Posts Tagged ‘nokia’

Being in the United States gives us time for all of the announcements and comments to come out and be discussed before some of us wake up. That’s a good thing, right? Not really. It adds to the confusion given so many people have their questions, thoughts and opinions. Yep, I have mine too…

My first and primary question that I can’t seem to find an answer to is what happens to Symbian? Nokia CEO Stephen Elop states, “Nokia will adopt Windows Phone as its primary smartphone strategy…” as part of his address and open letter (view here) announcing the Nokia and Microsoft partnership. I like Symbian^3 and truly like my N8, which leads me to the next question…

How will current and recently released devices be supported? Prior the the release of Windows Phone 7 Microsoft discontinued application and firmware support for their previous Windows Phone operating system. Is Nokia going to do that to Symbian? If you have spent +/- $550 US for a N8 or C7, being left out in the cold with no more f/w updates is a pretty hard to swallow. One could wonder if this is why I haven’t gotten the PR 1.1 update for my N8 yet… I doubt it.

What about the E7? With it just being shipped this week will this hurt sales? It has to! Who wants to buy a “flagship device” whose OS was replaced even before it arrived? I was thinking about it, but not now. Would you buy an E7 now?

What happens to all those applications in Ovi Store? The US may not be affected by it as much as other countries, but a lot of time, money and effort was invested by app developers globally. Will WP7 run those apps so the developers don’t need to redevelop them?

And why do so many Nokia “fans” want to abandon the company now that they are partnering with Microsoft? It’s not like Google or Apple are any better than Microsoft as companies. All three are greedy and narcissistic, are they not?  A true fan supports their team in both the good times and the bad. Los Angeles fans are terrible….they jump on the band wagon when their teams are winning and run for the hills as soon as the losing starts. New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packer fans….those are real fans. Support your team through thick and thin and you’ll have a blast as they rise to the top!

Change isn’t bad is it? Of course not, especially when it’s needed. Nokia did need to change, we all know that. Those  “fans” that want to abandon Nokia now were also screaming the loudest that Nokia needed to change. Symbian wasn’t working so spending more money on a losing OS doesn’t make sense.  Who knows, maybe they’re running because the change wasn’t the one they wanted. I bet they haven’t even used a WP7 device either.

What do I plan to do? Accept change. Embrace change. It’s only with change we become stronger. Nokia hasn’t changed in many years and they’re going through the pain from keeping an aging quarterback named Symbian. They just scored the sleeper draft pick called Windows Phone 7. No one thought Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees would be able to win “the big game” and look at what happened when their teams made change and the fans supported them…

Nokia+Microsoft. Where are we going? To the Smartphone Superbowl!

Taken with Nokia N8

Since getting my N8 a few weeks ago I’ve been using Skull Candy wired headphones. Being “wired” they have a tendency of getting in the way when I’m at the gym or on my mountain bike. They get tangled in the straps of my Camelback or pulled out of my ears at the gym because of the cord. I ordered Nokia’s BH-505 Bluetooth Headset hoping going cordless would alleviate these minor agitations.

I really have been slow to accept Bluetooth as I really haven’t found a headset for using with my phone that can hold a clear signal, including Jawbone. And as we all know, having Bluetooth on constantly runs the battery down. Yet I  decided to take a gamble by ordering the 505’s and I am happy to say it paid off. These things are fantastic and here are the top 5 reasons why I love this headset:

  1. Sound quality – The sound quality is as good as Skull Candy headphones. The bass is good and strong without being overbearing and with a good solid fit from the multiple choices of rubber ear plugs background noise is easily be filtered out. I also have noticed that there is no static in the connection. The 505’s are also a hands-free device for speaking on your phone and using voice commands, but as I will never answer the phone when I’m riding or working out I can’t speak to the voice quality.
  2. Stylish design – For something that is primarily functional the design is quite appealing. I don’t feel self-conscious wearing them at the gym thinking everyone is staring at a Storm Trooper wanna-be.
  3. Compatibility – I’ve been able to connect the 505’s to my N8 and Samsung Vibrant and there is no difference in sound quality. The added bonus was being able to connect to my iPad to listen to music and watch videos.
  4. Durability – My fear when I ordered them was I would open the box only to find some wobbly and cheap plastic device that would break easily. I am pleasantly surprised by how durable they are and any concerns I had about taking them to the gym and having to be overly careful with them are gone. I’m sure they won’t survive a serious mountain biking crash but they’ll do well on your every day ride on the trails.
  5. Value – At $79.95 at nokiausa.com you definitely get a lot for your money. Easy to use, durable, and quality sound makes these a must buy for anyone wanting to break a sweat while listening to their music, or just lounging and enjoying a movie on your tablet or mobile phone.

