Thursday, December 3, 2009

How to Hard reset your Nokia N97

If you’re unfortunate enough to encounter a problem on your Nokia N97, a hard reset maybe what you need to do. This wipes the entire phone memory and settings fresh to how it was (or should be) when you bought it. It’s also useful if you’re also unfortunate enough to have to send away your Nokia N97 for repair or exchange, or maybe in future you maybe selling it and don’t want your information/details/media stored onto your device for someone else to access.

The traditional method won’t work as the N97 doesn’t have the old keypad. After you’ve backed up your data onto memory card/pc/ovi, turn your phone off and simultaneously press these four buttons circled in red.

* Caps shift * Space bar * Delete button * On button

You’ll know it’s worked when you see the initial set up screen, asking country of origin. I haven’t actually tried this, but I’ll be doing so when I return the trial N97.

* wiped phone memory but did not touch the mass memory (you’ll have to format that separately via File Manager) – got 61 MB back
* Applications installed onto the memory card are still present
* Fixed voice dialling, but after restoration from memory card, voice dialling was disabled again
* Hasn’t Fixed broken GPS. Refuses to get a GPS fix
* Restoring from memory card doesn’t put back widget/applications from phone memory you would have hoped to have been backed up on memory card – e.g. facebook/Nokia Messaging/N-Gage is gone
* Restoring from memory card does not restore the menu to how you may have reconfigured it (extremely annoying)

Press the Red Button at once

How do I reset the Nokia N97 phone

There has been a number of people having problems with their N97’s and having to totally reset the phone to fix different issues, so I’ve decided to put together this guide on the best way to go about the task and have the N97 back to full optimum usability.

Prepare for Reset
1. Phone contacts is the only thing I really backup, best way I use is to copy all contacts to mass memory for quick reinstall later:.

Within Contacts application:
a) Options \ Mark/Unmark \ Mark all
b) Options \ Copy business card \ To other memory
c) Select ‘E: Mass memory’ and ‘Yes’ to remove existing contacts from selected memory.

NOTE: You could use Backup in File Manager to copy Contacts, Calendar and Bookmarks to a memory card?

2. Other Application Data depends on what applications you have installed, have a look yourself and save on mass memory. I have Profimail & SplashID which I export the settings/data and save on Mass memory for importing later.

3. Goto Menu\Settings\Application mgr.\Installed apps. and uninstall all applications installed on the Mass Memory.

4. Hard Reset the phone my dialing *#7370# from the homescreen and entering Lock Code 12345

Phone with now hard reset to the original firmware and factory settings. Once finished it will restart and ask you to enter region, date, time, etc. as if you just took the phone out the box when you first purchased it.

Installing from Fresh

You now have a clean phone ready to load your data and install your applications back on, so this is the time you need to be careful what you do, where you install things and what you install. Personally I’ve got a list of the best application I like for Nokia phones and will only install these on a non-test phone, i.e. personal phone.

5. Reclaim back phone memory before installing by uninstalling any firmware pre-installed applications you don’t use. I removed Facebook, weather apps, most of the widgets. etc.. If you’re never going to use them, then get rid of them, you can always reinstall from OVI Store or the nokiAAddict downloads page later :)

6. Reinstall Phone contacts.

Within Contacts application:
a) Options \ Copy business card \ From other memory
b) Select ‘E: Mass memory’.

7. Install all new applications to the Mass Memory, there might be a few apps which can only be installed on phone (Python & Wordmobi), but most should work okay installed on the Mass Memory. What applications to install is up to yourself, but I’ve found the main memory hugger is email. For Email the best application I’ve found is LCG Profimail which installs and works great on Mass Memory, unlike Nokia Messaging which only installs to phone memory. Although Profimail isn’t FREE its well worth the money for heavy email users.

How do I hard reset/format the n81 8GB or N95 phone?

N95 and N81 codes
*#06# ............ IMEI number (International Mobile Equipment Identity)
*#0000# ......... Firmware version and date, Phone Model and Operator Variant
*#92702689# ... Life timer (W A R 0 A N T Y) - Total time your phone has spent sending and receiving calls.
*#62209526# ... Wireless MAC Address (M A C _ W L A N)
*#2820# .......... Bluetooth MAC address (B T A 0?)
*#7370# .......... Format phone (R E S 0 ?)
*#7780# .......... Factory Reset (R S T 0 ?)

Format phone restores phone to as if it was out of the box. Retains firmware version and operator Variant changes but wipes all applications you have installed. Does not format the memory card so any apps on there may reinstall once powered back up again.

Factory Reset resets all settings to defaults but keeps any applications you have installed and photos etc. Both need the Security code, which, by default, is 12345.

Another way to format some symbian phones: Power off phone. Press and hold Green, * and 3 and keep them held whilst powering on and for a few seconds after, if kept pressed this formats without asking for Security Code confirmation.

N95 picture viewer:
2 – Scroll up (when zoomed)
4 – Scroll left (when zoomed)
5 – Zoom in (12.5%/25%/50%)
6 – Scroll right (when zoomed)
8 – Scroll down (when zoomed)
0 – Zoom out

Press the Power button briefly to bring up the list of profiles to select one.

Press and hold (in Standby):
Right selection key: Voice commands
Multimedia Key: Now Playing
1: Voicemail
2-9: shortcuts to address book (you need to set these up first)
0: Web
#: Switches between General and Silent modes - not supported by all Operator Variants (when composing messages will switch between character and number input when held down)

If your operator does not support normal SMS delivery receipts (like UK O2) put *0# at the beginning of a text message to get a receipt (the recipient will not see it)

12# (etc) in standby will dial the number held in location 12 on your SIM card address book.

When texting using T9 predictive text you can generate smileys by pressing the 1 key twice or three times and modify the smiley using the * key:

Pressing 1 twice :) then * > > :* > .. > ., and so on
Pressing 1 three times :-) > :-( > ;-) > :-* > ... and so on.

The 0 key gives you a space, then 0, then a carriage return.

the factory codes: *#XXX# definitely do work on the n81--these are codes that work on all nokia devices (and i did have to use the *#RES0# to fix the mess that Mail For Exchange created )

The short cuts for picture viewing are different, as now you have the gaming keys which are used to zoom in and out. also don't forget the navi-wheel. the navi wheel is AWESOME! i use it all the time. i just wish that it was enabled in more parts of the phone.

multimedia key is the same--it brings up the now playing page on the cool new multimedia menu. And i do wanna saw a few words out the new multimedia menu. the current "application button" (looks like a yin-yang). brings up the menu of all the applications. some people are confused by this and the multimedia button, as you can also access these things from the multimedia button. The difference though, the application button allows you to access by application. the multimedia button seems to be arranged around content. so i think it is kind of neat that nokia has 2 different arrangements for accessing functionality on the phone.

These are the same:
1: Voicemail
2-9: shortcuts to address book (you need to set these up first)
0: Web
#: Switches between General and Silent modes

This doesn't work:
To see the time when the keypad is locked without unlocking, just press and release the power button.

Usually what i do is just press any button, and the screen displays very dim, but remains locked. but is bright enough for me to see the time

Monday, November 30, 2009

Facebook comes to the Nokia E71 and E72

The Nokia E71 and Nokia E72 now has a Facebook application, available right at the Ovi Store.

The application is pretty nifty, and lets you use all the basic features of Facebook.

There are still a couple things missing like the Facebook “like” feature, etc but hey atleast there’s finally an official app now.

It’s basically a non-touch version of the S60v5 Touch app.

To download the app, go on over to the Nokia Ovi Store on your Nokia E71 or Nokia E72 and search for “Facebook” to find the application.

No doubt more S60v3 devices will get the application soon.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Nokia 5730 express music - Review

The consumer-focussed sister phone to the successful Nokia E75 has now appeared and we tracked one down to explore what's different, what's good and what's bad. Is the 5730 really a case of 'fashion over functionality'? Or is it one of the most feature packed, and yet relatively cheap smartphones in the world?

