Several individuals have expressed reservations about the processing powers of the Nokia N8. I must admit that I wasn’t quite convinced too that the N8 had enough power under the hood to compete in today’s market. With a processor running at 680 MHz, the N8 certainly looks under-powered compared to the existing line-up of top smartphones in the market.
I have used the Nokia N8 extensively for a while now, and even run tests side-by-side devices from other platforms, so I am in a good position to tell whether or not the N8 is indeed underpowered.
Gaming – especially heavy-duty gaming – is always a good area to test the processing capabilities of a smartphone. So, how does the N8 perform here?
Simply put, the N8’s 680 MHz processor and the dedicated graphics processor handle the heaviest games smoothly. I have run Galaxy on Fire, Need For Speed Shift and Asphalt 5 on the N8 and every single time, it handled them without any breaks, hiccups or jerks.
Running over 15 apps in the background (not in suspended state as with other mobile platforms, but actively running apps), the N8 still runs like a champ. Only when the heaviest of apps were running together did I get any memory messages – and I am not talking about just one or two of such.
This is corroborated by several others who have run similar tests on the N8. For example, take a look at this Nokia N8 multitasking torture test:
Note that in the video, he wasn’t running apps with low resource consumption. According to the author:
“15 heavy applications before things start closing! The major applications stayed open and the speed of the phone didn’t slow down too much. Not too shabby for a device that has half the specs of your run of the mill Android phone”. Source: Pushing the Nokia N8 to the limit with a multitasking torture test.
I have run a couple of tests myself, carrying out certain tasks on the N8 and some other devices, including the iPhone 3GS. The N8 has proven to be as responsive as any of those other devices.
The Impact of Transition Effects
One area that I must insist that Nokia needs to work on is the transition effects in the UI when opening or switching between menus. Better transition effects on some competing platforms makes it look like those platforms are faster, yet timing the transitions show that the N8 is just as fast, and in some cases does better. I am hoping that the new enhancements coming to Symbian will implement better transition effects.
But back to the subject, the Nokia N8 is testimony to the resource efficiency of the Symbian OS platform. Having a 680MHz processor and performing this smoothly and powerfully is a plus, not a minus. The N8 is the first modern smartphone that I am using that performs this smoothly and powerfully without having to worry about battery life through a hectic day. In my opinion, the device and the OS that it runs on should be praised to high heavens.
I also do not think that Nokia are blowing the N8’s trumpet enough in this regard. They seem to be focussed on the media aspects alone. The N8 is truly a respectable modern smartphone that delivers in a number of areas where other mobile platforms are struggling to catchup. Real multitasking and resource efficiency are two of these areas.
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