Taken with Nokia N8

Taken with Nokia N8

By August of last year I had become impatient waiting for the N8 and I was bored with my N900. While I enjoyed the N900 I didn’t like having a device that really was just a small internet tablet and wasn’t a good phone. Since it also couldn’t get voice directions and the apps that were available were more for programmers (not me) I decided it was time to try something mainstream. I selected the Samsung Vibrant from T-Mobile and was happy with it, but when the chance to get a new N8 at an unbeatable price came along I jumped at it.

After 2 weeks with the N8 I decided to do a head-to-head comparison of the two. Here’s what I found:

Reception – These are phones, so at the very least they should have good signals right? The N8 does, but I can’t say the same for the Vibrant. Remember those old commercials showing someone trying to get a good signal by standing on one foot with their hand on a door knob and a coat hanger in their baseball cap? That still applies to the Vibrant. Since I use T-Mobile with both devices you can’t use the network as an excuse. In fact, when in my office I’m lucky if I have one bar with the Vibrant, yet the N8 in the exact same spot will have 4 or 5 bars. Pretty much everywhere I went the signal strength with the N8 was consistently better than the Samsung Vibrant. WINNER: Nokia N8

Hardware – The N8 is smaller than the Vibrant (fits within Vibrant’s 4″ screen); the casing is anodized aluminum and weighs 4.76 oz; it has metal buttons for menu, camera, locking & volume; and there is no need to remove the rear cover or battery to access the SIM & external memory cards.

The Vibrant is ginormous and has a plastic casing; weight is 4.17 oz; touch action buttons for search, home, settings and menu with an external button to lock/unlock the device (also plastic); and you must remove the back cover for memory card access and both the cover and battery for SIM access

The N8 hardware materials and build quality make it a very solid feeling device. The weight between the two devices is basically the same yet the size of the Vibrant made it feel like a brick when it was in my pocket. The touch buttons on the Vibrant aren’t as responsive as I would like and as everything but the screen is plastic I was always fearful of breaking it. WINNER: Nokia N8

Colors – This isn’t important to me, but to many it is. The Samsung Vibrant comes in black or dark purple by switching out the back cover and the N8 allows you your choice of Silver White, Dark Grey, Orange, Blue or Green (not all colors available in all countries). WINNER: Nokia N8

Display – Both devices have AMOLED screens with the Vibrant’s larger screen than the N8 (4″ vs 3.5″). Reading the display specs for both the N8 and the Vibrant seem equal, but I’m going to have to give this feature to Samsung. The colors just appear richer and brighter and with the larger screen everything seems a little bigger. I have both phones set to adjust brightness automatically yet the N8 does better in bright light, especially outdoors. I had less issues seeing items on the N8 when mountain biking and could see almost nothing on the Vibrant. WINNER: Samsung Galaxy S – Vibrant

Touchscreen – A tie with Samsung having a very slight advantage. Both are capacitive touch screens with multi-touch capabilities. Excluding the Vibrant’s touch buttons I found it to be a tad more responsive than the N8. That responsiveness disappears though when the Vibrant is updating on-screen widgets (weather, Facebook, email, etc.) and I haven’t noticed the same issue with the N8. TIE

Battery Life – I’ve gone as long as three days on one charge with the N8 with the homescreens filled with email, Nokia/Ovi Social, AccuWeather, Music, Notifications and bluetooth and WiFi scan running. With nothing active on any of the homescreens on the Vibrant, and bluetooth and WiFi turned off I can barely get 5 – 6 hours before I need to plugin. WINNER: Nokia N8

Operating System – Android 2.1 (Froyo 2.2 now available) vs Symbian^3. A few weeks ago I stated that Nokia needed to ditch Symbian and go to Android as Nokia makes the best h/w and yet Android is a great OS. I still like Android but that comment was made based upon my experiences with the N97 and Symbian S60 5th, and before I used Symbian^3 on the N8. After 2 weeks with the N8 I have to say I really do like S^3.

I would’ve said that the devices were tied in the OS battle, but that was before hearing of the challenges consumers are experiencing right now after upgrading to Froyo on their Vibrants. In fact, those challenges remind me of all the firmware issues and subsequent updates we experienced with the N97. I have had zero issues with S^3 and to try to compare it to S60 5th is comparing Granny to Red Delicious apples. I’m giving this one to Symbian^3, but let’s hope the upcoming f/w upgrade doesn’t make this a tie again WINNER: Nokia N8

Typing – The Vibrant comes with Swype installed and is not loaded as a default on the N8 but is available in Ovi Store. The resident keyboard on the N8 is much too small so even if you don’t want to use the Swype features you should install it just for the keyboard (download here). The Swype keyboard for the Vibrant has both landscape and portrait modes and the N8’s version of Swype has no portrait mode. I’ve heard this is because of the current f/w version for the N8 so I’m hoping the pending f/w update corrects this. WINNER: Samsung Galaxy S – Vibrant

