Is the Nokia Booklet 3G Good for Photographers?

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We’ve blogged before about laptops for photographers, but the announcement of the Nokia Booklet 3G has me excited as a photographer. You can read more about the netbook at Gizmodo and check out the intro video below. There are lots of reasons and features that this laptop has that could be useful to us photographers, although we are being promised more specs soon at Nokia World next week. Here are a couple of reasons why this laptop has me excited.

3G support

Ever been out on a shoot/assignment where someone needs to take their photos and get them out faster than your rival can turn on their laptop? Well with the addition of 3G support, you’ll have that potential as there can be many wireless deadzones or no connection to them to begin with. Right after you’re done uploading and editing your photos your editor will surely appreciate the fact that you’ve uploaded them to the corporate server that quickly. This way you don’t have to go around searching for a Barnes and Noble or other place with free WiFi. What makes that easier is that the smaller size means greater portability.

Small Screen/Size

You’re probably thinking, “No way is a smaller size/screen an advantage.” If you need to travel light with only a couple of things in your camera bag, then this can work out very well for you. A small screen size (10.1 inches on this netbook) will work out very nicely for photographers that publish their work online, in newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, or any job that really requires and emphasizes your mobility. An overall small laptop will mean that you’ve got more room in your bag for the more important things like lenses, flashes, a backup body, etc. And if you do perhaps need a larger view of some sort, you can always hook it up to your HDTV.

HDMI Output

HDMI output from a laptop like this means that whatever you’re viewing or editing on your laptop can easily be seen on a nice, full-sized, crisp and calibrated HD television of some sort. So when you get back to your studio and need to view your images/videos on a larger screen you’ll be set.

Note: My Macbook doesn’t even have HDMI output. I got it at the beginning of the year.

12 Hour Battery

This netbook has an Atom Processor. Atom’s typically don’t burn that hot and they’re much better on energy consumption. But your processor isn’t the only thing that can limit your battery life. Of course, the batteries need to be of superior quality as well just like the ones in your camera. Add onto the fact that you can use 3G connections instead of WiFi and you should be in good shape to ensure that your battery life stays plentiful.

GPS

I can tell you from experience that you never want to be out on location without some sort of GPS unit to help you out. Sometimes, you’ve got WiFi and 3G deadzones, but for GPS to work all you need is a view of the sky (for the most part.) That means you won’t necessary need to use Google Maps, TeleNav or other applications that require a full on connection of some sort. This will mean that you can get from one location to another much faster and it will be that much easier for you to do.

Now this isn’t the end all save all of laptops. This product can’t be perfect. However, we don’t have all the specs yet. Perhaps it doesn’t have RAM that’s up to par with our needs despite having the capabilities to run Windows 7. Or maybe you need a higher resolution screen with more color capabilities. Let’s also hope that it doesn’t cost us next month’s rent.

Eric’s Counterpoint: I agree with Chris that this Nokia Booklet looks pretty cool from a connectivity standpoint (and GPS may make for some cool geotagging possibilities…); however, I can’t imagine that it has the horsepower to handle serious editing software and process photos quickly.  There are a lot of netbooks out there that have built-in 3G connectivity.  I’ve seen the specs on these and I don’t think I would be loading Photoshop on them.

As a netbook alternative for photographers, AT&T, Verizon and the rest of the carriers out there offer some type of wireless card to connect via USB dongle or a standard laptop PC Card.  I would suggest that this type of connectivity coupled with a MacBook or other powerful notebook is better suited for most photographers’ needs.  While I survive PMA and other events on a circa 2004 HP craptop, I prefer to edit my images on a machine with a reasonable amount of horsepower and that usually means the desktop at home.

Of course, Chris may prove me wrong once the specs of this Nokia Booklet surface.  You may prove me wrong too – are any of you actively using netbooks in the field?

Can you do any image processing on them?

If so, what programs are working best on your netbook for image processing.

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Comments

  1. Steve H. says

    I used a Lenovo S12 netbook while on vacation, and it worked nicely. It runs Photoshop 7 pretty well and Irfanview works great. The only thing I haven’t figured out is evidently the scan codes for some of the keys have been remapped, because using Alt-left click to sample the image with the healing brush tool doesn’t work normally. But I used Photoshop to level the horizon, change the image resolution, add layers and crop. The S12 also can run Ubuntu Netbook Remix well, despite using a Broadcom chip for WiFi. I ran it off of a USB jumpdrive to test it and it ran great. I’m still using XP Home for now, but that might be the future for me… The S12 is a bit bigger than this Nokia though, it has a 12″ screen with 1280×800 resolution.

  2. says

    Serge, if you haven’t noticed, this blog (photographybay) is about promoting photography gear before anything else. It’s only recently that I’ve noticed a shift towards more “educational” material.

    The Nokia netbook seemed to have grabbed Chris’s attention and he wanted to talk about it. What’s wrong with that?

  3. serge says

    well, that’s the point: it is not photogear and he’s just trying a little to hard to promote it towards photography so it seemed like a commercial. Apart from being a nice gadget and handy travelling device I fail to see this thing being very interesting to photographers. No mention of color accurate screens, lots of memory, fast processing or built in CF card readers. but wow, hdmi output and GPS….

    but I must apologize for being unfriendly, : I really should have added a smiley ;-)

  4. says

    Don’t think this is good for photog’s unless you don’t want to edit images. For portability it looks great, and for showing images, updating websites, etc it looks good. But it is no good for todays demanding image editing software. So I’d have to give it a 6/10 in regards to being good for pro photog’s.

  5. says

    Serge- No one has full specs yet but in truth, a photojournalist or a paparazzi like me could surely use it. You don’t always have connection to a Wifi network so the addition of 3G is a very welcome addition on top of the smaller size.

    There have been no specs released yet as far as colors, memory and there is an SD card reader but not a CF. However it runs Windows 7 so it’s got to have around 4GB of RAM.

    My Macbook has 4GB of RAM and runs photoshop CS4 just perfectly fine and dandy.

  6. says

    I’m curious about the performance of the 2gHz Atom processors. I haven’t seen a netbook with one yet. They claim only 2.5 watts consumption for the processor. At a reasonable clock speed, paired with a decent SSD…laptops of the future won’t lag so far behind desktops of tomorrow, and may outstrip the ones of today.

    Just sayin.