Posts Tagged ‘facebook’

The C7 has been on the market in Europe and other countries since the fourth quarter of 2010 and was just recently released in the United States with T-Mobile as the Astound. Astound is an appropriate name given that for the past few years the Nokia devices that have been subsidized by US carriers have been primarily the low cost flip phones. T-Mobile had the E73 Mode, which I loved, and the Nuron but neither really could compete with the myriad of Android based phones and Black Berry devices offered by T-Mobile.

Recently I had the pleasure of testing a C7 and it was love at first sight when I opened the box. In my opinion this is a very sexy phone.  So sexy that it has replaced the venerable 8800 as my choice for the sexiest Nokia phone of all time. I really loved the form and feel of the device and being made primarily of aluminum and other metals the build of the hardware is very solid . The screen size is perfect for viewing messages, images, and surfing the web and the colors and tones are very rich and vibrant.

As you can see by selecting an image below the C7 is comparable in size to the E71 and is a little smaller than it’s older brother, the N8. It’s light, compact and felt no heavier than a set of car keys when carried in my pocket.

Sexy is nice, but if there are no brains behind the looks then it’s just a pretty shell right? Well the C7 has looks and brains as it is powered by Symbian^3, the same operating system found in the C6, N8, E7, E6 & X7. I won’t rehash what we’ve already read and heard about S^3 since there have been many articles written since it’s release. Though I will say I was surprised to find that the C7′s screens and applications were more responsive and smoother than on my N8.

The C7 is marketed globally as a phone for social networking, and as the Astound is focused at the subsidized market for the US I thought I would focus on a few features that the US consumer may consider in a device. Besides social networking features I focused on email, photos,  music, multitasking, applications, and syncing.

Social Networking

Nokia Social

Gravity

I am a fan of Nokia Social and it comes resident on the C7. It’s a great tool to view and update status for Twitter and Facebook in one application. I use this on my N8 daily and was happy to see it on the C7. However, the experience was not the same. Unlike the N8 the C7 has no homescreen widget and each time you access the application you need to log in. Therefore I thought I would see if Gravity was any better so I downloaded it from Ovi Store. It  has more to offer than Nokia Social and is even a little sexier, but for what I need it just isn’t worth the $10 US.

Twitter and Facebook updates are important, but a true social networking device must be able to share photos and videos. The C7 does this very well by using the tried and true share feature built into the photo browser. After adding a caption and optional tagging right from the photo itself, my images and videos were loaded into my Facebook and Twitter profiles.  For sharing to other sights you can also install Pixelpipe which is available in the Ovi Store.

Foursquare is available and there is a homescreen widget that works well. However, since it’s on all the time the battery life was noticeably decreased.

Email

Nokia Messaging sure has come a long way and it’s abilities are truly evident in the C7. With Nokia Messaging you can have many different email accounts on your C7 and can load multiple email widgets to your homescreen. On the C7 I tested I had three accounts loaded with my work email in Mail for Exchange, a personal GMail account and a personal Ovi Mail account. The flexibility of NM also allows for a separate syncing profile for each account and the ability to select what is synced and when. That allows me to sync my work calendar, notes and tasks yet bypass my work contacts as those are synced using my Ovi Mail account.

There are other email tools available in Ovi Store that take advantage of “the cloud” but I really don’t see a need to download a beta product when Nokia Messaging is included and works perfectly. T-Mobile’s Astound users will find that Nokia Messaging fits their needs  and won’t be disappointed given it’s ability to view images and attachments.

Photos

Personally this is one of the most important features in a device and why I keep my N8 with me at all times. We all know how the N8 takes pictures, but this review is about the C7.

The C7 has an 8mp, fixed focus camera with dual LED flash and it is comparable to most of the mid and upper-level smartphones available today. You can shoot good images and HD video with the C7 and take advantage of many features available for customizing your shots. You can use settings for scenes, face detection, color, contrast and on-screen zoom. For advanced photographers you can even customize white balance, exposure, and ISO settings. But i expect most will just point and shoot and the C& does this very well.

