I have spent the past five days with the Nokia N8 and so far the video and camera capabilities have really stood out and I have been using them non-stop. If you want the full scoop on the video / camera then please check out the link above.
Bear in mind my smartphone of choice is the Nokia N900 and I must admit these five days are the first time that I have not used the N900 since getting it in February. Quite a record for me. There is one major difference between the N900 and the N8 and that is the lack of a physical keyboard on the N8.
I was wondering how I would cope without a keyboard so decided to start the trial with a text message holding the phone horizontally. The qwerty keyboard appeared almost instantly and I was immediately frustrated with the keyboard because my thumbs kept picking out the wrong letters forcing me to tap the backspace key to correct the mis-spelling. There is a dictionary which offers a little relief as it displays some of the possible words it has guessed from the letters you have tapped in on the screen, which I guess is for quick touch access, but typing quickly as one would on a physical keyboard seems impossible.
Three buttons seem to be too close to each other and that is the period, the backspace and the enter key. I found myself pressing the period key and hitting enter by mistake, then having to backspace to correct the problem. The left and right arrow keys are way up to the right of the keyboard and are awkwardly placed. One is also forced to look at the screen constantly while you type. Not exactly touch typing in the real sense of the word. Even though the screen keyboard is bigger than the N900’s physical keyboard I find I can type a lot quicker and without looking at the keyboard on the N900.
The qwerty keyboard screen is shared with the browser, texting and emailing applications so the problem is carried over in all applications.
I tried out Opera Mini web browser to see what the keyboard looked like and it was actually smaller and more compact and impractical even with small fingers. In vertical mode one would need a stylus and that wouldn’t be quick.
So the keyboard was my first big concern since on a daily basis I am in twitter sending tweets, facebook, I am texting and emailing my friends, I browse the internet a lot and often type in new URLS or do Google searches and I like to blog from my phone using the WordPress application or similar applications.
Say hello to swype, a very clever application that takes away the need to type on a touch screen. Instead as the name suggests one swipes across the the keyboard over the letters that make up the word you are thinking of. At first it seems unreal that you can just swipe left, right, up and down in one continuous sweep and up pops the word. I tried large and small words and it was very accurate. swype can be used in conjunction with tapping the keys on the screen. When you lift your finger and start a new word a space is automatically inserted saving time.
Two things are very noticeable. You tend to only use one finger opposed to two thumbs for typing and you need to know how to spell (ha ha ha – a real problem if you have grown up txtng yr m8s using abrv) AAMOF (As a matter of fact) it will be 2M2H (too much too handle), well not quite!
I tried to mis-spell words but to be honest it picked up most of the words and showed them on the screen spelt correctly so it does a wonderful job and takes the frustration out of the touch keyboard. There is an option in the settings screen that allows one to set the ‘speed vs. accuracy’ and it works really well.
If I didn’t know about swype I would definitely give the keyboard experience a 3/10 but with swype a 6/10, although nothing beats a physical keyboard.