View Full Version : Any Ex-Psioners Considering the E90?
Duncan J Murray
09-05-2007, 01:05 AM
Hi there, this is my first post to this forum. I joined because I'm curious about the E90 being my first proper pda replacement for my psions!
I started off with a 3a - which I found had a brilliant organiser - very easy to use and view. I replaced it with a revo, which was even better (it being smaller) and had a nice screen, but died with the battery problem. I replaced it with the 5mx thinking that would solve my woes, but unfortunately the 5mx proved too bulky as a diary, and with it's abysmal screen very quickly became useless. I've tried all sorts of paper diaries in the meanwhile - some are too big, and others don't have enough space to write things - so all in all, nothing has been particularlyl satisfactory!
Anyone else out there thinking the E90 could be the anwser to their long-lost psion? Or do people think there's a better alternative (i.e. palm/pocket pc)? Very tempted to just try and pick up an old 3mx and use that...
I feel the Nokia 9500 is close to Psions but it may be too bulky for you. I am also thinking about the E90 as it is not too different in size from the Revo. But you should also look at the SE P1i or M600 as the keyboard is very useable and the touch screen add additional options.
25-05-2007, 10:16 AM
My very first PDA was a Psion 3C which was followed by a Series5 and finally a 5MX. I now own a 9500 Communicator as it is the closest thing to a Psion. Although I should say that despite all the great comms and functionality that is put into these devices, the developers cannot make a decent diary for toffee. I have not had a device that has a diary comes anywhere close to that of the Psion 3C. The inbuilt diary on the 9500 always seems to be limited and I have not found a third party one yet either.
I did try out Palm for a while with a Tungsten-T. It was pretty good, I liked the interface, but in the long run it was always compared to the Psion and it never met that main function of being a way of organising your life.
My 9500 has stood up to alot of use and on the whole I have been happy with it, but it is now a little long in the tooth. The E90 looks fab and if Steve Litchfield likes it then that should be good enough for us old time Psioneers. I shall be an early / expensive adpopter.
25-05-2007, 10:50 AM
Hi Duncan, I'm a big Psion fan too.
This won't let me post links till I've done 10 posts, so I apologise but I'm going to have to split out this reply into 10 and post my links at the end (odd, it used to let me post links)
25-05-2007, 10:52 AM
I love the Psion 5mx because of its stability, a keyboard you can touchtype on with both hands (as I've gone on about at length before on my blog!) and the ability to copy/paste my work from Psion to PC easily.
25-05-2007, 10:54 AM
I have 2 Psion 5mxs in fact, believe it or not.
25-05-2007, 10:56 AM
When one goes wrong (and I've never had the infamous battery lead problem or touch wood a screen problem, but other stuff) then I send it to POS for repair, restore my latest backup from PC to the spare Psion, and use that till it goes bust, etc.
25-05-2007, 10:57 AM
So far I've survived, but I'm dreading what happens when I get to whatever year it is in this millennium that the Psion calendar runs out! Hopefully it'll be after I pop my clogs, but I can't recall the exact date.
25-05-2007, 11:23 AM
My paeans to proper keyboards on PDAs and the Psion!:
My dream gadget would be a slightly smaller 5mx with colour screen and builtin phone etc:
I've not found the Psion too bulky myself (I had the 3a before that, I think), but then I carry a bag or small backpack round with me. It would be much easier to carry it round clipped to your belt if Krusell made a case for it (I love Krusell's system (http://www.consumingexperience.com/2007/04/krusell-multidapt-cases-phones-etc.html) - I've emailed them asking why they won't do a case big enough for a Psion, digression but if other people would like to lobby them too then maybe they will? http://www.krusell.se/contact.php. If I could carry my 5mx around with me constantly that way, I'd be deliriously happy. Errr yes, I love my Psion!)
I agree the screen is worse than on the 3a, but I use the backlight when necessary, and I've got used to it especially with the ability to zoom. One plus about the screen not being that good is that it's harder for others to read it over my shoulder on the Tube! (I have a rigid backpack which turned on its side on my lap does very well as a mini table to rest my 5mx on).
I've never found anything with a keyboard as good as the Psion's which is why I still cart it around with me.
I've tried handwriting recognition on a touchscreen and the Nokia 7710's is very good (see my 7710 review here (http://www.consumingexperience.com/2006/01/nokia-7710-smartphone-review-tips-1.html) if you're interested). But still it's not as fast or as accurate as touchtyping with 2 hands.
I've also got a Blackberry through work, but again if you've tried a Psion and you're a touchtypist then the Blackberry just can't compare.
So like you I've been waiting for a mobile which could be a Psion replacement.
I'd looked at the Nokia Communicator series and they were definitely too brick like. So I've been seriously considering the Nokia E61i, which I know is more Blackberry-like than Psion-like.
I notice from Rafe and Steve's review (http://pages.citebite.com/u1v7c5u3k0vyy) that the E90 keyboard isn't exactly fantastic, though that seems to have been a pre-launch version. More tellingly, I found this review from The Register (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/02/13/90_rizrx8_shoot-out/) which said, and I quote:
"Echoing around the web yesterday were many comments proclaiming the phone as the first communicator worthy of the Psion legacy. With the Psion Series 5 and even the Psion Revo, it was possible to touch type two-handed. Alas, unless you have very small fingers indeed, you're going to be disappointed. So you're really obliged to use your thumbs.
The reality is even worse, however. I found I made more mistakes typing on the E90 than I do on an E70 or an E61, which really are optimized for minimizing thumb input errors, particularly the E61, with its widely spaced keys. I made even more mistakes on the new communicator than on its true predecessor, the Nokia 9500. And nothing about the experience suggests I'm going to adapt to the device.
Why, I was left wondering, did Nokia go to the trouble of creating such a large device to house a full QWERTY keyboard when the final user experience - and in the end, as Apple knows, this is what really counts - is so poor. Was it simply to demonstrate its technical prowess? To beat the world record for the longest feature list in a smartphone?"
The article then goes on to point out, which I didn't know before but it explains a lot, that:
"Veteran Psion users will recall how the company used clever patented hinge designs to maximize the amount of space available for the keyboard. This trick bought precious square millimetres of space for the keyboard. (Psion's design company also invented a new kind of key design, giving the keys additional 'travel'). Even though Psion doesn't use the IP in its products any more, it won't license the patents, we're told, so no company can recreate the Psion experience. If that's really true, then Nokia should buy the rights outright, rather than continue to develop products that can't deliver a user experience it promises."
Does anyone know anything more about that? Why on earth won't Psion license those patents or sell them? They'd make a fortune. There must be armies of people like us gagging for a decent mobile/PDA combo with a proper Psion-like touchtypable keyboard.
Sorry for the long ramblings, I guess personally what I'm going to do is try out an E90 in the shops and see if the keyboard really is that bad, and I'll probably go for that or the E61i depending on which one I find quicker for data entry.
Someone (ideally Nokia, or else Sony Ericsson) please please please go and buy Psion's patents!
Meanwhile, if anyone has had experiences of comparing the E90 and E61i, or just what the E90 is like, I'd also be very grateful to hear them.
01-06-2007, 04:42 PM
You might consider a P990i, which to boot is quite cheap now. For all its bugs and problems (mostly fixed now, with the last firmware), it's still the best compromise between PDA functionality (with decent text input capabilities) and one-handed phone functionality.
I have used the P-series SE phones since their inception. I've been using a P990i since last September. Only recently did the P990i start to become really usable.
The touch screen on the P990i is a great benefit for PDA functions. On the down side, the P990i doesn't have enough memory and slows down with any heavy multitasking. It doesn't have EDGE, but 3G works great (in those areas where there is service). The camera is so-so. It's a bit thick for your shirt pocket.
I'm probably going to try an E90 when they come out, but so far you can't buy them.
02-06-2007, 07:12 AM
Yes, I love my Nokia E90..... BUT.....
If a souped up Calendar is what you're after, then you'll be disappointed. The S60 Calendar is inferior to that on the 9500, which in turn is inferior to that on the old Psion etc.
There are third party alternatives, I'd recommend trying these on a cheaper S60 device before committing to buying an E90.
Re:keyboards. The E90's is roughly as usable as the Nokia 9300's and with similar feel.
Watch this space for a full-on Psion 5mx to E90 photo comparison!
16-06-2007, 10:37 PM
Thanks for your reply Steve.
No, a basic calendar should be fine (though if it's inferior to the Psion's then I'd be interested to know in what ways, as the Psion's isn't that sophisticated!).
Really what I need most is a touch typable keyboard but with the form factor of the Psion rather than a small laptop, and the ability to easily transfer what I type (which can be whole documents) from the device to my PC, which is why I love CopyAnywhere. I haven't tried the 9300.
Has anyone tried to find out from Psion direct why they won't license their patents? If they're not using them why don't they make some money licensing them out?
