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

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  #1  
Old 11-08-2010, 11:00 AM
slitchfield slitchfield is offline
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Battle of the Budget Smartphones: Hardware

In a followup to his previous introduction to this review mini-series, looking at the £100 ZTE Racer (powered by Android) when compared to Nokia's similarly priced 5230, Ewan looks at the base specifications of each. Which comes out on top and do specs even matter in this target market?

Read on in the full article.

  #2  
Old 11-08-2010, 11:53 AM
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railroad ruehaing

"runs on a virtual machine layer"

I'm certain Google are aware of the pros and cons of that decision. Google did take a performance hit but they have gained portability and security benefits.

The Dalvik JIT in Android 2.2 appears very well thought out; start-up time is barely impacted at all, typically only 2% of an application's hot traces are translated, the code compiled expands five fold for roughly a 10% overall increase in footprint, but performance increases 2-5 fold depending upon the application. I'm a Java sceptic but I think Google have made some smart choices here.

There are other advantages that we may see the benefit of in the future. If the Intel Medfield variants are any good and Android phones are built around them, the applications will run without recompilation by the developers. Performance, security and efficiency improvements of the JIT will benefit all applications, developers need do nothing. Google can do the heavy lifting and every application benefits.

  #3  
Old 11-08-2010, 12:10 PM
viipottaja viipottaja is offline
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Lovely new nail polish, Ewan!

  #4  
Old 11-08-2010, 12:25 PM
clonmult clonmult is offline
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The difference in screen size more than you make out.

I compared the screen on the 5230 (3.2") to that on the N95 8gig (2.8" - same size as the ZTE), and there's no comparison - that extra .4" makes a huge difference in overall usage, sat nav, browsing, etc.

Interesting comment on the differences between 7.2mbps and 3.6mbps 3G connectivity, and its pretty much what I've experienced. My works laptop has a 7.2meg dongle, and I rarely see even a quarter of that speed. The 5230 sees about the same download speeds, despite only having "half" of the claimed speed of the dongle.

Battery life is pretty good on the 5230. Typical daily use is a bit of music, few calls (roughly half with a bluetooth headset), some web (facebook, news, etc.), and it can sometimes go for up to 3 days before needing a charge.

Although that latter point is irritating - it would be nice to have a phone that had the features, but would last 4-5 days between charges.
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Old 11-08-2010, 01:15 PM
thehobnob thehobnob is offline
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"...you need a third party application to suspend the data connection (ApnDroid)"

On all the android handsets Ive played with you can disable data by going to Settings > Wireless & Networks > Mobile Networks and unticking "Data Service"

  #6  
Old 11-08-2010, 02:05 PM
fakefur fakefur is offline
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ummmmm hate to disagree but...

any phone left syncing constantly in the background will have less than a days battery life ... i know ... i've tried

turning of all the background stuff is a simple tap in the settings for android ... turning on and off the 3G / HSPA wireless has a widget for the home screen and involves one finger tap

i get easily a day and a half from my HTC Desire using it as i do my N86 ... the N86 lasts longer on a charge of course because i do less with it as doing things like web browsing and video watching are a royal pain

the N86 wins hands down for camera (pics and video capture) and i do like having real keys when typing (even T9 keys) however the Desire wins hands down for just about everything else

i guess it depends on what you want from a phone and who pays you to write about them no?

  #7  
Old 11-08-2010, 02:08 PM
viipottaja viipottaja is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thehobnob View Post
"...you need a third party application to suspend the data connection (ApnDroid)"

On all the android handsets Ive played with you can disable data by going to Settings > Wireless & Networks > Mobile Networks and unticking "Data Service"
Isn't it awful when they hide settings under such horrible multilayered menu structure??!? Android is doomed!!! :p

  #8  
Old 11-08-2010, 02:19 PM
davidmaxwaterma davidmaxwaterma is offline
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> Even with more pixels it's easier to use the touch interface accurately on the 5230

I'm not sure what screen resolution (more pixels) has to do with the ease of use.

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Old 11-08-2010, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by viipottaja View Post
Isn't it awful when they hide settings under such horrible multilayered menu structure??!? Android is doomed!!! :p
On my Android phone it needs:

HomePage1->Settings->Wireless Controls->Mobile Networks->Data Traffic Uncheck.

Because only Symbian buys stuff deep in menus.

It's amazing how many critisisms of Symbian phones can be equally applied to other platforms.

  #10  
Old 11-08-2010, 02:27 PM
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Andorids Big Disadvantage

Android needs a powerful processor to run adequately because it is running interpreted code on a virtual machine.

The advantage to this is that to run on different devices you just change the VM and everything should stay the same. The advantage is mitigated by the fact that different devices have different form factors so software still need to be changed for different phones.

When you are selling top end phones the consumer won't notice the negative impact of a powerful processor as much but it is still there.

In the low end the negative impact is very noticeable.

A low end phone must have a cheap battery. A more powerful processor, in this case, 600mhz vs. 484mhz, will eat the battery alive. A virtual machine will eat the battery alive. A monolithic kernel will eat the battery alive etc. etc.