Comparisons with the E75

The very first thing you should know about the Nokia 5730 XpressMusic is that 98% of it is identical to the Nokia E75, the side sliding business smartphone that debuted in Spring 2009 and which has been reviewed extensively here on All About Symbian (reviews part one, two and three + long term review) - it's tempting to simply think of the 5730 as the 'consumer' version of the E75 and, indeed, it's fairly easy to summarise the differences between the two: see the table below listing the 'advantages' of each, relative to the other. However, there's more to it than this, as we shall see.

All of which does seem like quite a list, and indeed there's a lot to discuss below, but don't let the table above kid you into thinking that these aren't, at heart, the same phone. If you look at the positioning of all the ports and side keys, if you look at the qwerty keyboard layout and spacing, if you compare audio and multimedia results, if you look at the recesses for ribbons and mechanism on the underside of the main keyboard, you'll quickly deduce that the E75 and 5730 are twins, separated at birth and led down slightly different life paths.

It's slightly odd that the 5730 XpressMusic has appeared so much later than the E75, and galling considering that there's nothing cutting edge in its firmware that might provide a clue for this timing - after all the 5730 still has Nokia Maps v2 and the 'old' version of S60 Web. There's not even an Ovi Store link. Clearly, the 5730 was designed and specified concurrently with the E75, but the timescales for either production or marketing slipped and then the summer break got in the way. Well, that's my theory anyway. (One compensation for the wait is that a digital compass got added to the GPS chip in the meantime, of which more later.)

But almost all potential buyers won't have seen an E75 in the flesh, so for the bulk of this review I'm going to treat the 5730 standalone, as a smartphone in its own right. For the guy or gal picking this up on a modest monthly contract in the High Street, what are they going to love and what are they going to hate (if anything)? I will put in some E75 comparison quips where needed, but I'll try not to let these dominate!

The Nokia 5730 XpressMusic

Essentially, the 5730 is a candy bar S60 smartphone with a hidden side-sliding qwerty keyboard. Such side-sliders aren't totally new to the High Street, with devices like the budget LG KS360 leading the way, bringing full qwerty to the masses. But the 5730's keyboard is in a different league. It's got four rows of characters, meaning that most symbols don't need shifting, and the key spacing is large for a phone. In fact, it's just about the perfect mobile keyboard for typing while standing up, using both thumbs, and it's lot faster than that in a typical Blackberry.

And it's the keyboard (and the main keypad) where the styling of the 5730 starts to hit home, both in a good and a bad way. The key legends are all printed in a 1980's-esque dot matrix font, adding a unique character to the phone. In bright light, readability's not too bad, but in murky conditions (say, a badly lit office) it can be hard to see which key is which. Compared to the striking clear white key legends on the E75, it's tempting to dismiss the 5730 XpressMusic out of hand, but doing that misses half the point of the phone.

This is aimed at the 15 to 25s market, targetting those with enough money to afford the 5730 and to also be able to afford the time and money (pre-raising a family) to have a night life. And it's at night that the 5730 XpressMusic shines. Almost literally. The dot matrix font, when backlit in a dark pub or club, looks extremely cool and is about the right visibility for bashing out texts, instant messages or social network status updates. In addition, the media control keys glow attractively and the translucent red strip around the 5730's frame catches spot lights and also glows, rather warmly. So, while it's tempting to lambast the design team for producing something with style over function, you can at least see how it might work in a typical user's (night) life.

Staying with the Nokia 5730 XpressMusic's keys, there are several aspects of note (other than the already mentioned opinion-polarising font):

* The number pad has discrete keys, which is good (the E75 has plastic strips, each with three 'keys'). And they're all domed for easy finger location. But, as with the E75, cramming the keys into such a small area does make for cramped input. Luckily, the presence of the qwerty keyboard means that such a restriction is easily forgiven.

* The d-pad has the lightest 'feel' of any that I've ever used. Which either makes it a delight (I'm in this camp) or a right royal pain (Rita el-Khoury's in this camp), with some finding that a direction gets pressed when you simply mash down on the centre. It all depends on the size of your fingers and whether you're using the pad of your thumb or the thumbnail - yet another personal choice for this polarising phone!

# The function keys (left and right) are at a level of at least 1mm below the surface of the screen, meaning that each appears somewhat sunken. As a result, you again have to approach them with the thumbnail rather than the pad of the thumb if you don't want the surrounding keys to get activated.

# The music control keys are large enough to hit accurately when you're looking at the phone, but they take some getting used to for controlling music playback 'unseen', e.g. when the phone's in your pocket. A degree of physical demarcation would have helped here - maybe a slight doming of each key, or perhaps a raised dot in the centre of each?

The gaming keys, on a plastic rocker above the screen, are quite firm to press - for sensitive gaming, they're a little too 'hard' in their feel. The keys (circle=A, square=B) only light up and respond when you're in an official N-Gage game, but it's quite cool when they do - with the 5730 held in landscape mode, with the d-pad on the left, the gaming keys are perfectly placed for traditional gaming, e.g. Fire/Jump/Strike.

The main qwerty keys are ever so slightly textured, giving good grip when needed.

The main display is the same as that on the E75 - limited to 2.4" diagonal by the form factor and the need to fit in a numeric keypad on the front of the phone. Visibility is good though, with the transflective backing making it easy to read even in direct sunlight. The resolution's the 2007/2008 standard QVGA and, while this looks a little small compared to some of the smartphones being released, it's fine for a 2.4" screen and it'll be fine for the target market here.

On the 5730's left are flush-covered ports for microUSB (for connection to a desktop, for filling with music, principally) and microSD, an improvement on the weird covers on the E75, which stick out awkwardly. Also good to see is the inclusion of a 8GB card to get new users started. Indeed, for many casual users, 8GB may be enough for all their needs. On the downside, extracting the microSD is quite tricky, harder than on the E75 because of the extra 1mm width of the plastic casing - the card is just that little bit further inside the hatch and is hard to grab hold of.

On the 5730's top is a 4-way (i.e. smartphone) 3.5mm audio jack. Supplied in the box are a great set of stereo, in-ear (complete with spare rubber seals) headphones with hands-free microphone pod a third of the way down the main cable. Perfect. Sound quality is very good through these headphones (though E75 owners should note that this device sounds identical through the same headset, more evidence that the internal electronics are the same.)

On the device's right are a volume up/down rocker (which also works in Photos, to zoom in and out) and a functional two-stage camera shutter button.

As with the E75, there's the (fairly unique) option to charge in two completely different ways. Either via the supplied 2mm mains charger, or via microUSB, from either a data cable or (indeed) a microUSB mains charger. You can even plug in both at the same time, though the 5730 doesn't actually charge twice as fast! It's good to have this dual charger compatibility and a very flexible arrangement.

Bringing up the rear - oh dear

Turning the 5730 XpressMusic over brings several more points of note, most of them bad. Most obvious is the one piece plastic back of the phone, which hooks into the right side of the device and then clicks into place in 'landscape' fashion - don't worry if that sounds tricky, as Nokia helpfully attach a sticker to every new phone, with a diagram! On the plus side, the matt plastic is immune to greasy fingerprints and it's also very light. On the minus side, presumably in order to keep enough tension in it to keep the cover in place, Nokia has bowed it slightly, meaning that the 5730 is at least 1mm thicker than it needs to be - in fact, there's enough space inside the bowed cover that the battery physically rattles if you shake the phone. I've stuck a folded Post-It note in there to pad out the battery a bit.

