Friday 1 August 2008

The Nokia N82 - Find your Cake, Photograph it, Phone Home and Eat It

In my last post I eluded to the fact that I had been distracted by a piece of technology and that distraction was derived from my last trip. Well, this is it folks - The Nokia N82.

I know what your thinking.......I'm sat here bragging about my latest toy - and trying to convince you all it's got a real purpose in life.......well it has and I'll tell you why.

Once upon a time (well several) I went backpacking with enough electronics to call in a nuclear strike! I could take photos, text or make phone calls, blog to my hearts content and find my way home again. It had to worry about batteries etc but at the time it didn't seem like much - then I removed my testicles and made a spreadsheet of my gear weights. It was then that I noticed that I was carrying 540g of pure circuit board in my pack.

As you all know the Coniston trip saw the biggest step towards lightweight backpacking for me and I was so obsessed with cutting out the crap I didn't even bring house keys or my wallet. The only faff I had was my car key and a bank card but with over half a kilo of lithium-ion hungry goodies this was all a bit pointless!

Slawek, my cousin's work colleague, who I met on the Coniston trip, had an excellent solution to all this ridiculousness - he had a Nokia N73 with a bluetooth GPS receiver and a Symbian program called View Ranger on his phone. Think of this as Memory Map for PDA because it really is as fully featured.

This was my motivation to lighten up with technology. My mobile contract was due for renewal so I got back home and was right on it. I finally settled for the Nokia N82 due to battery life, AGPS, the camera, VGA video capability and last but by no means least - weight of course!
The phone had a built in GPS which uses the network to speed up the satellite acquisition process (Assisted GPS). It comes with 5MP auto focus camera and wi-fi. The best bit is the Symbian operating system is supported by a multitude of third party programs for all occasions and so View Ranger can be purchased and installed to make an all-in-one device for the hills. Now I hear you heckling at the back "Yeah but how much does it weigh"! The answer is a mere 120g all in!

I've yet to test the View Ranger application on my phone but on Slawek's N73 it performed flawlessly - following a route, recording a track, giving us useful altitude, speed, total ascent/distance/descent info, tagging pictures and video en route; and it did so with ease. The battery wasn't flat by the end of the 7 hour walk - unlike my PDA which has the stamina of me and flakes out after around 5 hours of constant use! I was impressed and planning my revenge on the O2 XDA II before I even got home!

I'll be putting the software and hardware through its paces over the next few weeks so will post back about my findings, but I really think this stands a good chance of providing a good solution to my techie needs on the hill. I should be able to share my routes and tracks online via the blog and via the View Ranger server as well as geotag my photos and video. I have an 8GB card so can put the VGA video to good use which negates the need for a separate video camera. A nice little touch is a hacked mobile youtube application allows me to upload videos to youtube instantly - oh my God I'm drooling!

In the words of that idiot Gordon Ramsay "1 slice of Nokia N82, ability to do pretty much anything and 450g of weight saving - DONE!


Anonymous said...

Having recently got a new Somy K850i, which lasted 2 weeks before packing in ( I've not bothered to send it off for repair yet) I can only sit here and wish you'd published this article earlier :(

Marcus said...

Shuttleworth, I am sorry to hear that! Its odd though because I really love my K800i and only replacing it because its a bit old now - as opposed to useless.

I'll keep you posted with my findings on the hill but I already anticipate that the battery isn't going to last a whole day of photography, blogging and GPS tracking/recording. I may have to explore the potential for a solar charger or just a lightweight power pack for a overnight charge ready for day 2. I think Tesco do a little box that takes an AA battery and is an emergency charger. Its light (need to find exactly how light) and cheap at about 5 earth pounds. I think I would have to take something like this as I'm expecting a lot from 1 device doing all these things with one battery. The freeloader looks good but is too heavy and does a bit more than I would actually need. Nice little toy though.