This processor also drives up the cost or BOM so the manufacturer has to skimp on other parts of the phone to stay within the price budget they are aiming for. Screen size, resolution and battery compromises make the Racer terrible for watching videos or other media (the comparable 5800 is perfect for this and even has superb viewing angles, I assume this phone is the same). The build quality will also suffer, as described here and elsewhere.

Symbian is a microkernel it is designed for this kind of efficiency, Android will simply never be as efficient as Symbian, it is JUST NOT POSSIBLE unless it is completely rewritten from scratch. And so, Android phones will also always be poorer value for money.

This proves Nokia's, 2 OS, 1 dev platform is the right way to go if you want to play in the top end and low end.

As far as I am concerned Samsung (Bada) and Nokia are the only game in town if looking for a cheap smartphone and these OS also provide good value for money in the mid-range compared to Android. In the top end where huge batteries and reduced cost sensitivity make these issue less of a concern then Android or MeeGo or whatever makes more sense.

  #11  
Old 11-08-2010, 02:52 PM
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Ewan Ewan is offline
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HobNob
I've the ZTE Racer i front of me. Wireless and network settings / mobile networks has no option to turn off data. Data roaming yes, but not data all told. Fragmentation in the core settings of the platform? Nice!

Fakefur
I agree, turn it off is needed, but its on out the box, there is no mention of what this does, and there is Auto sync AND Background data. Confusing options and no mention of battery hit. The etyhos of always on always connected is default, and the default action is to eat battery power.

Fakefur
You also win the prize for the first mention of bias. Here's the deal, you know the site name, you can read the text, and you can see my justifications. It's not like I;ve ever broadsidded Nokia before (eg the origianl X6 review)

David,
More pixels and bigger buttons mean a larget target area for a fat finger on a touuchscreen.
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  #12  
Old 11-08-2010, 02:59 PM
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"Symbian is a microkernel it is designed for this kind of efficiency, Android will simply never be as efficient as Symbian, it is JUST NOT POSSIBLE unless it is completely rewritten from scratch. And so, Android phones will also always be poorer value for money."

Generally microkernels result in more IPC and privilege related context switches than monolithic kernels, and as a result they generally use more CPU time. But you know what? IT DOESN'T MATTER. The old monolithic versus micro argument is so much hot air, it has raged for decades and no clear winner has emerged.

Whatever failings Android may have the Linux kernel is not one of them, I would be surprised if even the Symbian Foundation used such an argument to knock Android.

The iPhone uses the hodge-podge of Mach/BSD and does do too badly, compared to that Linux is miraculously efficient and well designed.

  #13  
Old 11-08-2010, 03:09 PM
oniox oniox is offline
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Thumbs down Why the bias ?

"When in Wi-fi coverage, the ZTE Racer switches to that to get a connection. If outside of Wi-fi, the handset switches to 3G and goes online."

At least the ZTE has Wi-fi unlike the 5230 which has none. Wifi can be switched off easily as can 3G - sorry but Android is leaps and bounds ahead of Symbian in terms of User Experience and this is from a Symbian fan. No need to be biased Mr Spence.

I got the 5230 for my relative a few months ago and while I can attest to its build quality, the lack of Wi-fi is just not on.

Perhaps Mr Spence should compare the 5230 with other Android budget phones - e.g. the LG540 .

  #14  
Old 11-08-2010, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by oniox View Post

At least the ZTE has Wi-fi unlike the 5230 which has none. Wifi can be switched off easily as can 3G - sorry but Android is leaps and bounds ahead of Symbian in terms of User Experience and this is from a Symbian fan. No need to be biased Mr Spence.

.
I am both a Symbian user and an Android and iPhone user. Android is better than current Symbian^1, but "leaps and bounds" is a gross exaggeration. iPhone is way ahead and a ui, but Android is just a bit better.

Unfortunately for me I read internet hype on forums like these about how great Android is, went out and got a Desire, very disappointed. No great advance in the UI, and a huge battery pig. It's good from the point where some apps can be had that do things without the need for jailbreaking as on the iPhone, like getting cell information etc. But way way behind the iPhone UI, and down there in the Symbian^1 for being an average dull UI.

  #15  
Old 11-08-2010, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by oniox View Post
"When in Wi-fi coverage, the ZTE Racer switches to that to get a connection. If outside of Wi-fi, the handset switches to 3G and goes online."

At least the ZTE has Wi-fi unlike the 5230 which has none. Wifi can be switched off easily as can 3G - sorry but Android is leaps and bounds ahead of Symbian in terms of User Experience and this is from a Symbian fan. No need to be biased Mr Spence.

I got the 5230 for my relative a few months ago and while I can attest to its build quality, the lack of Wi-fi is just not on.

Perhaps Mr Spence should compare the 5230 with other Android budget phones - e.g. the LG540 .
A quick look has the LG540 costing 40% more than I paid for a 5230, and a ZTE racer 30% more.
The only phone I can find that gets anywhere near is the T-Mobile Pulse.
 

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