Latest N-carnation

I’ve had the Nokia N82 for a few days now so its time to update on my early impressions.

I was quite intrigued to see what the N82 actually had to offer, a quick check on the Nokia site seems to suggest that it is damn similar to the N95 apart from the obvious visual differences.

N82 N95 Front

So its got the 5MP camera, same Carl Zeiss lens, GPS, basically everything the N95 has, in fact if you compare the two side by side on the nokia site you will struggle to find any difference at all between the specs.

Makes me wonder what is the point? It also makes me worry just a little bit, this newer phone might in someway be an improvement on my own phone, and that just won’t do, especially as I have to send it back.

N95 N82 Rear

So when I opened the box I was a bit relieved/disappointed. The N82 isn’t very exciting to look at. It’s even worse to caress as it feels like a plastic kids toy. I don’t know why Nokia keep insisting on putting together some really desirable packages and then wrapping them in crappy cases. Gadgets need to be sexy. The N95 isn’t really that great to look at either but the burgundy back plate sure beats the awful pearlescent number on the rear of the N82. Both phones are improved by the addition of the battery, the extra weight seems to make you feel a bit more confident in the kit.

If you believe the spec list (which obviously I don’t) the only difference is in the case and style of phone. You can see this from the photos but basically the N82 is longer, thinner and a bit lighter. The N95 is a slider though and it becomes a bit longer than the N82 when you open it. I can’t stand the buttons on the new phone, you have to twist your thumb on its side and use the nail to dab at the ridiculous bumps. Maybe my thumb is too big and I really need a special needs phone. The only exterior improvement is the lens cover, that has an incredibly satisfying motion, I just sit there clicking it open and shut. I may have OCD as well as a special needs thumb but its very therapeutic, just like popping bubble wrap.

As soon as you start playing with the lense cover you notice how much faster the camera is to respond. It engages immediately, none of the 10 second delay that you have to get used to with the N95. The responsiveness applies when taking a shot as well – instantantaneous. This results in a better photo, the two cameras may have the same lens but there is much less camera shake with the N82 and the Xenon flash is much better (more powerful or something), shots taken in dim light are very impressive.

The screen is a touch smaller but has the same resolution and is crisper, brighter and appears to have more colours if thats possible. The screen rotate function works pretty well as you move the phone round as well but I think you can download an app for the N95 to get it to do this too.

All the features seem just a little more refined on the N82 but I still wouldn’t swap it. The case is just too unappealing and I’m clearly a gadget whore requiring more than just a good personality. This is a phone for someone with more sense than me and so long as they don’t hold it before the battery goes in, I’m sure they will be impressed. It’s encouraged me to go through the palaver of upgrading the firmware on my N95, hopefully that will reduce the gap in performance just a little bit.

*Two Week Update*

After playing with the N82 for almost 2 weeks now I have to start thinking about sending it back. Trouble is, I really don’t want to.

I still hate the silly little buttons but I’ll live with them because everything else about the phone is so swish. I wonder if they’ll notice when I stuff the N95 back in the box and keep the N82 for myself?

There are two major improvements over the N95 and these are the radically enhanced GPS reception and a much improved camera facility. The GPS picks up almost instantly and even seems to hold the signal indoors, it beats my Garmin Forerunner 305 by minutes and the N95 trails in last place, occasionally failing to pick up a signal at all before I’ve decided to give up and start my run anyway. Now that I’ve got myself addicted to Sportstracker I don’t want to lose the functionality.

Then there is the camera, I’ve already commented on the responsiveness and snazzy lens cover but the quality of the picture is much improved too. I don’t think there is much difference in quality when the light conditions are good but when the flash is required you want to opt for the N82 and on the night scene setting I’ve witnessed amazing results.

I’m even beginning to think it’s an attractive phone, in its own special way.

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Chrimble BPTT

Today was the annual showing of the Christmas Bushy Park Time Trial and I’ve been looking forward to this particular event for about 340 days, since my first introduction to the wonder of the time trial phenomonen back in February. It would have been easy to stay in bed this morning, it was dark and gloomy and of course presents awaited. Still, you can’t really resist that level of anticipation.

As I cycled through Richmond Park in the light drizzle, I puzzled a little over the knowing looks I received from the exhausted reindeer. They obviously knew what was in store for me – that’ll teach me not to leave any carrots out on Christmas Eve. When I mentioned yesterday that a downpour was required to wrap up a thorough test of the Salomon pack, it really wasn’t meant as a Dear Santa letter. I could have waited.

The rain held off for most of the run and I was able to “enjoy” the 5k amongst good company. I was adopted at the midway point by a first-timer and her motivational cousin and was able to experience a vicarious boost that carried me over the finish line relatively unscathed.

