Nokia N8 Review – USB-on-the-Go

Today’s smartphones are inching ever closer to delivering true PC-like functionality. Features like web browsing, email, document viewing and editing have become things that we take for granted on our smart mobile phones.

One feature that simply makes one re-examine the term “mobile computing” is the ability to plug in external USB storage to access, view, copy, delete and even edit files on such storage media. Well, the future is here. Now, your smartphone can replace your PC. Well, that is if you use a Nokia N8.

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The USB-on-thee-go feature on the Nokia N8 supports a number of hardware items – flash drive, keyboard, mouse and some external HDDs. I don’t have a USB keyboard available, so I didn’t get to try that out. As for the others, my reports are below.

2GB USB Flash Drive
I plugged in the USb adapter and then my 2GB flash drive. The N8 promptly (and I mean promptly) opened the built-in file manager – and there was my flash drive (that’s the drive labelled “Yomi 230408” in the screenshots).

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I was able to open, edit, copy, paste, move and delete files without any issues. And the N8 handled everything speedilly.
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250GB External HDD
I also gave it a go with my LG 250GB external HDD.
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Here’s what I got:
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The N8 simply replied, “Connect USB cable to the device”. It didn’t recognise it. Of course, Nokia had said that it wouldn’t work with external disks that require electric power above certain levels, so no problem.

USB Mouse
Will this thing really work with a USB mouse? Watch the video below to find out:


Also read:  Do not buy a Lumia phone if...

Anything else?
For the kicks, I plugged in the iPhone 3GS. yes; cheeky me.
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Sorry, but the USB icon on the N8 just kept flashing. No error. No connectivity.

Conclusions
USB-on-the-go on the N8 delivers exactly as Nokia said it would – and then some. It works without issues with the flash drive that I tested, it works with a USB mouse, and I have read reviews that say it works with a USB keyboard too.

The interesting thing is that the N8’s 680 MHz processor handled it all smoothly (and I will come to the device’s performance in another part of my series on the N8). Just like the cameraphone war is not always about the megapixels, apparently, the CPU war is not also always about the GHzs.

Now, I can carry my PC along with me everywhere I go. Got a file on a flash drive that you want to give to me? No problem; my mobile computer – the Nokia N8 – is up to the task.

There are those who want to define how much closer to PCs smartphones are by other yardsticks, but functionality is still the primary factor in measuring it. The USB-on-the-go functionality makes devices like the Nokia N900 and more especially the Nokia N8 closer to PC functionality than any other smartphone on the market. This is simply years ahead of others. Simple.

Mister Mobility

I started blogging about mobile in 2004 as a fun way to share my passion for gadgets and mobile services. My other interests include digital media, speaking and teaching, photography, travelling, and dancing.

29 thoughts on “Nokia N8 Review – USB-on-the-Go

  • November 22, 2010 at 4:34 pm
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    Kudos to Nokia. I heard the USB OTG can also read other Nokia memory

  • November 22, 2010 at 8:24 pm
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    Keep coming nokia,this is indeed a revolution that will as Yomi said,will bring mobile smart phone at par with computer as we know it today.Cant wait to learn more about other numerous features.

  • November 22, 2010 at 8:30 pm
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    Keep coming nokia,this is indeed a revolution that will as Yomi said,will bring mobile smart phone at par with computer as we know it today.I saw someone on the web using USB Fan on his n8.Cant wait to learn more about other numerous features.

  • November 22, 2010 at 8:46 pm
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    In all the reviews I’ve read, external hard drives connected to the n8 only work when they are self-powered. Does anybody know if mobile hds that can be powered by the n8 exist?

  • November 22, 2010 at 8:53 pm
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    Keep coming nokia! Once again nokia has demostrated its leadership in its resolve to bring smart phone at par with computer as we know it today.Just as been tested by Yomi,i have seen someone on the web using USB Fan on N8.Funny?….Cant wait to learn more about its numerous features.

  • November 22, 2010 at 9:10 pm
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    This revolutionary,bringing smart phone at par with computer.I also saw someone on the web using USB Fan on the n8.FUNNY? Keep coming nokia.

  • November 22, 2010 at 10:26 pm
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    I can see you deliberately block my post because i said someone use USB FAN on his n8.You think is a lie or impossible,right?You dont believe the could be other less powered devices.What make you think you knew it all? The world is not all about sitting beside computers in lagos and think you are a mobile wizard as you proclaims.Well,if you doubt me,goto -Nitishkumar.net and see his n8 USB on the go review.It is a small world.

