Nokia N97 and others; photos included

I have been postponing my longer post about the Nokia n97 for too long, so now it’s time to try to get something useful written out. I will not write un-boxing story or post photos of the box and what is in there, you can find tons of those posts from internet. I don’t feel like I should post yet another of those, especially this late after the sales launch..

Nokia N96 and Nokia N97
I posted some thoughts about moving to Nokia N97 from Nokia n97, but I will quickly recap and add some right here.

The size of the Nokia n96 is quite optimal in my opinion. It is small enough to fit in a pocket, even though I’d like see it not as thick as it is. In retrospect it would be quite cool handset if it had touch screen large enough to fill the whole front of the phone; with the slider keyboard of course. 😉 When handling the Nokia n97 I was surprised how it felt lighter than the N96 and despite being taller and wider it felt comfortable even in my jeans pockets. This is due to it not being as thick as the N96.

N96 had the annoying tendency to slide open in pocket and since N97 is touch screen and flip-up model, I have not seen this problem again. I am curious to see if the flip-up will loosen in use so much that it will not hold closed, but right now it feels firm and sturdy enough.

The front “glass” of the N97 feels similar to the N96, even though I assume it will be more durable just due to the nature of touch screen: it will be handled more and though will more likely be scratched. I still think getting a pouch for my N97 is a top priority. Now I just need to find a good one. Yes, some of the early-birds did get a similar cover/pouch as E71 is shipped with, but I got mine through channels where only what’s in the box will be shipped..

Nokia N97 in hands
I have used the Nokia N97 for my primary phone now for just over 3 weeks and I think I have gotten used to it and found out what I like about it and what I hate about it.

First of all I feel that touch screen is the right direction! Using touch screen in a mobile phone is exactly where the future of mobile devices is. No matter which manufacturer and which mobile OS, the touch screen is so much more intuitive and natural to use. For example checking your calendar by simply clicking the date on your phone’s screen and the kinetic scrolling of a web page or a menu are things that make using phones with more and more features and apps easier.

I had been using Nokia N810 as my email and web browsing device and had gotten used to having a touch screen and a qwerty keyboard both in use simultaneously. This, I assume, made it easier for me to start using the touch screen in N97. I still don’t think it is difficult to get used to the touch screen even without previous experience. My wife had S40 phone for a long time and had been using S60 phone for only couple months before getting the 5800 XM. She has gotten used to the touch screen quite quickly, even though she is not 100% sure if she likes it or not. But for power users I can recommend phones with touch screens.

Comparing N97 to few other Nokia products

I can compare Nokia N97 only to what I have used extensively, so I will not compare it to any mobile devices I have only used for a week or tried briefly. I feel the comparison would be unfair to both devices in such scenario. I have earlier compared N96 and N97, so nothing more about them right now.

First of all, I will write own post about E71 and N97 since I feel like N97 could be seen as a worthy replacement even for the E71.

I use my N97 as a replacement to both, N96 and the N810 Internet Tablet. For the tablet part, I think the N97 has performed well. The screen in N810 is larger, but I feel that the touch screen responsiveness is not as good as in N97. The edges of N810 screen do not register the touch nearly as well as the edges in N97. The N810 keyboard felt bit better and it had REAL Scandinavian qwerty, not ÄÖÅ behind the function/fn key. This is the most annoying thing in N97. In Finnish these letters are used quite extensively, and the symbol key is right next to this function/fn key causing quite often mis-strokes. Other than that I am very pleased at the keyboard, even though it is not the best Nokia has produced. I would’ve loved to see something that is between E90 and E71 keyboard: E90 keyboard with E71-ish little “bumps” on the keys. This way they would’ve managed to squeeze in the scandic letters too. Or the N810 kind of keyboard..

As you can see from the comparison picture of N810 and N97, there would’ve been enough surface to have N810 type of keyboard. I cannot say if it would’ve been possible in means of insides and other components though.

For a size comparison, I have also included a photo of N97 next to Nokia 6300. Despite the evident size difference, the N97 is slim enough to fit quite comfortably in a trouser pocket. In feature-wise there really isn’t comparison between these two handsets, since they are meant for different type of use from the design board on..