I even remembered the new phone this morning so I got to try out the Sports Tracker Beta application. It required a little bit of juggling to switch on both the garmin and the N82 without dropping the phone into the path of a couple of hundred runners but then it is a bit overkill to use two different devices. Sports Tracker has been around for a while and I remember Jogblog took it for a whirl a while ago, but the new version is quite impressive. The phone application links flawlessly to the website offering a live update of your progress, with your route appearing online as you run. Pretty nifty stuff.

sportstracker The website is particularly attractive and displays some respectable charts. You can view the page for the BPTT workout to get an idea of the detail available.

I can imagine this service being quite addictive and the stats will only get better as you add more workouts. I’m going to be using this again and have already downloaded the application to my N95, I’ll be interested to try it out on my next commute where I tend to have more trouble picking up a GPS signal. I’ll have the two phones going head to head against the garmin to see how reliable the reception is.

So, back to this morning, did I mention that it was raining? I finished up at the time trial and set off on the bike for 7 mile ride home. I was dreaming of roast potatoes and yorkshire puds when the sky starting lobbing buckets of gritty, grimey rain water at me. When I finally got home I was just staggered by the amount of water I’d managed to absorb and peeled the Salomon Raid Revo off directly over the bath expecting at least half a bucket of gulley water to come rushing out of the mini plug holes. As it happens the inside of the pack was still dry which is quite impressive given that no other part of me remained “dry” even my goretex jacket had failed under the onslaught.

It’s Christmas!

You should see the floor of my flat – tis littered with no end of exciting possibilities. I could of course take a snap and show you but then you’d see the truth, which involves an awful lot of boxes, wrapping and all those other things that I haven’t quite got round to putting away yet.

There are about 5 more months to go before I get thrown back into exam anxiety so in the meantime I’m needing a new project, that’s in addition to the running project and the allotment project which have ceased to be a new and have now slipped into the realms of “norm”. In times like these my fall back project always seems to be “teach yourself programming”, so here I am with a floor full of teaching manuals. The trouble with programming is the plethora of different languages out there, and then there are different variations of the same language like C, C+, C++ and C#, what is the novice supposed to make of it? As I can’t be bothered to research this too much I’ve opted to dabble with two languages at the same time: Python and VB.Net.

I’ve got python cos its free and sits nicely with computer that I just broke and accidentally forced into being a linux machine and VB.Net because that goes with my windows laptop and because Sporttracks, the best program ever (that I should have written) was developed in dotnet.

I’m sure no one is interested in all that but the other thing fighting for space on my floor is a little package that I’ve been asked to trial. Inside is a running rucsac the Salomon Raid Revo 20 and the latest Nokia N-carnation, the N82. What joy eh? I can see that I’ll have to go out and do a bit of running over the hols to try both of these gadgets out. Is it possible that the N82 could beat the N95 as running gadget par excellence?

The Raid Revo 20 is particularly welcome, I ordered the Inov8 Race Pro 18 ages ago but it seems to have been lost by the Royal Mail. I’ll try the salomon substitute tomorrow on my running commute and report back.


Kangoo Jumps

I managed to fit in a fantastic brick session last night.

I typically arrive home from my longish cycle commute feeling pretty jaded and a little less than motivated for an additional run but this weeks tube strike didn’t leave me with any options if I was going to stick to my schedule. So, before I left work I overdosed on faux red bull (ultra cheap tesco’s version) and had another shot when I made it home. Fantsatic stuff, I made it in and then out of the door again, kitted with garmin and running shoes within 15 mins, still full of beans.

I hoped for an 8-miler but the night was clawing it’s way towards me rapidly and as I was in the middle of Richmond Park it seemed prudent to cut the run short. I had my cycle escort but she was fretting terribly about the impending gloom so there was no bravery associated with numbers. Shame, because I love being in the park as the night sets in. First the cars vanish as the gates get locked up and then the bikers take over the roads, two and three abreast, fighting for the glory of the finish line. Stacks of single runners mingle with white arsed rabbits and the deer seem to get extra frisky as they regain control of the land.

Sunset Richmond Park

This snap is heavily photoshopped – the N95 doesn’t seem to handle dusky shots anywhere near as well as the D900, oh well. Take it from me, it was beautiful and considerably darker than the shot suggests. After the abortive photo attempt I had another little stint at 6 min/km, I understand this is sloooooow for many but for me its feels supa faaaast, hands gripping the steering wheel and foot twitching over the brake kinda fast. Admittedly I was going down hill and clinging on to the back of the bike but my legs were still spinning manically. I like speed – must consider doing something about it.