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Nokia N800 (OS2007) vs. Nokia N810 (OS2008): Website load times

N800_vs_n810

One of the benefits of upgrading the operating system of your Nokia N800 Internet Tablet to OS2008, aside from the boost in processor speed (330MHz to 400MHz), has to be the Mozilla-based web browser that comes with it. Sure, you could’ve been using the beta version of MicroB instead of OS2007’s Opera browser since last summer, but it wasn’t quite as fast or as stable.

The real MicroB in OS2008 is much faster. Right?

Well, no, not really. Take a look at the load times of 10 websites I visited this afternoon (over wi-fi and tethered via Bluetooth to a 3G AT&T Tilt) using both Opera and MicroB Beta on an OS2007-toting N800 and MicroB on an N810 to see what I mean.

Parameters

I’ve done load time and browser performance tests before, including those comparing 3G and EDGE speeds on mobile phones, so the 10 chosen websites and the parameters of my informal tests haven’t changed:

  • Each browser’s cache was cleared before each set of tests.
  • Load times were measured from the same location in one sitting (my living room in Honolulu this afternoon) from the click of the enter key or "Go" button in the browser’s address bar to the complete page load according to the progress bar.
  • Wi-Fi and 3G network signal strength were at their max and consistent throughout the testing period.

Load Times

Results from the N800 and N810 when connected to the Internet through my 802.11g wireless home network are given under "Wi-Fi," while times yielded from a Bluetooth connection to my Tilt are listed under "BT DUN" (Bluetooth Dial-Up Networking).

Times are in minute:second format.

Nokia N800
(OS2007)
Nokia N810
(OS2008)

Opera MicroB Beta MicroB

BT DUN Wi-Fi BT DUN Wi-Fi BT DUN Wi-Fi
Amazon 0:36 0:18 0:30 0:26 0:35 0:23
CNET 0:45 0:31 0:38 0:28 0:38 0:27
Digg 0:36 0:20 0:36 0:31 0:34 0:24
Engadget 0:42 0:35 0:57 0:53 0:47 0:39
Google News 0:13 0:09 0:14 0:15 0:16 0:09
Micro PC Talk 0:43 0:17 0:42 0:15 0:43 0:18
MySpace 0:25 0:14 0:35 0:19 0:25 0:13
NY Times
0:56 0:26 0:56 0:33 0:49 0:28
Pocketables
0:40 0:20 0:48 0:36 0:39 0:25
YouTube
0:24 0:14 0:26 0:22 0:20 0:15

Note: Load times vary by location, time of day, ad servers, etc., so your results may not be identical to mine.

Although the results are somewhat inconclusive, it seems that the Mozilla-based MicroB in OS2008 is only sometimes marginally faster than Opera in OS2007. It is significantly more capable in that it supports full AJAX and Adobe Flash 9, but in terms of speed alone, it isn’t really much of an upgrade.

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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15 thoughts on “Nokia N800 (OS2007) vs. Nokia N810 (OS2008): Website load times

  • Avatar of atmozphere

    Hi Jenn,

    thanks for all your enthusiasm and great reviews. I have a question rather than a comment here. I just wonder how you tethered the n800/810 with the tilt. I have recently bought the n800 and one of the first things was to try to get it work with my HTC vox and t-mobile dash. It just did not work. I could not initiate a session and use the edge network. After reading a bit I learned that DUN had been removed from windows mobile 5 and 6 and the internet sharing application was introduced. Did you need to hack your win-mo device to make it work with the nokias? Can you eventually post a little tutorial on how to tether the n800/n810 to a win-mo phone? I am sorry if I am asking something that you have already written about.

    Reply
  • Been using my N800 a bit with edge, and it is sloooow. Not to mention expensive. Normally use wifi but the problem is giant sites full with ads, like newspapers and such. Loading 400+ big elements makes the tablet slow down remarkably.

