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

  #1  
Old 31-08-2006, 08:44 AM
planetjag planetjag is offline
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Should I buy an E61?

G'day folks!
I'm very close to deciding to replace my LifeDrive & SE Z600 with a smartphone of some description, with the E61 being most likely at the moment. I don't like the idea of a Treo since the instability of the LifeDrive has frustrated me so much and I'm worried the Treo will be similar. Most of the WM5 devices are a bit too pricey for me and I've also read too many stories about beinf unstable.

The E61 seems almost ideal to me, but am I silly buying a gadget designed so strongly around email when I won't use it for that? I'm also very used to a touch screen and wonder how I'll go without it.

My main needs are:
PIM functions (I'm used to using datebk5 on the Palm)
Document creation/editing
MP3
Voice & txt
A few "handy" applications like a world clock, calculator, easy way for quick notes, password storage, stuff like that.

So, what do people think? If you ignore the data connectivity & email side of things, would you still get an E61 or something else?

Any feedback would be welcome.

Jonathan

  #2  
Old 31-08-2006, 09:25 AM
markrich markrich is offline
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I replaced my Lifedrive with a E61. Overall I am happy with it but there are a few bugs in the software and things aren't always consistant or obvious in functionality. For example, go to the Connection Manager to find available WiFi, select the option on the menu to create a access group and then it tells you to go elsewhere to do so, rather than just taking you there.

I sync with my Mac with iSync and that works well but I can't sync the Notes from SyncServices to the phone and back so I remain with two seperate collections of these.

It's not that much faster than the Lifedrive. The lags because of the Microdrive on the there are obviously missing but the processor isn't very snappy and the OS seems to be sluggish. You won't notice any difference in speed therefore.

I do miss the big screen. I tried MobiPocket on the E61 and copied over my books from the Lifedrive but it's not the same and I've stopped reading ebooks now. Same for movies. The Lifedrive screen was excellent for watching videos and although RealPlayer is built in, I tend to use it only for watching video news from the BBC website.

Battery life isn't much improved. WiFi and Bluetooth suck away the power and gives me 3 days. With MobileMail from '3' to push email I get 8 hours. I get the same on the Lifedrive when pulling email from the WiFi every 30 minutes from 0900 until 1800. That's a big shame but again much the same as the Lifedrive.

Theming is straight forward but unless one uses Windoze the opportunities to create own themes is not available and the menu bars at the top and bottom of the display eat into the screenspace to prevent a nicely fitting wallpaper of choice. The Lifedrive was easier to theme and customise.

My reason for getting the E61 was a) my Motorola E1000 was broken and the subscription with '3' was 7 months over the expiration date so it was a free upgrade for me and b) the opportunity to receive my email always was a big incentive. In those respects it was proven a good choice. I still have my Lifedrive connected to my desktop Mac and may come back to it at some point but for now as long as I have a power cable with me always to keep the thing charged my E61 is the only thing I carry around with me now and that's nice. I have always been a member of the two device camp (PDA and Phone) and I think gives the biggest flexibility but this is a nice device and faults and problems aside it'll do until next summer when the subscription ends and I will see what's around then and how well it has served me.

Marky

  #3  
Old 31-08-2006, 10:36 AM
elp elp is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markrich
It's not that much faster than the Lifedrive. The lags because of the Microdrive on the there are obviously missing but the processor isn't very snappy and the OS seems to be sluggish. You won't notice any difference in speed therefore.
Doesn't multi-tasking compensate that a bit? I've never used a Palm but heard that it didn't shine by its multi-tasking abilities.

Quote:
Originally Posted by markrich
Battery life isn't much improved. WiFi and Bluetooth suck away the power and gives me 3 days.
Consider yourself lucky. I get at most 2 days and a half out of my E61 and that's with wifi, bluetooth and 3G disabled and light use. I'm still looking for this "excellent", "impressive" or even "mammoth" autonomy that all the E61 reviews were talking about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by planetjag
PIM functions (I'm used to using datebk5 on the Palm)
The built-in calendar in the E61 is pretty much useless. However, there are third party applications available:
- AquaCalendar (http://www.pockettorch.net/): loads of features but the most ugly and slugish UI i've ever seen
- Papyrus (http://www.sbsh.net): not yet available for S60 3rd edition but will be soon. Nice and fast UI, less features but most of the essential ones are there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by planetjag
Document creation/editing
There's a full blown office suite included. Works fine for simple documents but if your documents get too fancy, the thing slows down and it starts to be though to navigate around. The lack of touch screen makes itself feel here too as navigating through a large word or excel document with the joystick isn't really practical.