Anyway I certainly mean to try the E90 when it comes out and see if I can live with the keyboard even if it's not as good as the Psion's.
Look forward to the photo comparison!
Duncan J Murray
27-06-2007, 10:26 PM
Really interesting to read all of your replies.
An odd coincidence occured while I was in India. The person I was staying with just bought an E61, so we had been chatting, and I'd shown him the E90 on the web as something I was considering. He phoned me up one day while in clinic saying that someone just walked in with an E90 - head of software development in India for Nokia! We invited him around and he let me have a play with the E90.
My first impressions were that it was a very solid piece of engineering - it's tiny, especially if you're going to compare it to a 5mx, but it's beautifully made, but also rather heavy! It's also a bit on the thick side. The screens are very nice and the inside one is very high-res, but clear. The hinge mechanism isn't the most sensible, as it locks at 90 deg and 180 deg, neither of which are the most useful, but it can be set in between. The best thing about it is the short cut keys, and switching between desk and calendar is snappy.
Calendar is, as Steve has written, not the most sophisticated piece of software. However, for basic functionality it seems to work pretty well. You can attach notes to the entries (as in all S60), but viewing them isn't as smooth as on the psion. When the day fills up with entries, it can look quite cluttered, but not as bad as I thought it might be. The lack of multiple todo lists is a slight shame, but may not be a problem for me. Most important for me is that I can quickly check a date to see if it is free, be able to rapidly enter an entry while on the move and also see clearly what I'm doing in a given day. For those functions it passed all the tick boxes.
Data entry speed was pretty good, probably not far off psion 3a standards, certainly touchtyping is not possible. It's easier to type on than the E61, but not by an obvious margin. However, it does have many more useful keys than the E61 in its favour.
I was left with an impression that this device could be used for me as a diary, and I expected ebooks, wifi and word processing to work normally, too. I was quite set on getting one on returning to the U.K., except for a couple of things...
On returning to the UK, and even here at the moment, they are not available! Secondly, the E61 is pretty good, slimmer, lighter, cheaper and does all the things the E90 does that I need it to do. I think I ignored it first because it didn't Look like a psion! But viewing it in a new light, it maybe the more obvious choice for me. However, the E61/E61i has a large black mark against it, and that is when it comes to multitasking it is very cumbersome - it's not possible for a single keypress to leave calendar without shutting it down to the desktop, and that's something I may be happy to pay many more $ for the E90's shortcut buttons.
So I'm sort of stuck - half of me wants the E61i the other half the E90. If there was an E61i with a desktop button, I'd be there straight away. Does anyone have any software workarounds to this?
28-06-2007, 09:45 AM
>>when it comes to multitasking it is very cumbersome - it's not possible for a single keypress to leave calendar without shutting it down to the desktop,
Eh???? Just press the usual S60 'Apps' button [the swirly arrow logo thing] and you're back the main program list, leaving Calendar running. A further press of the key and you're back at the standby screen, etc.
Duncan J Murray
28-06-2007, 11:06 AM
You're joking?! Sorry if I offended anyone, but I was holding down that button to get to the task manager, and then selecting desktop everytime I wanted to change apps! I thought it was pretty cumbersome, and even the nokia engineer didn't point out another way of doing it :) In fact, I think my 'suggestion' of a desktop button is logged with Nokia, India.
Looks like the E61 is the one for me now... I just can't fault it now.
29-06-2007, 09:14 PM
Duncan, thanks for detailing your impressions of the E90 (and Steve for explaining about the E61).
I'd been considering the E61i as an alternative, not sure which of the networks has that as opposed to just the E61, as I've never seen the i in the shops. (Anyone know if the E61i is available subsidised on contract in the UK and if so which network? Sorry should post that in the thread for the E61i I guess.)
I think I'll still hold out for a few weeks so I can try the E90's keyboard in person - Steve, I know you think it's very usable - and see if I get on with that or the E61i's better.
Steve or anyone else, do you know why no one like Nokia has bought Psion's keyboard patents? Has anyone ever tried? I really would like to know. Hah, maybe we could start a fund for diehard 5mx dinosaurs like me to all chip in so we can try to raise enough money to buy out those patents together! And license them to Nokia, Sony Ericsson, etc etc... Anyone game? http://www.allaboutsymbian.com/forum/images/icons/icon10.gif
30-06-2007, 06:16 AM
Anyone could make a keyboard with good enough keys, like Psions, without patent royalties - they just haven't wanted to 8-(
The Psion patent was mainly for the 'slide and brace' system, I believe.