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> Thinking Of Getting An N800
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.

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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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Posts in this topic
rickh   Thinking Of Getting An N800   Mar 14 2007, 11:11 AM
mars   I don't think there is a real word processor y...   Mar 14 2007, 02:43 PM
rickh   Well, I took the plunge and bought the N800 as wel...   Mar 15 2007, 12:57 PM
Antikx   QUOTE(rickh @ Mar 15 2007, 02:57 PM)Well, I t...   Mar 15 2007, 06:00 PM
rickh   QUOTE(Antikx @ Mar 16 2007, 02:00 AM)Congrats...   Mar 17 2007, 08:13 AM
Antikx   QUOTE(rickh @ Mar 17 2007, 10:13 AM)QUOTE(Ant...   Mar 17 2007, 10:00 AM
Bombur   How well does the SU-8W work? I was thinking of g...   Mar 16 2007, 07:01 AM
rickh   QUOTE(Bombur @ Mar 16 2007, 03:01 PM)How well...   Mar 16 2007, 10:44 AM
Snappy   Congrats to you as well! And as Antikx menti...   Mar 16 2007, 12:59 PM
rickh   OK, here it is: A far from complete mimi-review: ...   Mar 20 2007, 06:05 PM
adf   Thanks, that was informative. I'm really relei...   Mar 20 2007, 07:43 PM
mars   Here are a few ramblings ... I have a Nokia N800 ...   Mar 20 2007, 08:24 PM
speculatrix   thanks to rickh,mars for posting their comparitive...   Mar 21 2007, 03:57 AM
mars   speculatrix said: QUOTEThe odd thing is that I ha...   Mar 21 2007, 07:55 AM
rickh   Just an update... I was finally able to get Abiwo...   Mar 21 2007, 09:25 AM
ArchiMark   Well, I decided to take the plunge today and got a...   Apr 3 2007, 08:07 PM
adf   looking forward to what you can tell us   Apr 3 2007, 08:34 PM
ArchiMark   QUOTE(adf @ Apr 3 2007, 09:34 PM)looking forw...   Apr 10 2007, 01:21 PM
adf   Sounds like the n800 is a kind of "next step...   Apr 10 2007, 06:35 PM
chyang   I was tempted to buy a N800, mainly for it's l...   Apr 10 2007, 12:16 PM
BarryW   I ordered one this morning. At the moment MacMall...   Apr 24 2007, 07:21 PM
mdanehart   Excellent device with great battery life. Found mi...   Apr 25 2007, 01:23 AM
rickh   Just want to give an update... Im currently trav...   Apr 25 2007, 11:52 AM
ArchiMark   Update FWIW, I thought I'd give a quick updat...   May 2 2007, 05:16 AM
rickh   QUOTE(ArchiMark @ May 2 2007, 01:16 PM)...esp...   May 6 2007, 09:58 AM
ArchiMark   QUOTE(rickh @ May 6 2007, 10:58 AM)QUOTE(Arch...   May 6 2007, 02:24 PM
Fushnchupsh   tis a shame mark, but thanks. I was sincerely thi...   May 2 2007, 07:43 AM
zmiq2   So you are getting rid of both N800 and C3200 ? M...   May 2 2007, 07:51 AM
ArchiMark   QUOTE(zmiq2 @ May 2 2007, 08:51 AM)So you are...   May 2 2007, 02:11 PM
BarryW   I'm digging mine so far. I haven't even t...   May 2 2007, 12:31 PM
ArchiMark   Clarification of Previous Update... Just for the ...   May 2 2007, 02:13 PM
chyang   Got my N800 for several days. I was pretty satisif...   May 10 2007, 06:51 AM

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