Monday, December 29, 2008

3 Months Nokia Maps Voice Navigation Give Away!

Ends January 3, 2009

I have a Nokia Maps 2.0 3 months Voice Navigation activation code that I got for being a S60 Ambassador (I definitely recommend joining to get free stuff). I wasn't going to use it so to celebrate the new year, I'm going to give it away in what I call the "Tell me why you need Nokia Maps this Holiday" give away!

All you have to do is post to this Howard Forums thread and tell me:

1. What phone you have (hopefully it's a Nokia S60)
2. Tell me why you want Nokia Maps Navigation or tell me why you like Nokia Maps

Note: The Nokia Maps 3 month voucher doesn't say it's limited to North America but I got it for their North America campaign so I can't say it'll work anywhere else.

On January 4, I'm going to select a random reply on this thread (all replies must be posted before Jan 4 EST) and send that person a PM with the activation code.

Good luck to everyone! And thanks to everyone who's on HoFo for making it such a great community.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Corporate ActiveSync Exchange E-mail S60 Compared to Windows Mobile, Blackberry, iPhone

The Nokia E71 is designed for corporate communication with ActiveSync support and Office document viewing/editing
A cornerstone of any phone is its ability to connect with people. A key part of that for business smart phones is the ability to synchronize with corporate e-mail, calendar, and contacts. Research in Motion (RIM) Blackberries have been accomplishing this for years with their proprietary Blackberry protocol. With the introduction of ActiveSync with Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, all ActiveSync enabled phones are capable of receiving push messaging when your company is using Exchange. Since the introduction of the Eseries, Nokia has offered Mail for Exchange for free to Nokia S60 users to get ActiveSync on their phones.

ActiveSync isn't the only way to synchronize corporate e-mail. An older method is using IMAP but it loses out on many functions present in ActiveSync such as contact and calendar synchronization. Just to make it easier to see a comparison, here's a chart of the differences:

E-mailPushYesYes^ (most clients only support pull)
HTML FormattingYes*Yes
Attachment downloadYesYes
CalendarSync (main calendar only)YesNo
Accept/Decline meeting requestsYesNo
ContactsSync (not subfolders)YesNo
Global Address List LookupYesNo
Out of OfficeSettingsYes*No
SecurityEnforce policies on deviceYesNo

* Some features require Exchange 2007
^ Microsoft Exchange does not support push IMAP

I found an interesting article about how you can accomplish most things in ActiveSync in some other way. But security is one that IMAP can't enforce and most IT companies want to enforce as much as they can.

As most people, I'm usually dictated by what's a go by the IT team. From the few companies I've been to, ActiveSync has been the preferred (usually only) way of getting your e-mail to your device as it supports a number of security policies such as remote device wiping. End users get the benefit of ActiveSync's support for push e-mail.

I'm not one to trust storing my passwords with a third party so this article will not be reviewing any solutions that require storing your corporate login and password by a third party or using desktop software to synchronize your corporate e-mail like Blackberry Internet Service (BIS) or emoze.

I was wondering if other solutions offered better corporate e-mail synchronization compared to what a S60 user has to deal with. S60 offers two compelling software to synchronize with Exchange: Nokia's Mail for Exchange and DataViz's RoadSync so I've included both in my comparison chart as each support different features. To find out whether the grass is greener on the otherside I put together a comparison chart for reference after the jump.

Latest versions as of this writing: Mail for Exchange 2.7, RoadSync for S60 4.0, Blackberry (BES 4.1.5), Windows Mobile 6.1, and iPhone 2.0.2.

S60, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, iPhone Corporate Exchange Support Comparison Chart:

FeatureNokia Mail for ExchangeRoadSync for S60Blackberry (BES)Windows MobileiPhone
PriceFree$49.99 USDIncludedIncludedIncluded (firmware 2.0+)
E-mailPushYesYesYesYesYes (reply/forward status not updated on server)
HTML FormattingYes (as attachment)Yes (version 4+)Yes (only Bold and Storm)Yes (version 6+)Yes (supported on both Exchange 2003/2007)
Attachment downloadYesYesYesYesYes
Server SearchNoYes (version 3+)YesYesNo
SubfolderNoYesYes (only server side)YesYes (only server side)
FlaggingYes (version 2.5+)Yes (version 4+)NoYesNo
CalendarSync (main calendar only)YesYesYesYesYes (supports multiple)
Accept/Decline meeting requestsYes (cannot invite attendees, cannot provide reason, decline not sent)Yes (cannot invite attendees, cannot provide reason)YesYes (version 6+ for inviting attendees)Yes (cannot invite attendees, cannot provide reason for decline, cannot delete single occurance or reccuring)
ContactsSync (not subfolders)YesYesYesYesYes (supports subfolders)
Global Address List LookupYesYesYesYesYes
TasksSyncYesYes (version 4+)YesYesNo
Out of OfficeSettingsYes (version 2.5+)YesYesYesNo
SecurityEnforce policies on deviceE-devices onlyYesYesYesYes
SynchronizationAbility to turn offYesYesNoYesYes
Scheduling by Peak/Non-PeakYesYesNoYesNo
Multiple AccountsNoNoNoNoNo
Additional NotesCreates its own folder in the native S60 Messaging application for synchronizing e-mail.Creates its own folder in the native S60 Messaging application for synchronizing e-mail.Requires the use of Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) by your company. Since the device's IMEI must be registered to BES, a user cannot easily switch between devices without notifying the BES system administrator. The Blackberry's "always on" nature with no way to turn off e-mail sync'ing will cause huge roaming costs when its roaming.Support for memory card encryption and remote wipe via Exchange 2007No PIN enforcement

It looks like Nokia Mail for Exchange users covers most of the features that other solutions offer in the market support. You can always opt to pay for RoadSync and get some much needed features like inline HTML e-mail, subfolder browsing, and server side search. For a screenshot comparison of Mail for Exchange to RoadSync visit Mobile Industry Review. The article is a bit old since both Mail for Exchange and RoadSync have received significant upgrades within the last few months but the screenshots are generally still accurate.

The grass isn't so much greener on the other side of the fence. Corporate S60 users have all the reason to be happy with their phones knowing they're getting almost all the features offered by Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync.

One, possibly significant for a small number of users, benefit for S60 users by having two different ActiveSync solutions that maintain their own e-mail folders is the ability to synchronize mail from two different Exchange accounts. Do not enable calendar, task, and contact synchronization on both accounts or you may wipe out all your calendar, tasks, and contacts.

I personally use Nokia Mail for Exchange on my E71 for my business e-mail and I haven't had any synchronization problems with it. Although most corporate users from North America use Blackberry, it doesn't offer much end user benefits as it once did when it was the only game in town.

Helpful resources:
  • S60 ActiveSync compared to Blackberry
  • Tuesday, December 16, 2008

    Nokia Internet Radio

    These days we don't think twice about streaming content from the Internet. With the S60 operating system, you have a diverse selection of media streaming choices such as your local TV through SlingPlayer, YouTube through MobiTubia, or through Mobbler to meet most people's needed. But just a few years ago, none of this was common place on cell phones. Find out if Internet Radio on your S60 is worth trying after the jump.

    One of Nokia's early projects to jump start mobile streaming on S60 back in 2006 was Internet Radio. It's a simple media player that supports the very popular SHOUTcast streaming audio playback in MP3 or AAC+ streams. These days most S60 phones come with Internet Radio. I must admit, I never opened it because I doubted Nokia's support for the product and the music selection available.

    But since I'm writing this review I have to give a try just to see what it's all about.

    Start screen

    Very straightforward. You choose if you want to continue listening to what you were listening the last time of you can browse another. You can save your stations under favorites for quick access. Or if you want something fresh you can browse through the station directory.

    Station Directory

    Here you can browse through the directory of stations in several ways. It's not implemented as a filter system because I wanted to browse for Dance in English but I ended up going through so much French Dance stations that I gave up.

    By Genre

    There's a good selection of some of the popular choices. I found that Indian music was the most popular and offered the best selection of stations.

    Music Player Interface

    It's simple and does its thing. Pushing down on the D-pad will bring up the radio station details. No equalizer, unfortunately. I don't have a S60 phone with media keys like the N95/N96 so I'm not sure if they work in Internet Radio. If you do have a N95/N96, please let me know by leaving a comment.

    Radio Station Details

    Here you get all the information that the radio station is categorized. Unfortunately categorization needs some work as my radio station that's playing a Michael Bolton song seems to fall under Korean Pop.

    Although there are a number of applications that are either better or have a better selection of content, it's hard not to recognize Nokia's effort in creating something that showcases practical usage of S60 functionality such as codecs. Some of these ideas are of course utilized in other projects such as MobiTubia. But I think the cost of data and availabilty of WiFi on S60 phones have helped drive streaming media to mobiles more so than Internet Radio.

    Internet Radio comes with most S60 phones so it's worth a little time to browse through and see if you find anything you life. Unfortunately there are a lot of music tastes that are under served such as Chinese, Korean, and Japanese. It's also unfortunate that Nokia controls the radio station directory so you can't add your own to Internet Radio and you can't suggest one to Nokia. It's very limited but neat.

    Software Rating: Worth a try

    Monday, December 15, 2008

    FeedingMobile for all your cell phone news, articles, and reviews!

    I'm happy to announce that coming January 2009 I will be blogging cell phone news, articles, and reviews on FeedingMobile. I'm still working on getting all my previous cell phone related posts on FeedingMobile and will, of course, continue to follow up on any comments you post here on Eric's Corner.

    Eric's Corner will then switch back to blogging about anything like squeezing toothpaste from the middle and Transformers G1.

    If you've subscribed to Eric's Corner for your cell phone news then I highly recommend visiting FeedingMobile and subscribing.

    Thank you for your continued support and keep visiting!

    Saturday, December 13, 2008

    Nokia N82: A Year in Review

    Looking and functioning like new after one year of use and taking over 3200 photos

    It was a year ago I bought my Nokia N82 to replace my dated Sony Ericsson W810i. The N82 had big shoes to fill because my W810i had served me well for almost a year and I took over 3600 photos with it. I loved the W810i 3.2MP camera but I felt really constrained with a non-Smartphone. I had tried the Nokia N95 but the slider felt cheap and I was very worried about scratching the exposed LCD. But I loved the 5MP camera, having WiFi to avoid data costs, and the S60 OS' flexibility. When the N82 was announced I knew I had to get the phone. It was everything the N95 was but in a more manageable size and candy bar format.

    Although the N82 wasn't a North American (NAM) phone since it only had 2100 3G band, I couldn't wait for a NAM version - turns out I made the right decision since Nokia never released one. I was going to visit Japan that month so having 2100 3G would be useful there since they didn't support GSM. Plus, data costs in Canada were ridiculously expensive at the time (7MB for $40, 200MB for $100) so I wouldn't use NAM 3G even if I had it.

    Build Quality

    The D-pad still feels squishy and I still don't like the chicklet number keys
    In my initial review, I mentioned the build quality of the N82 was solid. As with everything that age, like the floorboards of a house, it developed creaks. When I pinch the phone by the sides I can hear the slight creek. Pinching the phone by the top and bottom doesn't creek. The D-pad still makes a squishy sound like plastic ribbons touching each other. The initial looseness of the D-pad gave me the impression that it could just fall off from the rest of the keypad but that hasn't happened yet. I've dropped my phone a few times including one big drop and sliding along a few feet of pavement - that scratched up the back and sides but nothing really bad and the cream colored rear make hide scratches pretty well. The spring loaded camera shutter still has its spring. For the most part, the N82 works like it did a year ago. Amazing job Nokia!


    Most dust gets under the battery cover
    The left soft key has become softer to push than the right soft key. Dust has got into the front viewing camera. If I tap my phone hard enough I can move the dust around. Slight dust gets into the memory card slot. Dust gets into the battery compartment too. The exposed micro USB slot didn't accumulate as much dust as I'd imagine. That goes for the top ear piece. My old Sony Ericsson T616 had a big ear piece dust problem that once in a while I'd blast really loud music out of it so the sound pushes out the dust. I also haven't gotten too much dust into the 5MP camera yet so the shutter is actually doing a great job. The most important thing: thankfully dust hasn't gotten into the main display yet. I had a problem with dust getting under the screen on my Nokia 6682.

    Software/Hardware Remarks
    I've only updated the firmware twice on my N82. My N82 is still on V 20.0.062 as of this writing since I haven't run into any major problems with this firmware. My N82 has gone through the occasional crash and reboots that accompanies any technology. I want to remember the last time it crashed but I can't remember when so that's a good thing or I have a bad memory. The N82 did suffer a major hardware/software problem on one of my vacations where I took a lot of photos during the day and the Xenon flash stopped recharging. I'm not sure everyone notices this but every time you go back to the viewfinder the camera will charge the Xenon flash. Meaning that every time you start the camera or exit the menu in the camera application, it will charge the Xenon flash so that's why taking photos quickly kills your battery. Now when my Xenon flash stopped recharging the camera wouldn't show the viewfinder anymore, stopped allowing me to take photos, and just showed a black screen. I thought my N82's camera was a goner. My N82 was a EURO version so I wasn't looking forward to mailing it to Europe for servicing. Thankfully it started working again after avoiding the camera for a day. Since then the Xenon hasn't been a problem with just occasionally taken a little long to recharge between uses.

    The multimedia key placement makes it easy to confuse as the capture key
    Usability, I hated that multimedia key beside the camera button and I continue to hate it. But I don't hate it enough to keep running MagicKey in the background to remap that key. Surprisingly, not a lot of people accidentally hit the multimedia when I ask them to help take a photo of myself. But people who take our photos aren't accustomed to having auto focus on a camera phone so our photos usually come out unfocussed.

    I really like the support for micro USB. It's a lot less fragile than the old pop port connector since the old CA-53 data cable had a hook on it.

    I'd have to admit, I never used uPnP on my N82 before. I just don't have any other devices that support it.

    The S60 web browser was really phenomenal when it came out. But it hasn't kept pace against competitors. It has fairly slow page rendering times and disappointing scores on the web compliance acid3 test.

    [Updated 12/15/2008 11:03am] Battery Life
    I totally forgot to mention the battery life! After a full year my BP-6MT is still keeping my N82 alive from 1.5 - 2 days. It wasn't a strong point in my initial review but at least it's not getting worst.

    Life Changing

    The 5MP takes amazing photos in the daylight and Xenon helps it take amazing photos in the dark
    The 5MP auto focus camera has produced some impressive shots for me. It's much more convenient than taking a dedicated camera with me. I've taken over 3200 photos with my N82. At first I had troubles getting the photos settings just right for evening dinner shots without Xenon. Most of them turned out too dark or blurry. I needed my N82 to take indoor photos with little light since I review restaurants in my food blog. I wasn't fond of the large auto focus box since I was used to the small box and easier to focus W810i. But I got accustomed to it, which really meant I would give auto focus a number of tries before I gave up.

    The GPS function that I just played around with on the N95 has become the killer feature for me. I am dependent on it for driving directions on all my trips. When I'm in an unfamiliar place and in a taxi/limo, I use it to make sure they're going the right way and not scamming me by going in circles. When I'm in the car, I've found parking lots and alternative routes that have saved me countless hours and money. Sometimes it's as simple as saving your car location in a huge parking lot before walking away so you can find your car later when it's dark. I would never consider buying another primary phone without GPS.

    Speaking of saving money, it's obvious that built-in WiFi (802.11g) has saved me money by getting data to my phone without going over EDGE or 3G cell networks. It's also a lot faster than EDGE. I took advantage of WiFi when I was in Japan to check my e-mail without needing to carry my laptop. On a daily basis I use it to stream YouTube using MobiTube.

    The N82 is still in my Life

    Nokia E71 for e-mails and web browsing. Nokia N82 for everything else
    My N82 is still my primary phone for the most part. But I recently received a Nokia E71 as a birthday present and it has taken much of the spotlight for multimedia since its landscape orientation doesn't require me to rotate the phone and the full keyboard is a lot more convenient to type in URLs. I got the E71 primarily for synchronizing my e-mail with my company's exchange server. The security policies on the Exchange server prevent Mail for Exchange to work on any Nokia phone outside their E-series. I still rely on the N82 as my GPS because it locks onto satellites a lot faster and camera since its 5MP and Xenon can't be matched. I bought my N82 a year ago for $599 USD and never regretted paying a premium for it. It is a powerful phone with all the currently sought after features. That is impressive for a phone that was released over a year ago. If my N82 broke I would definitely pick up another N82 to replace it. The only question is which color? :)

    A little snipplet of the places I've taken my N82:

    Thursday, December 11, 2008

    Nokia 6650: Chronicles

    The stylish Nokia 6650 supports AT&T's fast 3G HSDPA network
    After a long disappearance of S60 phones from AT&T's line up, AT&T just released the Nokia 6650 this past month. To promote the 6650's multimedia prowlness, Nokia and AT&T have teamed up with WOM World to feature photos taken by bloggers around the US.

    A group of 20 bloggers from across the US were sent Nokia 6650 loaners to take photos and videos of their day and Multimedia Message Send (MMS) it to Nokia. Of course, being MMS, we're all limited to 300KB in size so doing video was very tricky so most people stuck with photos. So go visit to see what these bloggers do when they're not at their computers.

    If that's not enticing enough, I'm featured on Chapter 2 incase you're interested to see what I do.

    Here's some of the photos I shot with the 6650:
    12062008_003 - Share on Ovi 12052008_023 - Share on Ovi 12062008_005 - Share on Ovi
    You can view all my 6650 photos on my Ovi Channel

    Wednesday, December 10, 2008


    HappyWakeUp is a smart alarm clock that aims to improve your mornings by waking you up when your body is the most ready to get up. A friend of mine heard of this software from a Canadian news podcast (CBC) and was wondering if this software actually worked. So she asked me to give it a try and I thought it'd be another review to add to my blog. More importantly, I'm not a morning person, so if this actually worked I'll feel better in the morning.

    According to Smart Valley, the software makers of HappyWakeUp, HappyWakeUp is based on medical research of human sleep structure, sleep cycles, and sleep disorders. HappyWakeUp monitors your sleep using the microphone of the phone and makes statistical analysis of your sleep quality to determine when your body is ready to wake up.

    For this to all work, you have to place your phone really close to your head while you're sleeping so those of you worried about cell phones causing brain cancer should stay away from this software. They suggest placing the phone in either of the following locations:
    • Beneath the pillow or sheet near the pillow with microphone down
    • Bed table within 50cm of pillow with microphone up

    If you're OK with sleeping so close to the phone then let's check out the software. For my post I am testing Happy WakeUp version 1.15.

    HappyWakeUp connects to the Internet to check licenses (scary!)

    Available licenses:

    If you download HappyWakeUp from the S60 then you can get a 7 day free trial otherwise you have to pay.

    This is what you get when you forget the set the S60 alarm first:

    It's not the most user friendly interface but at least there aren't many options to confuse users

    Starting HappyWakeUp:

    After setting up your regular alarm you're greeted by a screen that shows you the current time in large font, the original S60 alarm time at the bottom, and between that is the window (usually 20 minutes before your S60 alarm) for waking you up.

    I mentioned earlier that HappyWakeUp will try to wake you up at the best time but of course that time could be anywhere during your sleep since your body will go into the different stages of sleep more than just once. So HappyWakeUp will only wake you up between the window and your S60 alarm. If HappyWakeUp can't figure out the best time it'll just sound the alarm at the S60 alarm's time.

    I tested HappyWakeUp for 3 nights straight and set up another phone to serve as my alarm back up in case HappyWakeUp didn't sound the alarm. For the first 2 nights, HappyWakeUp sound the alarm about 15 minutes before my S60 alarm. I was not ready to wake up and just turned off the alarm and waited for my back up alarm to sound. For the third night it woke me up just after my dream got near the end (the dream was actually getting boring) which was about 17 minutes before my S60 alarm. I was so groggy and couldn't get out but I did hit snooze on HappyWakeUp instead of off. Then it sounded at my regular time and I was grumpy as usual. Maybe even more.

    I snoozed through every HappyWakeUp alarm. Overall I was still grumpy as usual and sleepy so it didn't feel like it worked for me. Considering I could easily replace HappyWakeUp with multiple alarms, I find HappyWakeUp very expensive.

    Software Rating: Not Recommended

    Monday, December 08, 2008

    Apple's iPhone outsells Windows Mobile in Q3 2008

    Yes, that's right, the Apple iPhone outsold all Windows Mobile devices in Q3 of 2008 for, not just North America, but the whole world.

    Back in January of 2007, in a CNBC interview, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer grossly underestimated the threat Apple's iPhone with the following comments:

    "It doesn't appeal to business customers because it doesn't have a keyboard which makes it not a very good e-mail machine."

    "Right now we're selling millions and millions and millions of phones a year. Apple is selling zero phones a year... let's see how the competition goes"
    "Motorola Q for $99... it'll do music, internet, e-mail, IM"
    Source: Steve Ballmer, YouTube video, January 19, 2007

    In hindsight, we can easily laugh at Ballmer's comments. Adding ActiveSync to the iPhone has made it very appealing to business with Congress testing out the iPhone to replace their army of Blackberries. Apple has surpassed all Windows Mobile sales in Q3 2008. And the Motorola Q has come and gone with little impact to the mobile world except to remind us that Windows Mobile is dated/buggy and Motorola makes cheap phones.

    Hopefully this is a wake up call for Microsoft to focus on the complete experience rather than rely on manufacturers like HTC to slap on bandaid solutions like the TouchFlo UI.

    Nokia 6650 (AT&T) Review: The latest stylish metallic S60 flip

    Nokia has been trying to break into the North American market for the past few years and now Nokia has unveiled one of the phones that was designed with North America in mind by adopting the popular flip format. Partnering with a US carrier helps as well with AT&T releasing the 6650 a few weeks ago. After a few visits to a local AT&T store, there isn't a lot of focus on the 6650 and the sales staff rarely recommend it so it's going to be a silent seller only to those in the know of its powerful S60 operating system. The firmware on my 6650 is V 03.25.01 10-02-08 (the initial production firmware). The box contains the phone, AC-4U charger, and manuals.

    Thanks to WOM World for supplying me this 6650 for their Nokia Chronicles.

    The last AT&T S60 device, the N75, was buggy and bloated with AT&T software. Does the AT&T 6650 suffer the same fate?
    Quick facts:
    Name: 6650d-1bH (RM-324)
    Network: GSM 850/900/1800/1900 WCDMA 850/1900
    Weight: 112 g
    Dimensions: 47.3 x 99.7 x 16.2 mm
    Battery life (stand by): 350 hours (WCDMA/GSM)
    Battery life (talk): 360 minutes (GSM), 240 minutes (WCDMA)
    CPU: 32bit Freescale MXC300, 369 MHz ARM1136JF-S
    RAM: 128 MB (accessible: 20 MB)

    My phone was manufactured in: (your phone's country of manufacture could vary) Mexico.



    Although it's only 16.2mm thick when closed, the 6650 looks big compared to current phones in the market. Its boxy appearance makes this phone much more suited for men. The brushed stainless steel battery cover and front give the 6650 an classy expensive appearance. The 6650 exhibited no creaking.

    Stainless steel adorns the front of the phone:

    The phone interior is glossy black that smudges very easily:

    Nokia E71, Nokia 6650, Nokia N82:

    The 6650 looks right at home with its S60 brothers.

    Thickness of the 6650 compared to the E71:

    The side of the 6650 is fairly flat so nudging your finger between the top and bottom halves to flip open the phone with one hand is tricky. I kept getting one of my fingers caught between the two metal parts when the phone flipped open. Ouch

    Similar to other Nokia phones, no status LED is present.

    The keypad light is relatively weak but does not bleed. Like most flips, lighting is not controlled by a light sensor but turns on when you open the phone.

    The SIM mechanism is similar looking to the ones found on the N82 and 6680 but doesn't hold the SIM itself but just keeps the SIM pushed against the connectors.

    The 6650 uses a small 240 x 320 pixel 2.2 inch screen as its main display. For some reason I didn't feel it was small and suits the phone's size well. But putting it up against any other S60 you'll notice the difference.

    The 6650 display is brighter but smaller than the N82

    I had no difficulties viewing the screen under direct sunlight.

    External Display
    The 6650 uses a 128 x 160 pixel screen. The secondary screen is usually the one that gets all the left over technologies like CTN with lots of problems like ghosting or lack of colors. But the 6650 surprises me with a screen that's adequate for photo taking without the ghosting typically found on external displays.

    Image Quality

    The brightness and contrast are not as good as the main display but the ghosting isn't too bad

    A major bright spot to the external display is that it's not limited to telling time and giving status icons. You actually have a separate menu for the external display. Available applications are: Music Player, Camera (photo only), Profiles, Stopwatch, Timer, Calendar.

    Calendar gives you a quick way to see what you have scheduled for the day.

    Music Controls:

    You can actually read incoming messages from the external screen but you can't access the messaging application from the external display's menu.

    Unlike most screens, the standby clock never dims:

    I was wondering in my preview if this was an OLED but turns out it's a TFT.

    The keypad is large but flat. The tactile feedback is similar to the RAZR. There are no easily feelable bumps to sense the difference between each row or column of keys. Each number is coated with plastic so perhaps you could use that to feel your way around the keys but I had a hard time doing that. I just ended up looking at the keypad more than any other phone I've used in the past:

    There are some differences in the AT&T model compared to the non-branded 6650:

    You can use MagicKey to remap the AT&T keys to something else. I found myself accidently hitting the GPS button pretty frequently when I was trying to find "2"

    The D-pad is also completely flat with the D-pad ring being fairly wide and has the same glossy texture as the 1,4,7 column and 3,6,9 column but different than the center key and 2,5,8,0 column. The two tone black glossy and smooth grey columns help you to visually find the keys easier.

    I tried playing Tetris on the 6650 but the clicky feedback and flat D-pad was really bad for gaming as you can easily switch directions as you do by rocking a real d-pad ring.

    I'm not a fan of the keypad in terms of use but it is nice looking. Fans of the RAZR keypad will feel right at home with this one.

    The 6650 runs S60 3rd edition with feature pack (FP) 2. With FP2, the 6650 is slightly sluggish when navigating in and out of folders and opening applications.

    Since my review unit is an AT&T branded 6650, it includes some software unique to AT&T:

    Software additions include:
    • Cellular Video
    • Yellowpages
    • AT&T Mall
    • AT&T Music
    • AT&T GPS
    • Shop Apps
    • Shop Games
    • MobiTV
    • Mobile Bank
    • PTT

    None of the AT&T applications can be uninstalled from the App. Manager. Most of the AT&T applications can't be moved either.

    Some of the re-labelled functions are:
    • Gallery -> My Stuff
    • Web -> MEdia Net
    • Installation -> Games&Apps
    • Contacts -> Addr. Book

    And some custom icons were applied that don't change with a different theme:
    • Messaging
    • Calendar
    • Gallery
    • Installation
    • Contacts
    • Web

    Missing typical Nokia S60 applications:
    • GPS
    • Download!
    • QuickOffice (read only)
    • Zip
    • IM
    • Music Store
    • Podcasting
    • Switch
    • Setting Wizard
    • Nokia Maps

    During my time with the 6650, it never rebooted or hung on me.

    Those who say S60 is designed mainly for creating and not geared as much to consume multimedia must not fully use their phone. Out of the box the 6555 supports H.264 video, the same video format used by the iPhone. With some added third party software like Coreplayer and MobiTubia, the E71 can open DiVX movies and stream YouTube videos. With the included 2.5mm stereo headsets (or get yourself a pair of AD2P stereo Bluetooth headsets) and music player supporting album art, you can easily have your favorite MP3s blasting in your ears. If you're an audiophile then you can install OggPlayer. S60 gives you more flexibility than both the locked down iPhone and the "lacking in software" Blackberry.

    The E71 includes a 2 MP camera with no autofocus and no macro mode. Keeping it real basic this time.

    Nokia kept it classy and didn't label it with flashy words like "2 Megapixel"

    The external display helps for self portraits

    These are the available quality settings:
    Image Quality: Basic, Normal, High
    Image Resolution: 480x640, 864x1152, 1200x1600

    Additional settings:
    Flash: On, Off, Auto
    Night Mode: On, Off
    Self-timer: 10, 20, 30 seconds
    Sequence Mode: On, Off
    White balance: Auto, Sunny, Incandescent, Fluorescent
    Color tone: Normal, Sepia, Black & White, Negative

    The 6650 doesn't use the N-series photo software but a much more basic one:

    Camera uses the center key for taking photos so the menu is hidden by default unlike other s60 devices with a dedicate shutter button. Since the center key takes photos and makes menu selections, you can't take a photo with the menu displayed. press the left soft key or right on the dpad to show menu and hit left on the dpad to hide the menu.

    You can't silence the camera on the AT&T firmware.

    Outdoor photos:

    Night photo:

    Without night mode it's noisy. With night mode you have to be very still which I wasn't able to do

    Close up photo:

    Without macro mode and autofocus, the 6650 doesn't fare well in close up photos.

    The images turned out grainy in almost all situation. After hitting the shutter key, a still picture is shown on the screen of when you clicked the shutter key but that isn't the photo you've taken since the camera is slow. After a few seconds, the still picture is replaced with the actually photo. I'm not sure how much lag there is but it feels like it's half way between the shutter key is pressed and the actual photo shows up. This makes it very annoying to take photos of fast things. You need to stay very still for taking photos.

    The maximum video recording resolution supported by the E71 is 320 x 240 pixels which is perfect for uploading to YouTube.

    These are the available quality settings:
    Maximum Length: MP4, mp4v-es, 320x240, 377 kbit/s
    Short Length: 3GPP, h232-2000, 176x144, 81 kbit/s

    Sample video:

    The 6650 had similar reception to the E71 which is a little weaker than the N82. I had a number of times the 6650 switch to EDGE instead of using the faster 3G HSDPA network. Voice came out loud and clear through the speaker.

    The audio is loud but there is a lot of distortion at the higher volume levels.

    I didn't have a chance to test this.

    Unlike the Blackberry and iPhone, the 6650 offers a wealth of Bluetooth profiles that allows you to share files with other devices, listen to music over a wireless stereo bluetooth headset, or sync data to your home computer.
    As with all E-series devices, infrared is included to share data with older devices or laptops without Bluetooth.
    connecting the 6650 to a computer using a USB cable will automatically keypad unlock the phone allowing you to select the connection type (mass storage, nokia suite, etc.) This even works with the phone closed.


    Global Positioning (GPS)
    The 6650 has an integrated GPS chip to get an accurate position of the phone.

    However the internal GPS is hidden behind AT&T's Nav solution since no Nokia built-in GPS applications are included with the 6650. Thankfully AT&T hasn't locked the GPS as Verizon typically does so you can get it working with 3rd party applications.

    Here's a photo of it working with Nokia Maps 1.2:

    The 6650 was consistently faster at locking a position and much more sensitive than my N82 and leap years ahead of the E71.

    Time to lock is dependent on your location and weather conditions. Turning on assisted GPS in Tools > Settings > General > Positioning > Positioning Methods will reduce lock time but requires a data connection.

    External Memory
    Unlike most other S60 Nokia handsets, the 6650 does not include a memory card with the retail package. However it easily supported the 2GB microSD and 8GB microSDHC cards I had on hand. The small slot and rubber cover make inserting the memory card very tricky. Make sure you don't insert the card upside down because it's really hard to take out. The memory card goes gold connector side facing up when you're looking at the keypad.

    The 6650 uses the same long lasting battery as the E71: the BL5L, with 1500mAH. The 6650 consistently lasted at least 4 days of usage before needing a charge. I spent a whole weekend without a charge and this included having the phone on dual mode (3G and GSM), e-mail synching throughout the business day, send about 8 MMS per day, and occasional phone calls for about 30 minutes total. A great battery where i didn't need to think about charging as i do on my N82.

    After 2 weeks of testing the 6650, I found the 6650 to be an enjoyable phone that provides a little more flexibility than the typical dumb phone. It's stylish and fits well in a pocket. I really enjoyed the functionality Nokia added to the external display. I can read incoming messages on the external display without opening the phone. It's too bad Nokia doesn't push the multimedia capabilities and strength of the S60 platform in the 6650 but users benefit by not requiring an expensive smartphone data plan from AT&T. The 6650 looks very business-like so it's a good fit for Nokia's Mail for Exchange. I'm testing RoadSync on mine and haven't experienced any hiccups yet.

    Build quality...........9
    Features for $.........8 ($69 on AT&T with 2 year contract without data plan needed)
    Battery life.............10


    *amazingly fast locking GPS
    *stylish design with stainless steel
    *Great build quality
    *lots of existing S60 games/apps
    *long lasting battery
    *AT&T didn't screw up the phone that much

    *no wifi
    *flat keypad with Razr-like feedback
    *can't uninstall AT&T applications
    *grainy camera
    *small screen
    *minimal sales package (no memory card, no headset)
    *2.5mm headset jack
    *sluggish UI with FP2