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

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  #1  
Old 07-03-2010, 07:31 PM
slitchfield slitchfield is offline
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2010 Metal Monsters: Nokia N97 mini and Motorola Milestone

While I've previously pitched the Google Nexus One head to head with the Nokia N97, concentrating on screen size and general capacity, there's another timely and interesting comparison to be made in the smartphone world, centred on metal construction and all-round communications and multimedia ability. Here, I take the industrial designed Motorola Milestone and the Nokia N97 mini - which will stand up to my intensive testing best?

Read on in the full article.

  #2  
Old 07-03-2010, 07:59 PM
germcevoy germcevoy is offline
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what is the keyboard on the Milestone actually like? It's edged out by the mini in your table but I find the Mini keyboard absolutely atrocious. It's like typing on sponge. I get much better results with the virtual qwerty + haptic feedback on the 5800. I'm seeking Android plus hardware qwerty and until the rumoured Nexus 2 arrives its either the Milestone or dext so your opinions on the keyboard would be great.

See the next phones show?

  #3  
Old 07-03-2010, 08:23 PM
Brendan Donegan
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I had the "pleasure" of trialling a Droid/Milestore for two weeks - here are my thoughts (not comprehensive) http://http://brendandonegan.wordpress.com/. Steve, I'd really welcome you letting me know where I'm patently wrong about anything. I found the screen was calibrated all wrong and I often had to press above where I actually wanted to hit, most frustrating in the browser. I find that with the 5800, despite the UI elements(like the mini keyboard) often being tiny, i can still hit them fairly accurately. The camera was pretty shocking for such an expensive device and I had a major problem in multitasking Spotify and a free game together (the whole thing just ground to a halt). Reboots were also not that infrequent (I certainly didn't have any more with the Satio in the first two weeks than I did with the Droid).

  #4  
Old 07-03-2010, 08:55 PM
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i like the look of the milestone alot. but i wouldnt buy 1 purely 'cos it's motorla and they suck

  #5  
Old 07-03-2010, 09:22 PM
adi_pie adi_pie is offline
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Though right now I'm using the Milestone, I do miss the N97/mini annoying UI and all.
There's just something about the Milestone that annoys me, could be the average camera, bad music and video players, annoying limitation of only being able to install apps to the phone memory. The physical keyboard is somewhat better than the N97's but that's not saying much.
Also my browser has become horridly slow when scrolling through websites after the 2.0.1 update, that and market notifications don't wotk on it, perhaps you could test this, Steve, and see if they work on yours.
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  #6  
Old 07-03-2010, 10:43 PM
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I've come to the conclusion that expectations of these devices are too high. There is nothing that has come to market recently from any manufacturer that isn't a disappointment and has at least one serious weakness.

  #7  
Old 07-03-2010, 10:55 PM
slitchfield slitchfield is offline
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"I found the screen was calibrated all wrong and I often had to press above where I actually wanted to hit"

Odd. Wonder how one calibrates the screen in Android? My review Milestone was perfect in this regard.

"The camera was pretty shocking for such an expensive device"

Not a patch on the N97's, agreed, but I still took some nice shots, watch The Phones Show 105 for proof. And videos are better than on any recent Nokia, bar the N86.

" and I had a major problem in multitasking Spotify and a free game together (the whole thing just ground to a halt). "

Didn't hit a problem here, but then I applied the new v2.01 update immediately, before I'd really started exercising the phone.

"Reboots were also not that infrequent"

Was rock solid for me. No freeze-ups, no reboots, just fluid and fast.

"The physical keyboard is somewhat better than the N97's but that's not saying much."

Indeed. In fact, I'd rate the N97's keyboard as being largely as usable. Really not much in it. The N97's is better than it looks. The Milestone's is worse than it looks. 8-)

"Also my browser has become horridly slow when scrolling through websites after the 2.0.1 update, that and market notifications don't wotk on it, perhaps you could test this, Steve, and see if they work on yours."

Having sent my review Milestone back, I've got another coming from Tim Salmon on Tuesday, so I'll certainly hammer away at it again and see if I can duplicate your experience. I'm aiming to record my formal Phones Show review of the Milestone later in the week.

Steve Litchfield
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  #8  
Old 07-03-2010, 11:24 PM
Dubito Dubito is offline
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As these are the two phones I'm struggling to decide between, I'm very, very grateful you did this, Steve.

It didn't help much, however, giving an almost dead heat :P

I'm also wondering if the camera advantage of Symbian has got more to do with the OS than the hardware. Yes, Nokia and Sony-Ericsson have really focused on this, and HTC haven't, but even Samsung's Android phones have a poor showing in the camera department.

Thoughts?

  #9  
Old 08-03-2010, 06:15 AM
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I've come to the conclusion that expectations of these devices are too high. There is nothing that has come to market recently from any manufacturer that isn't a disappointment and has at least one serious weakness.
Although I don't own one, most iPhone users I know are pretty content with their devices. Say what you want about Apple, but mobile Safari with multi-touch is pretty great.

Regarding the N97 Mini, I was debating trying one out by ordering through Amazon (the result of Nokia phones' unavailability in retail stores in the U.S.), but once I found out the screen is the older type of TFT screen---completely blanks out in sunlight--- my enthusiasm withered. What's up with Nokia using tech from 2005??

I'll move on to considering the E72 or the older E71, I guess.

