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

  #1  
Old 20-09-2006, 11:25 AM
truetype truetype is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 26
truetype is on a distinguished road
e61: bad as a PDA

I've switched to the e61 after having been a Treo user. The e61 has some advantages like screen, browser, and most importantly 3G/UMTS and WLAN. That is why I got the e61, 250 kbit/s (UMTS) or 1 MB/s (WLAN) vs. 50 kbit/s on the Treo (GPRS). Also, Treo does not allow synching with an Exchange server.

However, the e61 gets on my nerves on a regular basis because the very poor PIM functions and the overall poor usability when compared to the Treo. Some of my major complaints:

- Every action takes at least twice as long/twice as many clicks when compared to the Treo. Sometimes more than 10 times longer in my feeling.
- Hardly any copy/paste: cannot copy information from browser to somewhere else, copy/paste from email very tedious
- Despite having a touchscreen, the Treo allows much better use of the keyboard in the applications. The worst joke is the e61 calculator which does not even allow typing the operators (+, -, :, *) on the keyboard but makes you navigate to them with the joystick
- No search in Calendar, no search for anything except names in Contacts, etc.. Just not good enough for a business tool
- Mail for Excange is cool (nothing of that sort in the Palm world), but it stops half way: no synching of tasks and notes possible, tasks also cannot be synched separately from Calendar via bluethooth or cable.
- The "auto-shift" at the beginning of a line/sentence is a huge pain. I am used to pressing shift (as on every other keyboard), the e61 then switches to lower case every time. Palm is clever enough to realize that one wants upper case when typing shift at the beginning of a sentence.
- Adding details to Contacts has to be done the most complicated way one can think of
- Software is more expensive and far less powerful than in the Palm world, or not available at all.
- Contacts and other apps use far too big fonts/layouts, needlessly displaying too few items per screen.
- Lots of more stuff. These may be details, but they make life more complicated and taken together, make the phone a bit tedious. Way to go, Nokia.

The e61 is a good phone with excellent connectivity, but regarding PDA functionality and usability, it is not up to the challenge, IMHO.

Your views?
Ads

  #2  
Old 20-09-2006, 11:38 AM
Rafe's Avatar
Rafe Rafe is offline
Founder / Chief
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Sussex
Posts: 6,084
Rafe is a glorious beacon of lightRafe is a glorious beacon of lightRafe is a glorious beacon of lightRafe is a glorious beacon of lightRafe is a glorious beacon of lightRafe is a glorious beacon of light
I think its a pefectly valid view point.

However I would say that many of the issues come to down subjective usability criteria and a lot of this is to do with familiarity. I'm much fast on a S60 phone than on a Treo device.

I also think that the E61 does not show off S60 in its best light... i.e. it often does better in the traditional phone form factor... this ties in with your comment on use of screen real estate.

With any device you can come up with a list of missing features. (e.g. why anyone one would yes a non multi tasking OS)

The third party software is an interesting one and I agree there definite room for improvments. You work hard to find the gems.

I also think the focus of the device is important. The Nokia devices are the best phones... they are phonepdas as opposed to pdaphones like the Treo. In other words Nokia added PDA to a phone and Palm added phone to a PDA. Which you prefer will have a lot to do with what you are use to and which function you use most. For a lot of people the phone comes first.
__________________
Remember: The search command is your friend.
Feedback wanted: PM, email or post with your suggestions, complaints, feedback.

  #3  
Old 20-09-2006, 11:50 AM
truetype truetype is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 26
truetype is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rafe
However I would say that many of the issues come to down subjective usability criteria and a lot of this is to do with familiarity. I'm much fast on a S60 phone than on a Treo device.
I politely disagree on usability being subjective. Palm devices work on a much more "natural" basis and are much more self-explanatory.

The e61 has many things which just don't take usability into consideration. Take the ; and the : on the keyboard. Every other symbol (like !, ", &) can be accessed via the "blue arrow key". Not so ; and :, there you have to use the shift key instead. Nothing would speak against accessing : and ; also via blue arrow, which I am sure most try. It's not rocket science to realise this, just careless programming.

What can you do faster on a S60 phone than on a Treo (except surfing the net with 3G)?.

  #4  
Old 20-09-2006, 11:58 AM
truetype truetype is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 26
truetype is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rafe
I also think the focus of the device is important. The Nokia devices are the best phones... they are phonepdas as opposed to pdaphones like the Treo. In other words Nokia added PDA to a phone and Palm added phone to a PDA. Which you prefer will have a lot to do with what you are use to and which function you use most. For a lot of people the phone comes first.
It's true that the e61 is more a phone and the Treo more a PDA. But phone functions tend to be far less complex than PDA functions. With phones, you dial am number and you talk. The Treo does that without problems. It even has the great "threaded SMS feature", something the e61 does not have. My information on calls received, duration, etc. was also much better on my Treo than on my e61.

