More powerful and refined than its predecessor, the N770, the Nokia N800 is a compact device that's finely tuned to give users access to the web, email, RSS feeds and, to a limited extent, instant messaging and VoIP (voice over IP). All very impressive-sounding, even if Google Talk is currently the only means of using VoIP.

Gizmo Project and (rather more importantly) Skype should be coming to the appliance later this year, at which point the N800 might get a bit more interesting.

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A major improvement over the N770 is the N800's speed - it takes considerably less time to load applications and web pages. It also has a slicker look and feel, and weighs rather less.

As with the N770, the main form of connectivity is Wi-Fi, and hooking up to a network is as simple as connecting with a Windows XP laptop. You can also use Bluetooth, although the device won't allow you to sync personal information with a desktop PC.

The N800’s control system is a pleasure to use. In particular, it offers two different types of onscreen keyboard (depending on whether you're using the stylus or your finger) as well as handwriting recognition. The latter requires patience at first, but becomes more accurate over time. We miss the small thumb keyboard that's become so popular on modern smartphones, but entering information is easy even without it.

The N800 is also a competent media player. The two storage slots offer a potential capacity of 4GB, while music playback is crisp and the colour display is beautifully clear. However, you'll struggle to stream video on the N800. Our attempts to watch clips from YouTube, for instance, were a disaster, with broken, pixellated images the norm. The faster processor apparently isn't robust enough to support Wi-Fi and video streaming at the same time.

Battery life is moderate: you'll not get much more than three hours of usage.

Nokia N800: Specs

  • 128MB RAM
  • 256MB flash storage
  • 128MB MiniSD
  • 4.1in widescreen touchscreen display
  • Bluetooth
  • claimed battery life (browsing time) 3.5 hours
  • actual battery life 3 hours
  • USB 2.0
  • Opera 8.0
  • Flash 7.0
  • 75x144x13mm
  • 206g
  • 128MB RAM
  • 256MB flash storage
  • 128MB MiniSD
  • 4.1in widescreen touchscreen display
  • Bluetooth
  • claimed battery life (browsing time) 3.5 hours
  • actual battery life 3 hours
  • USB 2.0
  • Opera 8.0
  • Flash 7.0
  • 75x144x13mm
  • 206g

OUR VERDICT

The N800 is a bit of a conundrum. It does a number of mobile tasks quite well, but misses other key capabilities, so it won't replace your smartphone or laptop. It's also quite expensive in comparison with other leading-edge smartphones. This is one of those devices that's genuinely fun to use but difficult to justify buying.

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