    Reply
  • Avatar of turn_self_off

    iirc, opera gets its speed from, in part, throwing away parts of the page.

    while speed is good, i think i can live with microb :)

    Reply
  • Hmm, I’d also appreciate tips on tethering the N800/N810 to a win-mo phone. I have an N800 and a T-Mobile Wing and couldn’t figure it out either. (I have successfully tethered the win-mo phone to a laptop over bluetooth.) Please?

    Reply
  • Avatar of Art Kavanagh

    I upgraded the OS on my N800 so that it now has MicroB instead of Opera. I’m really not happy with MicroB, particularly the way the D-pad works to navigate between links. In Opera, the default behaviour was that if you gave a short press on the down button the focus jumped to the next link in the visible part of the page. This was pretty neat.

    I think MicroB is supposed to act the same way but Often it jumps to the first link on the page (so that if you’ve scrolled down the page, it jumps back up to the top). This is pretty frustrating.

    On http://www.guardian.co.uk it just cyles through three links at the top of the page. Useless.

    Reply
  • Avatar of turn_self_off

    in microb enter about:config, then enter snav.enabled in the first box and false in the second. hit the button marked set preference and the next time you open microb, it should not move focus from element to element of the page…

    Reply
  • @ atmozphere & Al: I just posted a tutorial on how to tether the Tilt to the N800/N810, but I don’t think it’s the answer either of you were hoping for. I also only have configuration settings for AT&T.

    There are some links about how to enable DUN on the Dash here that may be helpful. There’s also this, which is actually about a N800/Treo/T-Mobile pairing but may still contain general tips.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes. :-)

    Reply
  • Avatar of atmozphere

    @Jenn, thanks a lot for the tutorial and tips/links. One more thing, I think it would be interesting to compare how the opera mini 4 delivers compared to the opera mobile in terms of download times. I did a quick test yesterday with my t-mobile dash on the netcom (Norway) edge network. Well, I was surprised that without even having the full signal (3 bars)pocketables.com downloaded in 24 sec (no avergaing no nothing just a plain one shot test). Anyway, I really enjoy reading all your reviews and tests.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Art Kavanagh

    Thanks for the comment, turn_self_off: I assume that it’s in response to mine.

    However, my problem is not that I want to stop the down key from moving the focus from element to element. Ideally, I’d like it to behave in the same way as the default behaviour for Opera: to move the focus from element to element in the part of the page that is visible on screen.

    But thanks: information on how to configure MicroB is always useful.

    Reply
  • Avatar of turn_self_off

    @Art Kavanagh

    all i can say then is that they are working on it…

    Reply
  • Avatar of Sam Trychin

    Hi,

    I believe the default behavior in OS2008 (both for the N800 and N810?) is for WiFi->router communications to happen in power-saving mode, which apparently drastically (or at least noticeably) slows down page loading. Apparently it adds up to hundreds of milliseconds of lag to each new web request, so any HTML page containing other resources that need to be loaded (images, flash, etc.) can take many, many extra seconds to load.

    Turning off power saving mode significantly speeds up page loading times, but also reduces battery life. Nokia apparently tuned the power saving mode parameters to maximize battery life.

    My concern for this comparison is that one or more of your platforms may have had this power saving mode enabled — and the extra network load times introduced could well have masked any differences in the computing/downloading/rendering speeds of the browsers themselves.

    Just something to consider….

    If you want instructions on how to access this network settings and modify/disable it, just send me an email. I don’t remember the exact sequence of dialogs/clicks, but it’s at least 4 layers in within the network settings, and requires hitting a small “advanced” button in the corner of the dialog at some point.

    tx,
    Sam

    Reply
  • Hi:

    I have the N800 and would like to know if the OS2008 upgrade is available for it.

    I went to Nokia’s N800 support page but I only see the same OS2007.

    Thanks in advance!
    Gabs

    Reply
  • Avatar of trafalgar

    Sam – please post the steps to turn offpowersaving – i will trade battery time for browser performance

    Reply
  • Avatar of Gene Jaleski

    I updated to 2008 and now I cannot see how to install apps into the aux memory card so as to not eat up all the core memory.

    Reply

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