OK, now you can say, why don't you go back to the Treo. Answer: no UMTS yet, but without major progress in the S60/e61 arena, I will move back, despite better screen, form factor, browser, overall hardware.

  #5  
Old 20-09-2006, 12:15 PM
Rafe's Avatar
Rafe Rafe is offline
Founder / Chief
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Sussex
Posts: 6,084
Rafe is a glorious beacon of lightRafe is a glorious beacon of lightRafe is a glorious beacon of lightRafe is a glorious beacon of lightRafe is a glorious beacon of lightRafe is a glorious beacon of light
Palm devices work on a natural basis if you are use to them (and the same can be said for S60). Give either to a novice user and they will pick up and be able to use S60 much more quickly.

As for the keyboard - again its what your use to. Nokia has a lot of testing hours in this sort of thing. I would imagine the reason would be that the most commonly used punctutation is on the keys you mention... Actually the function accessed characters are the same as those on the the number row of a full sized keyboard. Quite logical if you think about it.

What can I do faster? I can't do direct comparison, but generally any major function is faster for me (but that may be because I'm used to it). Numbers - start dailing, specific contact, contacts softkey, type name or portion, hit call key etc etc.

As I say it varies from person to person and I think its dangerous to say one thing is better than the other. What I would say is that S60 is easier for a complete novice.

Personally the thing that would stop me using a Treo more than anything else is the voice quality in phone calls.
__________________
Remember: The search command is your friend.
Feedback wanted: PM, email or post with your suggestions, complaints, feedback.

  #6  
Old 20-09-2006, 12:30 PM
krisse krisse is offline
Administrator
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 2,152
krisse is on a distinguished road
You're on slightly dangerous territory if you say one interface is just generally better than the other, as has been noted it all depends on what you're used to, and many people are more used to S60 than Palm.

I tried using a Mac recently after 10 years of using Windows, and it was quite hard to find things and do what I wanted. I kept wishing it would work like Windows, but that wasn't because the Mac interface is worse, it's just because I wanted something familiar to me.


Quote:
Originally Posted by truetype
without major progress in the S60/e61 arena, I will move back, despite better screen, form factor, browser, overall hardware.
I'd assume there would be major progress, seeing as the E61 is Nokia's very first Palm/Blackberry-style model. It clearly won't be the last such model either as it's sold so well.

AAS's own review of the E61 did make a lot of similar points about, for example, the calendar clearly being an adaptation of the phone-centric application rather than designed from scratch.

  #7  
Old 20-09-2006, 12:47 PM
markrich markrich is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 62
markrich is on a distinguished road
I would have to agree that the E61 as a PDA is not such as good machine but then despite some common features it could be argued that we are trying to compare apples with oranges here.

I took my E61 because I was becoming frustrated at the constant resets, crashes and speed issues of the Palm Lifedrive I have but after a couple of months I have found myself reverting to the Palm for some things and the E61 for others.

I dislike the calendar functionality of the E61 for example, but it's good to see at a glance where I am supposed to be. I prefer to use the Palm for more detailed information.

The address book compares about the same and does trump the Palm in it's ability to sync the Apple Address Book images and logos attached to each contact.

e-Book reading is terrible. The screen is too small and difficult to use. Better to use the Palm.

Email. Brilliant! I wish '3' would fix their Mobile Mail program to allow my sent and deleted email to be moved to the correct folder on the mail server but otherwise it's a million times more usable than Versamail and the Lifedrive. Yes, I know I could use other apps on the Palm but my complaint has always been "Why should I?". The app is supposed to work and it doesn't without crashing the Lifedrive on each download. The E61's app does work. It would be better to support HTML email but we shall see what the future brings.

VOIP. Oh Palm, why hath you deserted me? The E61 and SipGate's service works brilliantly even on the V1 firmware though NAT and two firewalls. I have a local phone number from Sipgate and my mobile number both coming to one device. It truely is brillliant to know that I am receiving a business call or personal call because of this.

I think for now I will continue to use both devices but do find myself taking only my E61 with me on most days.

I dislike the Treo very much. Can't say what it is about it but I think its a combination of things. If Palm comes back with a Palm T|X sized unit with mobile phone functionaility built in then I will be the first to be drooling over it, but the E61 is my best friend presently ( girlfriends aside :-) )

Marky

  #8  
Old 20-09-2006, 01:07 PM
krisse krisse is offline
Administrator
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 2,152
krisse is on a distinguished road
It's funny, things often seem bad or good not because of how they are but because of what you bought them for.

