Hands-On With The Nokia Booklet 3G

Last night I had the chance to spend some time with the Nokia Booklet 3G, Nokia’s new netbook, and I have to say – it’s dang impressive. Comparing side-by-side to my trusty Asus 1000HE, the Booklet 3G is smaller, lighter, and built *much* more solidly. It’s also alot sexier, thanks to the aluminum body and glass screen.

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The Booklet 3G is powered by the Intel Atom Z530 processor, which is part of the reason it’s able to boast 12 hours of battery life and full HD video (720p) playback, as well as an HDMI-out port, so you can connect it up to your TV, if you wanted. It will run Windows 7 Starter or Windows 7 Home Premium, and will most likely be available through your operator. It will also come with only 1GB of RAM, and that’s *not* user-upgradeable, unfortunately.

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In terms of software, they’re really working on bringing it to the consumer with as little bloatware (or crapware, as the Nokia rep last night called it) as possible. It will have a new Nokia Update application that will check that you always have the latest version of Nokia’s Ovi Suite 2.0 (which is currently in beta, but should be ready for the Booklet’s debut) and other Nokia applications.

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The keyboard is extremely comfortable – I had no problem touch-typing, similar to my Asus 1000HE. You can see a pic of the keyboard below, to get an idea of the layout and size of the keys. The touchpad is small, and is not currently multi-touch compatible, like the one on my Asus 1000HE. However, I was able to give some feedback to the product manager on that, and he said it’s likely something we’ll see in the future. Also, the keyboard is not currently backlit, and when I brought it up, he reacted as though he simply hadn’t thought about it. He also made a point to write it down, so that he could investigate the possibilities. The battery is a custom-built 16-cell battery (most netbooks come with 6 or 8-cell) and I have no doubts it really will power through the full advertised 12 hours.

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Priced at 575EUR (US$820) it’s certainly quite pricey, though Nokia was pretty clear that they don’t believe most consumers will purchase the Booklet 3G alone – it’ll usually come subsidized through a carrier or something like that, which would be good.

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Published by rcadden

Just a dude with a phone.

10 thoughts on “Hands-On With The Nokia Booklet 3G

  1. The price tag will be a dealbreaker for many. While our friends in Europe and elsewhere will get it for cheaper on contract, Nokia doesn’t exactly have a good record of contract subsidy deals with US carriers, so I’m not holding my breath.

  2. The price tag will be a dealbreaker for many. While our friends in Europe and elsewhere will get it for cheaper on contract, Nokia doesn’t exactly have a good record of contract subsidy deals with US carriers, so I’m not holding my breath.

  3. As you know, I do have some misgivings about the price. Yes, I know that’s ironic coming from a Mac user. ^_^

    However, as a new entry into the netbook arena (and ignoring the price completely for a moment) I think Nokia have done themselves proud with the Booklet 3G. I’ll definitely be looking to replace our Acer Aspire One with one of these.

    The big pluses for me are the HD 720p screen and HDMI output.

    And for the record, I really, really like Window 7 as a netbook OS. It’s certainly better than a hacked OS X and much more useful than any brand of Linux, and I’ve tried about 5 of them on my AAO.

    My big question now is this; Are Nokia in danger of spreading themselves too thinly? Microsoft and Sony have both suffered from a lack of focus over the last 10 years, I wouldn’t want to see the same thing happen to Nokia.

  4. As you know, I do have some misgivings about the price. Yes, I know that’s ironic coming from a Mac user. ^_^

    However, as a new entry into the netbook arena (and ignoring the price completely for a moment) I think Nokia have done themselves proud with the Booklet 3G. I’ll definitely be looking to replace our Acer Aspire One with one of these.

    The big pluses for me are the HD 720p screen and HDMI output.

    And for the record, I really, really like Window 7 as a netbook OS. It’s certainly better than a hacked OS X and much more useful than any brand of Linux, and I’ve tried about 5 of them on my AAO.

    My big question now is this; Are Nokia in danger of spreading themselves too thinly? Microsoft and Sony have both suffered from a lack of focus over the last 10 years, I wouldn’t want to see the same thing happen to Nokia.

  5. James – the Booklet is, imo, one of the more interesting announcements at Nokia World, due to a number of factors, some of which you touched on. It’s an entirely new market for them, and to be honest, they don’t really have a strong history of succeeding with their non-phone ‘explorations’ (internet tablets, stand-alone gps units, etc), so it will be interesting to see how this one fares.

    They *have* completely nailed the build quality, and there are a number of software enhancements that will serve to differentiate the Booklet from the competition.

    In regards to the pricing, I think they’ve something similar to what Apple did with the iPhone. They’ve priced it so that it’s not completely realistic/competitive to buy it without contract. They’re pricing it so that the only way 90% of consumers will purchase one is with contract, and I think that’s a rather good idea, honestly. Just like the iPhone, using the Booklet 3G without a SIM card will be possible, but it will also be an incredibly sub-par experience, compared to one with a SIM card and unlimited data account.

  6. James – the Booklet is, imo, one of the more interesting announcements at Nokia World, due to a number of factors, some of which you touched on. It’s an entirely new market for them, and to be honest, they don’t really have a strong history of succeeding with their non-phone ‘explorations’ (internet tablets, stand-alone gps units, etc), so it will be interesting to see how this one fares.

    They *have* completely nailed the build quality, and there are a number of software enhancements that will serve to differentiate the Booklet from the competition.

    In regards to the pricing, I think they’ve something similar to what Apple did with the iPhone. They’ve priced it so that it’s not completely realistic/competitive to buy it without contract. They’re pricing it so that the only way 90% of consumers will purchase one is with contract, and I think that’s a rather good idea, honestly. Just like the iPhone, using the Booklet 3G without a SIM card will be possible, but it will also be an incredibly sub-par experience, compared to one with a SIM card and unlimited data account.

  7. Good points Ricky. Interesting times, especially as they may well be selling the Booklet 3G against some form of iTablet from Apple which will also likely be carrier subsidised.

  8. Good points Ricky. Interesting times, especially as they may well be selling the Booklet 3G against some form of iTablet from Apple which will also likely be carrier subsidised.

  9. Honestly, I don’t buy into the iTablet stuff, but then again, I couldn’t care less, either. 😉 But yes, it will be very interesting to see how the netbook market progresses over the next 12-18 months, specifically as the carriers continue to take an increasing interest in them.

  10. Honestly, I don’t buy into the iTablet stuff, but then again, I couldn’t care less, either. 😉 But yes, it will be very interesting to see how the netbook market progresses over the next 12-18 months, specifically as the carriers continue to take an increasing interest in them.

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