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

Nokia N8 – Symbian’s New Testament to Resource Efficiency?

Posted by

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.


  1. I can do anything for true multitasking.

    it is so sad to start a fun that ends early, i like the way the N8 strikes a balance.

  2. third ray with the nokia N8, am a normob. what am finding cute is the fluidness of the device.

    typing.this comment with operamini was tasking, due to the closeness of the text.

    you ate better of with the native symbian browser, but be ready for data suck that the operamini would save you. I’d be compiling my owncreport too, from a normob perspective.

    *finaly, i got to the endcof the comment*

  3. Jesse,
    Typing those comments was really taskin..its obvious with ur mistakes..why not download opera mini web? The native operamini for symbian..tht should make things easy i guess

  4. @Jesse, lol, same issue with my 5800 here.. Needs real getting used to.. tried clicking like on your comment and ended up with unlike…
    Still want an n8 though, budgeting for one next year..

  5. Having a good Boxing Day laugh here. Switching from hardware QWERTY to onscreen can be traumatic. Typos here and there at first. But you’ll get the hang of it over time and reduce the typos to the barest minimum.

    Ho! Ho! Ho!

  6. @Yomi,you make me salivate even more for this device.I was at AMISTAD shop Abuja to demand for it but i was told it is out of stock for now because of high demand but they hope to have them after the new year break.I hope the price will not go beyond me but i hope to have any of the symbian^3 devices before the latest enhancements.

  7. bosun99uk, Is there Swype for Symbian. If there is, it would be really interesting.

    @Yomi. The Nokia N8 so far, has more merits than demerits. It seems like it is able to handle a lot of memory intensive tasks with its meagre 256 MB of RAM. I should say that is a plus. Also, from what I garner from the write up, is that the Nokia N8 is also fast and fluid despite the 680MHZ of CPU strength. And maybe this is so because it has an alternate graphics processor which takes off some intense CPU work from the dedicated CPU.

    All these are noble qualities. That means that, if Nokia has put in a 1GHz processor and 512 RAM like the competition, then it would be the fastest phone on the planet. Good WOrk!

  8. One other thing, Yomi. You mentioned that you compared the Noia N8’s speed with other smartphones of its kind and you found out that The Nokia N8 was as fast and sometimes faster. And that the poor transition effect implementation by Nokia gives an apparent or perhaps parallactic(parallax) effect that it is slow while in essenceor reality the phone is fast. Then Nokia needs to absolutely consider this angle and improve on it when pushing out its firmware updates for Symbian ^3.

    But my inquisiive mind would still like to enquire about the phones you compared the N8 with!

    Did you use a galaxy S and the impeccable iphone 4 in your comparison?

  9. And, oops, thanks for this beautiful piece this bright Boxing Day. You have ultimately made my day. Because I have been searching for fresh Tech News to no avail on the Internet today to no avail!

  10. Afewgoodmen,

    The top device that I ran my comparisons with is the Samsung S8500 Wave (1GHz A8 Cortex). All others has sub-1GHz processors as well. I’d set it against the Galaxy S if I could get my hands on one.

  11. And the Samsung Wave displays Low Memory errors sometimes…esp when playing top games like Asphalt5 or Bruce Lee, with another app likr Omini running in the background.
    Yomi, when connecting the N8 to a pc in PC SUITE or MASS STORAGE modes, do you have to close all running apps? This is one attribute of the Samsung Wave that really frustrates me!!

  12. Spacyzuma,

    Nope; all running apps stay open. I suspect that apps installed on the mass memory may be affected though, but I’ll have to check specifically.

  13. @afewgoodmen,
    forget bout the numbers..its what you get in reality that nokia c5 is quoted 600mhz processor and 128mb ram by freezes and lags compared to the more expensive nokia e63 and e71 quoted at 369mhz and 128mb ram…one thing have noticed is that after c5 ram drops to just 45mb compared to the e-series that stil has about 70mb! So its not bout the nos..its about how your device makes good use of resources and nokia n8 has done well here..

  14. @all,
    thanks for the encouragement. *still typing with the NokiaN8. Since I finally got rid of my nokiaE71, i am left with no choice than to get use to the touchscreen pad.

    The N8 is a monster indeed, you need to see the task I subjected it to yesterday; I was virtually a photographer, a video cameraMan and a reporter with it. All in all, with the dancing and everything im the club, the N8 delivered.

  15. @shayman
    Are you sure you are using the latest firmware update?, is your phone hacked, do you have apps that run under ground eg auto theme changer, auto profile changer, battery metter, timebar,systemseven, freeisms, best menu, (and God knows what) that all auto start when you boot up ur phone.

    My old Nokia E61i is guilty of all the above but it runs the latest firmware update, and I am still able to use uc browser and Nimbuzz plus share my internet to pc via bluetooth or wifi.

  16. Bosun..its not bout any background app and as far as i know am with the latest firmware..its bout a manufacture thing cause it happens in all nokia c5 have seen..the menu is zippy but the task manager lags and freezes a lot..

  17. Shayman,

    That performance of the C5 is odd. The E5 with similar CPU specs and a larger display did not seem to lag when I used it.