Camera – Do I really need to go on? 12mp for the N8 vs 5mp. Xenon flash vs no flash. On device image editing pre-loaded vs needing a 3rd party app. 720p HD video recording vs ???? Both have social media sharing and built-in galleries. Both have 3rd apps available for sharing and editing photos, but the N8 even lets you edit videos on the device. The Vibrant doesn’t have a chance in this category. Not many devices do. For samples of photos from both the N8 and Vibrant please view my photos page. WINNER: Nokia N8

Synching – Nokia’s Ovi Suite seems to have graduated well from Beta Labs since I used it on the N900. It quite effectively syncs MS-Outlook calendars, contacts, notes, tasks, maps, music and pictures between my PC and the N8 without needing a 3rd party like Google. The Vibrant syncs well for social media and Google Mail and Google Calendar, but it has no OEM app to sync to your Outlook calendar, contacts, tasks and notes. There is an app in the Android Market called CompanionLink that does a mediocre job of in the absence of an OEM app. It never really brought over all of my Outlook appointments and was always deleting from, or creating duplicate calendar entries to, my PC without being changes being made to my phone. WINNER: Nokia N8

Email – Both devices can handle and check email for multiple email accounts such as Microsoft Exchange, GMail, Yahoo, and Ovi Mail. Neither can really handle Hotmail too well, but can any device? Makes me wonder how it addressed with WP7 phones. TIE

Applications & Application Store – This is another easy and obvious option, but not in Nokia’s favor. The Samsung Vibrant definitely wins here because there are just so many apps available in the Android Market and, unlike the Ovi Store, there are a lot of apps available for North American users. One advantage Nokia does have over Android with the Ovi Store is the ability to search apps on a PC and send the links to your mobile. The web-based version of the Android Market sucks. WINNER: Samsung Galaxy S – Vibrant

Movies, entertainment – I think this may be a tie as both devices have strong pluses and minuses going for them. Both play movies, but the N8 has the advantage of being able to output video with HDMI out. Samsung’s advantage is Media Hub, a movie and video store preloaded onto the Vibrant that allows you to purchase or rent video content. Yet the Samsung doesn’t allow you to play videos from Media Hub on just any TV. You need to use an application called allshare and it only works with DLNA certified devices. I’m not replacing my Panasonic 42″ Plasma TV just to watch movies from a phone. TIE

Social Media – The devices are equal in this aspect. There are native or 3rd party apps either device can use to allow you to view, update status, and share pictures with your friends on Facebook, Foursquare or Twitter. Pixelpipe is also available for both devices for those that want to update once. Nokia/Ovi Social was recently updated and is the best it’s been, but as there are only two networks it updates (Facebook & Twitter) it doesn’t do as much as the 3rd party apps. TIE

GPS & Maps – It’s no secret, the GPS signal strength is terrible on the Vibrant (reminds me of the N97 yet again) and despite claimed fixes by Samsung nothing has improved. The speed, reliability, strength and accuracy of GPS signals on the N8 is fantastic! In fact, probably the best of any device I’ve ever owned. Ovi Maps and Google Maps are pretty equal with each having advantages over the other. Both devices allow you to use their tools and install 3rd party navigation applications. WINNER: Nokia N8 as a map is useless if you have a poor GPS signal.

WiFi Tethering – This is available with the N8 through the use of Jokiu. There are free and premium versions available in the Ovi Store here. Nothing has to be done to your device other than install the app, though data charges may increase depending upon the data plan with your carrier. With the Vibrant there is no tethering unless you root the device. Rooting is basically unlocking the phone but it comes with risks as rooting will nullify your warranty with T-Mobile. This may not be important to many but I use my N8 as a WiFi tether point for my iPad. Why pay Apple $150 more for a tablet that will force me to pay AT&T $20+ per month just to use the device. WINNER: Nokia N8

With the votes tallied, the N8 seems to be the better device (N8 – 7 votes, Vibrant – 3 votes, Tie – 4 votes). In truth, I really didn’t need to tally a vote to know that the N8 is really a quality device. Not since the E71 have I had a Nokia phone that I truly and enjoy and have challenges finding faults with it. Thank you Nokia for listening to the consumers and learning from the mistakes of the past to build a must have device.

One of the premier sites dedicated to everything Nokia is looking to expand. Given all of the recent news about operating system wars between Nokia/Symbian, Android, and the dreaded A word we need to do all we can to get the word out.

Select the image below to view the Nokia Expert site and follow them on twitter here

 

 

 

 

 

With the pending release of the N8 and the E7 around the corner I got to wondering, “What is more important to people, a 12mp camera or a QWERTY keyboard?” I figured why not ask the masses?

Many of us want to take great pictures with our phones (me included) and reduce the number of devices we need to carry. So are we willing to fore-go the speed and accuracy of QWERTY keyboard for great pics?



Then there are those of us that want to use a device more for text messaging, email, social media updates, and other typing heavy functions. So are those QWERTY-types ready to drop-down to an 8mp camera so they can have the physical keyboard?





Please select your choice from the poll below and let’s see which comes out on top:

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.