First impressions of the Nokia N810

March 9, 2009

Of course, I am biased, but I think my new N810 is an amazing little machine.

When I pulled it out of its packaging I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the device and how much is included. What looked like plastic to my eye in pictures of the N810 turns out to be brushed aluminum. The back plate is carefully manufactured, more reminiscent of Japanese design than American or Taiwanese, the parts are finely machined and very detailed. It has heft which might make people think it is too heavy, but I like its weight. It comes with a case which the iPhone I received did not. It comes with a stylus and charger, again, the iPhone had neither. There is also included a mounting bracket and a USB cable that connects directly to the device.

All in all it feels as if I can do what I want to do right out of the box with my tablet, with the iPhone there are still hoops I haven’t jumped through; I need to pwn it to change the carrier, the GPS does not work until that is done, I need to port my phone number, etc. None of that is required with my tablet. Plus there are no additional hoops to jump through for development, I don’t need to get official approval from Nokia like I would with the iPhone, I can just send my ssh key to maemo and get started developing right away. Apple is a bit fascistic about their platform because they like to have complete control over the user experience and their partners leaned on them to limit the device to specific networks. But this type of control has been already easily bypassed and Apple is having trouble with developer accounts too apparently. Rogue iPhone apps are popping up on the internet, something that is the bane of any software distributor who wants to completely control the user experience. I am not convinced that the closed Apple model is sustainable, time will tell.

So take my review with a grain of salt, but I think this tablet is far superior to the iPhone and already the experience has been better than my expectations.

6 Responses to “First impressions of the Nokia N810”

  1. […] has got his hands on an N810, and has posted his review on his Note To Self […]

  2. Isn’t the N810 an internet tablet and not a cellphone? Or is it possible to make regular phonecalls with it? Coz if it isn’t possible to use it as a cellphone, comparing it with an iPhone is a bit ackward :-)

  3. The N810 can ‘tether’ to a cell phone so you can use that to make calls. Or you can use skype and/or other included tools to make VoIP calls. The next table will have an HSPA modem in it – that is the European 3G standard.

  4. You can make phone calls if you use it together with a cell phone, and use the cellphone to make the call, yes. (And you don’t really need the N810 for the call.)


    I’ve never owned an iPhone (and unless Apple stops hating my freedom I never will), but from a distance it seems that it has the smoother and more pleasant UI. As a geek’s toy, however, the N810 is unsurpassed.

    Check out FBReader, if you haven’t already. I’ve been reading e-books on my Nokia Internet Tablets for a few years, and the pixels on an iPhone looked very coarse since I’m used to a 225 dpi screen. (The Kindle had the same problem, for that matter.)

    Also check out Maemo Mapper. It can replace a map with some foresight (if you download and cache the maps of the area in advance, so you don’t get stuck lost when offline). Do not rely on the built-in GPS, you’ll save yourself some frustration. It works, but is very slow to come up with a fix.

    Have fun!

  5. Good tips Marius, especially about the FBReader – that is something I am going to use.

  6. I love my N810! I’ve been put off the iPhone for the same reasons raised here.

    As a follow-up to Marius’ post, a few of other apps you may like:

    If you use Jaiku you’ll definitely want Mauku.
    Streamtuner is an great audio streaming app including inbuilt Shoutcast directory searches.
    Vagalume is my favourite streaming client with all the features you’d expect, including tagging.
    OMWeather is a great Weather forecast desktop app, including ability to display the N810’s current temperature.
    If you like clean, clear and crisp themes (and don’t mind being called a geek / Trekkie) I highly recommend the LCARS PADD theme.

    And finally, Pidgin is feature rich multi-protocol IM client, but if you would prefer to use the Tablet’s internal Messaging system, you can now add MSN, Yahoo, ICQ etc. protocols using Nokia’s beta messaging upgrades at the following Internet Tablet Talk thread:

    That should keep you busy for a while! 😉