Nokia N800 First Impressions

My first unit had a defect in the screen and when I took it back, CompUSA didn’t have any more units. Initially, I took this as a sign that I didn’t really need one, but that didn’t last and I got a credit to my charge card and ordered another at a different store for in-store pickup.

I’ve been playing with it for a few hours so far. I is definitely much better than the 770 in both hardware and software. Much snappier and feels better thought out. This is not a full-blown review. There are plenty of those on the net.

The display is gorgeous. I was worried about the 225 dpi screen being difficult to read with my (unfortunately) poor eyesight, but it’s very readable. In fact, the crispness of the display is much easier to read than my Palm TX. I really don’t use the zoom feature very much.  

The Flash implementation is problematic and a sore spot for me. I sort of supports Flash, but obviously not 100%. Besides the frequently reported slow YouTube playback, it doesn’t work with the web-based Napster player. The page isn’t rendered right and the audio never plays either. Interestingly, the myspace Flash-based player works, so it would seem that Napster may work in the future. Playback has random choppiness however. 

“Web 2.0” web pages seem to give it fits as well. The Google reader doesn’t render properly, but if you use the Expanded mode, its works ok.  

The mail client doesn’t seem to work with IMAP4, at least for my mail server. POP3 works fine and I guess that’s not a huge deal. One thing I’ve never seen before is a connection-specific SMTP feature. This is very cool. I haven’t tested yet, but supposedly the app will change the smtp server if I’m connected with WiFi vs, say, Bluetooth. Incredibly smart for a portable device.

The media player is kinda weird. If you have a bunch of songs you can’t, say, play an album. The only way to play “a song” is to select one in the file manager. Fortunately, there is very cool media player called Canola. UI kinda reminds me of the Zune. It plays MP3 podcasts like a stream, but no bookmarking.

Xvid video playback is ok using built-in player. A few random stutters here and there, but definitely watchable. I have a whole bunch I made when I had the 770.

Battery life seems excellent. The unit power features work pretty well.

The stylus is much meatier than the 770’s. The stand is cool.

Well, it won’t be replacing my Palm TX unless Nokia gets the Flash compatibility improved. Very close though. I hear that and the Web 2.0 compatibility are high on their to-do list. That’s a good thing. 

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