Quote:
Originally Posted by planetjag
MP3
The built-in MP3/AAC player works fine but you'll need to shell out another £15 to get the Nokia Pop-Port to 3.5mm jack adapter to be able to plug your headphones on the thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by planetjag
Voice & txt
I've found it excellent for that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by planetjag
A few "handy" applications like a world clock, calculator, easy way for quick notes, password storage, stuff like that.
It comes with WorldMate that has world clock, 5 days weather forecasts and a currency converter that can update the rates from the web. I'm not sure whether it's an entirely free app or if it only includes a 1 year subscription because WorldMate is in theory a subscription application.

The built-in calculator is useless, you can't even use the keyboard to enter the +, -, *, and / signs. But there's Calcium, a very basic but free and easy to use third party caculator.

The built-in Notes application is as basic as it gets (no folders, no categories, you cannot export the notes to text files - but you can beam them to your PC though) but it's great for quick notes.

I don't think that there is any kind of password storage but what exactly do you mean by that?

Overall, the E61 is really nice device. The new firmware which will hopefully come soon should make it even better. It does lack a proper built-in PIM application but there are third party alternatives. The lack of touch screen is not a problem in most applications since all the apps in S60 are designed from the ground up to be used on keypad driven devices so all their functions are easily accessible from the keypad and soft keys. No touchscreen also means that the screen is likely to be a lot less fragile than a touchscreen. There are some apps where i wished that i could simply tap the screen to position the cursor or click on links and buttons rather than using the fiddly joystick though (the web broswer and the office suite most notably).

Last edited by elp; 31-08-2006 at 11:52 AM.

  #4  
Old 31-08-2006, 11:18 AM
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nj7 nj7 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by planetjag
G'day folks!
I'm very close to deciding to replace my LifeDrive & SE Z600 with a smartphone of some description, with the E61 being most likely at the moment. I don't like the idea of a Treo since the instability of the LifeDrive has frustrated me so much and I'm worried the Treo will be similar. Most of the WM5 devices are a bit too pricey for me and I've also read too many stories about beinf unstable.

The E61 seems almost ideal to me, but am I silly buying a gadget designed so strongly around email when I won't use it for that? I'm also very used to a touch screen and wonder how I'll go without it.

My main needs are:
PIM functions (I'm used to using datebk5 on the Palm)
Document creation/editing
MP3
Voice & txt
A few "handy" applications like a world clock, calculator, easy way for quick notes, password storage, stuff like that.

So, what do people think? If you ignore the data connectivity & email side of things, would you still get an E61 or something else?

Any feedback would be welcome.

Jonathan
What about 9300i?
For document creation have a wide screen.

  #5  
Old 31-08-2006, 11:52 AM
zeu569 zeu569 is offline
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i dont know why the battery is an issue for you guys. I have Mail For Exchange always connected and i get 3 to 4 days out of my E61. when i have mail for exchange connected only between 9am to 5.30pm i get more.

  #6  
Old 31-08-2006, 12:20 PM
markrich markrich is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elp
Doesn't multi-tasking compensate that a bit? I've never used a Palm but heard that it didn't shine by its multi-tasking abilities.
hat there is any kind of password storage but what exactly do you mean by that?
The Palm OS doesn't have Multitasking but in use one never notices this. When one moves from one app to another the first app's status is preserved so that one one goes back to app1 from app2 it's easy to carry on.

Email seems to download in the background on the Lifedrive while using other apps but it's not possible to move from downloading to another app and let the downloading continue because of the status preservation. Then you notice it but that is rare.

The app suite supplied with the E61 isn't of much use to me and probably won't get a lot of use but if one is used to Office replacements on a PDA then I guess that's a good thing. Personally I prefer to dig the PowerBook out and use a real screen for office apps - but that's just me :-)

Marky

Last edited by markrich; 02-09-2006 at 08:36 AM.

  #7  
Old 31-08-2006, 07:19 PM
alphasports alphasports is offline
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FYI the free Worldmate application that comes with the E61 is good for 3 years' subscription including updates, patches etc. You need an active connection when you first install it off the SD card so that it goes and registers the app for you. Pretty good package since the fees are normally $55/year. Other than the fact that the actual application is almost completely useless, "free" is a great deal anytime! (E61 already has a built-in world clock app, and I'm not sure where The Weather Channel gets their updates, the other day they said it was raining and 20C here in Montreal when it was bright sunshine and 32C).
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  #8  
Old 31-08-2006, 08:51 PM
planetjag planetjag is offline
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Thanks

Thanks for all the feedback. I'm not concerned about battery life, I usually charge my PDA & phone every night anyway, so as long as I get through one day it's ok.

nj7 - about the 9300i - thanks for the tip. It looks to be too big and clunky for me. Although, I've just checked the dimensions and it's not as big as I thought. I'm not crazy about the form factor though.

markrich - I don't have a powerbook :-( so I'm quite used to using my PDA + wireless keyboard. I usually don't worry much about formatting until I sync it to the desktop at home.

elp - by "password storage" I meant an application that uses a password to protect a list of my logins & passwords, & other sensitive info. Like SplashID. Looks like there;s a couple of Symbian optians anyway.

