Nokia 5800 Long Term Review

Nokia 5800 XpressMusic is a smartphone and portable entertainment device by Nokia. It was introduced on October 2, 2008 and released on November 27, 2008. Code-named “Tube”, it is the first touchscreen-equipped S60 device by Nokia. The version being s60v5. It’s part of the XpressMusic series of phones, which emphasizes music and multimedia playback. The touchscreen features tactile feedback. (Wikipedia)

I’ve had a Nokia 5800 for almost a year now. I was really excited when I bought this phone last year. My first touchscreen smartphone! It took some getting used to, having mostly been a Nokia S40 user. It didn’t take long, and in fact now I try to press the screen when I use older phones!

The phone itself does all the usual things and frankly, there are many in-depth reviews out there. Here are a few:

I love this phone. It’s the best phone I’ve ever owned. It’s not perfect by any means but the pros outweigh the cons!

  1. I love the on-screen keyboard for entering texts. It will switch from portait to landscape mode when you turn the phone on it’s side. When I first bought the phone I could use predictive text in both portrait and landscape mode but the latest firmware upgrade changed that. In landscape mode I can’t use predictive text now. That sucks.
  2. The GPS works reasonably well though. Using Windows or Mac OS X software you can download maps for your area to the phone. Unfortunately the GPS chip in the phone is Assisted GPS. It makes a network connection almost every time it needs to find it’s location. I actually bought a data add-on simply because the phone seemed to “leak” data for no apparent reason but it was probably because I had loaded Nokia Maps.
  3. Nokia recently made their navigation system free of charge and it works, sometimes well, sometimes not. Unfortunately it sends us driving in round about ways on occasion. Our journey may be directly down a road but the map told us to cross the river, drive for a bit and then drive across a bridge further up!
  4. The camera is decent enough. It has a flash too. There’s a plastic cover over the lens on the back and unfortunately it cracked. I bought a cheap cover on Amazon but now the light leaks from the flash so I usually disable it when I can.
  5. Reception is very good. Phone calls don’t drop very often, and texts go through all the time. Data calls drop occasionally, and will drop back to Edge if required. No “grip of death”! (har har, bet you’re all sick of that now aren’t you?)
  6. My favourite apps would have to be Gravity, a Twitter application, and Opera Mini for browsing. Opera Mini loads the mobile version of Gmail and Google Reader quickly and display them with little lag. There’s also the free Youtube app which is excellent but I prefer to use a computer for watching videos. I also have numerous free apps and games installed, almost all from the Ovi store.
  7. The Ovi store is Nokia’s application store. It’s basic, but it’s quite good. You can search for apps, and sort and display by different criteria. Only want free apps? There ya go! Installing is a sinch, but it would be nice if they made reviews more accessible. You have to click through to them.
  8. Battery life is pretty good too. If you’re browsing the net and making phone calls it’ll last well over a day but add GPS and suddenly battery life drops like a bomb. If it has to hunt for a signal that hurts too unfortunately.

So, there it is. The Nokia 5800 is an excellent phone. It’s not perfect but I can heartily recommend it.

My next phone? I already bought it. It’s the Samsung Galaxy S, an Android powered smartphone. While the 5800 is an excellent phone it’s showing it’s age. Using the new phone is like moving from Windows 3.11 on a 486 to Windows 95 on a Pentium. Hmm, time to update my analogies?

Happy new year in 2009

Happy new year in 2009

Happy new year! May 2009 be even better than 2008!

PS. I shot this with my Canon 50mm 1.8 and it kicks the ass of the same image I shot with my Sigma 18-200 zoom (not surprisingly). Donations for “Donncha’s fund to buy L series lenses” should be sent to ..

Mac OS X Leopard and Nokia N73 Bluetooth Problems

When I got my new Macbook a few weeks back I thought I could use the Bluetooth functions to browse and copy files from my Nokia N73. It worked just fine on my previous Macbook, an old 2 year old machine destroyed by a cup of tea, so I wasn’t expecting any problems.

Unfortunately it seems that Mac OS X Leopard and the latest firmware of the Nokia N73 just do not like each other. No matter what I did, I could not get the Macbook and N73 to pair. The configuration tool stopped every single time on the “getting more information” part of the wizard. I’m not the only one experiencing problems. There’s a long thread on the Apple website. Both Apple and Nokia have been informed and are aware of the problem but I suspect it’s something in Nokia’s latest N73 firmware.

I have a card reader, now to find the SD sleeve that came with my Sony Ericsson phone. Nokia didn’t include one with their phone.

PS. does anyone else find the keyboard of their Macbook isn’t as responsive as it should be? I have to really hit the y and Enter keys to make sure. It is very annoying!

