I’m typing this from my local coffee shop on a Nokia Booklet 3G, the Finnish handset maker’s entry into the crowded Netbook ‘mini laptop’ space. And there’s no doubt that I’m in possession of one of the better looking devices of this type that are on the market.
Nokia’s design cues feel like they’ve been taken directly from Cupertino, the hardware aesthetics are certainly Apple-inspired.
But then so is the price.
Retailing for just shy of £650 from Nokia’s own online store, for what is for the most part under the hood an average Atom-powered (1st generation?) Netbook, seems a little ambitious. Then again, your average price savvy Netbook buyer clearly isn’t the customer.
As I’ve noted before, the real customer of the Booklet 3G is mobile carriers who, presumably, Nokia is hoping will sell the device onto their customers, subsidized over a 18-24 month mobile broadband contract. Technology-wise, the Booklet 3G – built-in SIM slot, up to 12 hours battery life and GPS – is perfectly suited to this scenario.
And although I haven’t yet seen such offers here in the UK, should they enable the Booklet 3G to reach a price point closer to £199, then next to some of the plasticky looking Netbooks from Asus, Accer or MSI, for example, Nokia’s ‘premium’ device could standout and do better with business types or corporate accounts.
The handset maker also has plenty of brand recognition in Europe and, of course, the Booklet ties into Nokia’s Ovi services – so there’s potential consumer appeal too.
That said, my first impressions are a mixed bag: Great looking, well built, decent keyboard and large multi-touch track pad and buttons. The slightly higher resolution than most Netbooks is also handy. On the downside, it feels sluggish running Windows 7 with 1GB of RAM and has pretty rubbish sound. The 12 hours of battery life is clearly overstated too but to be honest, it still seems very impressive. I’m getting a reported 7+ hours remaining with an 86% charge and I’ve been using WiFi for over an hour already.
I have the Nokia Booklet 3G on an extended review loan so I plan to write an update/fuller review further down the line. In the meantime, leave your questions in the comments.