Not quite my dream UMPC... but not bad for the pri
Before I get into "how" I like my Nokia N810 WiMAX edition, I'll like to share with you "why" I finally selected it. I had been scouring the web for the past year looking for that "perfect UMPC" (i.e. comfortably pocketable, WinXP Tablet OS, Atom processor, 1024x768, keyboard, GPS, stereo bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and 3G or WiMAX). Although I liked the regular Nokia N810 last year, it is indeed a MID and not an UMPC, and I was really hoping to find a Win-based machine with 3G. After reading many reviews and long waits for that "next best thing" to go into production, my top choices for the "perfect UMPC", in order of preference, are the: OQO Model 2, Gigabyte 528, and WiBrain i1. Although I loved their specs/form facter, they were all way to expensive to justify when compared to the Atom powered mini-laptops. The Gigabyte and WiBrain are much more affordable than the OQO, but is still twice the cost of the Nokia, is barely pocketable and is not yet available in the US. The HTC/T-Mobile G1 is an affordable smart phone option, but the screen resolution was too low/VGA to comfortably surf. Since the N810 had many of the traits I was looking for and now offered WiMAX, it was by far the best value option... and I was tired of waiting. Now for the product review... After having used it for a little over a month now, I would say my original pre-purchase assessment for it hasn't changed... excellent form factor, but wish it had 3G and a more powerful processor capable of running Win apps. WiMAX won't be in my city until next year and would require me to switch cell plans to the more expensive Sprint, but Wi-Fi works great and you'll be surprise where you find public Wi-Fi. Although the Maemo OS website does offer a diverse mix of free software, the selections are not very deep within each category and quality/functionality is hit or miss. Thank goodness there are at least 1 or 2 very decent PIM, spreadsheet, document writing and multimedia apps. The 800x600 screen is gorgeous and bright enough to very comfortably view outdoors. When in full-screen mode, many webpages fit without horizontal scrolling and the text, although small, is easily readable. With a strong connection, typical webpages come-up fairly quickly (like on an older PC). QVGA, like YouTube, streams fine, but processor can't keep-up with full VGA like on Hulu (audio is fine, but video is very jerky). Besides, QVGA looks fine for that screen size even when displayed full-screen. As validated by the many complaints, GPS acquire time is 10-20 minutes, but there is a free program you can download off the Maemo site (Assisted-GPS) that gives the GPS algorithm a hint as to where you are resulting in a substantial reduction in acquisition time to around 1-2 min (I usually acquire within a block). The biggest complaint is that the pre-loaded GPS software requires you to pay a substantial annual fee to enable the routing capability. I wouldn't mind paying a substantial one-time fee, but not an annual fee for a so-so mapping software/interface. There is a free GPS software, Maemo Mapper, but you have to down load the routes while connected. I guess this wouldn't be a problem if you have Wi-MAX. This GPS software is okay, but IMHO, not as good as the pre-loaded. The backlit keyboard works great... special keys well placed. Also has a stylus virtual keyboard which I find just as quick and comfortable to use. There is also a finger keyboard which is not as convenient because it takes up the whole screen and sometimes you forget which data field you're filling-in. Can also interpret stylus "hand-written" text which is probably the least effective/accurate data entry method. Built-in speakers sound okay, but is only audible in low noise/office environments. Headphones could also be a tad louder for noiser environments (i.e. on the subway), but is more than adequate. The included in-the-ear buds has a phone answer button with mic, but I can't get them to stay in my ear. Battery can easily last a full day with a balanced use of Wi-Fi, music, PIM and games. Not sure how much WiMAX draws. The only user interface issue I have is that with all the special buttons, cursor pad, and full-keyboard, you would think you would be able to navigate the entire device and apps without having to use the stylus or finger, like with a Blackberry, but I haven't figured the secret yet. The device easily fits in a shirt pocket, but the weight makes it more comfortable to carry in either your front pants or coat breast pocket. To summarize, it's not an UMPC, but it can do the other 80% of what you need, and with the money you save, you can get a mini-laptop to do the other 20% of hard core computing even better.
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