Also reeking of 'designed this on a Friday afternoon' is the way the 5730's loudspeaker is muffled by the cover. The device's speaker has a pretty good raw frequency response, as can be heard in the E75, which positions a nice little metal grille over the right spot, with plenty of tinkly cymbals in music and crisp voice overtones in podcasts. The 5730 XpressMusic's solid plastic back cover has no such openings, other than a little sound leakage through the extreme top right corner, completely ruining the frequency output from the speaker. There's a simple fix, of course, more DIY(!), and (risking Rafe's wrath) I'm going to be taking my drill and making my own 'grille' of holes - watch this space for photo proof 8-)

Last, but by no means least, on the Nokia 5730 XpressMusic's rear is the camera, identical in specification to that of the E75 and more than its equal in terms of quality. Which is saying something, since the E75 has just about the best 3 megapixel camera I've ever seen in a phone. The 5730 adds a Carl Zeiss-branded lens, bringing slightly sharper detail and slightly better colours. The difference is marginal, to be honest, but it can be seen. There'll be more on the 5730 XpressMusic's camera in part 2 of my review, but in the meantime, have a look at these blow-ups of the same sunny scene: the E75's photo is on the left, the 5730's on the right. Note how the red play equipment is redder, the green leaves are greener and the blue sky is bluer. The railings are also slightly sharper, if you look closely enough.

Although not quite capable of semi-pro photos and dubious for printed blowups of more than 7" x 5", 3 megapixels, combined with this lens and sensor, is certainly enough for good casual photography. As you might expect, the unit struggles in low light, but even here it performs a lot better than, for example, the camera in the Nokia 5800 (and sister devices) and miles better than the mountain of 3mp camera phones from many other manufacturers.

Wireless matters

The number of aerials in each phone that comes out these days just goes up and up. In the 5730 XpressMusic we have GPS (complete with an integrated magnetometer - i.e. a digital compass), an FM radio, Wi-Fi (b and g variants), quad-band GSM and tri-band 3G. Some people have reported network reception problems in the E75, but I've seen none in either that device nor this one - signal strength has been excellent.

I also had no problems with GPS lock, when taking Nokia Maps 2 out for a spin. Yes, version 2, a little disappointing, although plugging the 5730 into Nokia Maps Updater on a PC upgraded things to Ovi Maps 3.1 and brought me bang up to date for free. I'm guessing that an official Ovi Maps 3 update will slip into an upcoming firmware.

Sadly there's no FM Transmitter, something which I'd been starting to take for granted in recent S60 smartphone launches. Still, at the current £250 and at the predicted £200 price point, it's fair to say that something had to be left out. Having GPS and Wi-Fi and Carl Zeiss optics in the camera are already most welcome!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Nokia 3G Netbook with a-GPS and 12 Hour Batt Life Time

Strictly speaking is not the place to source information about netbooks or laptops in general. But when the world's leading mobile phone manufacturer decided to debut their own netbook product we just couldn't stay "hush".

The new Nokia 3G Booklet is Nokia's take at the oh-so-popular netbook segment. Since we're all part-time computer geeks (besides being cellphone know-it-all's) we can't really stay indifferent as Nokia unveil their first portable computer.

But without further ado, have a look at those shots and if you're impressed enough we'll just give you the key technical features.

The Nokia 3G Booklet is based on the well known Intel Atom platform, but it's also the first netbook of its kind to feature an HDMI HD video output. Not that we would bet on the little Atom fella playing serious HD stuff, but still having that output is a nice another step into turning them netbooks into media canter PCs.

With battery life of up to 12h it's surely one serious contender as your workday sidearm. As the name suggest, the Nokia 3G Booklet has an integrated 3G/HSDPA modem - Wi-Fi goes without saying. Another interesting feature is the built-in GPS receiver, which will successfully team up with the Nokia Maps application.

The Nokia 3G Booklet has got a 10-inch screen and measures only 20mm in thickness. It weighs 1.25kg and there's a front-facing video camera and Bluetooth.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Mugen Power 2000mAh battery for Nokia E75

One of the downsides of the Nokia E75 design is that the presence of the qwerty keyboard has meant that there's less 'thickness' available for its battery. As a result, Nokia have had to use the 1000mAh BL-4U, with a third less capacity than the 1500mAh BP-4L that normally powers most Eseries phones. Now, it's true that optimisations in S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 2 mean that the E75 doesn't pull down as much power as, say, an E71 or E90, and that 1000mAh is easily enough to see you through a day of moderately heavy use (especially as you won't be watching much video on the smallish 2.4" screen), but you will have to charge it each night if you don't want to run out halfway through the next day.

If you spend a lot of time on the road or like to go hiking (or similar), away from charging power, then a new option to you is to fit the after-market Mugen 2000mAh battery, purpose built for the E75. As the capacity suggests, this should keep you going for twice as long, and over a week's testing I can verify that this is about right. I went from Wednesday to Saturday on a single charge, with my usual smartphone usage (texting/PIM/music/podcasts/camera/GPS), though I was careful not to waste power outright and didn't keep a data connection active the whole time, for example. I also use 'Offline' mode overnight.

So, with frugal use, I can see this battery giving the E75 a week of operation, which is quite impressive.

The downside, as you can see from the photos, is that the 2000mAh battery is larger. Over twice as thick as the original Nokia battery, which is curious:

Still, Mugen also supply a replacement metal back cover, which hooks into the standard cover latching points. A thicker phone means that you may need a new E75 case - or car cradle. And it means a heavier phone, which may be an issue for you (and the line of your jacket).

The other downside is the cosmetic angle. The replacement cover produces a huge 'bulge', plus the primitive finish isn't as eye-catching as the original textured cover. Now, it's important to emphasise that this is mainly a fashion thing: in the hand, the bulge actually helps use, since the fingers of your hand nestle around it - it makes gripping the E75 easier. But put the phone down or wave it around and the device will look a little 'odd'.

Straight out of the packet, the Mugen battery was fully charged, which is a nice touch. I did have an issue inserting it into the E75 at first, because the battery contacts were so 'new' and stiff. I loosened them slightly with a small screwdriver and then the battery slotted in fine. One other small hardware note was that the replacement back cover didn't fit perfectly - the latches were slightly oversized, meaning that the cover wasn't retained quite as tightly as it should have been. Not a huge problem, but, well, it's very obvious that the E75 has been accessorised!

Only you'll know whether the Mugen 2000mAh battery is right for you - it's a specialist item to be sure, but it does function as advertised and, on a camping trip (for example) might be an investment that saves the day.

Nokia N97 firmware updated to v12.0.024

A minor firmware update, version 12.0.024, has been released for the Nokia N97. The updates fixes a number of bugs and improves performance and stability. The firmware is being made available through both Nokia Software Updater (part of PC Suite) and OTA on the device. The firmware is currently available for SIM-free models; as usual the availability of the firmware will vary by market and device variant.

A bigger firmware update, which will add significant additional function to the device, is expected to be made available in September or October. For example, this may include the Skype software that was announced at Mobile World Congress this year. We may hear more details at the upcoming Nokia World conference at the begining of September.

The N97 device manager software is most easily accessed by entering *#0000# into the phone's dialer. Choose Options > Check for updates and follow the on screen prompts.

As with any firmware update we would recommend backing up the device before applying the update. While user data is preserved during N97' firmware updates, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Facebook App on Symbian !

Symartic, developers of ExtGPS, have announced that they will soon be releasing Symabook, a Facebook client application, for S60 3rd Edition and S60 5th Edition. The application allows you to update your Facebook status and view your news feed, friend list and photos. Symabook has a custom UI which is designed to allow you to view photos more easily and make the best possible use of screen space.

Nokia E55 - Review

The E55 is the latest addition to the business-focussed Nokia Eseries line up, with a twin sister in the form of the Nokia E52. The only significant difference between them is the keyboard - the E52 has a standard 12 key numeric keypad, but the E55 offers a 'half-QWERTY' keyboard.

The E55 and E52 are now starting to become available in select markets - the E52 is now available in the UK at a price of £230 and the E55 will become available later this month at a cost of around £250. As usual, availability and pricing will vary from market to market. In general though, the E5x devices are competitive entries into the mid tier business market.

Both the E55 and E52 run on Nokia's latest Symbian hardware platform. This includes a combined GPS and compass (magnetometer) sensor, and updated cellular radios (quad band GSM and triband WCDMA). There's 128MB of RAM on board, with about 56MB free after boot up, which should be sufficient even for demanding users. The single CPU is clocked at a rate of 600MHz, but as we've mentioned before, looking at pure processor speed is something of a distraction. Nonetheless, in common with other recent Symbian devices, there are no speed concerns. Performance moving around the UI, opening applications and in general operation is very impressive.

Similarly, the software platform is a cutting edge release. The new 7.1 version of the S60 browser is present (previously seen on the N86), as are the usual Eseries tweaks (smart dialling, a business software bundle and updated Contact and Calendar applications) and the phone ships with the latest version of Nokia's Ovi services including Maps 3.0, N-Gage, and the latest version of Nokia's email software. There's some firsts for Eseries too, including Home media, Nokia's UPnP client/server software.

A first glance at the E55 draws the eye immediately to the keypad. This is the first Nokia device with a 'half-QWERTY' keyboard, which has 20 individual keys, with most letters sharing a key with another letter. This type of keyboard is not new, the 'SureType' keyboards of the Blackberry are the most obvious existing examples, but it is something of a departure for Nokia.

The advantage, over a full sized QWERTY keyboard, is of course that you can fit the keyboard into a smaller space. It is also much easier to use one handed; it is equally comfortable to use in thumb-keyboard or one-handed mode. In a design sense, it is a halfway house between a 12 key numeric keypad and a full QWERTY keyboard, but the overall performance, especially the speed of entry, is much closer to a full QWERTY keyboard than it is to a numeric keypad.

The keyboard can be used in either multi-tap mode or in predictive mode. In predictive mode you hit each key once and the prediction software works out which was the most likely intended letter. It works best if you type a full word as the software uses context (just like T9) to increase the accuracy of the 'guess'. I found that the vast majority of the time the prediction software was accurate, and, even when it's not, a correction is a single D-pad press away.

The keyboard itself has been very well designed. The individual keys are angled downwards from the bottom to the top (as on the E75's cover keypad). This means that the bottom of a key is always slightly higher then the top of the key below it. This helps prevent mis-hits and improves the overall accuracy.

Some will pick up the new style keypad quicker than others and there's obviously going to be a learning curve. Ultimately, whether you're comfortable with a half-QWERTY keyboard is a personal decision.

As a QWERTY device, messaging is a clearly a key focus of the E55. Nokia have, rightly, been criticised in the past for a poor email software experience on their Eseries devices. The main fault lay in the Messaging application UI, but there was also some missing functionality. However, in recent software releases, as first seen on the E75, Nokia have made very significant improvements. There's a whole new email client UI, an improved Microsoft Exchange client (includes sub-folder and HTML email support), and, through Nokia Messaging, the ability to get a virtual push-email service for any existing POP3 or IMAP account. The purchase prices of the E55 and E52 include a lifetime (of the device) subscription to Nokia Messaging.

Mail for Exchange and Nokia Messaging, together with the excellent email set up wizard, combine together to create a very powerful email solution for the E55. Just as the launch of the E71 saw Nokia improve the Contacts and Calendar software, so the launch of the next generation of Eseries devices - the E52, E55, E72 and E75 - sees a massive improvement in email capabilities.

The E55 is a svelte phone; the specifications will tell you that it is 54cc in volume and has dimensions of 116 x 49 x 9.9mm. This compares to the the E51's volume of 61cc and dimensions of 115 x 47 x 12mm (and bear in mind the E55 has a 0.2 inch bigger screen) and the E75's volume of 69cc and dimensions of 112 x 50 x 14.4mm. However, without seeing it in person, it's hard to really appreciate the size.

What's even more impressive is that Nokia have managed to fit in a 1500mAh battery into the E55. Once you take t he battery out, it is hard to see where Nokia have put all the hardware that's packed into this phone - it almost seems to defy the laws of physics. Clearly the secret is in the compromises - single speaker, EDOF-based camera, combined radio chipsets and so on, but nonetheless it is a truly impressive achievement.

Concluding thoughts

As I mentioned in our N86 review, the current hype around touch tends to obscure some great non-touch devices. The E55 (and its sister the E52) are good examples of this. A combination of skillful industrial design, comprehensive functionality and a price point that is half that of typical high end devices combine to offer a package that is excellent value for money. In the full review, we'll look at the device's capabilities in more detail, but in general the only real sacrifice, compared to high end devices, is around the camera and video capabilities, and even these are still reasonable.

Those looking at upgrading from an E51 or similar device will find much to like in the E55. The extra screen size (now 2.4"), smaller volume, thinner design, improved performance, upgraded software and additional multimedia functionality, offer plenty of reasons to upgrade. The choice between traditional keypad (E52) and half QWERTY (E55) is a welcome bonus.

The maturity and functionality of the software is worth highlighting. Symbian and S60 has come in for a lot of criticism recently, primarily as a result of S60 5th Edition. But such criticism tends to ignore S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 2, which together with Nokia's service software, offers a best in class experience on non-touch phones. Non-touch phones may not have the same buzz around them as touch phones, but they do remain the dominant interaction mode for mobile phones.

While the Eseries do have a business focus, the lines between enterprise handsets and consumers handset are not as they once were. The addition of consumer orientated features across the Eseries range, most notably in the area of multimedia support, has helped to blur the lines. With a 'good enough' camera, basic video support, a 3.5mm AV jack and a comprehensive range of multimedia software, the E55 has much greater consumer appeal than the earlier Eseries devices. There has also been an increasing realisation that personal and business lives intermingle. Indicative of this is the 'switch mode' feature that was introduced in the E71 and is present in the E55.

The multiple colours and half-QWERTY keyboard of the E55 bring to mind the Blackberry Pearl, which was among the first enterprise phones to enjoy crossover success. In the last few years, QWERTY-equipped phones have become more popular amongst consumers, who appreciate their messaging abilities, not for corporate email, but for text messaging, instant messaging, social networking updates and the odd personal email. While the E55's software bundle remains business-dominated (Quickoffice editing version, Intranet, Advanced Connection Manager, Traveller, WiPresenter), it is notable that Nokia has also included both its own Ovi Contacts IM solution and a version of Microsoft's Messenger with the E55. Indeed, with the inclusion of software and services like N-Gage, Home media, Photos, Video center and Music store, it's almost as if the current Eseries approach to differentiation is to give its user everything that the consumers get, and then add in a couple of specifics. The effect of this is to re-inforce the impression of value for money, which we highlighted above.

In positioning terms, the Nokia E55 may find itself squeezed between its Eseries companions. For those looking for the entry level Eseries device, the E52, with its standard keypad, may be a better choice. Those looking for a cheap QWERTY might be tempted by the E63 or the E71 (especially after its price falls after the introduction of the E72). On the other hand, given that it has the latest software and hardware, the savvy consumer would do well to look carefully at the E55 (I suspect there may be many a techie eyeing up the E55 as a 'secondary' phone). Ultimately though, the E55 is about giving Nokia's Eseries customers more choice - it gives people a halfway house between the traditional phone-centric Eseries (E51, E52) and the higher end QWERTY-equipped devices (E63, E71, E75).

How to convert TS to any video formats,edit ts or ts mac

The MPEG-2 TS Converter is an excellent TS Converter to convert MPEG-2 TS format files. The TS Converter can convert .ts files to all popular format files including avi, wmv, wma, mpg, mp3, mp4 and other common formats respectivly for iPod, iPhone, Apple TV, PSP and other digital players with perfect quality and fast conversion speed.

Video_TS Converter is a TS File Converter which can convert the files in Video_TS folder and extract audio from .ts files. The TS Video File Converter supports converting .m2ts, .mts, .mkv, .flv, .mp4 and other supported files.

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TS Converter for Mac is a powerful TS video converting software for Mac users, it's a Mac MPEG-2 TS converter and a Mac MPEG-4 TS converter.

TS Converter for Mac can convert TS, TP, MPEG-TS, M2T videos to popular video formats like AVI, MOV, MP4, FLV, WMV etc.

With this Video TS Editor, you can freely Trim Video, Split video, Add video effect, Apply transition, etc. How to edit TS videos with this TS Editor? Don't worry. Just free download this TS Editor and refer the following guide.

Firstly, Free download and install the TS to WMV Converter and then launch it until the following interface appears.

And then do as the following steps.

Step 1: Load TS files by clicking

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How to Upgrade your Firmware

First of all you need to backup your data:


* Connect N81 to pc using cable.
* Open Nokia Nseries pc suite in your pc (you have already installed it, right?).
* Once you decive is connected click on content copier.
* Then you are ready to do a full backup, mass memory and phone memory (you can select this choice from settings menu ) of your device.

When finished you can do "dangerous" step....

Upgrade your firmware:

* Connect N81 to pc using cable. (if you haven't done it before..)
* Open Nokia Nseries pc suite in your pc
* Once you decive is connected click on Nokia software updater (tools menu, is the last one on the top)
* Wait until software have recognized your phone
* If you have already do backup, connect charging unit to your phone and go on..
* Read instruction remaining e follow it... Very simple..

Remember, don't disconnect device during upgrading, and leave it under charge.

Nokia N95 and N81 codes and shortcuts

N95 and N81 codes
*#06# ............ IMEI number (International Mobile Equipment Identity)
*#0000# ......... Firmware version and date, Phone Model and Operator Variant
*#92702689# ... Life timer (W A R 0 A N T Y) - Total time your phone has spent sending and receiving calls.
*#62209526# ... Wireless MAC Address (M A C _ W L A N)
*#2820# .......... Bluetooth MAC address (B T A 0?)
*#7370# .......... Format phone (R E S 0 ?)
*#7780# .......... Factory Reset (R S T 0 ?)

Format phone restores phone to as if it was out of the box. Retains firmware version and operator Variant changes but wipes all applications you have installed. Does not format the memory card so any apps on there may reinstall once powered back up again.

Factory Reset resets all settings to defaults but keeps any applications you have installed and photos etc. Both need the Security code, which, by default, is 12345.

Another way to format some symbian phones: Power off phone. Press and hold Green, * and 3 and keep them held whilst powering on and for a few seconds after, if kept pressed this formats without asking for Security Code confirmation.

N95 picture viewer:
2 – Scroll up (when zoomed)
4 – Scroll left (when zoomed)
5 – Zoom in (12.5%/25%/50%)
6 – Scroll right (when zoomed)
8 – Scroll down (when zoomed)
0 – Zoom out

Press the Power button briefly to bring up the list of profiles to select one.

Press and hold (in Standby):
Right selection key: Voice commands
Multimedia Key: Now Playing
1: Voicemail
2-9: shortcuts to address book (you need to set these up first)
0: Web
#: Switches between General and Silent modes - not supported by all Operator Variants (when composing messages will switch between character and number input when held down)

If your operator does not support normal SMS delivery receipts (like UK O2) put *0# at the beginning of a text message to get a receipt (the recipient will not see it)

12# (etc) in standby will dial the number held in location 12 on your SIM card address book.

When texting using T9 predictive text you can generate smileys by pressing the 1 key twice or three times and modify the smiley using the * key:

Pressing 1 twice :) then * > > :* > .. > ., and so on
Pressing 1 three times :-) > :-( > ;-) > :-* > ... and so on.

The 0 key gives you a space, then 0, then a carriage return.

Here hassan test of this codes>

The factory codes: *#XXX# definitely do work on the n81--these are codes that work on all nokia devices (and i did have to use the *#RES0# to fix the mess that Mail For Exchange created )

The short cuts for picture viewing are different, as now you have the gaming keys which are used to zoom in and out. also don't forget the navi-wheel. the navi wheel is AWESOME! i use it all the time. i just wish that it was enabled in more parts of the phone.

Multimedia key is the same--it brings up the now playing page on the cool new multimedia menu. And i do wanna saw a few words out the new multimedia menu. the current "application button" (looks like a yin-yang). brings up the menu of all the applications. some people are confused by this and the multimedia button, as you can also access these things from the multimedia button. The difference though, the application button allows you to access by application. the multimedia button seems to be arranged around content. so i think it is kind of neat that nokia has 2 different arrangements for accessing functionality on the phone.

These are the same:
1: Voicemail
2-9: shortcuts to address book (you need to set these up first)
0: Web
#: Switches between General and Silent modes

This doesn't work:
To see the time when the keypad is locked without unlocking, just press and release the power button.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Mobiadapter - USB to Phone

So you're out and about with your smartphone and you bump into a friend or colleague who happens to have some important documents with him on USB flash disk. But.... how on earth to get the files from the disk to your phone? It's a common enough scenario but one which has been insoluble. Up to now.

Thinking about the issue, you'd normally have to press a laptop or similar into service, mounting the USB flash disk on that and then cabling up your phone using its 'Mass storage' mode, then copying files from one 'disk' to another using the desktop's OS.

Or you could just use the Mobidapter:

Finished in polycarbonate, this unique little widget solves exactly this problem, letting you mount USB disks as if they were standard microSD memory cards (or miniSD if necessary, using a mechanical adapter) in a phone. Most phones don't have microswitches on their card covers, so it's easy enough to insert the Mobidapter and get the electronics recognised, as shown in these photos. In use, you simply 'see' the disk as a memory card and can copy files, do backups, even install software onto it or from it.

BUT. And it's something of a big 'but'. I worry. I worry a lot (as my wife will tell you). The weight of the Mobidapter isn't significant, even with a flash disk inserted, in terms of applying strain to the microSD card slot and connectors, but with the assembly plugged in, I was very, very nervous about bending the adapter up or down - damage the card slot in any way and it's back to the repair shop for the phone, etc.

It's also vitally important to remember that this is pretending to be a memory card and will, in most phones, need to be 'pressed in' slightly in order to pop it out, i.e. using the spring eject - you can't just pull the Mobidapter out, as is tempting. And it's probably an excellent idea to apply the needed force to insert the USB disk into the Mobidapter before inserting the latter into the phone card slot.

Look, the Mobidapter works tremendously well, copes with up to 32GB (the SDHC specification), works up to 70 degrees C, seemingly doesn't need any special driver software - it's perhaps the ultimate conference accessory for grabbing interesting bits from USB disks. I know for a fact that I could use it, with extreme care, and my phone's card slot would survive. But I worry what would happen if used roughly or insensitively. The Mobidapter documentation doesn't warn about this, sadly - maybe gentle use is considered obvious?

The Mobidapter is also rather expensive, at £33 inc VAT. Regardless, if, after seeing the photos above, a light has gone on in your brain, then yes, you'll want one anyway. Even if just to save the day at the ABC Corp event in six months time.

Quickoffice 6.0 Update

In the light of last month's announcement of the Nokia E72, which includes the full Quickoffice 6.x editing suite, and of yesterday's news for S60 5th Edition phones, we took time out with Phil Spencer, Director, Busness Development at Quickoffice, to get to the bottom of what exactly has been announced so far for current S60 and Quickoffice users and what's coming up.

Steve Litchfield: Following the recent announcements, what is happening to your S60 products?

Phil Spencer: Quickoffice have been longstanding business partners with Nokia, delivering our office products directly to the S60 platform and to users of S60 smartphones since they first began shipping. More recently, Quickoffice and Nokia have worked closely together to agree a way to provide existing and future Nokia S60 users with easy updates to the latest Quickoffice functionality.

Is Office editing still relevant as our phones get smaller and smaller?

Yes, we believe Office functionality is becoming increasingly important to S60 users on the move. The ability to reliably view and edit office documents with complete confidence, including the latest Office 2007 file formats, is a common use case. Nokia and Quickoffice want to ensure S60 offers a 'best-in-class' mobile office experience to its current and future users in order to further cement its position as a leading smartphone platform.

You're changing things at Quickoffice, I hear. How are these changes being rolled out?

We are ensuring that users of currently shipping Nokia S60 phones have an easy upgrade path to the latest Quickoffice release.

For the following devices: Nokia E51, E52, E55, E63, E66, E71, E72, E75 and E90, we've worked with Nokia to be able to provide users with the latest Quickoffice 6 viewing and editing release, free of charge. From the middle of June 2009, to coincide with the Nokia E72 launch, users of these devices have been able to get the latest Quickoffice 6 releases (including today's latest update) as free upgrades via Quickoffice’s on-device delivery channel called Quickmanager™, part of the Quickoffice application.

For Nokia devices that ship with Quickoffice viewers only, the latest Quickoffice 6 viewers are now also available as a free upgrade via Quickmanager. Users of such devices can update their Quickoffice viewers for free with Office 2007 file support or, as before, optionally purchase the latest editing version as an upgrade.

How do users get these updates?

Users can get their free update immediately in Quickmanager. Quickmanager is Quickoffice’s secure software delivery catalog, built into every Quickoffice product. So, all users have it on their phones already. They just need to launch Quickoffice and select ‘Quickmanager’ or ‘Updates and upgrades’ from the menu. Users will be responsible for any network/data fees (if applicable – e.g., if they do not use WiFi) they may incur in the download process, but there will be no additional charges from Quickoffice to receive these updates.

Over time, the latest Quickoffice version will also begin to appear in Nokia firmware updates for various devices, but the updates will always be available in Quickmanager too.

Can you recap Quickoffice 6's main benefits, for new readers?

The latest Quickoffice 6 release adds many great features over the older versions that most users will find in their S60 handset right now (typically Quickoffice versions 4.1 or 3.8). These features include more advanced document viewing and editing (where applicable) functionality, ZIP file support, password-protected file handling, Excel 2007 chart viewing, multiple usability enhancements and much more. A particular highlight is support for Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint ’97 through 2007 file formats.

The latest release available from today is a brand new update to the previous Quickoffice 6 product on offer – this version now adds the ability to view PowerPoint 2007 files for all users. Users of the Eseries devices listed above who already took advantage of their first free update from 15th June onwards might also like to visit Quickmanager again and download the very latest editing build again, also for free.

Another highlight of the newest update is support for editing on S60 5th Edition devices such as the Nokia N97.

Will the update be available in all languages?

Currently, to ensure we can reach as many users as quickly as possible, these first free updates are available in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. A fully-localized update will follow in the near future (there is no fixed date, but users can check back in Quickmanager if they wish to receive this later).

What about future versions of Quickoffice?

The idea behind this new approach from Quickoffice and Nokia is that the latest viewing release will always be available as a free upgrade to Nokia phones which include our viewers, regardless of what version is in their phone’s initial firmware.

Certain Nokia devices will also ship with the ability for users to always receive the latest editing versions as well (as long as the device is still shipping). Other devices will ship with the latest editors available at that time, and users will be able to purchase further editing upgrades if they wish to receive the latest versions. Exactly what Quickoffice updates users are entitled to receive on each device will be made clear in the device's product literature, and will also be carried through to the Quickmanager offers tailored for each device.

What about users of non-Nokia S60 phones?

Right now, the changes here are the result of work specifically between Nokia and Quickoffice and are aimed at Nokia’s S60 phones only. We’ll continue to offer Quickoffice product upgrades and support to other S60 device users exactly as we do now. For example, the latest Quickoffice 6 release (which now supports editing on S60 5th Edition devices) is also available for Samsung Omnia HD users to purchase.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Nokia 6760 / Surge

The newest device here, the 6760's the lowest specified and rather plasticky, but will still appeal to some because of the useable slide out qwerty keyboard, rivalling the E75 and 5730's, and the very low price. The camera's not a brilliant one though and there's no Wi-fi, a deal breaker for some.

Compiling the above information, it strikes me that there's no runaway winner in the 'QWERTY on Symbian' stakes. The newest two devices are also two of the lowest specified and with lowest build quality. The E90 should have been top of the pile and should have remained there, even today, but its firmware remains frustratingly forgotten. The E71 is a contender but the use of the older S60 3rd Edition FP1 lets it down slightly. The E75 is the best of the crop for me because of its large keyboard, decent camera and FP2 under the hood, but as noted above, the E75 does have its downsides too.

5800 gets ver. 30.0.011 Firmware

The Nokia 5800 has just gotten its v30 firmware update (actually v30.0.011). It's currently available Over The Air (*#0000# from the home screen) for some product codes, including my APAC one, as a 4MB download. Perhaps not the 'mega' update that many people had thought was coming, tying in with the upcoming 5530 XpressMusic, this is still a recommended update, bringing bug fixes and performance optimisations.

Do a backup of your data before the update, just in case, but the User Data Preservation system should mean that all your data, apps and settings will work properly after the update.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Hard and Soft Reset for Nokia N70

Soft Reset

The reset will restore all the phone’s settings to factory default.


Hard Reset

Please make backup before applying this type of reset, since it will restore the phone’s settings as well as erasing all the data in the phone memory.

1. Switch off the phone.
2. Press CALL + * + 3 + ON simultaneously until the phone is completely started.

note: The default password is 12345. You need to press and hold the key until the number appear.

Hard and Soft Reset for Nokia 5800 express music

Soft Reset

The reset will restore all the phone’s settings to factory default. You need to use the dialer to enter this code.

Hard Reset

Hard reset only works if you had previously updated the phone to v20. Please make backup before applying this type of reset, since it will restore the phone’s settings as well as erasing all the data in the phone memory.

1. Switch off the phone.
2. Press GREEN + RED + CAMERA + ON simultaneously until you see the “Select Country” option.

note: The default password is 12345. You need to press and hold the key until the number appear.

Nokia N86 8MP - Review

The N86 follows a well worn path; it is a device with a smartphone blood line stratching back a few years into the mists of history... The advent of the Nseries brand set Nokia on the road to the multimedia computer; devices that aimed to converge multimedia functionality and mobile phone into a single device. Its first flowering may have been in the N70, but it was with the N95 that the idea came of age. The N95 introduced the dual slide form factor and went on to become one of Nokia's most popular high end devices ever. With its integrated GPS and five megapixel camera it broke new ground - while such items may seem standard now, there was a palpable sense of amazement at the N95's launch in New York.

The N96 and N85 followed in the N95's dual sliding footsteps, but they didn't manage to capture the imagination in quite the same way. The N96 faced criticisms for being under powered (partly misconceived perception, partly reality), while the N85 didn't seem to add a great deal, aside from an AMOLED screen. Both devices had their own design issues - enough that there seems to be a popular consensus feeling that the N95 never quite got the successor it deserved. So does the N86 change that?

There's no simple answer here. For one, the competitive landscape has changed. Touchscreen phones have arrived by the bucket load since the introduction of the Apple iPhone. The entry of Apple and Google has shaken up the market and given the incumbents plenty to think about. However, I think its important not to get carried away and to understand the context. While touchscreen phones do get the lion's share of media and consumer attention, they are still out sold by the non-touch screen devices. Nokia has faced increased competition from RIM (Blackberry Bold and others), but, outside the enterprise space, it has continued its near total dominance of the non-touchscreen smartphone space. And, at the same time that it has faced massively increased competition at the high end, it has pushed S60 further now into the mid tier with devices like the E63, 5320, and 5800 XpressMusic.

So the N86 arrives in a different world to its predecessors; this alone means it is less likely to match the success of its illustrious predecessor. However, there are still plenty of people who have hung onto their N95 and are looking for a replacement, or those who don't want to go the touch route and are looking for a powerful consumer-focussed phone. Does the N86 deliver for them? As we'll see in this review, I think the answer is yes. The N86 is as close as you'll get to a spiritual successor to N95 and it is a really top draw consumer smartphone. There are really three main reasons for this - one, a significantly improved camera, two, a stylish and high quality design, and three, a mature* software platform that delivers an array services straight out of the box.

* Though much of the platform is mature, note that the early v10 firmware on the N86 has a few glitches - these will, in true Nokia fashion, doubtless get addressed soon in a firmware Over-The-Air update.

In the first part of this review, we're going to give you a general overview and mention some of the phone's highlights after a few days of use. We'll be examining all areas in more detail in subsequent reviews once we have had a chance to get some more real world usage under our belts, so treat this as our first impressions assessment.


As noted in our earlier feature, the N86 8MP hardware specifications, camera aside, are not very different to the Nokia N85. The only really notable difference is the addition of a stand on the back of the device and a 21g increase in weight. If you're coming from the N95 or N96 then there are some more significant differences: the AMOLED screen, FM transmitter, RDS with the FM radio, and increased battery capacity. That said, as we'll see, the camera is a major upgrade and, just as importantly, there have been a number of tweaks to the design and materials of the phone.

As with the N85, the AMOLED screen really makes the N86 stand out if you put it next to a traditional LCD screen. AMOLED screens are becoming less unusual (e.g. i8910 HD), but it is still great to see this superior screen technology (in most, but not all, light conditions) being used. The key advantages of AMOLED are a brighter screen, increased colour range, improved contrast ratio and reduced power usage. The QVGA resolution will disappoint some, and it's a definite potential weak spot. Technical limitations means that S60 3.2 is stuck on QVGA, but that will change with the first Symbian Foundation release. On the other hand, it is also reasonable to argue that without physically increasing the size of the screen there's limited value in increasing the resolution. Smaller screens make sense on non-touchscreen devices - it's one of the prices you pay for true one handed usage.

The N86, at 149g, is a heavy phone, which makes it less pocketable than a device like the N79, but it does have the benefit of giving a reassuring feel of solidity, similar to the E71, and adds to the overall impression of superior build quality. It's well weighted in the hand, in either open or closed modes. Together with the redesigned keypad, this means that it feels less bottom heavy than previous dual sliders. The slide mechanism, which is spring assisted, is excellent and feels like it will stand up to long term usage. Nokia have had plenty of experience in designing dual sliders over the years and it's one of the areas where the N86 mostly obviously benefits from its ancestry. As with the N85, the slide operates on two 'runners', which should provide good long term stability. I would rate the slide on our N86 review unit as the best so far - there is still a very small amount of movement/give, but it's much reduced from the average N95.

The N86 shares the same design language as the N97. Design is a subjective area, but I would rate the 2009 Nseries design language as a significant improvement over that of 2008 (N78, N85, N96). There's still a sense of sleekness and minimalism, especially when the slide is closed. Previous double sliders never seemed to make full use of the space below the screen - instead there was always a Nokia logo just below the screen. Thankfully this has now been moved to the top of the screen, with the control cluster making good use of the extra space and consequently feeling much less cramped. Furthermore, the control cluster now has individual physical keys for each control (rather than the flat plastic sheet seen in the softkeys, S60 key and cancel key on the N85), a particular highlight is the angled home key, much easier to hit, and arguably as visually appealing as light up keys. The multimedia key has been removed, a decision which will evoke mixed reactions, but one that does makes things less cramped. The D-pad has been enlarged and is less stiff, which makes it more comfortable to use. All of these factors add up to make a control cluster that's easier to use.

On the lower slide, a similar change sees a move away from the flat keys of the N85 and N96 to individual buttons for each number key. The buttons are reasonably spaced, have good tactile feedback and a decent amount of travel, although, as with most sliders, they're still somewhat cramped along the top row. It didn't seem to make much difference to my raw text entry speed, but the changes do improve the perception and there's less of a learning curve before you get comfortable with the keypad.

The top slide has seen as similar redesign. The individual keys are far easier to use - it's possible to use them 'blind' (e.g. when the phone is in your pocket and you want to skip a music track). Thanks to the extra illustrative icons, it's also clearer what they can be used for. The media playback functions have always been obvious, but the image zooming and N-Gage controls generally required you to read the manual before you discovered them.

On the back of the device, the camera slide follows the same design as the N85, a square block on runners. Fast and easier to use and, together with improvements to the camera software start up time, should give a better chance to capture those quick snaps. It's surrounded by a stand which lets you place the angled phone, in landscape orientation, on any flat surface. It's useful for watching videos or showing off a slide show. There's a small micro switch on the stand which, via an entry in the phone's setting, means you can specify a specific application to start when you open the stand. It defaults to Photos, but Clock might be a viable alternative.

There's a key lock slider on the left of the device (slightly awkward positioning, arguably), and camera capture and volume control buttons on the right and all of them have been improved from earlier models. The microSD slot is on the lower left hand side of the device, but you need to take the back cover off to access it. Given the size of memory cards and the N86's 8GB of internal memory, it's a sensible choice, as it removes a flimsy slot cover and reduces the number of openings for dust.

The battery used is the BL-5K, rated at 1200mAh, and this should be more than enough for typical use. It's the same capacity as that in the top-rated N95 8GB but it doesn't have to power a hungry LCD screen backlight - OLED displays are much more efficient - I'd expect most N86 owners to be able to go a couple of days of normal use, at least, between charges.

There's more good news in the materials that make up the N86. The entire front of the device is covered by tempered glass and it looks fantastic. No more indented screens or dust traps here. It should also prove more scratch resistant than the plastics that have been used on other Nseries devices, although I wasn't brave enough to carry out any real tests. A hard plastic makes up the edges of the device, while the back is a single piece of plastic which is removed to access the battery and SIM card slot. Crucially, this plastic has a matt finish which makes it much more grippy and less likely to attract finger prints that the shiny plastics on the N85 and N96.

As you'll have probably guessed from the above, the overall build quality is excellent. In the Nseries line, Nokia seemed to have made gradual improvements over the years, but both the N86 and N97 are big steps forward. The build quality of both devices seemed to more closely match what you would expect from their respective price tags.

Camera (stills)

With the 8MP appended to its name it is no surprise that it is the standout feature of the N86. It is the first 8 megapixel (3280 x 2464) cameraphone that Nokia have produced. However, as we've commented in the past and as Nokia were at pains to point out at the launch in Barcelona, cameras are about a lot more than just the raw megapixel number. With the N86 there are several key factors that are more important that the increase in megapixels: increased sensor size and sensitivity, optimised Carl Zeiss optics, variable aperture and improved software algorithms. Let's work through these in turn.

As with other a number of other Nokia devices, there's a Tessar Carl Zeiss lens in the camera, but as the first 8 MP device Nokia did suggest that extra time and attention had gone into the N86 (typically other camera modules are shared across multiple device). As a senior Carl Zeiss executive said to me at the N86's launch, 'we wouldn't put our brand on it, if we didn't think it was a good camera'. Essentially, Nokia and Carl Zeiss have worked together to provide a good an experience as possible within the physical constraints of a mobile phone and within certain cost constraints.

Nokia says the size and sensitivity of the sensor has been increased. This physical increase in the size of the sensor and improved sensitivity means that it is able to capture more incoming light (photons) over a greater area. This gives the sensor more 'information' to work with and consequently results in higher resolution and potentially higher quality pictures.

The N86 boasts a variable aperture, which means the size of the aperture (optical diameter) can be varied. The N86 has three settings: F2.4, F3.2 and F4.8, other phones typically have a fixed aperture (Nokia's are generally at F2.8). Varying the size of the aperture means the amount of light let into the sensor can be changed. Higher F numbers mean a smaller opening and, as well as letting in less light, this can give sharper images. The overall effect of this is that the N86 can produce higher quality photos over a greater range of lighting conditions. While the most noticeable difference will be in low light conditions (where camera phones typically struggle), the N86 will also take better photos in very sunny conditions (sharper). We'll put this to the test in the coming weeks.

In addition to the usual Nseries mechanical shutter, Nokia have also included software that does 'automatic motion-blur reduction'. Nokia have also continued to refine their software algorithms in general and, as ever, these play an important role in the final results. Going hand in hand with this are improvements to the camera software performance; camera start up time, shutter lag and shot-to-shot times have all been improved.

Also on note in the camera department is the inclusion of a wide angle lens (28mm) lens. This means that the N86 will capture a greater area compared to a standard lens. In captured images you'll see extra material on the left, right, top and bottom of images.

The best way to demonstrate what the camera can do is to show off a few samples:

The Camera application has the usual assembly of settings, including a customisable toolbar and geo-tagging, but the new highlight is the panorama mode. This functionality, a result of Nokia's acquisition of bitSide, automatically stiches images together to produce a wide panoramic image. A bit gimmicky? Maybe, but it does manage to produce some decent looking results:

We'll look at the rest of the Camera application and camera peformance in more detail at a future date. To kick things off, in the next few days, we'll publish a brief photo comparison, which sets the N86 against the N82, N97 and i8510, specifically testing out the crucial low light and night scenarios.

The N86 has a "Third generation dual LED flash", meaning that it's brighter than previous units, but the proof will be hopefully seen in our test photos and ongoing detailed review. Nokia continue to persevere with dual LED technology rather than Xenon for their flash units, quoting size and power efficiencies - you'll have to wait for our tests to see any illumination penalties incurred.


Video capture on the original Nokia N95 was stunning for its time, taking the market leading VGA capture (at 30fps) of the niche N93 and putting it in a much more standard, mass-market form factor. The N95 8GB and N82 inherited the same camera and set up Nokia's reputation as the best video capture phones in the world. Unfortunately, the N79, N85, N96 and N97 all featured a different camera that was pre-focussed, in video mode, on infinity, making them not suitable for close-up videos of family and friends, all of whom would appear somewhat blurred.

The N86 8MP has, thankfully, a camera along the lines of the original N95's with a focus of around a metre or two. In good light, this means a depth of field that extends backwards towards the horizon and gives the best of all worlds. You can see the clarity of video from the N86 here in a test video shot in sunlight. Note also that the audio is as clear and of as high quality as we've come to expect from Nokia's Nseries.

With a gap of two years since the N95, you might have expected Nokia to have progressed beyond VGA capture, but this is something of a technological sweet spot. If you increase resolution further you start increasing the file sizes of movies way beyond the current 20MB/min, requiring more and more storage to save files and requiring more and more processor power to encode and manage them. As we've seen with the Samsung i8910 HD, it's easy to mess up in this area (frame rate drops, audio problems), but I would expect to see Nokia announce a phone with 720p (HD) recording at some point, possibly MWC next year, when the electronics, processor power and storage equations have all been solved.

In summary, video capture is as good as, or possibly a bit better than, that from the N95 and N93 - there are certainly no focus issues as we've seen (disappointingly) even in the recent N97.


The N86 runs S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 2 on Symbian OS 9.3. This is now a mature platform and a known quantity. For some this will mean the UI feels a little dated and unexciting compared to S60 5th Edition or other touch UIs, but for others this familiarity will be welcome. S60 3rd Edition increasingly seems to face criticism for being out-dated or slow. That really isn't fair, as the N86's overall performance is very good and, while it may lack the glam and glitter of recent touch interface devices, it often gets the job done faster. The core functions remain accessible for new users and, for the moment, its phone centric approach addresses a broader market than the tablet/Internet-centric approaches typical of touch screens UIs. It's no accident that it remains the dominant UI on non-touchscreen open mobile platform devices.

If you're moving up from Feature Pack 1 (e.g. N95) you'll notice a very definite performance boost both in overall speed and battery life time (in addition to the savings from having an OLED display). The addition of the central softkey, easier multi-tasking and other usability tweaks all make life easier in day to day usage; while technologies such as firmware-over-the-air updates and improved support for multimedia and Internet standards add significant functionality.

The standard S60 software applications, such as Contacts, Calendar, Messaging and the 'Office' software suite are all present. As an Nseries device, the N86 also has a number of extras, including UPnP support (via the Home network application) and Internet radio. The N86 makes full use of the new standard Nokia iconography set, which does its job in providing functionality clues and consistency, such that you hardly notice it (as it should be).

A nice touch is the updated welcome application that helps you set up your phone. As before, it links into the Settings wizard (set up operator settings and email) and Switch (copy contacts and other content from another phone) applications, but it now also includes a few extra stages. These include the ability to set the phone's name (for Bluetooth), customise ringtones, and set wallpaper and themes. Not only does it allow an extra degree of customisation from the outset, it also introduces users to fact they can customise their phone.

Nokia's development of Ovi software and services continues apace and the N86 gets the full treatment. Ovi Maps, N-Gage, Nokia Messaging, Music Store are all pre-installed and offer a consistent and rich level of service experience that competing manufacturers will find difficult to match. There are still plenty of holes (music DRM, application usability concerns, operator intransigence, user education, resource-heavy PC software, incomplete single sign on, and so on), but Nokia's vision of an extra service layer is starting to come into focus.

The most recently launched service, Ovi Store, is not pre-installed in v10 on our review device, but is likely to be added in later firmware and should be available via Download! or direct from the site. Nor are other Ovi services, such as Sync, well promoted, but that's probably a good thing as they need to go through another development iteration.

Ovi Maps 3.0 (previously Nokia Maps) is installed out of the box (the first phone thus equipped). As we mentioned late last last week, Ovi Maps 3.0 is a big step forward from Nokia Maps 2.0. There's still room for improvement, but I think it's comfortably past the 'good enough' point and well on the way to 'very usable' territory. The sync to the web version of the Ovi Maps is a particular highlight, even if it's not immediately obvious. Generously, Nokia include a six month drive license (Europe) and a lifetime pedestrian navigation license (worldwide), which has a total value of about £35. Once the drive license has expired, you'll have to pay to renew the license, but, as with earlier versions, non-navigation functionality remains fully operational.

The N86 also features the N-Gage games service out of the box. The central two keys, on the top multimedia slide, act as 'a' and 'b' buttons in games when the phone is held in landscape mode. Around 15 trial N-Gage games are installed by default (into the 8GB of internal memory) and an activation code, redeemable against any game, with a value of £8, is included in the box.

Also pre-installed is Nokia Messaging, which significantly improves the email software compared to earlier S60 devices. Email is now also much easier to set up, a shortcut is provided off the home screen and, in most cases, you should only need to supply your email address and password, the rest will be done for you.

The standard S60 Music player is present, which has evolved into a usable, if unexciting, application since the days of the N95. The Nokia Music store is easily accessible and well integrated with the phone's music library. Purchased music comes in WMA format with DRM protection, but it looks likely that by the end of year this will have been switched to DRM free MP3 files.

Around 10 tracks are pre-installed (varies by market), which is a nice touch as it lets you play around with the Music player before syncing your own music or purchasing from the Music store. The integrated FM transmitter gives an alternative (and more universal) option for playback, in addition to Bluetooth A2DP. With Podcasting, FM radio and Internet radio applications, the audio software suite remains comprehensive and a definite highlight. There's nothing revolutionary going on, but as soon as you switch on the device for the first time it is ready to go.

We'll cover specific parts of the phone's software in more detail at a later date, but as noted above it's very much a known quantity. You can read the relevant sections of our other recent hardware reviews to get further insight.


At £400 (initial launch price, SIM-free), the N86 falls firmly into the 'expensive' category. Against devices like the N82 or N95 8GB, which are approaching the end of their lives (and have price cuts to match), it may look even more expensive. However, both of these devices were more expensive than the N86 when they first launched. In terms of top end Nseries devices, the N86 is, comparatively, one of the best value.

The big issue for the Nokia N86 is that it faces the prospect of launching in the shadows of this summer's big touch screen heros - the Apple iPhone 3GS, Nokia N97, HTC Magic, Samsing i8910 HD, and HTC Touch Diamond 2. However, while the hype may be elsewhere, the fact remains that the N86 is a very impressive, even desirable device. As the latest evolution in Nokia's dual slider form factor (and as a true multimedia powerhouse) it has something of a 'classic' feel, but it also benefits greatly from the maturity of a device with ancestry.

At one level, it all comes down to whether you want a touch device or not... However, that's not an easy question to answer. It may be tempting to go with the new technology just for the sake of it, but you may then find yourself wishing you had stayed with non touch devices.

If you're looking for a consumer-focussed, non-touchscreen smartphone, then I think the N86 is a very strong contender and is, arguably, the best device that money can buy.

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