To use a neutral non-Symbian, non-Palm example to illustrate this:

If I bought a PlayStation Portable as a music player first it would seem pretty terrible with the console side of things scant consolation, but if I bought it as a games console first then the music player would seem like a great bonus item.

That's probably part of the reason Sony had such trouble with the PSP, they sold it partly as a multimedia device but for many it wasn't up to the job as it was so bulky and impossible to use with one hand. As a console though it was fine, and this is of course what it was designed to be in the first place, with the multimedia stuff tagged on afterwards.

  #9  
Old 20-09-2006, 02:21 PM
alphasports alphasports is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 63
alphasports is on a distinguished road
I have run the gamut of smartphones since the species first evolved, including Treo 650 and several Blackberries including the "flagship" 8700. I am reasonablky pleased with my E61 but agree with several points brought up before me here. The Treo was a pretty ambitious device given the outdated OS it is stuck with for the moment. I dumped mine because the phone was borderline unuseable and I found the (phone) interface was quite clunky. It also had frequent, anomalous sync issues with Outlook (Palm really needs to flush that 10-year-old desktop software they use and get with the program, so to speak!).

The Blackberries are outstanding if you are not a gadgetaholic like me; they have a bulletproof, instant-on OS, and are very clean and straightforward. I frankly miss my 8700, but the price of BB service is double that of regular data.

The E61 really is quite impressive I find, but like many new-generation products, it is a work in progress and has a long list of needed improvements before it'll be ready for primetime. The reality is that there is no single product out there that does everything well, and unfortunately because of market pressure many of these potentially great products never get there because they're rendered obsolete by consumer demand for More/Better/Faster.

My .02

  #10  
Old 20-09-2006, 04:07 PM
BernieF BernieF is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 14
BernieF is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by truetype
The e61 has many things which just don't take usability into consideration. Take the ; and the : on the keyboard. Every other symbol (like !, ", &) can be accessed via the "blue arrow key". Not so ; and :, there you have to use the shift key instead. Nothing would speak against accessing : and ; also via blue arrow, which I am sure most try. It's not rocket science to realise this, just careless programming.

What can you do faster on a S60 phone than on a Treo (except surfing the net with 3G)?.
That's your total misunderstanding of the keyboard. Blue key accesses symbols that are in fact the third layer on the keyboard:

First Layer: a
Second Layer: A
Third Layer: @

For the . and , keys there is no third layer, but only a second layer.

This is absolutely clear because symbols are blue and : and ; are not.


What's faster on the E61?

Using several Internet connections. This is not valid for the Treo because the Treo simply doesn't have anything but GPRS. If you, however, take a Palm TX and compare it to the Symbian:

On the Symbian applications can be configured to ask the user for the Internet connection to be used: several GPRS/UMTS profiles or WLAN

On the Palm, this is a pain because of the way the Networking feature was "patched" into the system about a decade ago (Palm Professional)

Last edited by BernieF; 20-09-2006 at 04:30 PM.

  #11  
Old 20-09-2006, 05:35 PM
johnnywcw johnnywcw is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 30
johnnywcw is on a distinguished road
i think you should spend more time on your E61 and find out more.
http://www.e-series.org/

  #12  
Old 20-09-2006, 08:02 PM
truetype truetype is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 26
truetype is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by BernieF
That's your total misunderstanding of the keyboard. Blue key accesses symbols that are in fact the third layer on the keyboard:

First Layer: a
Second Layer: A
Third Layer: @

For the . and , keys there is no third layer, but only a second layer.

This is absolutely clear because symbols are blue and : and ; are not.
I have no problem following the logic, and I am aware of the fact that the : and ; are black, not blue.

Still, there is simply no reason beyond cold logic for NOT making : and ; also accessible with the blue key because there are no third layer characters there. Everybody always uses the blue key to access the symbols above the main character. It is plain obvious from a usability viewpoint. It is just one little detail among about 200 details regarding usability. They are everywhere.

Take the browser: in my German version, under "Options" (translated) I have the main menu entry "System", containing one single sub-entry called "search bookmark". Hello? "Search bookmark" as part of "System"? Why under "System" and not under "Bookmark Manager"? Why a single subentry in a seperate category and not just the main category "search bookmark"?

Why can't I copy e.g. a link in an email or a phone number from an SMS? Why do links always open in the stone age "Services" WAP browser instead of the normal browser? It's all details, but in total, they matter a lot to me.

  #13  
Old 20-09-2006, 09:11 PM
markrich markrich is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 62
markrich is on a distinguished road
I have wondered myself who designed the menu structure. There is much that is not straightforward and unstandable for the new user. That's a bad design. For me a good design should always cover two simple rules.

