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First impressions – Nokia N8

We've just had our first hands-on with Nokia's super-connectable N8. The Symbian^3-running touchscreen smartphone will be Nokia's flagship N-series sm

We’ve just had our first hands-on with Nokia’s super-connectable N8. The Symbian^3-running touchscreen smartphone will be Nokia’s flagship N-series smartphone when it hits the shops in Q3.

But you don’t care – you’re just about to queue up for an iPhone 4. Why should you wait for a Nokia phone? Here’s five reasons:

1. It out-performs the iPhone. The N8 has a 12MP Carl Zeiss camera. It has a Xenon flash. It takes 720p video with two digital microphones for decent sound ambience.

2. It’s super-connected. Like the Motorola XT720, the N8 has a mini-HDMI socket on the top. Via a mini-HDMI to HDMI dongle (supplied) you can connect your phone to your TV and watch HD movie trailers complete with surround sound, see your glorious 12MP images or merrily flip through your albums using the cover flow-esque interface.

(The N8 has two processors, one of which is dedicated to running graphics. Playback of HD content on-screen or outputting to a TV was seamless throughout the demo.)

There’s more – the N8’s mini-USB socket will let you plug in a digital camera or USB memory stick so you can view or share the files therein. That makes crashingly good sense, especially in a world where people are constantly asking us why the iPad doesn’t have a USB socket.

3. It’s a sat-nav. Ovi Maps is pre-installed. We like Ovi Maps, because unlike other free sat-nav options, it feels sophisticated and has a proper walking mode.

4. It’s different. Choose from five different colours, all of which are anodized aluminium and so should survive in the daily pocket battle with your keys and change. None of which could be confused with Apple’s sober black or white options.

5. It’s likely to be cheaper. Although Nokia has yet to announce official pricing for the N8, either on Vodafone or SIM-free through the Nokia Store, rumour has it that it’ll undercut the iPhone by quite some pocket money. And yet it feels solid as a rock.

There’s your five reasons. There are others – Flash support, long battery life, 3D gaming, a revamped email app and Wi-Fi-assisted location finding – all of which we’ll have to hold our judgmental tongues about until we get to play with a production N8.

But, as it stands, if by Q3 you haven’t got an iPhone 4, and you’re entertainment-centric consumer with a penchant for connectivity, the N8 might well be worth a look.

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