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> Thinking Of Getting An N800
rickh
post Mar 14 2007, 11:11 AM
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I'm coming from the Zaurus side of things, having used a C3000 for a couple of years. Unfortunately, it was recently stolen, and instead of getting another one, I'm thinking of replacing it with an N800.

I tried to search, but didn't really come up with much in the forums, so here are a couple of questions:

1) Is there real word processing, Word (or at least ODT) compatible software available for the N800? I see that there is a reader, but I'd ideally like to be able to do substantial word processing with a bluetooth keyboard.

2) Is it possible to map the keyboard for international english usage?

If I could do both those things, I could leave my laptop behind and work for the most part on the N800.

Any info is greatly appreciated.

R.
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mars
post Mar 14 2007, 02:43 PM
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I don't think there is a real word processor yet for the N800. Abiword was working on the N770, but from what I've read it may not work yet for the N800.

Gnumeric however seems to work fine.

As far as international keyboards, I assume you mean for using a bluetooth keyboard. I don't see an international english option (e.g., with dead keys). But there are a bunch of international keyboard layouts. Maybe xev and xmodmap would work?
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rickh
post Mar 15 2007, 12:57 PM
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Well, I took the plunge and bought the N800 as well as the nokia bluetooth keyboard.

So far, it's really pretty nice. As far as international keyboard layout goes, the nokia keyboard allows for *some* accents, but I haven't figured all of them out yet. The reason this is important to me is because I spend a fair amount if time translating documents from romance languages to English.

I would like to get ssh working - the repository listed at maemo.org is either incorrect or the actual install file is missing.

But I've already gotten rdesktop working for the windows machines, so that's something.

There are a lot of other applications I eventually want to try.

So far... FUN.

R.
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Antikx
post Mar 15 2007, 06:00 PM
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QUOTE(rickh @ Mar 15 2007, 02:57 PM)
Well, I took the plunge and bought the N800 as well as the nokia bluetooth keyboard.
*

Congrats. If you get the time, I'm sure we'd enjoy a mini-review from a Zaurus user.
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Bombur
post Mar 16 2007, 07:01 AM
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How well does the SU-8W work? I was thinking of getting one.

J.
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rickh
post Mar 16 2007, 10:44 AM
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QUOTE(Bombur @ Mar 16 2007, 03:01 PM)
How well does the SU-8W work?  I was thinking of getting one.

J.
*

It works quite well. Every bit as solid feeling as the N800 itself. I initially had trouble connecting, then reconnecting the keyboard to the N800, but that was due to the N800's less than intuitive way to tell it to (re)connect to a device. Once I figured that out, all was well.

R.
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Snappy
post Mar 16 2007, 12:59 PM
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Congrats to you as well! smile.gif

And as Antikx mentioned, do let us know how a n800 stack up to a zaurus ya?

The n800 might serve as a good replacement or backup machine for the zaurus. smile.gif
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rickh
post Mar 17 2007, 08:13 AM
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QUOTE(Antikx @ Mar 16 2007, 02:00 AM)
Congrats. If you get the time, I'm sure we'd enjoy a mini-review from a Zaurus user.
*

At some point in the near future, I will indeed write something up. So far, I'm pretty happy with it.

R.
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Antikx
post Mar 17 2007, 10:00 AM
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QUOTE(rickh @ Mar 17 2007, 10:13 AM)
QUOTE(Antikx @ Mar 16 2007, 02:00 AM)
Congrats. If you get the time, I'm sure we'd enjoy a mini-review from a Zaurus user.
*

At some point in the near future, I will indeed write something up. So far, I'm pretty happy with it.

R.
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*


Wicked!
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rickh
post Mar 20 2007, 06:05 PM
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OK, here it is: A far from complete mimi-review:

Right out of the gate, I must mention that I was a pretty staunch Zauruz user for years (truly - I started using the SL-5500 all the way up to the SLC-3000 until it was stolen). So I had already convinced myself that nothing could stack up to them.

First off, the N800 is a solid piece of hardware. It feels as solid as any clamshell Zaurus I've used. I also bought the SU-8W bluetooth keyboard to go with it. I should mention that since I had planned on using this as a sort of mini laptop, I've not invested any time in using the handwriting feature. Actually, I do pretty much everything from the bluetooth keyboard, but the user interface is quite friendly to boh stylus and fingertip input, and the size of the virtual keyboard will change as it detects whether you're using a stylus or your fingers. A nice touch.