    Can you explain the issue in more detail? I know for example that older Nokia smartphones that I used tend to lag when the email client is making a connection. That always drove me crazy. In some cases, the device simply stood still for email alone.

    I haven’t faced that with the N8 though. Could this be what’s happening?

  18. @shayman
    Also try checking online to see if people have being facing the same problem, there could already be a solution for it because that is strange.

  19. @yomi, if you’re running 3 applications on nokia c5 for instance, when you hold the menu key, the task manager might take 7seconds or more to pop up..another scenario is when u actually wanna switch between messaging and operamini for instance, the phone freezes for like 10-15secs..this has started from day one so its not bout overloading it..although it doesnt happen everytime, the frequency is considerably noticeable..maybe 10times or more a day..i’ve seen thesame problem on 3 other nokia c5 too..just a manufacture error or deceit bout the specs by nokia i guess…

  20. @bosun, tanx 4 the tip man..i checked online and discovered my issue is a minor many others have more serious issues than mine..but i discovered there is a new firmware released dec 10 to address the issues..the last time i checked for update was november..i tried the OTA update on my phone and it prompted to download it..just currently in an area with no 3g so i will do that whenever am chanced later..thanks

  21. I’ve now watched the Video. The multi-tasking on the N8 is remarkable. 15 resource intensive application is a whole weight to tackle on the 256 MB. The N8 did well. Though there was a few lagging, and perhaps a delay in launching an app. All in all, it is a feat if you compared this with Symbian ^1 phones, Where the memory error display gets on my nerves especially when the internal memory is full!

    But this brings me inexorably to the User Interface review of the Nokia N8. I think Yomi needs to absolutely do a piece on the N8’s UI. Especially with detailed comparison with Symbian 60 (Which we are used too). And also Android and iOS comparison, if possible (Hope I’m not asking too much?>). I watched some video on the N8 UI on Engadget and and it left me with the impression that the difference from Symbian ^60 isn’t so very much. They (Symbian ^1 and ^3{What about 2?}) both have a similar architecture in Menus and submenus. At least to a considerable degree. I can’t be too sure, because my conclusions are based on on-line videos and not hands-on experience.

    This isn’t the right place to paste further comments. SO I’d wait for Yomi’s UI review of the Nokia N8 first!

  22. Yomi, so far, i guess you have been able to place your stamp of approval on the N8 and i am sure you have been able to convince not a few people to either buy it or at least, put it on their shopping list. The same you did with the N900, which you successfully sold the idea of owning one to a few people too, myself inclusive.
    Many of us are waiting in the sidelines for upcoming gadgets, like the tablets, for them to pass through your lab. We would need you to confirm to us that it is okay to buy and we would forever regard your recommendations as the final word. Read through this link, the middle part especially, for news on the ENCIPHER tablet: . As things are now, i might just go ahead and break my piggy bank for an ipad!

  23. @afewgoodmen – i noticed the exact same thing when i handled the n8. Apart from the new widget-capable homescreen, the menu is almost exactly that of nokia 5800, or Symbian 60v5. The only difference i detected was the single tap to open a submenu.

    @artwales – i just read the link you provided, and it depressed me a bit. I hope Yomi gets the Ovim soon so we can learn from his review. The tablet market is growing too much in such a short period, and i think there’s growing disorderliness.

  24. While the UI looks the same, the new Symbian UI is much better. I hated S60 5th Edition but love what’s on the N8. That’s how better the new is. If I find the time and can get me an S60 5th Edition device, I’ll do that comparison.

  25. @afewgoodmen, you’re not completely out of order in your assessment of the interface being similar to that of S60 5th edition. You will need to look closely to see a few tweaks here and there that have been done to the interface to make it more fluid. For instance, the double tap to activate a feature has been eliminated. Also, tap and hold was implemented for items that have context menu. These are just a few of the changes that you find in Symbian^3. For the most part a lot of the changes to Symbian^3 are all under the hood (invisible).

  26. @spacyzuma, Dayo. Believe you me, single tapping instead of double tapping is a good thing! A big improvement. Also, tap and hold to reveal other sub-menus is slapjack ahead to improve the UI Of the junior brother symbian ^1.

    @Yomi. “While the UI looks the same, the new Symbian UI is much better. I hated S60 5th Edition but love what’s on the N8.” that is saying much. Good enough recommendation for me!

  27. @shayma
    Am happy there is an update and here is hoping it solves all the issues so that you can enjoy your phone better.

    I read the link post all to the end and my comment is “The World is big enough”
    I think I made a mistake by allowing the iPad to be the first tablet I handled, because my expectations for Tablets are now very high, all I want now is a tablet that can do what the iPad does plus more.
    But one very important thing is that it will be unfair for me to expect a Tablet that cost almost three times cheaper to perform better than an iPad.

  28. Yomi- havr you tried watching DVB-H TV on the N8? All new symbian phones are supposed to have this feature, but only with the external bluetooth/dvb-h receiver. And I hope I’m the first to wish Mobilitynigeria a happy new year and blessed 2011

  29. For those that care to knw and to bosun especially, i finally got ma phone’s firmware updated! Thanks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *