Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Nokia N78

Firmware 08-05-2008 RM-235 but updated immediately using nifty new *#0000# menu to 25-06-2008 RM-235

I've only just started using this phone, so can't comment yet, except to say that while the phone is light and small, the screen is beautiful and large and already it looks like there have been many software improvements (nice to see over-the-air flash update finally working) in a typical Nokia fashion they've improved everything and then made some stupid blunder that ruins the whole effort.

In this case, it's the keyboard. It's unredeemably stupid, with really narrow "button bars" instead of actual keys. There's a stupid dedicated "Music" key just to the right of the 5-way directional button where usually you'd expect the 'C' delete key to be. Instead of having actual buttons for the hotkeys or the 'C' key, you press in on the front of the phone in certain positions for those -- it's like the worst of a touchscreen (no tactile positioning feedback) combined with the worst of dedicated keys.

Any yet-to-be-discovered software flaws aside, this phone sucks.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Nokia 5320 XpressMusic

Firmware: 03.08.C04.01 11-Jun2008 RM-409 5320

This phone seems like a really great little small phone. It's nice to see Symbian Series60 power making it into a cheap, Series40 style handset. If this is the death bell for Series40, I welcome it.

However this phone has 2 flaws:

1. There is a red directional button with a black center. They appear to be 2 separate pieces. You'd think that pressing in on the black center is the select button (FIRE), and pressing on each side of the surrounding red directional button gives you UP, DOWN, LEFT, RIGHT. Unfortunately, however, Nokia designers chose to make the center black button also be directional. It's extremely to click in on the black center button and have the cursor go UP, then FIRE. Fatally annoying.

2. Nokia appear to have tried to "fix" the Access Point problem on newer Series60 phones.

On Vodafone UK you're presented with a "Select connection"
dialog with 2 choices:

"Vodafone live!
WAP services
"Vodafone live!"

You'd think that for e.g. an email application, choosing "Internet" instead of "WAP services" would do the right thing, but alas it doesn't.

Even though the first category is called "Internet" and there is a second category called "WAP Services", both categories are actually set to use the "Vodafone live!" APN and so only work for port 80.

You can see this and fix it so "Internet" uses "Vodafone Internet GPRS" by changing relative priorities under Phone settings/Connection/Destinations/Internet -- select the second one "Vodafone Internet GPRS" and Options/Organize/Change priority).

Sadly this new Access Point category problem appears to afflict the 6220 as well.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Nokia E71

Firmware 100.07.76 08-06-2008 RM-346 Nokia E71-1 (01), unlocked from Nokia store

This phone came so close. I was really cheering for it. It's probably the best looking qwerty keypad phones I've ever seen. Even my wife, who is an Italian designer and thinks all the qwerty dedicated email devices out there look horrible, likes the look of this one.

Unfortunately, I've been extremely disappointed with the software. Yesterday this phone froze with a dialog popped up that said someone was calling. The phone didn't actually ring and I didn't get the call -- I had to take the battery out to fix it.

Any time I use any applications that use data, I keep seeing "Maximum number of connections in use. Close an active connection first." I see this all the time -- sometimes even if only using one application. My coverage indicator says I'm in a 3.5G zone. This seems like a total step backwards in terms of Symbian OS phones -- none of the others I've used have this problem.

Other people seem to be having the same "Maximum number of connections in use" problem.

Verisigned MIDlets run, but don't autostart and constantly ask to select access point.

This phone sucks.