Last month, I succumbed to temptation and bought another gadget. Lately these Nokia 770 Internet Tablets have been all over the internet at a really good price. I picked one up at Buy.com for $139. It seems these are on clearance off because the 770 has been superseded by the newer N800.
Since this device has been on the market for a while, there are already a ton of detailed reviews out there. So, my goal is to not repeat them, but give you my perspective on how I have been using it and how it compares to my current Pocket PC (although, as you’ll see, its a little like comparing apples to oranges.)
The number one thing that pushed me over the edge to buy this (besides the price) was the screen. Nokia did a beautiful job with the screen on this device. I had the opportunity to use one of these before I made the purchase myself, so I got to see the screen first hand. Having the 800×480 display truly makes this device usable for real web browsing. It’s very crisp and bright. However, holding up to my friend’s iPhone in the bright sunshine, I noticed it’s not as bright, but absolutely no complaints indoors.
The number two thing that won me over was the fact it’s a Linux device AND Nokia is extremely supportive of community development for the platform. This is shown by their contributions to the Maemo website. The geek in me can’t help but dream of the endless possibilities that an open mobile LINUX platform brings. However, the practical side of me knows I’ll rarely ever have the time to develop or port any of my own applications. Fortunately there are others out there that do have the time, and I’m very thankful of that.
I bought this 2GB MobileMMC card to replace the measly 32MB card that came with it. It works with the 770 out of the box, but there is also this replacement kernel you can flash to get better performance. I had only a slight problem reflashing the kernel, but that was because the flasher tool is expecting an older version of Linux. I used an older version of Knoppix I had lying around (version 5.1.0) and didn’t have any problems.
Pocket PC Comparison
As many of the other reviews have mentioned, the 770 is not intended to be a PDA replacement. It doesn’t really come with any contact, calendaring or task management software. Although there are some out there, like GPE. Even with GPE, there’s no good way (yet) to sync with Windows applications (please correct me if you find something.) However, this is something I hope to work on and will be posting on any progress I make.
While the Pocket PC is superior with managing information, the 770 is way better for browsing and email, in large part due to the better screen. However, the supplied mail reader is complete garbage. Download Claws-mail instead.
The physical size difference between my 770 and the Axim X30 was surprising (see photo.) The 770 is only about an inch longer than the Axim, and they are the same width. This gives me some encouragement that from a form-factor perspective, it has the potential to be a PDA replacement.
Once in a while, I’ve had an odd random reset. It’s not completely random though, it usually corresponds to launching some application or performing some operation. I think it’s happened a total of three times. I’m not really concerned yet though. I would say it’s about as frequent as my having to soft reset my Pocket PC.
I’m also putting together a list of “essential” maemo apps, so be looking for that soon too.