Review: Nokia N810 Internet Tablet

While the value of an Internet Tablet may be lost on you, it's becoming a lot easier to understand its value as Nokia's N810 takes over where the N800 left off.

Smaller than a notebook, yet bulkier than a cell phone, the N810 weighs 7.2 ounces and measures 2.8- x 5- x 0.5-inches. That makes it too large for pocket travel yet easy to throw in any bag. The N810 works alongside your phone, since it can connect via Bluetooth. Think of it as a communication tool that picks up where your phone leaves off.

Not a device for writing long documents or crunching numbers, the N810 is better for e-mailing, video chatting, and messaging.

Design
The biggest change with the N810 is the addition of a slide-out keyboard. Give the screen a slight nudge with either thumb and it slides up, revealing a QWERTY keyboard underneath. The keys are larger than you'd find on a smartphone, and we found using them to type instant messages and e-mails perfectly easy.

You'll find a clickable direction pad to the left of the keys, as well as a menu button for calling up the pulldown menu in any application.

The N810 offers a 4.1-inch diagonal QVGA touch screen, which is big and bright in use. Viewing Web pages through the included browser is a lot easier than with a smartphone.

While pages don't display at full width, they're sharp and clear. Even better, the browser displays Flash, so you don't feel like you're compromising by browsing on the N810.

There are two keys just to the left of the screen -- one for toggling between open applications and one for going back to the previous screen -- and above those sits the camera lens, which is perfect for making video calls. Skype is even included with the bundled software, so you don't need to install it.

The top includes buttons for going full screen, changing the volume, powering on the device, and locking the controls, while the right side holds power and headphone jacks. With so many controls around the edges, it's easy to press one when you didn't mean to.

The bottom holds a fold-out kickstand, so that you can prop it up while you use it. There's a miniSD slot for holding up to an 8GB card, but you'll need to fold the kickstand out to access it.

Software
The N810 runs Nokia's Internet Tablet 2008 operating system, which is Linux-based, and features a simple, customizable desktop and organization system that puts Windows Mobile to shame.

Finding your way around is easy, even for new users, and the selection of Internet, e-mail, chat, and VOIP software ensures that you'll have a lot to do. There are even a few games for when you have some downtime. The only thing missing is a calendar app. We'd love to see one that syncs with popular desktop software.

One warning, though: the packaging talks up the N810's GPS abilities, but doesn't mention the extra cost. Using the included Wayfinder Navigator application to get when you're going costs an extra $130 for a three-year subscription.

If you're serious about staying in touch while you travel and you're looking for a more convenient way to do it, check out the Nokia N810. It's smaller and cheaper than a notebook, yet big on communications options.

The N810 lists for $439.

TAGS:

Linux, Noia, Nokia Tablet

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