Long term review: Sony Ericsson W810i phone

Sony Ericsson W810i

A year ago I pondered buying a Sony Ericsson K750i but eventually bought it’s big brother, the Sony Ericsson W810i instead. At the time I was impressed, especially with the panorama function of the camera, but I’ve grown to loath this piece of technology in the year since I bought it. Here’s why.

  • “Message waiting, Too many messages. Delete some from any folder. Delete now? Despite the fact there’s a 512MB memory stick plugged into the side, the phone can only store about 130 text messages. My old Nokia 7650 spoiled me. I rarely deleted any text messages but this phone is always on the brink of being full. That’s a problem I can accept, except it’s buggy. For some reason the phone checks the sim card memory and asks me to delete messages from there too, even though messages are delivered to phone memory. That is very annoying.
  • Keyboard Lock – during a call the Menu button becomes the End Call button. After finishing a call, if the other party hangs up first and I don’t hit “End Call” fast enough it reverts back to the Menu function. Hitting that brings up the main menu of course. On a Sony Ericsson, the keyboard lock sequence is “*” “Menu”. See where I’m going? To lock the phone I need to exit the menu and then hit that sequence of keys. Why couldn’t you just copy what Nokia do with their “Menu” “*” sequence? It just works better.
  • Walkman – I have no use for the Walkman function. That’s my own fault for picking the wrong phone, but it had a good camera, integrated radio and the price was right. What I can complain about is the too-prominent position of the Walkman button. It’s way too easy to click.
  • Durability – the phone seems to be quite delicate. For the most part it sits on my desk, but about a month ago while out, it slipped from my hand. Since then the phone hasn’t been itself. At random, it will reset and a message appears on screen about an inactive sim card. I need to remove the battery to restore it.
  • Meteor, my phone company, decided in their wisdom that the first two items on the phone menu would cause the phone to go online. The first link went to their homepage before I changed it to my own blog and the second is a generic “Meteor WAP” icon. To prevent the phone accidentally going online I dug through the preferences and now clicking those icons brings up a username/password form. Much better than potentially expensive GPRS bills.

On the plus side, sound quality is good, battery life is ok. Camera is excellent for what it is. Images are noisy, but it’s packed full of features. I love the panorama function. The included memory stick makes it easy to copy files to and from my PC or Mac.

Would I buy a Sony Ericsson phone again? If they had a sensible keyboard locking sequence, then maybe. As it is, I’m going back to Nokia. For my next phone I would like a bog-standard device that makes calls, can store hundreds of texts, has at least a 2MP camera and a memory card.
Any suggestions?

Linux to Symbian File Transfer – HOWTO

I finally got to see my phone’s filesystem from Linux this morning! I used p3nfs to connect my Nokia 7650 and Red Hat 9 Linux box. Here’s how.

  • Login to your Linux box as root.
  • Make sure you have the following rpms installed: bluez-libs-devel, bluez-libs, bluez-utils. They’re available from your local apt-rpm repository (just apt-get install them!) or from http://bluez.sf.net
  • Copy the following lines to your /etc/modules.conf

    # bluetooth stuff
    alias net-pf-31 bluez
    alias bt-proto-0 l2cap
    alias bt-proto-2 sco
    alias bt-proto-3 rfcomm

  • Start Bluetooth services: /etc/init.d/bluetooth start
  • Create the bluetooth device if it doesn’t exist: mknod /dev/rfcomm0 c 216 0
  • Create a directory for the mobile to be mounted on: mkdir /mnt/psion
  • Download p3nfs from the site above. Copy the nfsapp for your phone to your phone (you’ll have to mail it to your phone, wap, or bluetooth in Windows.)
  • p3nfsd doesn’t compile on Red Hat 9, but it’s simple to fix that. cd into the nfsd directory, edit “mp_mount.c” and remove any mention of extern int errno from it and add #include <errno.h> at the top of the file. Do the same in “mp_xmit.c” and compile using make clean;make
  • Follow the instructions in README.bluetooth.linux (find the BDADDR, bind to the device, and start the nfs app and servers.
  • cd into /mnt/psion and look around your phone!

This is in fact more useful than the Windows tools I have. I couldn’t send images from my phone to my desktop software, and there’s quite a few of them. Using this, I simply went into /mnt/psion/C:/Nokia/Images/ and “mv”ed the files onto my PC!
There’s an “Installs” directory there too so I presume that’s where the .sis and .jar files go to install applications. Will test later. /me’s happy!
This howto wouldn’t have been possible without the invaluable page Tom wrote about his own experiences. Thanks! And of course Google helped me compile p3nfsd!