I was very stunned when Nokia announced together with ATT the Nokia Booklet 3G; no one saw this move coming from the biggest mobile phone manufacturer in the world. However, is it that crazy to shift markets holding the leadership in another one? Absolutely not, the move was pretty smart: move from smartphones and ”handheld computers” to the netbook market, after all, both have one characteristic in common: computing on the go. The Nokia Booklet 3G is all about mobility: it is one comfortable device to carry on the go and be connected with the powerful full featured Windows 7. Nokia took the correct decision entering the netbook market; do they offer a product capable of standing next to competitors?
The Nokia Booklet 3G is a small netbook with some impressive design aspects. The Nokia Booklet 3G has an ”Aircraft-Grade Aluminium Slim body with Super Chasis Construction” according to Nokia. Of course that is a marketing strategy, just fancy words like ”Aircraft” that really don’t mean anything. But the Nokia Booklet 3G does have an impressive construction. The Super Slim body (19.9mm) of the Booklet is just as thick as the Nokia N97, and of course slightly thinner than the Nokia N900. The body is solid, one compact unit that doesn’t produce sounds when you shake it. The Booklet 3G weights 1250g, really light compared to the MacBook Air which weights 110g more. The Booklet 3G is Ultra portable, it will fit everywhere and won’t add a lot of weight to your case or backpack.
The Booklet 3G has stereo speakers on both sides, this are not really powerful and will not produce a sound loud enough to listen with extra noise on the background. The Booklet 3G has 3USB ports, one HDMI port, one SD Slot, SIM Slot and standard 3.5mm jack. One thing that bothers me about the Booklet 3G is that it doesn’t have the ethernet port, most hotels still offer it as the only way to connect to the internet, anyway, you can get a USB-Ethernet port for a few bucks. The Booklet 3G has a HD 10.1” display, the display is a bit glossy but produces beautiful colors and images. One thing I noticed is that the area where the screen goes has a lot of free space, Nokia could have embedded a bigger screen on the Booklet 3G since there is so much free space on every direction.
In the inside, the Booklet 3G has a standard keyboard, the trackpad and a 1.3MP camera. I find the keyboard pretty comfortable, took me one day to get used to it, now I find it comfortably enough to write everything, like this article. The 1.3 MP camera, however, is kind of a weird thing on the Booklet 3G. I was expecting to see something similar to Photo Booth on the Boooklet 3G, but there is no imaging software on the Booklet. I find it a stupid mistake from Nokia, how can they not add a simple app to take pics with the 1.3MP cam?
The Booklet 3G is a beautiful computer, it is really well designed. Come in three cool colors and is overall solid and reliable.
Performance and OS: Win7 Starter Ed?
The Booklet 3G comes with Windows 7 Starter Edition as the default version of Windows 7. I don’t blame Nokia for putting Started Ed on the Booklet, after all, it is a netbook. Starter Ed keeps the price low for users that don’t need anything more than the basic Win7 Starter Ed. What I do think, is that Win7 SE is just ridiculous, you can’t change the wallpaper! Other locked features are: Windows 7 Aero Peek, Media Center and Extended Desktop. If you need other versions of Windows 7 on the Booklet 3G, you can upgrade like I did with Windows Anytime Upgrade. It took me 10 minutes to update from Starter to Home Premium, it costs around $70.
Now the most important part, performance.
I am currently running the Booklet 3G with Windows 7 Home Premium. I normally use a netbook (yes, I don’t use anything else, all I need is a netbook) connected to an external monitor. I was very excited because of the Booklet’s HDMI port, that involved changing monitors but I didn’t mind. I had to upgrade to HP to get the external monitor feature, then connected my Booklet and started using the Booklet: SLOW!! It was really slow to use the Booklet 3G outputting to a 21” monitor @HD, the Booklet could handle it well until I opened something more than my +20 tabs on Chrome and E-Mail client. The flickering every 5 minutes was also driving me crazy. Here was when Win7 proved its usefulness and suggested to disable AeroPeek to increase performance. I did it, and I can now say that the Booklet 3G and my 21” monitor is an awesome combo. But the slowness is caused for outputting constantly @HD, don’t get me wrong. The Nokia Booklet 3G is more that able to run AeroPeek as long as you use the Booklet alone, not plugged into a monitor or anything.
The Booklet 3G is a fast netbook. The keyword here is netbook, the Booklet is NOT a laptop. To give you an example, I can have up to 15 open tabs and be using Photoshop at the same time, anything more than that will be really slow. Regarding YouTube, you can watch HD videos, only you can’t have anything else open at the same time. I did a test with this YouTube video: Asteroid (awesome scary video BTW) and it played fine if nothing else is open. In conclusion, the Booklet is a powerful machine, last week I purchased a rental movie at Amazon, I the plugged the Booklet to my TV and streamed District 9 without interruption! Of course everything else had to be closed and Aero Peek deactivated.
The Nokia Booklet 3G has a 1GB DDR2 memory, 120GB hard drive and Intel Atom Z530 1.6GHz processor. The memory is soldered to the body, so you won’t be able to change it!
The Booklet 3G is all about Connectivity on the go and the most important aspect of connectivity in my opinion is battery life. Nokia says that the Booklet 3G can go 12 hours without charging the battery, that might be true under special circumstances but not the real life. I have gotten up to 8-9 hours using WI-FI in power saving mode, still, it is a really impressive amount of time. But the coolest thing of the Booklet 3G is the SIM port, the Booklet has 3G so you can connect to a mobile network anywhere, you can send and receive SMS too. Apart from that, the Booklet has 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth.
The Nokia Booklet 3G also has GPS built-in. Again, like with the camera, Nokia has included the hardware but not the software. The Ovi Maps widget that comes with the Booklet 3G just shows you precisely where you are, and that is about it. There is no voice guided navigation software, clicking on the Ovi Maps widget just takes you to the Ovi Maps website where you can create routes and find places, but no voice guided navigation to be seen anywhere. Other curious piece of hardware that Nokia put on the Nokia Booklet 3G is an accelerometer, although it can be used by apps, the only purpose of the accelerometer is protecting the internal hard drive. When you suddenly move the Booklet 3G, the hard drive stops to avoid damage. There is a pop-up that lets you know when this happens; I turned the pop-up off but the accelerometer keeps protecting the hard drive.
The Nokia Booklet 3G comes with a really cool app called ”Social Hub.” With this app you can log into Twitter, Facebook and use SMS on your Booklet 3G. I like Social Hub because it shows the latest Tweet/Facebook MSg/ SMS on the right bottom corner of the screen, so you can work and read the notification at the same time; however, I like to use other apps to read all the Twitter messages that I haven’t read.
The Nokia Booklet 3G is an awesome netbook. I think that the price ($600 unlocked) is a great price for a high end netbook like the Booklet 3G. But keep in mind, it is not a powerstation, it is a netbook that as long as you don’t do anything crazy, will work really well.