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Nokia 5800

nokia 5800

The Nokia 5800 has been reviewed and videoreviewed to hell already so I’m not going to repeat the intarwebs and I’ll just give the highlights. Don’t get confused by the rant further down, this is the best phone in it’s price range. It’s a plastic phone so it’s got a plastic feeling to it but it’s not cheap and feels solid enough for a non-N phone. The screen is clearly the strongest point, bright and crisp, and if you have good sight you can cram quite a lot of info into 640x360.

The UI clearly isn’t on par with the iPhone for two main reasons, sometimes the interface gets a bit slugish and there’s no multitouch. On the other hand you get backgrounding with real multitasking and haptic feedback by way of a gentle bump from the ringer errrr vibrator. The UI is more Android-y than iPhone-y probably because the Android UI was designed to work in everything from non-touch and single-touch resistive to multi-touch capacitive screens. There’s also a clever notification area that keeps track of events and hardware status (functionally similar to Android’s notification area) and working handwriting recognition which is always a plus for old Palm diehards.

There are some areas needing work on the UI. The first is a long standing S60 problem, lack of customization of the home screen. You get the useless blank screen option, the classic screen with media and calendar view and a third option which lets you speeddial four contacts and is also fairly useless unless you use it as a photo frame or only know four people. There’s one hidden gem on that screen, a rss reader that might be useful if you’re into following feed on your mobile. The new upcoming flagship N touch will have much more interesting webruntime driven homescreen widgets but Nokia always used the home screen as model diferentiator and there’s not much hope for improvement there on a xpressmusic class phone.

Other point that needs work is the browser UI which clearly needs to be brough up to par with the engine’s quality (webkit). The soft menu buttons take up a quarter of the screen in landscape and to make things worse there’s no timeout to autohide the menu and go into full screen. Of course when that happens Nokia will have to figure out a better way of navigating prev/next and through tabs. Something involving finger swipes preferably :).

But the real sticker are the services. Before the iPhone the services were an afterthought, something that hapened after launch and if at all possible pushed to the carriers. Apple leveraged its iPod experience to deliver seamless desktop integration (by its own rules at least), an app store with all existing 3rd party software and mobile syncronization (most of the time). Nokia is trying to follow with Ovi and truth be told they’re clearly ahead of the pack (at least until Google gets Gears going flank speed with Android). But back to the Nokia experience, it all started when i tried to migrate my N80 to the 5800. Ovi doesn’t know about that and as far as i can tell doesn’t even know about sms either. So it ended up back on Nokia Desktop a some fighting and fidgeting.

Next there isn’t such thing as a software market. There’s a download app on the phone that gives access to some extra downloads, some clearly 3rd party extras that Nokia doesn’t want to integrate into the firmware while others are full fledged commercial apps. The thing is they’re all similarly marked ‘Free’ but some end up not free at all and demand payment right download. This puts the user off with the app download thing and might hurt nokia’s future atempts at a software market.

Another that didn’t quite work or was the music store but simply because Portugal isn’t covered yet. The interesting thing about the music store is it focus on N series and the bad country escape hatch sends me to nseries music downloads despite me being on a xpressmusic phone. That’s probably because its web store and there’s previous 5000 phones with decent browsing.

Update The 20.0 firmware came out with more snapiness in the interface (particularly the orientation changes which lagged a bit), a faster browsing experience and some relatively useless new stuff like an application updater.

/mobile | edited on 2009/02/15 -- permalink, click to comment
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