Nokia N8 camera review
Much has already been written about the Nokia N8 and what a mess the phonemaker has made with the operating system of a truly lovely handset.
I wasn't going to add much to that when I decided to look at the handset's imaging qualities, for which it recently won an award, but no matter how good the camera is – and it is good – I kept falling over the horrible software, which gets in the way of everything you want to do.
First, getting to the camera function is an infuriating plod through the menus. There's a hardware button on the handset. If it took you straight to the camera function, it would be fantastic. It doesn't. Or if it can be made to do so, I couldn't work it out. You have to press Menu, then Applications, then Camera. Missed the shot? What a surprise. The button only captures the image once you're in the application.
It's potentially a fantastic camera to have tucked about your person. It's a 12MP camera with a xenon flash which captures colours faithfully and produces surprisingly high-quality images (though I thought the pictures were a little soft). And it copes well with low artificial light at night. The handset itself is nicely weighted and it fits neatly into the hands, while the camera button is exactly where you want it to be – under the tip of your right index finger. Thoughtful.
You don't even have to transfer the images to your computer to edit them as there are some useful basic editing functions on board the handset itself. You can resize, crop, get rid of red-eye, add text, add some clipart smilies (if you're an eight-year-old girl), put a frame on a picture and do some quite detailed fine-tuning of highlights, shadows and colours of photographs . You can distort images – brilliant for making your already-drunk friends look even more unattractive before you post the image to Facebook. You can add text to images. You can email them to your other mates.
All that on-the-fly editing ought to be fantastic, and in fact the results are really not bad, but in reality it's utterly painful to do as the menus aren't intuitive and you'll find yourself stabbing away at the touchscreen and wondering how to get back to where you were.
The flash isn't great, but then you shouldn't expect it to be. It drowns anything near the camera in harsh light and doesn't reach very far. However, in a moderately well-lit room at night you could probably get away without it, although you will get some noise on the resulting images.
Getting to the video app is similarly annoying, and I also found the video images rather soft – though again, the camera handled low-light conditions well. The onboard video editor should be fun to play with, but it's massively fiddly and I had to resort to the manual (which you have to download; there isn't a hard copy in the box) to work out first what I could do (add images, transitions, text, music etc) and then how to do it (lots more stabbing at the touchscreen).
This is such a disappointing cameraphone. It should be great fun to play with, to take to parties and capture those priceless moments of your friends falling over as they leave the pub. The software can do a myriad of cool and fun stuff and the hardware is fantastic: the lens is impressively good for a phonecam. But at every turn, the software gets in the way and stops you having fun with it. Too much stabbing at the touchscreen makes you want to stab someone. Probably the person who designed the software in the first place.
Pros: good quality lens, thoughtfully designed hardware
Cons: the software. The software. And the software
NOKIA N8 REVIEW SOURCE