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What the C7 has that the others don’t is the ability to edit your images and videos on the phone itself. With the C7 you can shoot a picture, frame it and add some captions, then upload it to your friends on Facebook and Twitter right on the phone.

Below are some comparisons of shots taken with the C7.

Flash & No Flash Comparison

Greater distance brings more in-focus images

To view a comparison of shots taken with the N8 & C7 without flash select here and to view a comparison with flash go here

Music

Since the Xpress Music 5800 one of my favorite features on Nokia devices has been the music player. I’m happy to report that nothing changes my feelings with the C7. I was able to transfer all of my music from my N8 to the C7 without any problems using the Ovi Suite back-up feature. I can play music from CDs, Apple iTunes, Nokia Ovi Music UK (not available in the US yet), and Amazon and retain the song or album artwork.  The sound is clear, crisp and loud when using wired headphones,  my Nokia BH-505 bluetooth headset, or plugged into the mp3 port in my car’s sound system. Playing over the devices speakers is good and as clear as can be expected using the rear speakers.

Finding the music is simple and utilizes kinetic scrolling well. You can select by artists & songs, albums, genres and playlists and can view them all in either portrait or landscape modes. Landscape allows you to flip through choices using album artwork.


  

Multitasking

One of the greatest advantages Symbian^3 brings is true multitasking and that feature is perfect for the non-power user as most will open applications without giving a thought to memory usage. The C7 allowed me to have applications like Ovi Maps, the music player, Conversations, Nokia Social or Gravity, email, photos and ScreenSnap (a must have for blogging) all open at the same time without any real degradation in speed and application response. The only recommendation I can make in relation to multitasking is that you turn the phone off once a day to reset the memory. I did find that the C7 (and my N8) would become less responsive or would start to freeze after a couple of days of multitasking without shutting the device off or closing applications.

Applications

Ovi Store has been around for quite some time now and there are thousands upon thousands of apps available for the C7, both free and paid. App availability is based upon country and device and I am happy to see that even though Windows Phone 7 is part of Nokia’s future, new S^3 apps are being added to the store on a regular basis.

You can search and install right from your device, or from a computer. Paying is easily handled with a credit card or through your monthly phone bill depending upon your carrier. However, I see Ovi Store alone as unable to help the Astound’s chances in the long run in the United States. The content available in the US has gotten better, but it’s too late to compete with The Android Market and iTunes. This is not a device specific issue and has to do with Nokia’s marketing and presence in the US. Future Nokia devices like the rumored W7 and W8 will probably be better served in the US market by Microsoft’s Marketplace for WP7.

Syncing Music, Calendars, Tasks & Contacts

In my mind no one can compare to Nokia and Ovi Suite when it comes to syncing between a PC and your Nokia Device. Ovi Suite has saved me sssoooooo many times because of it’s ability to back up everything on a device and from all memory sources.  Android does okay on music, but I am still bewildered that there is nothing to really sync Outlook between your device and PC. There is an expensive app called CompanionLink that almost meets the needs but it failed terribly in identifying personal and business calendars and would constantly wipe out appointments, tasks and contacts when I used it.

Apple has an advantage over Nokia when it comes to Mac users as their product iTunes  works well on a PC and Mac. Ovi Suite is not  yet available for the Mac (though development is under way) and this may also hurt the Astound with the US consumer. Nokia does have Mac support, as shown here, yet most T-Mobile stores probably aren’t aware of what Nokia offers for Mac users. Nokia will need to get Ovi Suite compatible with the Mac platform sooner than later, and should get it done before the first Nokia WP7 devices are released. There are a lot of Mac users out there and they must be included in any growth plans Nokia has for the US.

GPS & Ovi Maps

There is a lot more to the C7 than the items I listed above, but again this review was written with the T-mobile US buyer in mind. This review would not be complete though if I failed to mention Ovi Maps and the GPS signal.