Another question that I'm not clear about - does the E61 come with calendar software for the desktop or do I have to sync with outlook? I don't really use my desktop software but see it mainly as a backup for my calendar & contacts.

Thanks again

Jonathan

  #9  
Old 01-09-2006, 09:10 AM
elp elp is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by planetjag
elp - by "password storage" I meant an application that uses a password to protect a list of my logins & passwords, & other sensitive info. Like SplashID. Looks like there;s a couple of Symbian optians anyway.
Alright, i see, i originaly thought that you were talking about a safe file system with passwords and encryption at the file system level. You're right, there isn't such feature built-in but there are third party applications such as HandySafe that work like a charm.

Quote:
Originally Posted by planetjag
Another question that I'm not clear about - does the E61 come with calendar software for the desktop or do I have to sync with outlook? I don't really use my desktop software but see it mainly as a backup for my calendar & contacts.
Jonathan
The E61 doesn't come with a desktop calendar app. The built-in calendar application can be sync'd with Outlook on your PC using Nokia's free PC Suite application. The built-in calendar app has very limited features though and probably won't suit you if you're using it to organize your life which is why i pointed out the 2 third party alternatives. The nice thing about AquaCalendar and Papyrus is that they both use the phone's calendar database to store tasks and appointements. They really are just UIs on top of the phone's calendar engine, which means that you can still sync with Outlook even if you're using one of those instead of the built-in calendar app.

  #10  
Old 01-09-2006, 09:17 AM
elp elp is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alphasports
FYI the free Worldmate application that comes with the E61 is good for 3 years' subscription including updates, patches etc. You need an active connection when you first install it off the SD card so that it goes and registers the app for you. Pretty good package since the fees are normally $55/year.
Thanks for the info.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alphasports
Other than the fact that the actual application is almost completely useless, "free" is a great deal anytime! (E61 already has a built-in world clock app, and I'm not sure where The Weather Channel gets their updates, the other day they said it was raining and 20C here in Montreal when it was bright sunshine and 32C).
I do not have such problems myself. Where I live (Northern Ireland), it's rain and 10C-15C just about every day of the year. WorldMate is always right on this one (granted, that makes a weather forecast application pretty much useless). I do like the currency update feature though.

  #11  
Old 04-09-2006, 06:59 AM
planetjag planetjag is offline
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decisions, decisions, decisions

So I finally got into a shop where I could have a little play with the E61 and from the 2 minutes I had with it, I like it alot. But it's really quite wide.

Had a play with the SE M600i too. I like the size better & the touchscreen, but simply can't see myself getting used to that keyboard.

Started thinking about the i-mate kjam (HTC wizard) too. But it's too pricey.

I don't think the E61s lack of a touchscreen will concern me except for editing word documents, and I tend to use a stowaway keyboard when doing heavy editing which might make it easier to get around the doc than just the joystick anyway.

I guess that means I'm going to buy an E61. Might sleep on it for a night or two & hunt around for a good price.

Thanks for all the feedback.

Jonathan

  #12  
Old 04-09-2006, 09:01 PM
mob453 mob453 is offline
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ordered myself a nokia e60, same functionality as the e61, but bigger resolution screen and smaller handset.

  #13  
Old 04-09-2006, 10:16 PM
planetjag planetjag is offline
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Almost

Not quite the same functionality. It doesn't have as many buttons as there are letters in the alphabet. :-)

Jonathan

  #14  
Old 04-09-2006, 10:39 PM
elp elp is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by planetjag
Not quite the same functionality. It doesn't have as many buttons as there are letters in the alphabet. :-)
Plus, despite the higher resolution, the E60 actually has a smaller screen real estate and displays less information on the screen than the E61. Personally, after having discovered the joys of a large landscape screen and of a full keyboard, i don't think that i'll ever go back to those tiny normal phone screens and unpractical keypads.

  #15  
Old 04-09-2006, 10:43 PM
planetjag planetjag is offline
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But ... seeming to disagree with myself ... the fact that it's a bit narrower is appealling to me. While I tend to carry a bag much of the time, I often have my phone in my jeans pocket. That's the only reason that I haven't rushed out and got an E61 yet.
 

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