All About Symbian - Nokia (S60) and Sony Ericsson (UIQ) smartphones unwrapped

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Old 11-08-2009, 06:50 AM
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Nokia E75 - Long Term Review

The Nokia E75 has been slowly but surely working its way into the hearts and minds of the All About Symbian team during 2009. Here's my real world, long term Nokia E75 review - what has been outstanding and what has been a problem? Of note is that the E75 was my only device for my recent holiday, i.e. it had to do absolutely everything - how did it cope under pressure?

Read on in the full article.

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Old 11-08-2009, 08:57 AM
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Hi, I've been using the E75 for a month or so, and I have a slightly different (less positive) take on it. Possibly because I'm not a S60 expert, so this is the view of a very IT literate layman.

First, the keyboard. Coming from a Blackberry 8700, the Nokia's is error prone because it's badly spaced and too flat.
Second, the battery life is appalling. I took it out with me for a day without a charger, and it was sitting there on Imap Idle all day, no bluetooth, no wifi, about 10 mins of Google Maps. Started to complain about battery life and go into ebergy saving mode after about 13 hours. Pathetic.
Third, the Nokia Email is not fit for purpose. I have 2 email accounts hosted by Google Apps with my own domains. The 'wizard' couldn't find them and wouldn't allow me to configure them manually. Nokia support couldn't help, and Vodafone ditto. I bought Profimail which works well, but am angry that I should have had to on a 'business class' device.
Fourth, browsing is clunky and sub-par, with poor rendering and navigation. Again, this is compared to the Blackberry 8700, a 5 year old device.
Fifth, lack of Mac support is irritating. I can't update my firmware to v110, and it isn't showing up with OTA update.
Sixth, lack of Google sync compatibility. I'd love to be able to sync contacts and calendar OTA...but since I'm not using MFE, this isn't an option for me.

There are other niggles too - why doesn't the call log show the type of number as well as the name (eg Daniel Jenkins Mobile or Daniel Jenkins Home, rather just Daniel Jenkins)? And of course the overall UI is extremely cluttered and onerous to navigate.

Now, I will say that I like the sleek hardware design. And with Profimail, the E75 is a very capable email client, which is primarily what I wanted. Native Mac Isync compatibility goes SOME way to making up for the lack of Google sync.

Now I know that every smartphone has its shortcomings. As things stand, though, I'd have to say that if an Android phone with a decent Qwerty, or a higher quality replacement for the Palm Pre were available SIM free, I wouldn't think twice. There's no joy in using this device. Everything feels like a compromise. Even the L-plug on my Etymotic earphones doesn't fit well (and they have with 3 ipods and a Creative MP3 player). If I could go back, I'd probably go for an Iphone.

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Old 11-08-2009, 09:19 AM
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"First, the keyboard. Coming from a Blackberry 8700, the Nokia's is error prone because it's badly spaced and too flat. "

A personal call, I think. It is a little flat, but I'm having no problems. Possibly because the E90's was also largely flat! 8-)

"Second, the battery life is appalling. I took it out with me for a day without a charger, and it was sitting there on Imap Idle all day"

Etc. This sort of behaviour is typical of *any* phone maintaining a 3G data connection constantly in an area of less than perfect signal. I don't think the E75 itself is to blame here. Personally, when I'm truly mobile, I turn OFF push email, to save battery-sapping data access. I do manual send/receives.

"Third, the Nokia Email is not fit for purpose. I have 2 email accounts hosted by Google Apps with my own domains. The 'wizard' couldn't find them"

Agreed. This new Nokia Messaging client is extremely buggy, especially on the E75. Sadly. No doubt it will be fixed up in time. I use the Java-based GMail client most of the time.

"Fourth, browsing is clunky and sub-par, with poor rendering and navigation. Again, this is compared to the Blackberry 8700, a 5 year old device."

Really? S60 Web is far superior to that on the 8700.... Which sites were you having problems with?

"Fifth, lack of Mac support is irritating. I can't update my firmware to v110, and it isn't showing up with OTA update."

Maybe you've got a network-branded device? You also must have a very early one - v110 has been out for yonks! And Mac support is great, via iSync and Nokia Multimedia Transfer.

"Sixth, lack of Google sync compatibility. I'd love to be able to sync contacts and calendar OTA...but since I'm not using MFE, this isn't an option for me."

Nor for me. But this is Google's fault for jumping into bed with MfE. 8-(

"There are other niggles too - why doesn't the call log show the type of number "

This has been buggy in S60 for years 8-(

"the overall UI is extremely cluttered and onerous to navigate."