  • November 23, 2010 at 6:33 am
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    Abubakar,

    I think you have issues you need to deal with. This is not your first time of cooking up a conspiracy theory about us blocking your comments. This is not your first time of submitting multiple comments either.

    The comments guideline says all comments are moderated. That means your comments won’t show up immediately. If you posted a comment late yesterday night, is it too much to wait till this morning to see it? We have a life here too, you know, and that means we try to get some sleep every now and then.

    I have deliberately left your multiple comments, accusation and insult for all to see this time. Please desist or you will be censored. I know that in a world gone crazy like we have today, all censorship is considered bad. Unfortunately, I do not belong to that shool of thought. People should learn to conduct themselves properly and obey rules or be called to order.

    Thank you.

  • November 23, 2010 at 6:51 am
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    Nokia is a dream come true at pioneering cutting edge possibilities. I read abt connecting d device to a tv & browsing with the help of a mouse #thatisCOOL.
    Nokia X2, although s40, has got USB OTG in its kitty with a 5mp camera + flash.

  • November 23, 2010 at 8:39 am
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    Sorry now i understand it was a system error.But i misunderstood it for over censorship.I will try to be as moderate as possible just to have my say with those who knows better than me,so that i can gain one or two things.Yomi,sorry i misunderstood you.I cant let go,it is fun being here,i want the blog to grow.

  • November 23, 2010 at 10:49 am
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    I also posted a short comment – which did not to make it through. Some glitch, i guess

    Concerning multiple posts, we mentioned earlier on this blog- that Opera Mini sometimes just does not forward the posts. And often there is no easy way to know this – apart from seeing that your post does not get published. i have not experienced this with UC Mobile.

    Luckily, wordpresf detects duplicate (almost exact) posts / comments.

    My earlier comment was – i was wondering if this Nokia N8 wil be able to detect a usb Printer and, if a text document is then ‘copied’ to that printer- it can print it!

    ( In connection with this, I understand that there is an internet-enabled HP Printer that can be printed to wirelessly anywhere in the world. Costs just $99! http://www.hp.com/hpinfo/newsroom/press/2010/100607b.html

    The implication of this is that I can print any document from my mobile device.. irrespective of the location of the printer anywhere in the world.

    Are fax machines desd?

    Interesting )

  • November 23, 2010 at 12:38 pm
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    The Nokia N8 is very full, feature wise. A behemoth. A feature Titan!

    If the UI has been intensely improved by Nokia as I have seen on other reviews on the net, then there is no option than to obtain one.

    I therefore await ravenously for the UI review!

    ” I know that in a world gone crazy like we have today, all censorship is considered bad. Unfortunately, I do not belong to that shool of thought.”

    I think you will agree with me that censorship is not always bad especially when it comes to Apple and the appstores. There have to be rules otherwise the apple app store would have been full with all sort of pornography or poorly designed apps that would cause harm to one’s phone instead of improving the functionality.

    Nokia app store also screens apps too.

    A little order or direction does not hurt anyone!

  • November 23, 2010 at 12:58 pm
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    Nokia sure has some point to their credit as the first to come up with usb OTG, its even better as if feel symbian^3 devices has no problem with the function. Users like me who are more interested in accessing the web are at a disadvantage using nokia devices. This is due to the low resolution and the little or no flash support for the browser when compaired to what andriod devices offer.

    • November 23, 2010 at 1:17 pm
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      Users like me who are more interested in accessing the web are at a disadvantage using nokia devices. This is due to the low resolution and the little or no flash support for the browser when compared to what Andriod devices offer.

      Little or no flash support on Nokia smartphones? Since when? Nokia smartphones have had Flash support since forever. For example, as far back as 2008, the Nokia E90 had Flash – ever before Android was conceived. They still do. And until recently, there was no Flash support on Android at all.

      See this November 2008 review: Watching Embedded Videos on Nokia E90 Web Browser.

      The popular online media has so got people biased against Nokia and Symbian that all sorts of untrue claims are made about Nokia/Symbian these days. When will this stop?

  • November 23, 2010 at 1:03 pm
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    Some of the features on the Nokia N8 streaks more of display or showmanship than of real world use. WHy I am saying that? Features like USB on the GO makes sense and the implementation of its use is obvious in everyday-Life.

    On the other hand, Some feautres like using a USB mouse on the Nokia N8 is just plain showmanship! WHo would use a USB mouse on a screen as small as that in everyday life? I doubt anyone would, because I won’t! I think Nokia is only showing off here what it can do and not what is obviously necessary and intuitive for its users!!

