Nokia Booklet 3G Review

Friday 28th, May 2010 / 14:00 Written by

So, as you might already know, we had the Nokia Booklet 3G with us for a while, courtesy WOM World. The Booklet 3G is Nokia’s first netbook, and runs Microsoft Windows 7 starter edition.

Key Hardware Specs

CPU and chipset

  • Intel® Atom™ Z530, 1.6 GHz
  • Intel® Poulsbo US15W

Memory and hard drive

  • RAM: 1 GB DDR2
  • Hard drive: 120 GB

Display and keyboard

  • 10.1″, 1280 x 720 pixel display
  • Glass window
  • Frame keyboard

Wireless

  • WiFi: 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
  • Built-in 3G modem (data calls only): WCDMA 900/2100 or 800-850/900/2100

Battery

  • 56.8 Wh 16 Cell BC-1S Battery
  • Rated for 12 hours of usage

Audio and video

  • 1.3 megapixel FF camera
  • HDMI port for HD video out
  • Built-in stereo speakers, and microphone
  • Analog audio output / headphone out (with OMTP headsets also functions as audio-in)

I/O ports and slots

  • HDMI 1.2 out for HD video
  • 3 x USB 2.0
  • 3.5 mm headphone out (OMTP: with OMTP headsets also functions as audio in)
  • DC-in
  • SD card reader
  • SIM / USIM slot

If you want more detailed specs of the Booklet 3G head over to Nokia’s site.

Build

The Booklet 3G has an Aluminum chassis, crafted from a single piece of aluminum. The build on the netbook, along with the evenly spaced “chicklet” keyboard are part of the appeal. But what makes it stand out from the rest of the netbook crowd is the unbelievable battery life. It’s 56.8Wh battery is rated at 12 hours of usage.  It uses the Intel Poulsbo US15W chipset with  fan-less design, and is very, very quiet.

The 10.1″ display has a glass layer, and the images are quite crisp. The 1280 x 720 pixel display is more than adequate for standard web browsing, and using office, which is what I mainly used the Booklet 3G for. The only thing was the reflection off the glass cover. It isn’t too bad indoors, but working on the Booklet 3G tends to be a strain on the eyes outdoors due to the reflections on the screen.

The Booklet could have done with a bit more RAM. The standard 1GB is enough to run most applications, but there are times when I wished it had a bit more. Also you can’t add more RAM into this baby. I wonder why Nokia decided on not allowing users to add more memory if they wanted to.

Connectivity

Connectivity, both wired and wireless, is well covered. The Booklet supports WiFi b/g/n, bluetooth 2.1 and has a built in SIM slot, that supports WCDMA 900/2100 or EGSM 800-850/900/2100. The SIM slot is quite a boon, especially in Bangalore, where power outages are a daily affair! I used an Airtel SIM card, and was surprised to find that the EDGE connection was averaging 140kbps! Of course, you can just pop in a 3G SIM in it, and run wirefree!!  Vinu was able to get around 1.5 mbps on his BSNL 3G data service when he tried out speed tests, but then the speeds would depend on the mobile operator you’re using. The SIM card slot is also hot-swappable, so you can remove and add a card without having to shutdown or restart Windows.

The Booklet also has a built-in GPS chip, but we couldn’t manage to get it working. We were told that we need a working 3G network connection and the browser addons for Firefox/ Internet Explorer to get the A-GPS working. When we tried this out, the Location Widget couldn’t still track our location (screenshot above), which Ovi Maps was showing us we were in Delhi instead of Bangalore (screenshot below). If you were able to get position working on your unit, let us know by commenting below.


As for wired connectivity, there is HDMI and 3 USB ports. It doesn’t have an optical drive, but that’s to be expected from a netbook. You can always get an external drive and hook it up via USB. Firewire connectivity is missing on the Booklet.

Multimedia

The Booklet 3G comes with a standard 3.5mm headset jack, built in stereo speakers on both sides of the laptop. The built in speakers are good but not too loud. If you’re one to carry your music and movie collections on the go, I’d recommend that you carry a good pair of headphone with you.

The Booklet 3G also comes with a 1.3 Megapixel forward facing camera which allows you to take part in Video chat. Any video chat application can use this camera to transmit videos. None of the software bundled with the device use the camera, you’ll need to install your own software like Skype to get the camera working.

Battery Life

Even though the specs of the Booklet 3G mentions a whooping 12 hours of usage, we managed to squeeze more out of our trial unit. With some minor juggling around,we were consistently able to achieve more than 14 hours on a single charge. We set the power settings in Windows 7 to the balanced power . We also disconnected from WiFi and 3G networks when we didn’t actually require those connections for work.

Mobility

The Booklet 3G’s form factor makes it easy to slip into a small bag and carry around. It’s almost as the same dimensions as the iPad. The Booklet 3G’s dimensions are 264 x 185 x 19.9 mm compared to the iPad’s 242.8 x 189.7 x 13.4 mm. the Booklet 3G weighs around 1.25 kilograms, that ain’t too bad. The long battery life of the Booklet also means that you don’t have to carry the charger around if it’s fully juiced up.

Applications

Nokia bundles the Nokia software updater with the Booklet 3G, so the system and bundled software can be kept up to date at all times.

Nokia has bundled a few specific locations on the device, namely, the Ovi Suite, Nokia Music for PC, Ovi Maps and something called Nokia Social Hub. The first time the Nokia Software Updater runs, it gives you the option to download these software to your device. You can choose which ones to install without having to have all these on your device.

Nokia Social Hub is a pretty simple application that brings together your Twitter and Facebook feeds, onto one page, along with all your texts from the inserted SIM card. It brings up a notification window near system tray the when you receive updates.

Using  Nokia Social Hub can post updates to Facebook, tweet and re-tweet from the twitter account, and reply and and send SMS text messages using the SIM inserted. One issue was the lack of multiple account support for twitter, but that won’t be an issue for most people.

Multitasking? General daily use?

We mainly used Word, Powerpoint,Excel and of course, Firefox. Of course Firefox is quite heavy, and if you have multiple tabs open, expect a little delay when switching between tabs, or when switching between applications. There were a couple of instances when text entry was delayed, but it’s not all that bad. It almost felt like I was using my old D630 (with XP, was still slow, for a full blown laptop).  I didn’t try running movies with weird codecs, or  games on this device, if you have let us know by commenting below. But of course, this is a netbook, and as such, performed quite well.

Wrap up

The Nokia Booklet 3G. Now you wouldn’t really expect Nokia to get into the  netbook market. I mean, it is a pretty crowded space already, with a lotta value for money offerings, running various operating systems, all with almost the same hardware specs. It is currently listed at around 575 euros (Rs 33,500), which is quite a bit. But as we’d mentioned before, the only other well built netbooks with similar features are priced slightly higher. Nokia says that they aim to improve your mobile computing experience by using their mobility expertise. While it doesn’t really show, I’m sure with newer updates rolling in, there will a lot more that it will have to offer!!

Have a Booklet 3G? What do you think about it? Let us know in the comments section below. Also, follow us on twitter, we’re @myportableworld, and become a fan of our facebook page!

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About the author

Drummer, Car enthusiast and wanna be rally driver, between jobs and loving it! @raghukannan

View all articles by Raghu Kannan

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