There are four buttons on top that control full screen mode, font +/- size and volume up/down, depending on which application you're using. There's also a D-pad that works just like the Zaurus D-pad, as well as menu, back and home buttons. On the left side there is a pop-out camera that can be used with the Internet Chat app. There is also a hinged sort of kickstand to prop the unit up for optimal viewing. There are two slots for SD cards, one behind the battery cover and the other accessible from the bottom of the unit. An undocumented internal piece of hardware is an FM receiver!

The applications that ship with the unit are decent, such as Opera 8, which has the Flash player plugin (that means Youtube works, albeit at about 2 frames per second), a media player that handles the usual formats, such as mp3, wav, mp4 and 3gp among others, the previosly mentioned chat program that can handle voice and video, as well as text, a contact manager, a PDF reader and other utilities such as a calculator, a clock and a notes application. There are also a handful of games, which admittedly I don't play.

There is also a pretty good Application Manager which is used to install, update and remove programs. Like the Zaurus, you can install programs locally or via online repositories. The Backup/Restore program is straightforward. There's a Control Panel set of applets that handle the usual things such as hardware, date/time, display/sound and Bluetooth and Connectivity control.

Coming from the Zaurus, I was AMAZED at the ease in setting up bluetooth and wireless connectivity. Both were sort of hit or miss on the Zaurus, depending on the CF cards you bought. Because both are built into the N800, the device instantly found all my bluetooth hardware (two different phones and the keyboard). The Connectivity program found more wireless access points in my neighborhood than my laptop does. The signal is quite strong. And the places I've taken it are easily discovered as well, and so far have handled different WEP key lengths/bits with ease. Once it discovers an access point you get a dialog box pop-up asking if you'd like to store that information for later use. When you come back to that particular access point, it will automatically connect to it. Very nice.

As far as multimedia goes, this thing rocks. Prior to purchasing the N800, I had read all sorts of horror stories regarding playback of videos. Turns out most of the horror stories have so far proven to be untrue, at least in my case. There's a free java front-end to mencoder called Media Converter that has so far converted everything I've put to it and the output is quite playable, even at full screen, 30 fps resolution. But if the installed Media Player isn't to your liking, you can also install MPlayer. Personally, I prefer Media Player to MPlayer, but that's just me. It just seems more polished. I've also found a couple of Ogg players, neither of which are that spectacular, but they both work.

I've added a whole bunch of other programs, thanks to many of the repositories listed at downloads.maemo.org and garage.maemo.org. The usual suspects: XTerm, ssh server/client, rdesktop, Gaim, Minimo (although I far prefer Opera), Password Safe, Leafpad, FBReader, doc Reader, Gnumeric, SDict and a few games. I also found a decent FM radio applet to take advantage of the FM receiver.

You may have noticed earlier that I hadn't mentioned a calendar application that ships with the unit, because there isn't one installed. This really surprised me. However, the defense seems to be that the unit isn't meant to be a PIM. In any case, I installed the GPE set of PIM apps, so that was easily fixed.

For VoIP, I installed Gizmo Project. It works very well. There's an extremely sensitive mic located on the top side of the unit, so I've found that I need to find a fairly quiet area to use it and to speak a bit softer than I normally would. The mic picks up background noise very easily. I should be able to plug in a combo mic/headphone set, but haven't had the chance to test that yet. I've read that Skype will also be available for the N800 sometime in the second quarter.

What don't I like about the unit? I really wish they had included a hardcover case. It ships with a soft slip cover, which provides little to no protection. The first thing I did was go and buy a Targus padded PDA case. I've been able to get just under four hours of continuous use out of it with 50% backlight, bluetooth and wireless on, while with the Zaurus I could easily get close to six hours before having to recharge. I wish that both SD slots were externally accessible. The documentation states that each slot can handle up to 2 Gig, but I've been reading in various forums that 4 Gig cards are reported to work. I currently use two 2 Gig SD cards. I wish that the unit could funtion in USB host mode. I've read that this can actually be done, but haven't yet investigated.

As far as software, I've been able to find pretty much everything I need, with the exception of a good word processor. I was using TextMaker extensively on the Zaurus, so I really miss it. I have read that Abiword will work on the N800, but that's not been my experience. I can't get it to install. My workaround is to edit text in Leafpad, then transfer the text to my PC for later formatting. Not at all optimal.

After using the unit solidly for almost a week, I have to admit I would probably never go back to the Zaurus. First of all, it's been declared a dead product line by Sharp. Second, the Zaurus was never marketed to a western audience, whereas the N800 clearly is. There are obviously many more programs available for the Zaurus, as the developer community is much larger and has a few years head start over the Maemo developer community, but I have hopes that that will change. With the exception of a lacking word processor, I really can't think of any other program that I can't find for the N800. At some point I also want to purchase a GPS puck and pair it with the N800 to take advantage of the large screen. I could gush on and on about the screen, but that's been done all over the internet, so no one needs to read it yet again.