Yes, to a degree, though it's trivial to move icons around and get things optimised for your own needs, IMHO.

8-)
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Old 11-08-2009, 09:49 AM
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Hi Steve

Re battery life, I think it was a questionable decision to reduce the battery capacity compared to the E71. It saves maybe a few mm on thickness?

Re the web - for starters, Engadget. BB displays as a nice scrollable text version. s60 web gives all these Page 1 of 18 sub-pages. I';d rather it just shrank the whole page to fit, displayed the zoom square and I could use the d-pad to click and zoom into the selected region...rather than all these sub-pages. Alternatively load the whole page as text and let me scroll.

Re the firmware, I don't think I have a branded device. How can I tell? There's no mention of Vodafone anywhere I can see. I got my phone about a month ago. Is there any other way of updating - maybe downloading a SIS file from somewhere? Vodafone don't seem to be making this update available OTA, if it is a carrier dependency. They probably never will, if the tech support stance on this phone is indicative - ie they don't know, sell or support it.

Overall, there may well be workarounds for many of these issues. But that was my point in describing myself as a S60 layman. It shouldn't be so hard to find these workarounds. I'm not technically challenged - I administrate my own MX records, have built PCs, set up wifi networks, have a custom GeekTool desktop on my Mac. I'm a very competent dabbler. But S60 is pretty impenetrable. I want a powerful device that's easy to use. The requirement for ease of use is not some mark of a newbie/technical naif, because a well engineered UI is one of the marks of well engineered software and a well managed development team. I think there are more compelling choices.

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Old 11-08-2009, 10:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
Re battery life, I think it was a questionable decision to reduce the battery capacity compared to the E71. It saves maybe a few mm on thickness?
Agreed, I'd rather have seen a chunkier battery in here.

Quote:
Re the web - for starters, Engadget. BB displays as a nice scrollable text version. s60 web gives all these Page 1 of 18 sub-pages.
Umm..... sounds like you're trying to view WAP pages!!!! Web doesn't work like that for normal HTML content. What actual URL are you trying to look at???

Quote:
Re the firmware, I don't think I have a branded device. How can I tell?
Did you buy it subsidised through Vodafone? Or SIM-free?

Quote:
Overall, there may well be workarounds for many of these issues. But that was my point in describing myself as a S60 layman.
I quite see your point and this is why I wouldn't recommend the E75 to someone not used to S60 or who didn't think of themselves as a geek. You say you're quite technical - but the comment above about web pages being split shows that, respectfully, you're not THAT understanding of what's going on with bits and bytes 8-)
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Old 11-08-2009, 10:14 AM
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Though I was considering the E75 at one point in the end it was the small screen size that put me off. As I do a lot of web browsing on my phones I could not put up with such a small screen, also for e mail use it seems too small to me. Overall it seems that Nokia have ruined a perfectly decent all-rounder by lumbering it with such a small screen.

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Old 11-08-2009, 11:08 AM
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Its a decent average device but Nokia tried to create a hype around it like they said '9300 successor!!! & the Greate Messaging device!!' ??? When IMHO E75 didnt deserve to be 9300 successor nor great messaging device...If you wanna advert the device as messaging device then solve the bugs in the messaging software (from the first firmware)...and if its 9300 successor then its catastrophic.
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Old 11-08-2009, 11:44 AM
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Did you buy it subsidised through Vodafone? Or SIM-free?



I quite see your point and this is why I wouldn't recommend the E75 to someone not used to S60 or who didn't think of themselves as a geek. You say you're quite technical - but the comment above about web pages being split shows that, respectfully, you're not THAT understanding of what's going on with bits and bytes 8-)
I bought it on contract from Vodafone, but can't see any customisation whatsoever. In Device Manager, my software version is 100.48.78, and Custom version is 100.48.78.204.04. Model is E75-1.

When I fire up www.engadget.com, through my Vodafone Live AP (not the WAP GPRS or WAP one), it shows part 1 of 51. What's going on there? What's the setting to make it load up the whole HTML page?

BTW, which smartphone WOULD you recommend to a non-S60 expert, that natively sync'd with a Mac OR Google and had a QWERTY keyboard?

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Old 11-08-2009, 12:15 PM
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Sounds like Vodafone is parsing all the pages for you - this is **nothing** to do with S60 or the E75. Go to your Vodafone home page and choose 'full internet' or 'desktop' or similar - it'll be a setting. You'd have thought they'd ship a smartphone with the right default SIM setting though 8-(

If you can't see a suitable setting, call Vodafone and complain that their setting is trashing your Internet etc - they'll talk you through what to do in your Vodafone home settings. They might even be able to change it from their end.
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Old 11-08-2009, 12:57 PM
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I find strange that you prefer an old Blackberry to a new S60. I find the BB OS very ugly an unfriendly: lots of small icons in the main screen, the options are just a list of text with left-justified labels and right-justified options...

You can reorder the icons and create folders for organization purposes.

If you find that the battery last very little, you can put the phone in GPRS mode (not 3G) and it will last much more. This is the main reason why Blacberrys last longer, most of them are not 3G.

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Old 11-08-2009, 01:01 PM
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When I fire up www.engadget.com, through my Vodafone Live AP (not the WAP GPRS or WAP one), it shows part 1 of 51. What's going on there? What's the setting to make it load up the whole HTML page?
I've had this too - it's the Vodafone Live AP and it's converting all web sites into wap sites for you. Mine came set up with loads, but the vodafone wap one was higher priority than the plain GPRS one. I had to move them about a bit.

Mine is called 'Contract Internet' on a vodafone 5800, and Vodafone Internet GPRS on a SIM-free N97.

Name: "Vodafone Internet GPRS"
Access Point Name: "Internet"
User Name "web"

I think if you need a password, you can use web.


This is a network config problem, not an issue with the browser.

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Old 12-08-2009, 04:27 AM
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don't you think the firmware version will hit v200 before it hits v220, according to the general firmware patterns of E-series phones. or v200 then v210, if not v200 then v220. still, v200 first.

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Old 12-08-2009, 08:37 AM
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a well engineered UI is one of the marks of well engineered software and a well managed development team
Well said.

There are over 3,000 staff assigned to Symbian and S60, even after the redundancies. You can see how well managed this is.
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Old 12-08-2009, 08:45 AM
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I find strange that you prefer an old Blackberry to a new S60. I find the BB OS very ugly an unfriendly: lots of small icons in the main screen, the options are just a list of text with left-justified labels and right-justified options...
Maybe that's why it's so successful?

No keyboard is better than the Blackberry Bold keyboard, even old Blackberrys are easier to type on than modern Nokias. But you're talking about cosmetics instead.

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Old 12-08-2009, 12:12 PM
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Why those comments about "i dont use MfE" ?? why is it a problem that google implemented it that way?

do you think you have to use Microsoft Exchange server or something??

MfE on the nokia is just a client that knows the sync protocol of exchange, its nothing wrong with using that as a sync protocol. If they would have used iSync it would be ok?? (thats also just as MfE and protocol... but 1 problem i dont have a iSync client on my nokia as far as i know and MfE i can just install)

But back to the topic.. Nokia made a real mistake by saying the E75 is the successor of the 9300. There is only 1 successor for the 9300 and thats the E90. And the E90 is still not beaten by anything else on the S60 (or android market) by looking at the specs... Why why why
Why does nobody wants to sell me a new phone?? I am looking around for a replacement of the E90 but there isnt one... How is that possible after now 2 years!

I will now wait for the N900 (that one looks interesting) or a Android phone with the right specs (qwerty and 800x480 screen are my 2 biggest points)

The E75 is just in the same ball game as the E71/72. if you want such a phone (such a screen and so on with a qwerty) then if you want slider pick the E75 if you want BB style pick the E72

I agree with the first poster about the mail client. Thats just horrible, i tried it also on my E90. But it just doesnt work. It wants to be TO SIMPLE...
Just type your domain and your login/pw and you are done. But thats not the way it can work for me. Our company has a mail server that follows a certain anti spam pattern..
This means that it checks the domain where the mail is coming from if it follows that anti spam protection. If the domain does that then the server MUST have send it else the mail wont be allowed.

so what happens is this. I send through nokia messaging an email to my coworkers that has ofcourse the same (my own) domain. Nokia sends it to our mail server. The mail server sees it, checks the domain, (doesnt look if it is itself that domain) and that domain tells the mail server that "yes i can be the only sender of my email coming form that domain" but this is not the case so the email is blocked.

So i cant send any email to my co workers from Nokia messaging..

The stupid thing is, nokia could allow the simple configuration approach BUT that should just be to prefill in the advanced stuff like imap/smtp servers and so on. Then i should be allowed to change those and fix the smtp server to always be our own..
 

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