I do not have much experience using Nokia 5800 XpressMusic. We have one of them in our family, and the user has not been complaining about it. Anyway, I still thought it would be nice to include comparison photos of the two. They both run S60 5.0 and have touch screens. Despite this, in my opinion, they feel as different to use as you might think S40 and S60 feel.

On a note, the baby photos I have posted in the blog since early July are taken with the Nokia N97. The photo quality is quite nice especially in outdoor photos, but as you can see from the “peek-a-boo” photo, some indoor conditions prove to be challenging to the camera. Still not up to par with most of the compact digital cameras, but still one of the better cameras in phones.

Note: all of the photos in this post have been taken with the Nokia e71 phone. I will include camera/photo comparison of the E71 and N97 cameras in the own post about the two phones.

 D-Ma

Alexandra approves

Klementina was running around, Alexandra approved the speed and style..

Nokia OviMaps v3.1 problems!

Today my phone showed me a message that OviMaps version 3.1 was available and ready to download and install. I did just that. After the installation was complete, I was kindly prompted that I need to reload the maps and voices in my phone since the currently loaded were for the previous version.

I did just that as soon as I got to my computer. I started Ovi Suite and clicked MapLoader and.. Well, I got the following message:

I have navigation license until the late october 2010 and it’s shown in the phone Maps license list just fine.. Well, I thought no prob, I will try again. No luck. I started to think everything’s not ok. However I thought I’d try the Nokia Maps Updater, since it was required last time when I updated from NokiaMaps 2.? to OviMaps 3.0.. Well, it would not start at all.. And MapLoader gave yet again this message above.

Right now I am in the middle of waiting for a call from a friend of mine who might know what’s up with this thing. In the mean time I’ll just do something else. 😉

D-Ma

From Nokia N96 to N97: how does it feel?

I have been using Nokia N96 mobile phone from early October 2008 as my primary phone. All in all the experience was good, you can read more about that from previous posts and don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions. I will try to answer them in reasonable time.

Moving data
I received the new Nokia N97 about a week ago and have been using it from last Monday on. First, of course, I needed to copy all the content from the old phone to the new one. There is the handy app that’ll make moving your data from phone to another a breeze! Sure it takes some time to transfer lot of stuff over Bluetooth from a phone to another, but it is still lot more convenient than copying everything on your computer and then copying them from computer to another phone. I did start the transfer in the afternoon and let the phones do their thing and got back at them about 2,5 hours later. I do not know how long it took, but around 450 contacts, 600 photos, web favorites, 360+ sms, 150+ mms, etc were moved along with my personal calendar data.

In the end, I did encounter problems: even though the app informed in N96 that everything was sent and in N97 that everything was received, I had somehow missed nearly 40 contacts which I had to manually move from phone to another. I do not know the reason for this and have not heard that anyone else has had same problem.

Exchange related problem
Later I did set up exchange account on my phone and thought I’d sync the calendar and contact list from exchange as well. Big mistake! By doing this, even though everything was set to keep the phone data, I lost many contacts from the list and few contacts ended up having only the name and nothing else. Try to contact someone without phone number and email addy. 😉 This was sorted since I synced the work contacts only once to my phone and my personal contacts to Outlook. I just had to manually go through the list and edit or add contacts.. This seems to be exchange related problem, but it did not affect my work phone, Nokia E71 at all. Difference is that I have only business stuff in that phone and I do nothing (well, almost) personal with it.

Getting to know N97
Nokia N97 was easy to get used to from the start; it took me probably just couple hours of normal use to get hang of where everything is and how they work. Nokia N-series phones have similar logic in the menus etc, so everything was about the same place as they were in N96. Of course the manufacturers do minor tweaking in the new models. Having used few E-series devices, the N-series is bit different, but I feel that N97 is really easy to use wither you come from N- or E-background. Nokia is Nokia is Nokia. 🙂

Getting used to the touch screen was not a big deal, I assume because I had been using Nokia N810 for my email, web and other similar needs. The kinetic scrolling, for example makes using N97 a breeze. It is intuitive to use compared to having to click with the cursor or scroll with the buttons. I set the automatic display roll on since I had gotten used to it with my N96. I still would advise anyone not familiar with the feature to first get to know the phone well before setting it on. This feature may get annoying if one is not prepared and does not handle the device so it will not roll the display.

