It’s strange what you can come across while out and about in town; SlashGear bumped into a developer friend of ours today, and they just so happened to have a Nokia N8 burning a hole in their pocket. With Symbian^3 still not ready for public consumption powered-on shots of the smartphone weren’t allowed, and it’s worth noting that this is still prototype hardware, but it’s some of the most impressive pre-production hardware we’ve seen.
It’s also surprisingly light, with the anodized aluminum chassis adding up to a handset that’s sturdy but won’t weight down your pocket. Think considerably lighter in the hand than, say, a Google Nexus One. We had our doubts initially about the bright orange color scheme, but in the metal it’s far more attractive than in press shots. Meanwhile the slightly curved edges make for comfortable hands-feel, though we do wish Nokia had added a lens cover for the 12-megapixel camera since that whole portion of the back panel does extend considerably.
Of course, we never really had any doubts about the N8′s spec sheet; its success in the market will all depend on how well put together Symbian^3 turns out to be. That’s a sizeable challenge, as we’ve said before, but Nokia still hold the top smartphone spot and they’ve plenty of strong features to leverage like Ovi Maps. We’ll have to wait until the N8 arrives in Q3 2010 in order to see whether they’ve delivered on that; until then, check out the hands-on gallery below.