Nokia's N800 Internet Tablet is the second generation of its internet tablet first launched 2 years ago.



With a new host of features has the company improved on its N770 model or is it still a crazy idea that one of flight and fancy? We take a closer look.

When we reviewed the N770, we said that "The Nokia 770 Internet Tablet works great, has some nifty features on it does what it sets out to do", however we also said that "we aren't quiet sure why we actually need it".

So does the new model complete with new features mean a new chance to impress.

Cosmetically the N800 hasn't changed that much. It still sports a 4.1-inch screen and requires most input to be handled via a stylus.

The case is slightly thinner and slight rounder on the edges. The most notably change at first glance is the introduction of a stand that allow you to stand the device so the screen faces you rather than having to rely on resting it up against a book or something else. It’s a simple addition, but one that makes a very big difference in using the N800 and we like it.

Other cosmetic hardware changes include the introduction of a digital camera that pops out when needed. Tucked away out of site the rest of the time, the camera is hidden like a stylus that when pressed reveals itself.

The new camera, which can also rotate 180 degrees to capture different views, combined with the stand mean that the N800 is now capable of video messaging at your desk/coffee table and as you would expect the device comes pre-loaded with Google Talk and Jabber on the device and supports Skype as well.

Taking over from the 770 Internet Tablet, the N800 promises faster performance, a full-screen QWERTY keyboard to make emailing and IMing easier, and connectivity via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

In use and the interface, which is still powered by Linux rather than Nokia's Symbian OS, although featuring a couple of tweaks, is very similar to the N770 in use. The decision, according to Nokia, is to create a dedicated internet machine rather than something that is a phone first and an internet machine second.

The result is a software that most will be unfamiliar with, but once you get used to works fairly well. One example is the on-screen keyboard automatically detects when you are using stubby fingers rather than the bundled stylus and makes the keyboard bigger for you as a result.

More than just an internet browser, it includes a RSS reader as well, this time around (it uses Opera 8 Web browser by the way) the N800 handles MP3 and Windows Media files and the usual array of audio and video formats and in the US the device is compatible with RealNetworks Rhapsody service (due to be launched in the UK later in the year).

Content can be streamed from the Web or downloaded through a USB connection from another computer as well as loaded from not one but two SD Card expansion slots: one on the bottom of the unit beneath the fold-out stand and one behind the battery cover. The addition of the SD Card readers, which supports cards up to 2GB also means that you can store a lot more information on the device - something that you couldn't do with the 770.

Out and about, and connecting the N800 to the internet is easy. You can either use the device's integrated Wi-Fi 802.11b/g connection to connect to any hotspot you can find (UK users will get one month free access to the Cloud hotspots when they buy the device).

If Wi-Fi's not your thing, you can use the N800's Bluetooth connection to connect to a Bluetooth-enabled phone however we would recommend checking your data network rates before you get carried away surfing the internet or downloading the latest movie trailers.

Verdict

Is it an improvement on the N770? Definitely. The concept might not have changed much, but the tweaks are certainly welcome.



The introduction of the camera, kick-stand and memory slots have opened up the uses for the N800 over its predecessor, however that's not to say that it's not without its foibles. The speaker is a bit lacklustre (although you can connect it to a Hi-Fi with a 3.5mm cable) and the interface does take some getting use to.

Were at the end of the 770 we were left scratching our heads as to why would need one, the N800 has changed our opinion (to a point). If you are on the road a lot and fancy a non-traditional internet focused device the N800 will fit the bill over your BlackBerry. Internet browsing is very easy on this device.

But, its lack of syncing ability (out of the box) with your email or PC will leave some business users wanting more.