My Nokia N8 Gripes

Posted by Mister Mobility

So far, it looks like all I have had for the Nokia N8 is undiluted praise. Does this mean that this is a faultless device? Are there any disappointing experiences that I have had on the Nokia N8?


Well, yes. And here is my list.

1. Poor Web Browser Interface
The built-in web browser on the Nokia N8 is good and meets all my needs – mobile sites, full websites, flash videos, secure sites – and I use it extensively. I have found Symbian browsers highly capable for years and the version on the N8 is no exception.

However, the user interface simply leaves a lot to be desired. Like someone has said, it is as if the browser’s user interface was left behind. For example, I have to take three steps to refresh a page I am viewing. Nokia needs to make good use of the available space to deliver a more user-friendly browsing experience. A bottom horizontal strip of compact icons can make it possible for users to go back, forward, access bookmarks and switch tabs with one just tap.


I won’t push this too far though, because Nokia has promised a new browser in December 2010 or early 2011 – and if what we saw and heard from the leaked videos are anything to go by, I will soon be striking the web browser off this list of gripes. To the new browser!

2. Gmail does not reflect read messages properly.
When you have read an email message (Gmail) online, there are times that when it arrives on your phone, it is marked unread. At other times, in your brower, the read message is set back as unread. This doesn’t happen all the time, but it is often enough. It is pretty annoying having to manually mark your mails again when it does happen. Nokia, please fix this!

3. Social needs comments notifications
The Social application – where you run your show on Twitter and Facebook – works well for me. I do have one niggle: when, for example, someone comments on my status, I do not get any notifications of that. There are notifications for new messages, calendar entries, and friend requests, but this one lacking is significant. Please add comments notifications to Social.

4. Not all DivX movies play
Some DivX play; some others don’t. Yes; I know that the official word from Nokia’s Damien Dinning was that “most DivX videos should play out of the box”, so Nokia was truthful upfront. Still, having to convert some movies before I can play them on my sweet N8 is a hassle. Of course, its likely that if I look, I can find 3rd party apps to deal with this. Still, Nokia? Please?

5. Exchange’s handling of Google contact fields
Exchange on the N8 keeps my device and Google contacts in sync. However, I noticed that whenever I have multiple fields of a particular type in my Google contacts, only one of them is reflected on my N8.


For example, if I have two phone numbers set as “Mobile” for my wife in my Google contacts, the N8 ignores the second one. To get the two numbers to show, I have to go set one to something else e.g. “work”, “home” or “other”. As you can imagine, that is a hassle. People do have multiple mobile lines or work lines and those numbers should sync just the way they are.

Is that all?
Errr… for now, it looks like that’s it. If I find any more niggles, I’ll add them to this page. But if I have used a smartphone extensively for a few weeks and have only a handful of gripes about that smartphone, it must be a good one.

Do you have an N8? Are there other things besides what I have listed here that bug you silly? Please feel free to share.


6. Update! 9/12/10 Phone Freezing Up
In the last 24 hours, I have installed several more applications to the N8. All of a sudden, I am experiencing the phone suddenly freezing up.

I would leave it lying on my desk, and when I pick it up, I can’t get the display to unlock. Eventually, I shut it off. At other times, I would be in the middle of something and the menu key would become unresponsive. Again, eventually, only a reboot solves the problem.


Today alone, I have had to restart my N8 at least thrice. This is both a big bother and a discouragement. Is this a general problem or is it that Some of the apps I installed are simply badly coded? I’ll uninstall them and update this page It turns out that the Skype app that I installed days ago was responsible for this freezing. Its been 48 hours since I uninstalled it and I have had no such issues with my N8 since then.

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20 comments

  1. Good phone!! Apart from the browser, I can with everything else you have stated as gripes. I am also delighted that you do not have any problems with the UI!

    And finally, I didn’t hear you mention a lack of keyboard?? has the Nokia N8 made a Touch-screen -ONLY believer out of yOu?

  2. Not having a QWERTY keyboard is not a flaw, so it would be wrong to list it so. While I always prefer a hardware QWERTY keyboard, the onscreen keyboard here works well. If it doesn’t work well, I would gripe about it.

    I remember using the Samsung Jet way back in January this year and it was a touchscreen device but the keyboard worked well too, so I didn’t list that in my Samsung Jet gripes either.

  3. “I have found Symbian browsers highly capable for years”

    Frankly, I find these browsers pretty annoying with odd user interfaces to well documented bandwidth sucking.

    So when you say you use them extensively, I’m wondering what I’m not doing right.