Connecting to the GPS signal is smoking fast. I even tried to time the difference between the N8 and C7 and just could not see any significant difference between the two. The signal strength is strong, constant and accurate and all-in-all the reliability exceeded my expectations using Ovi Maps and Sports-Tracker.

Ovi Maps has evolved into a pretty solid tool. The few times I used it for directions I saw little lag in the voice guidance and mapping to my current location, even at 70 mph. I could search for businesses based upon my current location and get walking or driving directions from that current location. And I could check in to a multitude of social network apps like Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter, Friendster, LiveJournal and many more.  I wonder how many check in applications Nokia is going to load onto devices? If I didn’t have a GPS and guidance system in my car Ovi Maps would be my preferred guidance tool.

Closing

In short, the C7 is a true multitasking giant in a small, sexy shell. It is a fantastic device that I would recommend to anyone. Especially someone who isn’t a power user and is seeking a reliable, feature-rich and well-built phone.  It’s sturdy enough to take a beating from your teenagers, yet has all of the social networking features and access they crave.

Taken with Nokia N900

Taken with Nokia's N900

The answer is based upon what you need the camera for in the first place and what it is you are looking to achieve with your shots. If you are looking to take formal wedding pictures then a phone’s camera is not enough. But if your desire is to take impromptu images of Aunt Mary and Uncle John dancing on tables at the wedding reception, then time is critical and you won’t want to be rushing to get your camera or you’ll lose your shot!

Photo opportunities present themselves at the most inopportune times and it isn’t realistic to carry both a phone and camera all of the time. Even when we find ourselves heading out for a weekend trip to the museum, beach  or amusement park do we really want to bring both? Should we if we can find the right device to do both? You say that cameras in phones lack the quality we want so you’re forced to bring both? Not any more thanks to the addition of the 5 mega pixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics found in phones like the N82, N97, X6, and others. But this article isn’t about those, it’s about the N900. 

For the purpose of this article I compared shots I have taken with the N900 to those taken with my Nikon D50 (6mp) as to compare against my 10mp D200 wouldn’t be fair.

What does the N900 give us that allows us to leave the bulky camera at home? Aside from the Carl Zeiss optics, three words sum it up. Easy, choice & settings. Most people taking photos use the automatic settings for their cameras and they take wonderful images. The N900 images included in this article were taken with auto settings to show how good images can be without the need to master the camera’s settings.

For me, an avid amateur photographer, I want the ability to adjust my settings for light levels and exposure length. Using the settings within the N900′s camera I can adjust the exposure, white balance and ISO (shutter speed) to make needed adjustments for low light situations or  fast moving objects. I really love the ability to choose between high res 5mp or a lower res 3.5mp for wider screen shots. And I can do things that my D50 or D200 can’t like editing the images right from the phone, adding tags to my images, and sharing them almost instantly through Ovi Share, Facebook or flickr.

Do I need to carry a phone and a camera? I see no reason why given the quality of the shots I get with the N900.

Here are some comparisons of shots taken with the N900 and the Nikon D50, as well as comparisons between the N900′s 5mp and 3.5mp settings. As you can see the N900 shoots as well as the Nikon, though advanced settings for things like Depth of Field cannot be achieved as there are no aperture settings (maybe someday?).

To see more of my N900 photos as well as photos from the N97, & E71 please view my Photos Page here

Nokia N900 & Nikon D50

Nokia N900 & Nikon D50

Nokia N900 & Nikon D50

N900 5mp & N900 3.5mp

N900 5mp & N900 3.5mp

In part 1 of my review of the E75 I listed 10 items I liked the most about the phone. As a quick reminder they were: 1. Stability of S60 3rd, 2. The size and weight, 3. Screen resolution, 4. The sliding keyboard, 5. Well manufactured, 6. 3G speed on AT&T’s network, 7. Sexy, 8. Responsive accelerometer, 9. Nokia Messaging, and 10. Ovi Store seems designed for non-touch devices.

