USB functionality on the N8

If you’ve been following these posts, my Nokia N8 can now provide the following:

  • Passwords and other personal information (stored securely in SPB Wallet),
  • Favourite songs and customized playlists (downloaded from OVI Music), and
  • Turn-by-turn navigation to any destination in South Africa (Garmin MobileXT).

Therefore, I have eliminated the need to also carry with me a USB memory stick (for my passwords), an MP3 player (for listening to music) and a GPS receiver (for navigation). In order to completely eliminate the need to rely on a memory or flash stick, I purchased a 16 Gb microSD card (and installed it in the N8) as well as a CA-101 USB cable. I took the USB CA-101 cable to work and left the CA-179 for home use. I can now use the 16 Gb microSD external storage to transfer documents between work and home. The Nokia N8 is compatible with 32 Gb cards, however they are quite expensive. Although a CA-179 USB cable is supplied with the N8, the CA-101 cable is also compatible with the N8. The CA-101 cable is also 1.5 times longer than the CA-179 cable, which is useful.

When purchasing an external MicroSD card, I have learnt from experience to buy only top brands which can guarantee reliability. I personally prefer the SanDisk range, but Kingston cards will also suffice. The cheaper brands of microSD cards have a tendancy to suddenly stop working which is most inconvenient, especially if you haven’t backed up its contents for a while. Another point to consider is the card’s Speed Class. MicroSD cards are either Class 2, 4 or 6 and the higher the class, the faster data can be read from or written to the card. This may also explain the difference in card prices when shopping around.

Whilst on the topic of USB, another N8 feature is USB On-the-go (or OTG) which is worthy of mentioning. With the supplied CA-157 USB OTG adapter cable, you can connect the N8 to a compatible USB memory stick or external USB hard drive. The File Manager application opens on the N8 and you can now access the contents of the USB device. I attached an 8 Gb memory stick to the N8 which loaded as drive G: (C: is the 256 Mb of internal phone memory, E: is the 16 Gb of internal mass storage, F: is the external 16 Gb MicroSD card and G: is the USB memory stick). It is important to note the N8 can only access FAT32 formatted USB devices. Those formatted in NTFS mode are unreadable. Also, if you connect an external hard drive that requires more than 200 mA of power to spin up, use an external power supply for the USB hard drive.

If you want to have some fun, connect a USB mouse to the OTG cable (CA-157) and use the mouse to navigate the phone. Right clicking the mouse “presses” the menu key and two right clicks will lock the phone. There is no need to double click, just single click any icon on your home screens. I was unable to simulate a swipe (sliding your finger across the screen) to view a different home screen. If anyone figures this out, post a reply. Similarly, you can connect a keyboard using the OTG cable. Typing SMS messages using the keyboard is much faster than using SWYPE. The Windows Home key on the keyboard activates the Options menu. Just be sure to connect a low powered keyboard and mouse (remember the 200 mA limit). The keyboard I tested only consumed 50 mA and 100 mA for the mouse.

Opening PDF documents, stored on external USB storage devices, with Adobe Reader 2.5 LE (Lite Edition) is very simple indeed (just click on the PDF document in the File Manager). Adobe Reader 2.5 LE is pre-installed on the N8 and would cost US$19.99. I opened a 42 Mb PDF file of 173 pages at 600 dpi with no problems. Jumping to the last page (173) was very quick indeed.

The N8 also comes standard with QuickOffice v6.2.571. This application allows the viewing of Office 2007 (or earlier) documents (Word, Excel and Powerpoint). I tested QuickOffice on a Word 2007 document (173 pages; 47,729 words; 20 Mb) and the outcome was dissapointing. It took about 10 seconds to open the file and about 30 seconds to navigate to the last page (#173). Although the Find function worked, editing or navigating Office documents requires the purchase of the Premier version (US$14.99). I downloaded the UK spell check dictionary from (202 Kb).

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One Response to USB functionality on the N8

  1. Charles Gentzler says:

    Thanks for the information. Been a Nokia fan for years now. Charles USA

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