Teamed with the bluetooth keyboard, I'm finding I leave my laptop behind more. All in all, it's a great, ultra-portable device.
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adf
post Mar 20 2007, 07:43 PM
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Thanks, that was informative. I'm really releived to hear that it is such a good device, and doubly so to hear it from a Z user. If I didn't already have a 3100, and designs on a neo this fall, I'd happily consider buying one. As is I'll recommend people (the right sort) looking for handhelds look at the n800.
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mars
post Mar 20 2007, 08:24 PM
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Here are a few ramblings ...

I have a Nokia N800 and a 3100 (pdaxii3). My conclusion so far is that they are *different.* The Nokia has a better internet experience and the built-in wifi and bluetooth is quite handy. A bluetooth keyboard is also a perfect match. There are also some interesting applications such as maemo-mapper and a vehicle diagnostic program.

However, the Z is so far much more versatile -- consider the near daily compiling of new apps for pdaXrom by the community.

Nokia's hildon framework to me is a bit like qtopia (I know they aren't technologically similar) -- applications have to be customized for each and aren't typically a straight compile -- which is why there is not yet a plethora of apps for the nokia n800.

And while my bluetooth keyboard is great to type on, I need to bring and set up a second device (the keyboard) to do any reasonable typing. You still can't beat having the Z's keyboard. Having extra keys on the Z also comes in handy for the little things like increasing the screen brightness when the sun is blinding and you can't see the screen.

However, the nokia's screen is bigger and 800x480 which is nice.

For media playing, I actually prefer the Zaurus. I haven't had great success with mplayer on the nokia yet. For the internal media player on the nokia, you have to re-encode the videos or for my xvid encoded 320x480 videos, find a FourCC code changer so that the nokia thinks they are divx files. Mplayer on the zaurus is also better on advancing through the movie using the keyboard.

I also prefer xmms for my music too over the nokia's media player.

I am convinced now that you can really get on with just SD cards of which the nokia takes two. There is a kernel update to allow the use of SDHC cards on the N800 which means that 8GB cards are usable.

The nokia's built in low quality camera and FM radio are gimmicks to me.

Overall, I enjoy the Nokia, but it isn't a Zaurus replacement for me -- this is unfortunate, because I thought of selling my Z and all its paraphernalia. The nokia has a different set of virtues (primarily focused around an always connected device). For me, my use cases tend to favor the Zaurus.
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speculatrix
post Mar 21 2007, 03:57 AM
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thanks to rickh,mars for posting their comparitive reviews.

I'd been thinking about trying an N800 for a while. I started with an 860, then moved to a 6000, and when I broke it replaced it with a 3100 (the 770 was too flawed). I never really took to the 6000, as the keyboard was just a bit cumbersome - nowhere near as good as the clamshell models, but not quite bad enough to warrant carrying a mini keyboard, so it really just added bulk.

The odd thing is that I have used Palms for years (currently T3) without a keyboard: tho' I have a folding keyboard, I gave it to my wife as I am quite happy with the graffiti1 (downgraded from g2) input system - there again, I've never used command-line type apps on the Palm, nor word processing.

I know that if I did get an N800, I'd have to get the keyboard if it were to replace the Zaurus, so it'd suddenly be a lot more to carry, and in which case I'd rather use my Sony TX2!!

I'm tempted to buy my wife the N800 for her birthday as she likes the Z for web browsing, and wouldn't care about keyboard... then if I really liked it, I could buy another smile.gif
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mars
post Mar 21 2007, 07:55 AM
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speculatrix said:

QUOTE
The odd thing is that I have used Palms for years (currently T3) without a keyboard: tho' I have a folding keyboard, I gave it to my wife as I am quite happy with the graffiti1 (downgraded from g2) input system - there again, I've never used command-line type apps on the Palm, nor word processing.


Way back when I had a palm, graffiti worked just fine. And when I had an original iPaq pocketpc, calligrapher from phatware was awesome -- but I haven't found any handwriting recognition on a Linux handheld to get excited about.

The Nokia N800 also has a thumb typing mode where the keyboard takes up almost the whole screen -- it works a bit faster than the regular soft keyboard and pecking with the stylus.

If your wife likes reading books, the N800 is awesome in that respect with FBReader. My wife, for example, finds the Nokia to be better for reading books than the Zaurus (I guess too many buttons on the zaurus).
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rickh
post Mar 21 2007, 09:25 AM
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Just an update...

I was finally able to get Abiwordd installed, and so far, it works nicely! This totally made my day.

R.
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