As promised in Part 1 this article will identify the areas I thought one should consider before making a decision to buy. I’ll list those in reverse order with the number one consideration listed last.

7. Navi Key was stiff to use – I found it to be stiff and I thought it would be at least equal to that of the E71. Testing them both I found the E71 much easier to use and at times I had to use 2 thumbs to scroll through the E75 menus. This could have been the phone I was testing but if not their new technology introduced with the E72 could help the E75.

6. Image quality – I like taking photos with my cell phone (as you can see from my Photos page) as I never know when I’ll run into a photo opp. I was pleased with myE71′ s 3.2mp camera & I expected the same quality with the E75. I was disappointed to discover that I didn’t get the same quality.












5. Ovi Maps Compass – I could not get it to work the entire time I had the phone. I tried all the tricks from the N97 to get it to engage and it wouldn’t.












4. No Facebook widget – I went nuts not being able to use a widget to update my status and view my page. Trying to use the browser just didn’t work as it takes everything from Facebook’s web based pages and crams it all into the small 2.4 inch screen.






3. Slow GPS connection – This would’ve been tied for 2nd had there not been a way to overcome this. I tested this 5 times in-doors and out-doors and compared the connection time to that of the N900, N97 and E71 (none of the devices was using Maps Booster). In each test the GPS connection was the slowest on the E75 (longest time was 2 minutes, 17 seconds). I was very shocked that the N97 beat the E75 once, much less five times. With that said, once I installed Skyhook Wireless’ Maps Booster the E75 connected to the GPS in 2 – 3 seconds which equals the time for the N97 & E71 with Maps Booster. I highly recommend this product to anyone that uses Ovi Maps on a regular basis and it can be found in the Ovi Store here

2. Ovi Maps is not free yet on the E75 – I don’t use Ovi Maps as I have a GPS system in my car, but if I did this would be a deal breaker. Most other Nokia devices now have Ovi Maps for free and as a consumer part of what I seek in a device is the elimination of or need for other devices. As this device does not come with free Ovi Maps any side-by-side comparison with other devices will put the E75 at a disadvantage.


The number one item to consider is the lack of touch screen functions. I love touch screen devices, yes even the N97, and I don’t see myself going back to a phone that does not have this ability.





So the question now is, “Lloyd, would you buy this phone?” For me the items to consider are overshadowed by the reasons I like this phone and if Nokia had no touch devices then this is the phone I would buy. It does everything my E71 could and more while making up for the E71′s shortcomings. The keyboard slides out and I could see the buttons, the resolution is fantastic, Nokia Messaging won me over, there are many apps available and all in one place, and above all the phone never failed me. I did not have to restart the phone once because it slowed down from too much use and impact to the RAM.

All-in-all the E75 is a good buy, especially if you’re buying for teenagers. All Nokia needs to do to make the E75 perfect is include Ovi Maps for free with Maps Booster, a Facebook widget and a better camera.

I have been using an E75 sent to me by WOMWorldNokia for the past week and a half. As I stated in a quick article last week my first impression was changed very quickly once I figured out what was wrong with Nokia Messaging. Nothing, the error was the person trying to use Nokia Messaging. :)

In this article I will share what I liked about the phone. I will be following up with another article with items to think about if you are considering an E75. Before I get into the list of what I liked I do want to say that using this phone reminded me of two things. First, since switching from an E71 to the N97 I forgot how rock-solid and stable Symbian S60 3rd is. I never had to reboot the phone because too much usage made it unstable. When I pushed a button to change menus or select an app I was sent to where I wanted to go and never saw a “memory full” error. Second, I really like touchscreen devices and no matter how much I tried I could not get the screen to respond to my touch selections (yes that will be in the next article). I really like touchscreen devices.

What I like (select images for larger views):

1. Symbian S60 3rd – Stable, stable, stable.

2. The overall size and weight – Fits into a pocket nicely without feeling like you’re carrying a brick, and isn’t as big as it looks in images you see on your screen. To show that I decided to take pictures of the E75 with a N97, but also with everyday items we all know and use.