The keyboard feels surprisingly good compared to what one might expect from the looks. I don’t really like the design of the keyboard, it looks like something from early to mid 90’s.. Well, not that bad, but the feel does make up some of the appearance.

Software
I did use some of the now installed software already in my N96 and some in my old E90 as well as in my work E71. For your annoyance, here’s small-ish list of the software currently in my N97 and in use:

– AccuWeather.com: it was pre-installed and I found it useful since the casts are close enough and the app shows the weather according to my location, using the gps.

– Facebook: this is another pre-installed app. It is quite useful, but lacks the ability to “like” someone’s status. It also somehow gets confused when I get out of wlan range. In such case it will prompt me that the app is unable to cnnect to wlan and does not connect to 3G network. I had to force it to use 3G..

– OviMaps 3.0: I installed this since it is update to Nokia Maps 2.0 (?) that was in the phone when I got it. I have not used it yet since I have few navigation license related problems, but they are handled by representative.

– Traveler: Psilocs good old traveler now comes with the phone! It looks nice and works well. I use its world clock, exchange rate and weather features. Weather as a “second opinion”.

– Qik: I found this only a little while ago, but it is really nice little app and service. The app is tied to Qik service where you can stream live video and the video is stored there for later viewing. You can define if and how accurate location info is attached to the video and you can share Qik videos straight from the Qik app to twitter, facebook, etc.

– Google Maps: I am using this quite a bit, especially because of the Latitude! Share your location live with your friends in Latitude. Nice, sometimes even useful feature!

– Eat.fi: Greater-Helsinki area dining guide. Uses gps signal to show you your closest restaurants and cafes. You can get more info about the restaurants by clicking it in the list. Has been useful especially at lunch time. 😉

– Pixelpipe: I currently use this exclusively for my online photo sharing. It is possible to register your social networks, etc. in there so by sending to Pixelpipe it forwards the media to your selected services. Services include ie. Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Flickr, etc.

-FriendView: I am using this occasionally even though I don’t have friends using it. Similar to Google Latitude, but from Nokia.

– TweetS60: twitter client. I really loved in in N96, but there are few issues with N97. The software works well, but is bit slow. I don’t know if I have wrong version, but it did not directly support S60 5th Edition.

– Battery Extender: handy little app that has saved me few times with my previous E90 and N96 as well as with my work E71. Gives you power saving settings and profiles for your phone. Really useful and version 1.10 works well with N97.

I had few other apps in the phone just out of curiosity, but for reason or another I did not like them or they were not working well. Good example is this one compass app. It looks amazing, but it never really pointed to right directions in any circumstances. Also the leveler was nice, worked surprisingly well, but I did not find real use  for it.

I will later dig deeper into the design, usability and comparisons with other Nokia devices I have had pleasure (?) to use. My user experience with other manufacturers’ phones are from at least 3 years back, so I will not make comparisons to them unless I feel they will provide more information and are relevant.

Until then!

D-Ma

Quick peek @ N97 and N96

Ok, here’s quick peek at the N97 next to N96.

I have grown into N97 really quickly, but I assume it has to do with me using N810 with the N96. What I mean by this is that I was already using touch screen for web browsing and many other tasks. It took me no time to get used to the touch screen.

On the other hand I feel that the touch screen on mobile phone is logical since it is intuitive to use, no need to clickety-click dozen times to get the cursor on the right link/icon and then click select. Kinetic scrolling is definately the way to go, but I wonder why in some of the menus and apps there still is the scroll bar in use. I can understand it in the menus since you need to be accurate when choosing “Revert to original settings” or “launch nuclear device count down”. You don’t want accidentaly choose those while kinetic scrolling. 😉

i will be posting first feel post of the N97 soon. I assume after using it for about a week I have pretty good idea what it is all about.

D-Ma

16.07.2009

Peek-a-boo!!

Doggie park trip