  #10  
Old 08-03-2010, 06:45 AM
davidmaxwaterma davidmaxwaterma is offline
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android w/o google services?

i would like to know how goog android is if you're not willing to use google's services. for example, pretend you have no google account...can you still use email? is there a maps solution?

  #11  
Old 08-03-2010, 08:52 AM
sashford sashford is offline
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I briefly owned an N97 mini, but returned it mainly because signal strength seemed to be noticeably poorer than on my E51. As I seem to spend quite a lot of time in weak signal areas (a.k.a my house), this is a critical point. Having searched around the internet, it seems that quite a lot of owners have a similar complaint, so maybe its an inherent feature of the design, not a fault with my particular handset. Pity, as lots of other things about the N97 mini worked well for me.
Perhaps the desire by phone makers to pack ever more features into a smaller space is causing basic 'phone' functionality to suffer? My internet searching also found some suggestions that the E75 and E72 aren't too good in weak signal areas either.
I would welcome the experiences of other readers. Maybe the AAS team should dig out a selection of phones, old and new, take them to a place of known poor signal, and do some comparative testing!

  #12  
Old 08-03-2010, 10:22 AM
alweekes alweekes is offline
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Individual choices

Steve, a very interesting and timely review and your treatment of both devices was very even handed I feel. I'm currently looking at both phones as a future proof investment for my mobile needs. As you say, to many it will come down to individual preference and familiarity of environment or even aesthetics.

For me the Nokia UI experience has a major impact on the decision I'm about to make, leaving behind the inconsistencies in the UI and the fact that moving from one Nokia phone to another isn't always the familiar environment it should be, the lack of joined up applications is the thing that frustrates me most.

The whole development approach of Android is inter-operability - applications are developed as modules, which any other app can use and interact, e.g. an app that needs a map display, simply talks to Google maps to provide it. Over time this should lead to a memory-efficient environment. This environment of apps being able to transfer information easily and seamlessly is something that constantly frustrates me on Symbian, the number of times I've had to write things down in order to move information from one app to the next is a constant frustration on my Symbian device.

An good example of this is Geocaching - on my Nokia I can't use Ovi maps at all, it has no easy ability to take in any of the standard forms of waypoint information, so for geocaching I use the excellent Trimble Geocache Navigator, a stand alone app that makes the process of finding caches really simple. It provides web access, maps and navigation in a single app, yet I already have app's to do that on the phone, which is wasteful oif resources. If I receive an email with a cache link in, the process of getting that information from email to navigation application is convoluted and frustrating.

On the Milestone I can simply click on a link, the geocaching application automatically opens it and starts navigating, using Google maps to provide map display. It's a level of joined-up-ness (!) that's sorely lacking from almost every other mobile platform.

Whilst I've come to appreciate Symbian's strengths, it's far from stable enough when used in anger and it's nothing at all like the experience of a modern PC, which is what many mobile data users need these days. It's been interesting to see the attitudes of colleagues who are long-term Nokia users change as they start to do more data-centric activity with the device, those that don't experience problems, usually don't do much beyond make calls and take the odd photo. Those, like me, who are using maps, push email, web browsing, playing music, streaming radio etc. run into more and more stability and memory issues as they push the device.

In essence it comes down to one simple thing for me - which expensive investment is likely to be most future proof and give me more features in the future, even if not available out of the box now?

Symbian may provide 'updates' but in my experience they rarely add anything significant (beyond stability) that wasn't there when the device was first released. I'm confident on the other hand that Android will add significant extra functionality and performance and be a much more future proof OS. It may be lacking in a few areas at present (e.g. Flash) but I'm confident that when it does arrive, the experience will be much better on Android than Symbian.

Symbian^3 may raise the bar here, but the chances of getting it on the N97 are almost nil - I'm not aware of Nokia ever releasing a whole new OS for an existing device. The Android handset manufacturers on the other hand have already demonstrated significant device updates already, with major OS version updates being rolled out on older devices.

For me that makes the decision as to who gets my 400.

I realise this won't go on for ever - we have to remember the handset manufacturers are in the business of selling hardware and updating old devices doesn't drive new sales. That said, as part of the bigger picture, all handset manufacturer's contribution to Waste Electrical landfill could do with some brakes put on it, such is their marketing success!

Andy.

  #13  
Old 08-03-2010, 05:49 PM
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So when can we expect one of these for the iPhone 3GS and the N97 Original? Also add more categories like movie watching, game quality etc

  #14  
Old 08-03-2010, 06:07 PM
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Although I don't own one, most iPhone users I know are pretty content with their devices. Say what you want about Apple, but mobile Safari with multi-touch is pretty great.
Interesting that you should reply to me with that comment because I am an iPhone owner. I agreed Safari is good (although it has its moments when it just shuts down and I see a lot of "Cannot Play Media" in place of what should be content). I can't say I am mad on multitouch if it's not backed up by one handed alternative gestures. That was an idiotic mistake by Apple and often damned inconvenient.

There is much about the iPhone that annoys me, really important stuff like being able to make a phone call, and able to survive being dropped. Basically I tolerate it because it has apps I need. It's not so hot though.

  #15  
Old 08-03-2010, 11:37 PM
Mnia786 Mnia786 is offline
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With Symbian now being open-source, I hope we see stuff from Symbian^3 on S^1 and S^2 devices. I understand Nokia only license one version of the OS from Symbian but now they wholly own it and its open, one cannot argue as to why newer modules are not compatible with S^1 and S^2 devices?
 

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2010, metal, milestone, mini, monsters, motorola, n97, nokia

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