Personally, after a few weeks of fascination, I haven’t used the 770 much because it simply lacks a killer app. It’s so cool to play with and has tons of potential, but I (like everyone else) would need a very compelling reason to use this device daily. The on-board apps (web, email, etc.) are just the basics, not a killer app. That’s where I think Silicon Valley should really step up and embrace this device so it doesn’t go away. Really, the 770 is a gift from Nokia to the Valley, with a big bow on top.
Enthusiast technology news site ArsTechnica runs a review of Nokia 770 today:
After spending a few days using the 770 intensely, I feel conflicted about it. I want to love it, and some aspects of it exceeded my expectations. At the same time, the 770 has some serious shortcomings that need to be addressed in v2.0 of the 770 (or in the 771) if it is going to have wide success.
Performance can be sluggish. It is capable of multitasking, but as you might surmise from the hardware specs, that comes at a price. As I noted earlier, some web pages suck up so much of the 770’s resources that you can’t even open another window without closing the page you’re working on. Waiting 15 seconds for the bookmark manager to load or to view an e-mail message is an eternity for someone accustomed to a modern OS and not-quite-modern hardware. In that regard, it’s significantly slower than my Audiovox XV6600 at some tasks.
MobileBurn runs a 9-page (wow!) review of Nokia 770.
If Nokia can somehow get the 770 bundled with home broadband service in a way that gets the cost down to about $100 (subsidized, of course), then I think it could break into the mainstream. If they can’t pull that off, and I think it is a tall order, I imagine it will end up like the Tablet PC “craze” in that it will have a die-hard core group of fans/consumers, but will not become something you see everywhere. In a world where you can buy a fully featured desktop PC for $350, it will be hard to get people to plunk down that much on something that fits in the palm of your hand - and doesn’t even have a keyboard.
But do I want one? Most certainly yes. Do you? If you are reading this, my guess is that you, too, want one, and that you’ll be quite happy with it - as long as you have a WiFi enabled broadband connection at home.
PC Mag published a review of Nokia 770:
We connected the 770 to Wi-Fi networks using both WEP and WPA encryption without a problem. Bluetooth connectivity was a little tougher—we had to dig up our wireless carrier’s dial-up networking settings. We eventually got it connected to the Internet via Cingular’s network, using both the Nokia N90 and Sony Ericsson S710a phones as modems. We totally failed to connect it to Motorola V551 and V557 phones, receiving the message back from the tablet that it could not complete “service discovery.”
We found the 770’s interface a little bit gummy, but more worrying is that the device can easily max out its 250-MHz TI OMAP 1710 processor and its 64MB of RAM. Opening two browser windows and starting a mail session brought performance to a standstill.
I was cuddling up with my girlfriend tonight and we decided to look up some info on the net that we were talking about. The problem was that my laptop was inconveniently out of reach, and would require us to go outside into the cold and leave the nice warm room. It was then that I realized that my Nokia 770 was sitting in my coat pocket. I pulled it out and fired up the web browser, and soon we were Googling our way to knowledge.
Russ Nelson discusses the stylus in Nokia 770:
It has a magnet and sensor to detect when the cover is hiding the screen, so the machine sleeps when the cover is on. The cover also keeps the stylus from falling out when it’s closed. Unfortunately, when it’s open, it also prevents you from accessing the stylus.
Vidar Madsen writes a review of Nokia 770:
For me, speaking as both a user and developer, the free and open Maemo distribution is a bit incomplete compared to the official Nokia install. The free one lacks a few things, such as a browser and the e-mail application. Then again, the Nokia install lacks some utilities for software installation and development. I found it a bit disappointing to have to choose between these two options, but I’m trying to find a way to get the best of both worlds. And I think I might have found one that suits me.
I got mine Friday too (dev program)… The first thing I did was install xterm and get ssh running. After that, I spent most of my time squinting at the screen trying to read websites. I’ve had no problems connecting to my cheap Fry’s access point with WPA/PSK.
