Finally, a smartphone
December 12th, 2007 by Ivo
Since my phone broke down a few months ago, I've been temporarily using a Nokia 6021. This is about the most basic phone you can get: you can make phonecalls and send sms messages, and that's about it. But at least I had something, while I was selecting a new phone.
I had a few requirements:
- I want to use the phone as a modem for my Macbook Pro, via Bluetooth
- I want to read my email on it, preferably using UMTS or HSDPA
- It should have a decent size (fit in the pockets of my jeans)
- It should be reliable
- It should have a decent camera (my experience with cellphone cams is that they usually suck)
- I want to check my Google Calendar on the road
I could wait for the iPhone to become available in the Netherlands. Most important drawback however is that it features only Wifi and Edge to go online. I don't know about the US, but over here Edge is like going back in time. Also, they support only one operator, and it looks like it's not going to be the operator my company uses.
I also had a look at several HTC models. Their Smartphone range looks really nice and I have about 3 colleagues using HTC phones. I didn't buy an HTC in the end because I read many reviews reporting crashes, freezes and other instabilities. Not all users are affected by this, but since I will be using it a lot, chances are that I would be encountering issues.
I finally ended up with a Nokia N95. 3 of my colleagues recommended it, and it satisfies all of the above requirements. On top of that, it's just a pretty damn cool phone.
After having played with it a few hours, I have a few preliminary remarks.
- The interface is pretty smooth, and even though menu options aren't always intuitive, it's fairly easy to use without consulting the manual. (but then again, I'm a geek)
- It does everything I expect it to.
- It has a great camera (5 megapixels!)
- The coolest thing I did sofar is installing Google Mobile Maps with the built in GPS. It doesn't just look nice, it works great too.
- Connectivity is a bit confusing. It supports so many protocols that it's not always clear to me what it's using, if it's connected or not etc. (But maybe this is something I still have to get used to, I'm not very familiar yet with phones that go online.)
- The email client is very limited, I can't use IMAP folders, and my inbox is fairly unusable without filtering, given the amount of spam and automated emails I get. (Suggestions anyone?)
- The main screen isn't as customizable as I'd like (or I haven't found the proper settings yet).
- It's pretty expensive.
It's too early to say anything about battery life etc. yet, but with my iPod and Tom Tom I'm already used to docking stuff at night. If it lasts throughout the day, I will be satisfied.
So far, I'm pretty happy with it. Now that I think about it though, I haven't made a single phone call yet . So should you call this a phone? You can apparently play for hours without using the primary feature it was made for in the first place.
Oh, one last thing, or actually 2.
One: it's strange that a phone that runs Symbian OS instead of Windows Mobile, supports only Windows for their firmware update tool. Had to use VMWare under OSX to get my firmware updated.
Two: why do phones still not properly deal with moving contacts from one phone to the other? Sure, it supports bluetooth, wifi, infrared etc. to sync contacts. However, to sync them, you need to have your SIM card in both phones (even though the contacts are on the phone itself), but I only have a single card. (Luckily, a bit of SIM card juggling and Apple's iSync on the Macbook did the trick).