3. Great screen resolution and the ability to handle many colors – Enough said.

4. A sliding keyboard with big numbers – That was one my very few areas of improvement I saw with the E71. The buttons we so small and so hard to see. As some of us have eyes maturing faster than the rest of us, the ability to see the keys is imperative.

5. A pretty solid feeling. Not too much plastic though the back cover is a very thin metal and the hooks holding the cover into place could bend or break with miss-use.

6. Fast 3G network speeds for MMS, SMS and web – No the cliché “it’s the network” doesn’t fit here as this phone sends messages and interacts with the internet on AT&T’s network (not compatible with T-Mobile’s 3G due to differing frequencies) better than my N97. Could it be that rock-solid S60 3rd again?

7. Stylish – I was hoping for a black one to test as the images of the red version are not my favorite and I was pleasantly surprised when I received a copper-colored phone. To see if I received comments I would leave the phone on tables during meetings or when dining. I did receive many compliments but noticed that they came from women and not men (men react to my N97 or N900 and women do not).

8. Responsive accelerometer – The screens would switch from portrait to landscape extremely quickly using the generic themes provided by Nokia, though 3rd party themes were a little slower. In either case the speed was much faster than my N97, generic or 3rd party. This applies to all apps, including Ovi Maps.

9. Nokia Messaging – I am not a fan of this tool on my N97 BUT it is fantastic on the E75. S60 5th, for all of its “problems”, really does have some quick and easy tools for handling email and advantages related to touch and larger screens over S60 3rd devices. However, I cannot imagine having an E75, or any S60 3rd device, without Nokia Messaging. It’s easy to move between multiple mailboxes, has consistent and stable automatic updates, the ability to view html in emails, and so much more. In short, I wish Nokia Messaging was around when I used my E71.

10. Ovi Store – While many may have complaints about this service in general I must say it is perfect for devices like the E75. I remember the days of the Download! feature and how clunky it was to use. Using the Ovi Store on the E75 was simple and the navigation made sense. Kudos to Nokia for making the service available for a variety of devices!





Entering into this trial I had an expectation that the E75 would be an E71 on steroids with the sliding keyboard being the ending result. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the E75 is its own phone and truly does have features that make it stand-out from the E71. Does this mean I am saying buy one? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I answer that question in Part 2 of my review where I address areas for consideration and my final conclusion.

There are many tools out there for the emerging social media network and many allow for access to your facebook, twitter and IM accounts. Yet from my experience the either lack graphical interface features, only allow you to see your friends, have costs associated with them, or because they lack certain features other apps may have we are forced to use multiple applications. Wouldn’t it be great to have one app that did it all and for multiple networks?

In September of 2009 Nokia Beta Labs released their Nokia Messaging for Social Networks beta through Nokia Beta Labs. While the application is still in the beta phase it is showing some definite promise. Here are a few reasons why I think this may be one of the best apps to date for Symbian devices:

First and foremost, the ability to install on your mass storage drive:


Need I say more about this benefit, especially on the N97?

2. Access to multiple Social Network from one app

An added benefit is being connected to multiple networks at the same time through Nokia Messaging for Social Networks!

3. A functionality and look similar to the social network’s web-based pages with thumbnails images

We have these high-speed devices that can display multiple colors and in many devices we can switch between portrait and landscape views. Why not take full advantage?

4. Adding images using your device’s image gallery interface

Almost instantaneous access and you can load up to six images at once instead of one at a time, or through an additional app like Pixelpipe (a good app in itself).

5. Add your current location to your status updates

The speed to do this is enhanced greatly if you’ve purchased Map Booster from the Ovi Store.

Honorable Mention

While it isn’t one of my top 5 reasons, a mention should be made about the homescreen widget. It lets you scroll between facebook and twitter and allows you to do a manual refresh from the widget without opening up the app

Yes the app is still in beta and needs some work but it shows great promise. To become a part of the beta please register at Nokia Beta Labs and download Nokia Messaging for Social Networks.