The device itself is pretty interesting. It doesn’t actually turn off (unless you explictly tell it to). It doesn’t even sleep in the traditional laptop way… it just turns off the screen and wireless (and sends the CPU into a type of sleep mode). That makes turning it back “on” instantaneous… and I like that.
However, I have a few gripes with it. The screen (beautiful as it is), I think is actually too small. The screen is too small to hold the device at a comfortable distance away and actually read a website. You have to zoom the browser just to be able to read the text (at a comfortable distance). (Disclaimer: I am under 30 and wear glasses, so my vision isn’t the problem). Also, there is no scroll wheel. This means that in order to scroll in Opera, you have to take the stylus (which is uncomfortable in and of itself) and click and drag the screen. With only a limited screen height, reading slashdot can be painful… more so than usual. The main buttons are also a little small, and force your hand into an awkward angle to use them. The directional pad is also blocked by the screen cover, so that makes clicking the left arrow a little difficult to use.
Also, there is not enough RAM on the device. Reading a website like ESPN (lots of flash and graphics) will cause the device to slow down and display “Low memory” warnings. However, GMail works like a charm…
I would have also liked to have seen a CF slot. My digital camera uses CF cards, and this would have made a great platform for viewing pictures. But this also goes back to the size… they went small and didn’t have room for anything more than an RS-MMC.
Final gripe: wireless is great for one location, but there is no easy way to configure the device to work in multiple locations. You can define wireless networks and wep/wsa-psk codes for each network, but there is no way to easy switch between them. For example, I have it configured to auto-connect to my home network. When I go to work, it has to try to connect to my home network, fail, and then I can select which access point I’d like to try to connect to. Also, there isn’t support for VPN connections, which makes my campus wireless access (PPTP) impossible.
Overall, the 770 is a good little device. In fact, I have to steal it back from my wife at times (it includes a Mahjong game)… It has a good interface (modified gnome/gtk), and connectivity is good. However, it is too small to be useful as a good internet tablet at home. The size is a bonus in that it is easily portable, but the difficulty in switching between networks makes travelling (and using 802.11 connectivity) harder than it should be. I also like the fact that you can attach the 770 to your main computer and it appear as a usb flash drive… this definitely makes getting files onto the device easy.
There is a lot to like, and a lot to not like. If you get one, just know the limitations and you’ll be happy. After playing with mine for a few days, I’m not sure I would not have bought one at retail price… to tell you the truth, I’m not sure I would have paid the developer’s price either… This is a good first effort by Nokia, and their software deisgn is actually very good. They just need to work on the hardware design… I hope that the 2006 software update fixes the problems with configuration, but that isn’t going to change the hardware issues.
I’d give it a 6/10.
I’ve had one for a week now. It’s great.. except it doesn’t reliably connect to my Netgear router at home, and everything else does including a Nokia 9500 Communicator.
Sure, there’s a lot of other traffic going on in the same frequency band with thing like the neighbour’s wireless access points, DECT phones and the like but NOTHING seems to make this connect reliably.
At work, with less interference I can connect just fine to a bog standard access point. Also, no problem with any Bluetooth phones (I use a Sharp).
Despire the wireless connectivity issues - the 770 ROCKS. The 800 pixel wide screen is actually smaller than you’d think though, it’s just very high resolution. The screen clarity is excellent. The web browser is excellent, plus there’s a so-so RSS reader and an email client which I haven’t used yet.
The interface is quite simple and easy to learn, although a few minutes studying the slim manuals that come with it is a good idea. Windows users shouldn’t have much trouble adapting.
When I ordered mine I got a letter explaining that I was one of the first people to get a 770, and Nokia would like to have an interview with me to find out what I think, so I’ll mention the wireless connectivity problems then. Other than that, it’s great. Good quality web access no matter where you go, and it does a (limited) range of multimedia too.
One thing I can’t figure out.. how can they make something this sophisticated for that much money? They can’t be making a profit on it!