Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Nokia N8–Friend or Foe?

It’s now been a few week since I got my N8 and I am quite confident that I have been in to just about all of it’s nooks and crannies. 

I am please to say that the only disappointment so far has been Nokia. 

Lets start with the negative, to get it out of the way.

For some unexplained reason the device ships with no podcasting (podcatcher) software installed and despite my best efforts I have not managed to get one of the .sis files offered on the Nokia website to actually install.  I have spoken to their help desk and been promised  a call back but, as is their way, none has been forthcoming.  It has been a couple of weeks since I last tried, and I will try again (as this is really the only fly in the ointment).

The only other thing that does not work is the Audible player (so I can listen to audio books) but I do not hold this against anyone (not even Nokia) as it is a very new phone and I am sure they will come up with a version that works asap.

So let’s move on to better things…

I manually copied some podcasts and music to the N8 and, as is my way, proceeded to delete them as I finished listening.  Arrggghh!! an old N97 “feature” appeared.  One of the podcasts refused to delete and kept on telling me that it was “in use”.  This was not possible as I was playing other media in the player.  I tried using the file manager to remove the file, but to no avail.  Eventually I connected it to my laptop and delete the offending file (brute force and ignorance).  I was expecting the file to still appear in the music player and clutter the place up for ever and a day, as it did in the N97, But NO!!  When I went back in to the player it was gone.  Joy!!

I have had a few syncing issues, duplicate calendar entries, addresses etc, but I suspect that was because I was using Goosync and the Nokia Ovi over-the-air Sync AND Ovi Suite.  Since I stopped doing that and restricted myself to Goosync and the Ovi Suite things have settled down.  I am syncing, via the PC to Google and Ovi, but can’t decide if their is any point to the Ovi stuff.

Other than that the Phone is great!  Email syncing with Gmail and Live Mail works well.  Why would you want a Blackberry?  I have loaded a game or two, just as a test as I really am not a gamer, and the graphics are stunning.  The Camera is beyond fantastic, although I currently have 2 stuck MMS’s that have gone but will not clear from the Queue.  I suspect it is because I sent very high res images.  Doh!

One bit of good news since I started writing this.  I have found a site that has great Free Symbian applications I have loaded a podcatcher from here.  It is a beta, and a little flaky, but does do the job and I am sure it will get better.  I also have a file manager that makes the inbuilt one look like a bit of an embracement. The site has loads of other tools and apps that can really enhance your phone.  Or bugger it up.  So beware and load them at your own risk.  YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!

One feature that I really like is the ability to lock the phone by sending a text message.  One message with a secret code word in it and the phone locks itself, the SIM and the memory card. Fantastic if I ever leave the phone somewhere.  It means that I know that it cannot be abused while I figure out what I have done with it.

Anyway, I will end now and may add some more comments later.  Suffice to say that this is a major improvement by Nokia and it sounds like Symbian ^4 is on it’s way which should be a good thing.

Shame Nokia support is so poor.

Anyone know how I can get rid of the stuck messages?

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Nokia N8 – First impressions

After a long wait my new Nokia N8 has arrived.  I will, over the next week or two give a bit of a review of it, but lets start here with some initial thoughts.

Looks – This phone looks great!  unfortunately the camera lens sticks out of the back, but I am willing to live with that for 12mp camera with auto focus and real flash.  On the back of the unit there is a logo that sticks out too, which is rather irritating.  I would have preferred it if the back was covered in a non-slip coating like many of the Android phones out there.

Keyboard – There isn’t one. That is one thing I really will miss from my N97, except the hinge was starting to go so I wonder how much longer it would have been before it completely failed.  The onscreen keyboard is actually quite usable, when you turn the phone sideways so you get the qwerty keyboard.

What am I expecting?  Well, what I would like is the N97 that works! 

So far that seems to be what I have.  Alas it does not have the podcasting app installed as standard (why not!!????!!!)  but I am working on that (as the ones I have found on the Nokia site do not work).  Also the Audible player will not play! but it does install?  Very strange, but again I am working on that.  My laptop has decided that it does not want to see the phone in Ovi or  PC Suite; strangely it does allow me to access the disk on the phone, so I am not too upset.  I really need internet access on the move, but I have some alternative tethering tricks that I will be trying over the next few days, so all is not lost.  I must say that I think that my laptop could probably do with a reinstall so I don’t blame the phone for the last 2 failures.  Windows 7 also does not seem to have all the required Bluetooth drivers, this is probably due to the fact that the phone has not actually been released yet, so I am willing to  give Nokia the benefit of the doubt for a week or 2.

I like the 3 home screens, and the onscreen widgets are great.  I especially like the way it integrates with Gmail and gives me Blackberry like functionality buy checking mail on a schedule and buzzing when it finds some.  Made doubly useful by allowing me to select a “Blackout” period (11pm-8am) when it will not bother me.

So far so good.  I have not had that many calls since I got the phone so I have not yet had a chance to experience the worse failings of the N97 (i.e. missing calls because the pesky thing would not let me answer them and not giving me access to a dial pad so I can choose 1, 2 or 3 to control my auto attendant).

One feature that does seem missing (possibly because I have not looked hard enough) is the ability to lock the phone remotely by sending a text.

Anyway, enough for now and I will post some more in a few days when I have had more time to use the phone.