  • November 23, 2010 at 4:01 pm
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    @Ovhumuahwe:- ‘On the other hand, Some feautres like using a USB mouse on the Nokia N8 is just plain showmanship! WHo would use a USB mouse on a screen as small as that in everyday life? I doubt anyone would, because I won’t! ”

    Well i would!. I connect my Nokia 5800 to my HDTV. While browsing, i need to keep looking from the smartphone and the tv, primarily because of the lack this usb OTG on the Nokia 5800.

    With the added facility of using a usb keyboard with this monster, my netbook may just appear in. the MarketPlace section of MobilitNigeria soon…

    Nokia once marketed the Nokia 95 as, ‘the computer done beautifully’

    Of course, the Nokia N8 deserves this accolade more…

  • November 23, 2010 at 4:38 pm
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    And for those who need something more pocket-friendly with USB-on-the-go, you have the N8’s siblings, Nokia C7 and C6.

  • November 23, 2010 at 7:44 pm
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    @Eyebeekay. Interesting way of using your phone. A good convergence of devices, I should say. That is still not definitely using a Nokia N8 alone a with a mouse. But the Nokia N8 as middle man for a TV?. Or the TV as a projection device or Monitor for the N8? THat is Novel and Good innovation!

  • November 23, 2010 at 8:07 pm
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    EyeBeeKay,

    Thank you for “spoiling” my show o 😀

    I might still do a video of that setup still to demonstrate how the N8 effectively becomes a CPU – hook up a mouse and a TV screen and – pronto – who needs a desktop PC at home?

    If anyone has any doubts about the advanced capabilities of the Nokia N8, that should dispel any such doubts. I am loving this guy. In my opinion, the N8 is what every other smartphone wants to become when they grow up 😀

  • November 24, 2010 at 7:30 am
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    Yomi, Am sorry dont know if this comment is off topic but dont know….afewgood men was talking bout operamini posting comments several times or not posting at all…well i use operamini and have had difficulties with this site..sometimes the pages doesnt render for hours..sometimes 1 whole day..is it operamini stuff or its just a general server downtime on mobilitynigeria’s part?

  • November 24, 2010 at 7:55 am
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    Shayman,

    Well, it is off-topic. Still, no harm adddressing it. MobilituNigeria hasn’t had a server downtime in months. Apart from the fact that myself and other moderators are busy doing one thing or the other on the site almost round the clock, we have independent server monitors and we havent had one downtime report in a while from them either.

    It must be a problem associated with Operamini. If you encounter issues with Operamini, use your built-in browser and it should load the mobile version of the site. Its a very lean design that is bandwidth-friendly too.

  • November 24, 2010 at 8:38 pm
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    It keeps geting better.
    Would be wonderful for playing downloaded stuffs of my bedroom TV, and controling it with a mouse.

    and i certainly will show off the USB OTG.

  • November 25, 2010 at 12:24 am
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    Nokia, Nokia Nokia! how many times did I call you?
    Whom do you want to hypnotize?

  • November 25, 2010 at 8:58 am
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    Thanks Yomi for keeping this site good and going. The features of N8 are really awesome. Please i would like to know if what i have read on some forum is true. They say the phone switches itself off and then dies finally dies (refuses to power on) in a week or 2.
    Nokia C7 is also affected too. Thanks

    • November 25, 2010 at 2:11 pm
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      Thanks, pharmtasy,

      Just as Afewgoodmen has said, only a few units are affected by the power management issue – and Nokia has already made an official statement that any such affected units are covered by warranty and should be returned to a Nokia service centre.

      So far, my unit has stayed alive 🙂

  • November 25, 2010 at 12:59 pm
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    @pharmtasy.

    That is likely to be untrue. I read a full fledged report just two days ago written by Eldar Murtazin from Mobile-Review.com. From the begining, he has been making disparaging comments on the N8. And he also had a problem with Nokia when Nokia may may have sent the Russian Police after him to recover a prototype Nokia N8 allegedly in his possesion.

    Just like all phones, a few Nokia N8s may come with manufacturers defect. That doesn’t mean all Nokia N8s are bad including Yomi’s review unit. If there is any truth of what you’ve read it may only be for a few units and NOT ALL NOkia N8s.

    Even the iPhone 4, when it launched, it also came with its woes. Mind you, not EVERY iphone 4 Units was Bad then, just a few, and Competitors will then use the opportunity to make a mountain out of a Mole Hill.

    If you buy the Nokia N8 from a respectable source, then you can absolutley return it if a Manufacturers error turns IN within two weeks!

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