I have something to tell all of you that will undoubtedly surprise a great deal of people, especially those who list their cell phones as one of their most important possessions they couldn’t bare to live without. I have never owned a cell phone before in my life, nor have I ever had any experience with a GPS. It is all just so, completely foreign to me. It seems that for as knowledgeable as I am when it comes to blogging and to social media, to graphic design and web development, I am just as unknowledgeable when it comes to most actual gadgets.
So when Nokia sent me their Nokia N8 handset loaded with a program Nokia has just recently made available on a wide variety of their phones–the Own Voice for Ovi Maps application–I was full of apprehension.
When I first received the Nokia N8 phone, I knew my partner would benefit more from having a reliable phone full of great features more than I would. Firstly, I work from home and have substantial anxiety issues that keep me in the house most of the time. He, however has been known to go out on the road with bands and play live shows, as well as needing to travel long distances for work. This would alleviate my worrying to a certain degree when he does that. Win/win. While he has been using the Nokia N8 as a smartphone for calls and keeping up with social media and networking, after we got some service for the thing with T-Mobile who offers a great month-to-month service plan, we really got to test out the Own Voice for Ovi Maps application when we traveled from Northeastern, Pennsylvania to Kent, Ohio just a few weeks ago and had no idea where we were going for a good portion of the trip.
Firstly, the set up of Own Voice is kind of funny. The phone prompts you with what you say and you speak into the microphone in the phone and it records your voice saying “turn right”, “you have reached your destination” and other directional prompts. Over and over again. This process is a lot more fun if you have someone you care about record these prompts for your phone, instead of having your own voice give you directions while you drive, which could be a little weird for some people.
When you have your directional prompts all recorded, just open Own Voice for Ovi Maps on your phone and set your destination. Your handset will automatically detect where you are and will guide you to where you need to get.
In addition to recording your own voice into the application, Own Voice for Ovi Maps also lets you download voice packs that other people have recorded for the application, and choose from an extensive variety of pre-loaded voices, including a sophisticated English woman’s voice.
For the most part, when my partner and I traveled to Kent, Ohio, Own Voice for Ovi Maps got us to our location effortlessly. That is, until we were traveling from Akron, Ohio, where we had just finished an amazing breakfast at IHOP, to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to visit a good friend of ours. After the Own Voice for Ovi Maps got us out of the parking lot of IHOP and down the highway a bit, it immediately told us to take a U-turn, followed by first left turns and another U-turn. The application simply must have thought that we would absolutely love the scenery in Akron and did not want us to leave. After we decided it would be best to not listen to the GPS and get towards the highway we needed to be on, the phone then automatically zoomed all the way out and showed us an image of planet Earth. Just in case we were not aware that we needed to be in Earth in order to get to Pittsburgh.
Luckily, after a few hiccups, the application did get us to our destination, after forcing it to recalculate the route once we were on the highway and going in the right direction.
One of the weirdest, and most frustrating, aspect of the application is that while it gives you the option of choosing feet, Ovi Maps insists on reading everything to you in meters. While I understand that the Nokia N8 phone is predominantly available in Europe, if the option to convert from meters to feet is there, it should work, but it does not.
The Nokia N8 phone itself is chock full of really great features, including a 12 megapixel camera with sound quality that rivals the two other cameras I own. In fact, the sound when playing back video and recordings is about the same quality of my HP laptop. What completely blows my mind, however, is that the speakerphone quality when you are talking to someone is atrocious. If you are on the phone with someone on speakerphone, you can barely hear the person on the other end regardless of if you have the volume turned up completely. If you have a Nokia N8, you can also purchase a Nokia Bluetooth Headset that is said to make the quality of the sound produced by the phone better.
The Nokia N8 also has an HDMI connection so you can show your images and play your videos and music on compatible televisions and even projectors with a high-definition 720p resolution. It also features integrated social networking, pulling feeds from Facebook and Twitter to one application. It also supports games and additional apps you can download.
You can download Own Voice for your phone by visiting their website and simply entering your country and phone number.
I received a Nokia N8 phone from Nokia in order to write this review.