1. A good design should have a wow factor that inspires adoption and possibly copying by others.
2. A good design should have the minimum number of steps to achieve the desired result.

The E61 fails to inspire on 1 because it's not a unique wow design but it is attractive. The E61 fails very badly on point 2. I cannot see the logic behind some of the menu structures and options. For example, using the available WiFi option (MENU > CONNECT > CONN. MGR > AVAIL WLAN) will find a hotspot. Press OPTION and DEFINE ACCESS POINT results in a message to visit SETTINGS, CONNECTION, ACCESS POINT. Why? Why not take the user there?

Why have ORGANISER and OFFICE instead of one folder for all?

Why is the option to set a new email account burried 3 menu options down?

The menus are not clear here. The Palm OS does seem to do this better. Load an app that needs WiFi and it takes you there even though it is not part of the OS. It's clear, simple and understandable.

The OS requires too many selections and options to take you to where you need to go. Bad design.

I don't want to knock the phone as a whole because it does do what I want but it doesn't do it simply or quickly. I do believe Nokia have shipped this phone because it could not because it was the best solution available. The desire to get into the Blackberry market shipped a phone which was not using the best implementation of the OS it could. As a PDA is comes up short. As a phone it's good but complicated and takes some time to get used to.

Marky

  #14  
Old 21-09-2006, 07:02 PM
elp elp is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 464
elp is on a distinguished road
I have to say that i quite agree with truetype on some of his point.

The built-in PIM applications and copy/paste functionalities are a joke, i guess that nobody will say otherwise. I was OK on previous S60 handsets since they were not really PDA/business oriented but on a device such as the E61 it's laughable.

This damn ":" caracter which has to be accessed via the Shift key while all the other special caracters are accessible via the blue key never ceases to annoy me. And so does this silly behaviour of switching to lower case when you press Shift when typing the first caracter of a sentence.

The current state of quality third party applications is indeed pathetic. There are some good third party applications but they can be counted on the fingers of one hand. For this problem, i have high hopes that Red Five Lab's port of the .NET Compact Framework to Symbian will bring many more good developers to the Symbian plateform. Let's wait and see.

On the other side, despite all this, my E61 is still the best handeld device i've ever had to use. If Nokia focuses on improving this design rather than throwing everything away and creating yet another brand new concept device, then the successor of the E61 might be the ultimate smartphone.

  #15  
Old 21-09-2006, 10:03 PM
BernieF BernieF is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 14
BernieF is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by truetype
I have no problem following the logic, and I am aware of the fact that the : and ; are black, not blue.

Still, there is simply no reason beyond cold logic for NOT making : and ; also accessible with the blue key because there are no third layer characters there. Everybody always uses the blue key to access the symbols above the main character. It is plain obvious from a usability viewpoint. It is just one little detail among about 200 details regarding usability. They are everywhere.
Well, I think it's a pretty bad example. I mean, there visual clues everywhere that you're supposed to use SHIFT rather than the blue key. The symbols are black rather than blue and they are positioned on the left rather than on the right. Furthermore, they work just like your keyboard on the computer would work.

Perhaps, it is useful to map it to the blue key. I doubt it, because these characters are mainly used in conjunction with alpha keys for which the SHIFT is more relevant than the blue key.
But even if it were useful, this is such a personal point of view that it hardly qualifies as an argument against the E61.


Quote:
Originally Posted by truetype
Why can't I copy e.g. a link in an email or a phone number from an SMS?
Well, it doesn't allow you to copy it and use it in the word processor. But you can of course dial a phone number that's in an SMS message and other stuff that actually makes sense on a phone.
 

Bookmarks

Tags
bad, e61, pda

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
E61 joystick and other annoyances Raven Nokia Eseries S60 3.0 phones (E50, E60, E62, E61, E61i, E70) 9 10-11-2006 05:58 PM
E61 Bluetooth Issues GuardianZX9 Nokia Eseries S60 3.0 phones (E50, E60, E62, E61, E61i, E70) 4 03-10-2006 11:39 AM
E61 and CARK-126 (HFU-4) Car Kit martin999 Nokia Eseries S60 3.0 phones (E50, E60, E62, E61, E61i, E70) 2 09-08-2006 08:57 PM
Running apps from vertical-screen S60s on the E61? krisse Nokia Eseries S60 3.0 phones (E50, E60, E62, E61, E61i, E70) 5 21-06-2006 01:38 PM



All times are GMT. The time now is 12:03 PM.


vBulletin skins developed by: eXtremepixels
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.0
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright Notes || Contact Us || Privacy Policy