Of course, the very title is somewhat contradictory - if you're a fan of something then why would you switch? But there's a question that's been on all our minds for a year or two now: "Given what we currently do with our Symbian-powered smartphones, if we had to jump mobile platform then which one would suit us best?" Now, there may well be hardware-focussed reasons for buying a phone on another platform (Nokia's cameras spring to mind), but - purely on the strength of the software itself - which of iOS 6, Android 4.1 and Windows Phone 8 is the best fit? In other words, which provides the most improvements and least number of omissions? I focus on ten key areas below.
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Ah yes, 'Play via Radio', or 'FM transmitter' as it used to be called. Getting your phone's audio onto your car radio wirelessly. A fabulous utility in a smartphone, as I've waxed lyrical before, albeit a bit troublesome in an urban environment. Which is a slinky link to the mini-tutorial below, in which I share a discovery that sees me happily skipping about between FM frequencies in 'crowded' airwaves, making it much quicker to find a band that's not too congested.
The big question, the thing everyone (around here) wants to know. How does the Nokia PureView 'phase 2' camera in the Windows Phone 8-powered Lumia 920 compare to that in the 'phase 1' camera unit in the Symbian-powered Nokia 808? In the seven comparisons below, Rafe and I try to answer the question, and throw in comparisons with the Lumia 900 and HTC One X camera at the same time, where appropriate. This feature represents our 'first look' at the 920 hardware - there will be formal review parts coming your way very shortly, including a broader look at its camera in all modes and settings.
File this under 'middle of the night musings', but it's a question I often ask myself. 'How far could I go back in Symbian history and still have a device which filled all my needs today in 2012?' After all, there are some functions which (e.g.) the 2007 Nokia N82 does a heck of a lot better than 90% of today's oh-so-droppable, oh-so-expensive touch-slab smartphones, albeit with a less obviously pleasing UI. But how far could I go back? At what point does the antiquity of the hardware and software get in the way?
You'll already have seen how I'd been experimenting with battery swapping by putting the N8's BL-4D cell into the Nokia 808 as a spare for the BV-4D that the 808 comes with? I suggested at the time that the reverse might be a good idea, i.e. putting the higher capacity, higher (nominal) voltage BV-4D into the N8, as an ultimate battery upgrade, perhaps replacing an ailing, 2 year old cell with one that has more juice than the original did when new. Here, I show how to do exactly that and report on any stats and caveats I notice along the way.
The complete rewrite of Symbian's input mechanisms for Belle Feature Pack 2 has brought both bouquets and brick-bats from users. The multitouch QWERTY keyboard is undoubtedly a step forwards, though the lack of true auto-correct still rankles (a step backwards). But it's the 'phone keypad' option that has got a lot of people hot under the collar. Let me explain why, let me also explain why they're mostly too harsh and finally let me share a few tips for getting the most out of this input system for the latest version of Symbian/Belle.
With this direct comparison of the Nokia E7 and N950 'developer' device I don't think I've ever so badly wanted to combine two handsets, picking the best attributes of each - especially galling when you consider that there's no reason whatsoever why Nokia couldn't in fact have done this. For example, three of the E7's acknowledged weaknesses - totally sealed battery, EDoF camera and easily muffled speaker, are addressed head on in the Meego-powered N950, yet you can't buy the latter for love nor money. But one my 'head to heads' should prove instructive, not least to indicate what might have been, should a different designer have been at work on the E7 project...
Whichever smartphone you're currently rocking or aspiring to, the chances are that there will be a certain amount of extra hardware that you'll find helps you get through the day, enhancing what the phone does and helping it do it for longer. Here, in a somewhat personal, though fairly cross-platform selection, I pick my top dozen smartphone accessories. Don't sneer at the back, I bet you get grabbed by a few of these too....
Getting email and other personal information management (PIM) services running on Symbian has, historically, been a tricky prospect at times. Things have improved in recent years thanks to the proliferation of Mail for Exchange services. This guide goes through how to get Mail for Exchange, which additionally offers contact and calendar sync, from Google, Microsoft, and even Yahoo!
One oddity about the upgrade to Belle FP2 for the Nokia 808, 701 and so on, was that the only keyboard offered seemed to be the QWERTY one. Yes, the latter was much improved, but for many one-handed uses, 'T9'/'Numeric' input can still prove very useful. And, indeed, is still available, if you know where to find the setting. It's in the cellar, down some broken stairs, with no light, in a toilet with a sign saying 'Beware of the leopard'... oh, ok, that's from HHGTTG. The setting you need is actually in the Settings hierarchy, as shown below.