  4. Keweno,

    If you have been using S60 5th Edition devices, sure you’ll find the user interface annoying. Even now on the new Symbian, the interface is still annoying, which is why I listed it as a gripe.

    What I believe you have a problem with is the word “capable”. Having an annoying interface is different from being capable.

    Capable – having power and ability; having the ability or capacity for: a man capable of judging art.

    The browsers on Nokia smartphones have always been capable – capable of handling some of the most daunting tasks ever thrown at mobile browsers. You need to upload from a webpage? Capable of that. Need to carry out online banking? Capable. Need to manage your web server? Capable. Need to watch videos embedded in web pages? Capable.

    As a matter of fact, I once ran my entire web hosting business with my Nokia 9500 Communicator (waaaay back in 2005) as my only PC. That’s an example of capable.

    Now, many mobile browsers are not so capable. We know those who cannot play videos embedded in webpages. We know those who cannot handle file uploads (something I took for granted on Symbian as far back as years ago). And I am talking of browsers that are often hailed today as revolutionary. Many of these simply do not measure up to Symbian’s browser in capabilities.

    Lastly, bandwidth sucking is not something copyrighted by Nokia. There are no modern mobile web browsers that deliver rich browsing experiences without sucking bandwidth. iOS Safari? Suck. Android? Mega Sucker. If you need bandwidth conservation, avoid modern built-in browsers on smartphones and use Opera Mini instead.

  5. The sour grapes…:

    I can sense a real struggle to find those elusive grapes! The complaints were not effusive!

    No perfect device, hey? This Nate (N8) may yet put that statement to shame.

    Looks like all the annoyances are software related. A future Firmware update should address most of those.

    ‘Poor Web Browser Interface.’

    Thank God for Opera Mobile. Why does Nokia not simply buy-up Opera? This is the era of acquisitions.

  6. I would like to know if there is a memory shortage message before the freezing!

    Otherwise, I would strongly suspect the apps that you installed are the culprit. This is the very reason I love the Apple apps store for Apple’s certified third party apps. At least you know the codes were verified by Apple before you download and install!

  7. Afewgoodmen,

    There have been no out of memory errors at all.

    I went through the internet earlier today and found similar complaints when certain apps were installed on the N8, some of the apps in question being Socially and Skype, both of which I installed in the last 48 hours.

    I uninstalled Socially first but still experienced the same issue. A few hours ago, I also uninstalled Skype. Its yet to happen again, but I will give it some more hours to draw any conclusions.

  8. It has been about 48 hours since I uninstalled Skype and my N8 has been stable since. No such freezing or hanging, so I can conclude that Skype was the culprit. As such, I am striking off that point about freezing as a gripe.

  9. The N8 is okay. It was just a lousy app that was messing with it’s innards.

    Yomi, why don’t you consider re-installing Socially.

    And by the way, why don’t you consider installing only apps approved by Nokia in the Ovi store. By that you may avoid these kind of problem in the future.

  10. Afewgoodmen,

    Excellent counsel there about sticking with Ovi Store for all app downloads. I think I’ll take that advice.

    I have re-installed Socially. It is everything that Nokia’s Social app that’s built into the N8 should be. The only snag is that it keeps asking for a network connection, which makes me suspect that it is java.

  11. I am also not pleased with the way pictures uploaded from the N8 to Facebook via the built-in social networks app and/or pixelpipe are compressed.

    I know that not everyone has an unlimited data plan, but at least the option to not compress should be there. Because of the huge compression, the excellent uploaded images do not do justice to the excellent capabilities of the 12 megapixel camera.

    A minor annoyance, but an annoyance all the same.

  12. I came across this article a while ago, it might just help: http:// mobilernr.com/10-steps-to-make-sure-your-symbian-experience-is-enjoyable/

  13. @biola129 – I also saw that article this morning, and the sister article for android. I printed both of them for future reference. The one you posted is awesome & will be very helpful

  14. i own the nokia n8 and was so proud about it and even at my work place everybody are talking about n8 was so fascinating,elegance and admayor to have once,but now i had the problem with it,during my surfing the internet the device get stuck or hang,and cause problem,i can’t made a call,i can’t received a call and i can’t message to networking and a lots more.
    action taken:i go back home and open up the manual (nokia n8-00 user guide)looked on troubleshoot,found none and i called customer service malaysia,and machine sound program.
    what shall i do now?

  15. Azizjamal,

    Press and hold down the power button for 8 seconds. That should shit down your N8. Then simply start it up the usual way and you should have no problems.

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