my cell phone with bluetooth provides that, because I am often in places with cell phone coverage but not broadband. I also need a larger, more crisp screen than I get on my cell phone. I am a developer, so a platform that I can develop on, that doesn't make Bill Gates any richer and that doesn't devote more than half its cost to the OS is fine with me. Finally, I need a little speed, and enough memory to handle large numbers of e-mail messages and rss feeds. The Nokia has all these things. (And by the way, did you notice that the N800 has TWO slots for memory cards, not one?)

    So stop trying to treat it like a phone. Cell phones as now configured will soon be obsolete anyway, when people figure out that they can carry their computer in their pocket or purse, and talk on the "phone" as much as they want on their bluetooth headset.

    I hope that when Nokia comes out with the next product in this line, you won't still be trying to compare it to a cell phone. I also hope that you'll check around before you call this line unreliable. I've been trying mine out for weeks now, and it's never crashed.

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