Monthly Archives: March 2007

Nokia N800 Review on an N800

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With a home bathed in wireless connectivity, a Mac mini in my living room, and a Dell Axim X50v in my pocket, you’d think there would be no room in my life for another device for accessing the Internet. That was probably true, until a Nokia N800 came into my life.

I’ve always like the idea of an instant on web tablet, but an affordable and usable device has never quite made it to market. After a few weeks of living with an N800, I’m pretty impressed, but there’s still some work to be done before it’s a device suitable for non-geeks.

On the face of it, the N800 is just a largish PDA, with an ARM processor, WiFi, Bluetooth, and running an Opera browser. Superficially very similar to my Dell Axim X50v then, but when you use the N800, it could hardly be more different.

As is my usual style, I’d going to describe my thoughts about the N800 through several lists of bullet points.


  • The Price – At £279 in the UK, it’s too expensive. Thankfully I managed to pick mine up off eBay for £232 inc delivery, which was about the right price as far as I’m concerned
  • The Software Quality – It’s patchy. The N800 currently feels like a beta product. A very promising beta, but a beta nonetheless
  • The Size – It’s pocketable, but it’s right at the limit of what you can get away with. For comparison, it’s very similar in size to a Nintendo DS Lite. In fact I’m actually storing mine in a DS Lite case
  • The Screen – It’s just a bit too small to read comfortably for long periods


  • Opera – The browser on the N800 bears no relationship to your average PDA browser. It feels like using desktop Opera on a slow notebook with a small screen. That’s light years ahead of any PDA browser I’ve ever used, and that includes Opera on my VGA Dell Axim
  • Flash and AJAX support – even sites like YouTube and full fat Gmail work decently
  • The Browser Controls – Hardware buttons for fullscreen, zoom in and out, and tab switching. Scroll around web pages just by dragging the page with your stylus. Again, this is so much better than any other PDA browser I have ever used before
  • The Screen – 800×480 is just enough resolution to render mainstream websites properly
  • Great WiFi reception. At least as good as my Inspiron notebook
  • Easy configuration of Bluetooth phones. It was much easier to connect the N800 to my Samsung D600 phone, than connecting to the D600 with my Dell Axim. It even knows about the settings for different mobile carriers around the world
  • Dual SD card support. Much better than any of the new fangled micro cards. And custom kernels support SDHC for cards over 4Gb

Things it’s not great at (yet):

  • It’s not a good organiser – my Axim is much better as an organiser
  • Games or multimedia – again, my Axim has better games and multimedia apps available
  • Surfing the net for more than about 15 minutes – the screen is just too small
  • Writing long emails – not much fun on an onscreen keyboard
  • Browsing late at night – the screen is just too small when your eyes are tired

Things it’s good for:

  • Quick web searches when you can’t be bothered to turn on a computer (Wikipedia and IMDB being favourites of mine)
  • Internet on the move. It’s significantly better than any pocketable device that I’ve ever used. Hopefully I’ll be pairing mine up with a Nokia N95 soon, so I should have access to HSDPA connectivity, which will keep the N800 connected at almost broadband speeds
  • Checking webmail and news

In conclusion, although the N800 is far from perfect, it’s sort of like a beta Blackberry for the web. If that sounds like your sort of thing, it’s definitely worth a look.

Great Pockets

The Great Pockets promo site for the Nokia N95 really hit a nerve with me. As friends will attest, I tend to cram as much technology onto my person as possible.

As soon as the N95 is available for a reasonable price, I’ll be picking one up. I doubt it will stop me stuffing my pockets full of gadgets, but you never know…

Bargain Subaru Imprezas

In an idle moment last weekend, I stumbled upon a car supermarket advertising new Subaru Impreza WRX 2.5L models for £14,699. Amazed at the price, I did a little more digging online, and found that there are a few places offering slightly cheaper prices. Motor Depot have plenty for £14,898 on the road with metallic paint. That’s a serious quick car for very little money (230PS and 0-60 in 5.9 seconds).

Add a PPP upgrade (270PS and 0-60 in 5.3 seconds) for £1700 (or less if you shop around), and you’ve got brand new car, with a warranty, and real world performance that no comparably priced hot hatch can get near.

Having said all that, I’ve got no plans to swap my GTI for a cheap Impreza. I have too few opportunities to really use the more modest abilities of my GTI, and the Impreza’s image and running costs put me off. There’s a big Impreza facelift coming soon too, so I can’t imagine that’s going to help residuals either.

Regardless, I can remember being very impressed in 2001 that Honda could sell the Civic Type-R in the UK with 197bhp for £16,000 (over £17,000 with aircon and metallic paint). If you’d told me then that a 270ps brand new and warrantied Impreza (with aircon and metallic paint) could be had for just over £16,500 in 2007, I’d have struggled to believe you.

AJAX Voting

Following on from the recent comment filtering feature, I’ve now added AJAX voting for both the comments and reviews on and related sites.

Basically this means that for all visitors with modern browsers (IE5 to IE7, Firefox, Safari, Opera and similar) who have JavaScript enabled, their votes will be submitted without them being taken to another page. All that will happen is that the voting buttons will be disabled, and their vote will be submitted without the page reloading or changing.

For anyone who doesn’t run a modern browser, or who has JavaScript disabled, the voting process will remain unchanged, and will result in a page change when you submit your vote.

My intention is that this change will make voting faster, and if that results on more votes being cast, it should help improve the quality of the content on all the affected sites.