A mixed bag

Kushan Mitra        Print Edition: Nov 14, 2010

Is Nokia's latest flagship device the harbinger of good times for the Finnish company? Or yet another disappointment from the mobile phone giant? Actually, it is neither. It has none of the fatal flaws that doomed the N97, but it is still behind competing the mobile software platforms.

We did like the hardware, though the anodised aluminium finish does look like a rather fat cigar in the version that we were given. Nokia has gone to great lengths to highlight the N8's 12-megapixel camera with its ability to record video at 720p highdefinition.

Nokia N8
12-megapixel camera, 680 MHz processor 

+ve: Good looking hardware, excellent camera, good performance 

-ve: Text entry could be better, Ovi services synchronisation is poor 

Price: Rs 26,290 (MRP)
The device's photography and videography skills can be enjoyed on a HD television, thanks to its HDMI-out port. The touch screen is nice, though small compared to some of the other devices on the market. But the 3D graphics hardware accelerator means that the 680 MHz processor can play back video and graphically intensive games without flickering.

The N97 seemed to have been a chastening experience for Nokia. The memory management on the new device is far improved. Interestingly, Nokia has given the N8 a dual-charging system, the regular "thin-pin" Nokia charger as well as the more common micro-USB charger. Now the drawbacks.

The Symbian U3 platform could have been a lot more. There are parts of it that still feel a bit clunky to use and it does feel slow. Also the N8's full keyboard only works in landscape orientation and using T9 text-prediction on a touch screen feels strange. Importing contacts from Gmail to Ovi Contacts is not easy.

The N8, then, is possibly the best Nokia device since the E7. Should you buy one? Well, at this price, it is not a bad deal at all.

The German 'Beast'

It looks like a normal Q7 - not that good-looking and not that powerful. And then you turn the engine on. The physical term "torque" is used to describe a turning force on an object. It is what gives a motor vehicle its get-up and go. Usually, that rush lasts a split second and you do not really notice it. On the Q7 4.2 TDi, with its massive turbo-charged V8 diesel engine, you learn what torque is when it punches you on the chest and all the air in your lungs rushes out.

Audi Q7 4.2 TDi
330 horsepower, 240 kmph top speed

+ve: Scintillating power
-ve: Just do not take it off the road
Price: Rs 66.56 lakh ex-showroom Delhi
And it does not stop there. The engine is so powerful it keeps going on. Audi claims the car will hit a top speed of 240 kmph, but we did not really want to go full throttle in a car that weighs two-and-a-half tonnes. But on every performance metric, this powerful machine from Germany races ahead of competition.

Would you want so much unrestrained power in your driveway? Well, you could, but probably you would want it in a sedan. The Q7 does ride lower which gives it a lower centre of gravity, but that also means it is poor off the road.

And it still rides higher than a regular sedan. Audi has the smaller A7 coming out soon. Now, if only they put this engine in that model.

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