Use of the the Nokia 9210 Abroad by Arild
After having had a Nokia 9210 for more than 6 months I was
going on 8 day holiday in Norway. This is a report on how
it fared as a communications tool and entertainment gadget,
after having used it mainly as a calendar and contacts database
with mobile phone built in. I had firmware version 3.54 with
installed. I also had the free digital
camera that came with the 9210 and a 64mb MMC card.
[Battery life] [Browsing]
I was bringing along my daughter and I know from experience
that the 2 hour flight can be veryyy long for a 7 year old,
so I converted some audio books to the 9210 WAV format and
brought 2 hours worth of reading. This was pretty neat, the
only problem was that I only had a handsfree headset (one
earplug) so one ear had to be covered from the noise of the
For myself I downloaded some eBooks from www.memoware.com
to read with the Epocware E-BookReader. I never did believe
that I would like to read books off a tiny computer screen,
but it works really well. So far I've gone through 7 or 8
books. I copied across all files using a MMC card reader (USB)
which makes life a lot easier (and faster). I would suggest
that you spend 25 pounds on one of these if you ever upgrade
the memory capacity.
I used the digital camera frequently, it is not great quality
but for snaps it worked fine, and the infrared transfer to
the 9210 is very cool. I sent a couple of "wish you were
here" snaps to friends, no problems at all.
Previously I have lugged with me a 2 kilo Toshiba, modem
adapter and powercable when I go abroad, to be able to check
e-mails from my clients. This time I only needed to slip the
9210 inside my jacket, and it made life so much easier. No
need to beg for a phoneline from friends, nothing heavy to
carry. I also chose to set up an account with a local Norwegian
ISP which worked like Freeserve, i.e. you pay only for a local
call with no subscriptions. This saved me having to dial the
UK to connect.
In general it was very smooth to check e-mail, but as we
all know with the 9210, there are some idiosyncrasies and
bugs that I came across.
The first major problem was that I had previously set the
e-mail application to download headers only and stay online
(this was done when I was in an area with very bad connection).
In itself this wasn't a problem but although I had set the
Internet connection to close down after 2 minutes with no
activity it didn't... something I discovered after 3 hours!
Eeek!!! Major problem and one to look out for.
The second problem, which I only realised when I came back
is that although the 9210 will leave your e-mails on the server
for you to pick up when you're back at your usual e-mail client
it will delete them when you delete them from the 9210. This
is not really obvious, and I feel it's not coherent with the
overall "hands-off" approach of the program.
Two minor gripes: In the mail viewer you are not able to
turn off fields you're not interested in (such as CC) and
you can't change the font size on them, just the body of the
message, so you always have to scroll down to read messages,
even short ones. I feel that a "Message body only"
mode for the viewer would make it easier.
Secondly, when I got back home I could not get the messages
I had sent to copy across to my PC, and I could not convert
them to PC Mail message to force them to be synchronised either.
You can ask for copies to be mailed to your account, but that
means you have to download them again on the communicator,
which is a waste of online time. I feel that a facility to
copy across all messages including sent mail and SMS messages
would be useful.
Battery life [top]
This really was excellent. I had forgot to bring the adapter
for charging and managed to get it to run for 4 full days
(24 hours) with 3+ hours connected to the Internet, a few
phonecalls and frequent use to play back sound or read books
on it. (The renowned iPaq from Compaq using Windows CE can
last about 10 hour with no backlight, or 1.5 hour if you use
it to connect to the Internet... sad really)
This was the first time I've done any serious browsing on
the 9210. The reason was that my website disappeared due to
an error from the host providers, and I needed to edit some
text files. The native programs on the 9210 does not allow
text editing so I needed to buy and/or download YEdit
to do it.
First of all, the 9210 felt FAST. Perhaps because I used
it at a time of the year when there is less bottle nacks,
but I really felt as if I was on a desktop with a 56k modem
at times. However, the size of the screen does slow you down
as there is a lot of scrolling and switching between pointer
mode (Ctrl+Q) to click a link far down a page, and scrolling
mode to move up and down a page. One minor gripe with the
web browser itself is that when you select a link with the
pointer it requires two clicks to jump using a link. The first
time it displays the destination of the link and the second
it actually jumps. But on buttons it will jump immediately.
It should be on or the other and it caused some incorrect
Another confusing thing was that the Ctrl+Spacebar shortcut
key which is used by Task
Manager by default is used in the browser to start selecting
text when you use the pointer mode, and you can't switch.
Not really Nokia's fault though.
The worst thing however was some of the websites themselves.
I appreciate all the work that is being done for free, but
if your website is about the 9210 I think some work should
be put into an alternative navigation for the 9210 itself.
Extra stars to http://www.aikon.ch/
who does exactly that. http://www.allaboutsymbian.com/
worked fine actually, although fairly busy on the 9210. http://www.handango.com/
would not let me buy software, it always failed when I came
to the last page to confirm the purchase. Not so good if you
sell software for the 9210. And http://www.my-communicator.com/,
although a fantastic site for news about the 9210, is incredibly
bad when trying to access via the 9210. The front page is
a big graphic which you MUST download (I usually turn graphics
off to save time) to see where to click to find the English
pages. Then all downloads are linked to a central download
page where you MUST select the relevant category and then
wade through page after page to find the file (if you have
guessed the right category which I never managed), and there's
no way of searching directly for the files.
A final not on the browser is that although it will close
down the other standard applications (Calendar, Contacts etc.)
is it NOT closing down other programs, such as Smallbase.
These you may have to close yourself to get enough memory
[Editor's note: Some of the problems mentioned in this section
with the websites have been fixed. For example this site now
has a Mobile
Edition of the News]
I switched the home town in the Clock application to Oslo when
I arrived in Norway, and the time was automatically updated
which was neat. And something I hadn't realised earlier was
that you should always enter all telephone numbers in the format
of + [countrycode][areacode without 0][telephone number]
this way it works both in the UK and abroad.
After having used the 9210 to the full it is inevitable that
there a number of problems were discovered. Some merely irritating,
some real showstoppers. A big problem is that memory is not
properly released when closing down applications, particularly
the browser. I started with 3212 kb after reboot but after
heavy use I would end up with only 1000 kb even when using
the excellent Task
Manager to compress the memory. And of course having only
4 mb free in the first place is ridiculous when you can buy
256 mb ram for less than 30 pounds.
I also found that a crash had corrupted two notes on the
desktop, so text from one was found in the other.
Minor annoyances was that none of the Nokia supplied programs
have the standard Ctrl+E to close it down (so used to it from
other apps) and there is no sign showing that it's working
(i.e. an hourglass) when you have lengthy operations that
lock it up. I also found that the free space reported from
the MMC card is incorrect until you reset the phone when removing
it to copy files across. And worst of all, you can't save
plain text in the Word application. Why not? It's hardly rocket
science to save plain text rather than formatted text... as
it is you need to buy YEdit
to edit html files or other text files.
There are definitely some sharp edges with the 9210's software,
and some real bugs. But in a small, 285 gram package I was
able to keep in touch with clients in the UK, sort out problems
that happened in the US, entertain my daughter on the flight
and call friends all over Norway. There really is nothing
like it... and we all know this is why we put up with the
problems. Would I recommend it? You bet!
this article in the forums
Products mentioned in the article:
Websites mentioned in the article: