In this article Russ Spooner outlines his first impressions
of the Nokia 9210. Thanks go out to him for this piece. Apologies
that this article isn't broken up an illustrated, but I am
away from my home computer and don't have access to all editing
It has been a week and a half since I convinced the mrs
that I really, really needed a 9210 and that 500 quid was
a small price to pay for my happiness... (She gets two or
three of these speeches a week...).
After some ringing around I managed to locate on in a local
phone shop and rushed out and shelled out some cash.
The first thing that struck me about the unit is that it
is a lot lighter than it looks. It uses the popular anodised
aliminum look, without relying on aluminum, and uses the blue
LED backlight for the front phone window.
The general feel of the unit is one of quality. You get the
sensation of having something expansive in your hands...
With the unit you get a charger, serial cable, huuuge manual
and CD. It also comes with a 16mb MMC card pre-installed and
loaded with additional applications such as the Fax Modem
software and a video player!
In the UK you get the digital camera with it! Which made
me quite happy!
Having let the unit charge for about 20 seconds I started
playing with it.
The set-up of the unit was straight forward with a wizard
guiding me through inputting name, address, location and so
on. T found the keyboard to be a tad fiddly to begin with
and appreciated the audio signal that a key had been pressed.
The most amazing thing that stuck in my mind was the amazing
clarity of the colour screen. It is crystal (no pun) sharp
and the colour rendition is brilliant. Astonishing, really.
Far superior to the PocketPC devices I own. Having sone an
initial setup, I moved on to configuring my internet conection.
This was guite painless: if you have ever configured a desktop
PC or a pocket device for internet access you will find this
a simple task, and I was pleased to see it work first time!
I fired up the web-browser and checked out my site.... Gorgeous.
Everything rendered like a charm!
Very impressive... Slow as hell, of course, 9600 is painful,
but not being on Orange means that it as good as it gets.
The phone itself (as in the talky-speaky bit) to begin with
confused me because you talk into the "back" of
the phone. I.e. the opposite side of phone you would expect...
This still catches me out occasionally... But if you open
the clamshell you will be amazed by the quality (and volume)
of the speakerphone! The build in speaker is astonishingly
After playing with the phone function, the next trick was
to get the PC connectivity up and running.
My desktop PC actually has 10 serial ports (using a blueheat
PCI card) this apparently was far too confusing for the software
and to this day when I try and connect to the Communicator
to the desktop the connectivity software crashes!
Fortunately I have a decent laptop so once I had installed
the software on it I was able to connect to it with few problems.
Synchronising the device to outlook to update the contacts
and calendar entries is painful... and confusing. I am not
going to walk you through it here, I might save it for another
story. Suffice it to say that it is unintuitive. I found myself
wishing that psion had licensed activesync.
Copying files to and from the device is simple, however there
is no way to do this without having the file converted to
the Symbian formats.... I found this a little frustrating.
Perhaps I want to look at a plain text file in the web-browser,
instead of it being converted to Word format. i can see thiws
is going to cause problems for some users.
Day to day usage of the device is fun... It has it quirks:
I am certain there are memory leaks in a couple of the applications
that come with it.... I have found myself having to reboot
every couple of days. If I don't I find some of the applications
start behaving strangely, or dialog boxes dont close the way
I have found a couple of other things that are a tad irritating:
You can set a wav file to play as your ring tone and it works
fine... However if you do the same for SMS alerts you will
find that the wav file you selected will not play! Very strange...
A bug I am sure that will be fixed in future versions.
I found that the 16MB MMC card that comes with the 9210 quickly
gets filled, and so I went out and bought a 32 meg card...
Much better! I now have enough room for all the random apps
I install as well as a full episode of Family Guy that I can
watch with the Video Player!
The old 16MMC card went to good use in the camera that came
with the 9210. Not a bad camera... however not exactly the
It only has a couple of menu settings:
The autoflash feature is nice, but you can't force it on...
The picture quality is as you would expect from a 640x480
rez camera: perfect for web pages and casual memories :)
The biggest issue I had with it was that there is no real
documentation with the camera... So you don't know what the
meaning of the LEDs are...
Oh, that and the fact that you have no real idea as to how
much memory is left and thus how many empty slots for photos....
You just get this Empty -> Full fuel gauge thing...
I ended up playing with it for quite a while before I developed
a technique for taking photos that weren't smudged by me moving
the camera too soon after pressing the button.
The build quality is high and it fits nicely into the palm
of your hand. Feels pretty solid. As does the shutter (on/off)
Not only does this camera work extremely painlessly with
the software supplid with the 9210 it works perfectly with
the IR image transfer software that comes with windows 2000.
One can only assume that the 9210 software is also compatible
with other IR cameras, but I don't have any...
Anyway, back to the 9210 itself:
The strange thing about the 9210 is that I thought it would
be a pain lugging around what, to all intents and purposes
is an early 90's size lump of a phone, until I realised that
I could safely leave whatever PDA I was planning to use that
Also, strangely, the weight is not all that far off a 7110!
Although I carry it around in a jeans pocket most of the time,
I can see that I might shell out some dough for a holster
or case of some kind in the future...
As I get more and more used to the keyboard the more I like
it. It is squidgy and fiddly, but not unpleasant and while
I can't ever see myself touch typing on it I can see myself
blasting out SMSs much quicker than a T90 enabled phone, and
whacking out emails at my usual rate!
The layout and ergonomics of the whole thing lend itself
to a two handed-type-with-thumbs approach to using it, with
all keys and buttons in easy and comfortable reach.
And with the rocker style arrow keys I can't wait for some
decent games and emulators to appear!
Good Points: Light-ish Superb screen Intuitive Operating
system Good ergonomics Excellent speakerphone
Bad points: Should have more ram for running applications
It is tricky to get the aerial out... Its size (if you are
bothered by that sort of thing)
Overall I rate it 10 out of 10 simply because it does everything
I would ever need from a phone/PDA. I love it. So there.